On 31 August Sudan’s most senior military and security officials met in the National Defence College, Khartoum, for a Military and Security Committee Meeting to discuss the ‘Management of Military Activities’. In what can be described only as a major security breach, the minutes of that meeting were subsequently leaked to long-time Sudan researcher, expert and advocate, Eric Reeves. The document has now been fully translated and verified as authentic. The 13 officials, most of whom are generals, spent considerable time discussing how they might manipulate the 2015 national elections to give themselves ‘another five years of legitimacy’.
They also discussed international relations, describing Iran as ‘our biggest ally in the region’, and a ‘strategic partner’. The minutes confirm that Sudan is supporting numerous Islamic jihadist movements, including the al-Houthi (Shi’ites) in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza, and Libya Dawn in Tripoli (Libya). Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein even boasts that nobody has a data-base of jihadist groups as extensive as Sudan’s. Regarding Khartoum’s co-operation on counter-terrorism with the Obama administration, the Defence Minister confirmed: ‘We release only limited information to the Americans according to the request and the price is the armed movements file.’
This statement gives rise to concerns that the Obama administration might be selling out opposition movements that are merely resisting Islamisation and genocide. Critically, the officials lament that, in the wake of military successes by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – North (SPLM/A-N), crop cultivation has gone ahead in large areas of South Kordofan, where the Nuba Mountains are located. Director General of the Intelligence and Security, General Siddiq Amer, insisted that this year’s healthy sorghum crop be destroyed. ‘We must not allow them to harvest these crops,’ he said. ‘We must starve them,’ so they will desert the SPLM/A-N and be open to recruitment by the Government of Sudan (GoS).
This is exactly what the GoS did in the Nuba Genocide of the early 1990s, when they bombed and starved the people to the brink of death before offering them food and shelter in ‘Peace Camps’, but only on conversion to Islam, complete with name change, indoctrination and often military recruitment as well. Hundreds of thousands of Nuba chose to starve rather than convert, in what must surely be the most difficult call any parent could make. Concerning South Sudan, the minutes are clear: Khartoum has been interfering in and prolonging South Sudan’s civil war by arming and backing the forces of the sacked Vice President Riek Machar.
The plan is for South Sudan to adopt a federal system as approved by President Kirr and announced on 22 October, with Riek Machar ruling over the oil-rich ‘Greater Upper Nile’ region, comprising Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states. It is Khartoum’s intention that Greater Upper Nile will secede from South Sudan and be annexed by Sudan, thereby restoring all the oil fields to Khartoum without Khartoum having to fire a shot. To that end, Chief of Joint Operations, Lt Gen. Imadadiin Adawi, proposed that Riek Machar be commissioned and equipped to ‘clean [ethnically cleanse] the whole Greater Upper Nile area’.
Furthermore, Director of Military Intelligence and Security, Lt Gen. Siddiig Aamir, proposed that regime forces ‘infiltrate and empty the refugee camps’ in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity and Upper Nile States on the false premise that the Government of South Sudan is arming and supporting the SPLA-N. [Yida Camp in Unity State is run by Samaritan’s Purse and is home to many thousands of mostly Christian refugees from the Nuba Mountains.] According to Aamir, the aim is that, once separated from their food and shelter, the traumatised, desperate refugees then could be recruited (doubtless with food and shelter) to fight against the SPLA-N. This is the same GoS signature strategy to be employed in South Kordofan.
PLEASE PRAY .
* to break the strength and power of the wicked and evil doer. Pray for the regime’s supply-lines to be disrupted, for fake partnerships and toxic alliances that hurt people to be dismantled and for weapons, equipment, planes and runways used against people to be destroyed. Pray that channels of funding and lines of communication to be interrupted and for the power of this wicked regime be decisively broken once and for all.
* to block the schemes of wicked men who will spare no effort and no human being in order to seize power and riches for themselves; Pray that God would call their wickedness into account and that none of what they have planned would come to pass.
* asking the Lord to defend the helpless and afflicted: shield their bodies, preserve their crops, protect their camps, guard their hearts, hear their prayers and build His Church. May the LORD have mercy on the long-suffering but faithful Church in South Kordofan and South Sudan as Christians suffer the consequences of the bad and faithless political decisions of their leaders.
Source: Elzabeth Kendal – Religious Liberty Monitoring
The United States Air Force has changed its policy regarding religious speech and freedoms in its ranks. In announcing the change, U.S. Air Force officials clarified guidance on Airmen’s religious rights and commanders’ authority and responsibility to protect those rights. The changes come as a result of a Religious Freedom “Focus Day” earlier this year when leaders in the Air Force’s chaplain corps came together to discuss Air Force policy regarding religious freedom as directed by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. At the Focus Day, chaplains discussed Air Force law and policy, the complaint process and how to educate and communicate with Airmen about their rights.
“We provide, or provide for, the free exercise of religion and we advocate its free exercise for every member of the Air Force and the joint environment and their families,” said Maj. Gen. Howard D. Stendahl, the Air Force chief of chaplains. Several changes were made to the Air Force policy to clarify guidance for how commanders should handle religious accommodation requests or when Airmen’s rights to free exercise are questioned. Chaplain corps officials also clarified policy language to assist commanders in balancing the constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs with the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.
“We trust our commanders with the great responsibility of caring for our Airmen,” Welsh said. “That includes Airmen’s physical, mental, social and spiritual health. We owe them clear guidance on what their responsibilities and rights are to protect and care for their Airmen.” Airmen who feel their leadership has failed to accommodate their religious expression appropriately or whose behaviour infringes on the prohibition against governmental establishment of religion should first attempt to resolve the conflict through their chain of command, said James Carlock, the Air Force director of equal opportunity.
“We are committed to creating an environment in which Airmen can realize their highest potential, regardless of their personal religious beliefs or lack of beliefs,” Carlock said. “Taking care of our Airmen is our number one concern.” Liberty Institute released the following statements in response to the Air Force’s revised policy: “This is an important step in the right direction for people of faith serving in the Air Force. In January, the Department of Defence stated that all military service branches must accommodate the religious expression of service members unless the DOD can prove why it cannot accommodate such speech or practice,” said Mike Berry, Director of Military Affairs for Liberty Institute.
“We waited nearly a year for the Air Force to change its very restrictive policy to be consistent with the DOD policy. We are pleased that the Air Force has at last taken this positive step to protecting religious freedom for its Airmen.” “Our brave Airmen took an oath to defend the Constitution. In so doing, they voluntarily gave up many of their freedoms. But they did not give up their religious freedom,” said Berry. “Before these changes, the Air Force had the most problematic policy regarding religious accommodation for its members. Now they have a policy that, in writing, protects religious freedom to a greater degree than previously. But only time will tell how this written policy works out in practice.”
HALF OF BRITAIN SAYS RELIGION DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD
More than half of Britons believe that religion does more harm than good, with less than a quarter believing faith is a force for good. Even 20% of British people who described themselves as being ‘very religious’ said religion was harmful to society, and a quarter said atheists were more likely to be moral individuals than religious people. The exclusive poll taken for the HuffPost UK reveals that just 8% of Britons describe themselves as very religious, with more than 60% saying they were not religious at all. The eye-opening survey, that will reopen debate over the role and worth of religion to British society, found of the ‘non-religious’ people polled, more than 60% said they thought religion caused more problems than it solved.
The poll shows that more people believe being an atheist is more likely to make you a good person than being religious. In fact, one in eight Britons said atheists tend to be more moral, compared to just 6% who say atheists are less moral, challenging widely held beliefs that religion is one of the last remaining bastions of British morality. Will a more secular Britain start to influence our education and institutions? The pioneering study results come as HuffPost UK launches Beyond Belief, a groundbreaking series on the fearless Britons who’ve have used their faith to create positive change within their religion. Other major findings revealed:
•Of the 2,004 people surveyed in the HuffPost poll, 56% described themselves as Christian, 2.5% were Muslim, 1% were Jewish and the remainder were of another faith or none.
•The majority of Brits believe religion is not more likely to make you a moral person. More than 55% of those surveyed said that atheists are just as likely to be moral people than religious people.
•Young people are actually more likely to have a positive view of religion. Around 30% of 18-24 year old believe religion does more good than harm, compared to just 19% of 55-64 year-olds
The evidence of a largely secular and multicultural Britian has led to calls for a rethink of the role of religion in public life. Linda Woodhead, professor of religion at Lancaster University, said it was “striking” to see the number of people professing no religion. “I believe that religion has become a ‘toxic brand’ in the UK,” she said. “This is not a rejection of faith or belief in the divine, though there is some of that, but a rejection of institutional religion in the forms which are familiar to people. Woodhead said the reasons for that include sex scandals involving clergy, to conflict in the Middle East and Islamist terror attacks and also religious leaderships’ drift away from the values embraced by many of their own followers.”
FAITH LEADERS JOIN TOGETHER TO DEMAND AN END TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other faiths have come together at the Vatican to call for an end to slavery by 2020. At a ceremony in which they signed a declaration to that effect, the Pope joined the head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and representatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Mosque, Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb. The leaders said it was a “human and moral imperative” to wipe out human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution and organ trafficking. It also committed the signatories to do all they could to free the estimated 35 million people enslaved across the world.
“Modern slavery … fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity,“ the joint statement said. “We pledge ourselves to do all in our power, to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored.” The pope has spoken out many times against slavery and human trafficking, and in his address he stressed the right of every human being to freedom and dignity. The joint declaration, which was organized by the Global Freedom Network, came two days after Pope Francis concluded his visit to Turkey to promote peace in the Middle East and build better relations with Muslims and Orthodox Christians.
Australian businessman and philanthropist Andrew Forrest called for international organizations and business leaders to support religious leaders in the fight against modern slavery. “Today’s declaration is unprecedented,” said Forrest, who is head of the Walk Free Foundation, a partner of the Global Freedom Network. “It is the first time in history that both Sunni and Shia have joined with the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox as well as Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist faiths to publicly work together to eliminate slavery. It is critical for faith leaders to lead society in demanding an end to modern slavery once and for all. ”
Pope Francis has excommunicated a pedophile Argentine priest, a move applauded by advocates for victims of clerical abuse. Jose Mercau was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011 after admitting to sexually abusing four teenagers. He spent 15 days in jail and was then held in a monastery in Buenos Aires province until he was released last March. Many welcomed the news, but victims and advocates of clergy sex abuse said the Roman Catholic Church still needs to be more determined and severe when it comes to punishing such crimes in Argentina. The policies of Pope Francis “are being carried out because of the long fight by the victims,” said Cuattromo, who was sexually abused by a priest in Buenos Aires at age 13.
His advocacy group includes several adults abused by clergy when they were underage They now try to raise awareness and protect children from predator priests. Cuattromo made his case public in 2012 after the priest who abused him was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Abuse victims and their advocates have long demanded that senior clergy be made to answer for the decades-long cover-ups of rape and molestation of youngsters in a scandal that has rocked the church and dismayed its worldwide flock of 1.2 billion. Earlier this year, Pope Francis begged forgiveness in his first meeting with Catholics sexually abused by members of the clergy and promised to hold bishops accountable for their handling of pedophile priests.
PRINCE CHARLES CALLS ON MUSLIM LEADERS TO END PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
Prince Charles has “condemned the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and called on Muslim leaders to help end the ‘indescribable tragedy’ in Syria and Iraq.” The Prince of Wales’s speech was presented via video at the House of Lords in advance of a new report claiming that freedom of religion is most under threat in Muslim nations. “We have learnt of the expulsion of Christians, Muslims and Yazidis from towns and cities that their ancestors have occupied for centuries,” said the prince. “Sadly, incidents of violence in Iraq and Syria are not isolated but found through much of the Middle East.” The prince also said people of faith should play a “crucial role” in ensuring a free society in Britain and around the world.