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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Storm Preparation

Joseph Herrin (11-05-2012)

Yesterday I came across an article I had posted 44 months ago. It is dated February 27, 2009. The post is titled How to Prepare for a Day of Disorder.


The article speaks of the surety of a day of great civil unrest precipitated by economic collapse. It describes some of the difficulty that Americans will face in that day. Following is an excerpt from the article:

A sister in Christ shared recently that the Lord had told her that even the electricity supply would become unreliable. At times it would be available, and other times it will be unavailable. I shared a similar revelation some months back as the Spirit of Christ brought me to understand the character of coming days.

Along with economic collapse there will be great interruptions to transportation. Stores will run out of food and supplies. Gas stations will run dry and find that re-supply is sporadic at best. Civil unrest will be a natural consequence, and multitudes will find it expedient to flee from the cities, many of which will be ablaze with fires and unruly gangs and rioters.

All of these things, and much more, have been prophesied for the days which are near at hand. How then should a Christian prepare for such days?
[End Excerpt]

As I read these words I considered how they could well be describing the conditions in New Jersey and New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The news has been full of reports of millions of people having to cope with an absence of electrical service. A week after landfall there are still nearly two million people without power, down from a peak of eight million. The temperatures in this region are typically in the 40s during the daytime, dropping down to the 30s, and even falling below freezing, at night. Without electric heat, a great many people have been struggling to stay warm. The city of New York has been distributing free blankets to people without power.

Distributing Blankets in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

The absence of electricity has led to other problems as well. There has been an acute shortage of gasoline in the region following the storm. This is due to a mix of factors. Panic buying has led to runs on gasoline. Pipelines delivering petroleum products were shut down for a time. Tanker trucks have had a difficult time getting to flooded areas. Yet, part of the problem has been that gas stations rely upon electricity for their pumps to work. Without electricity there is no way to pump the gas.

Situations have become chaotic at the few gas stations that have had fuel. Fights have erupted and police and National Guard troops have had to be assigned to keep order. Patience has been taxed as people have waited for hours in lines that stretch for blocks, worrying if there would be any fuel left when they reached the pumps.

Gas Line Following Hurricane Sandy

There have been numerous reports of looting and civil unrest following the storm. Residents are fearful of answering their doors as gangs have been masquerading as utility workers to gain access to people’s homes to rob them. Yesterday’s news reported that as many as 40,000 people in the boroughs of New York city may need to be supplied with temporary, or long term, housing due to destroyed homes, flood damage, or absence of utility services. Many are currently staying in shelters. The mayor of New York described what a challenge this was in a city that is notorious for its lack of available housing.

Transportation has been hit especially hard in the region. Many of the subways were flooded and sustained significant damage. The NYC fleet of more than 13,000 cabs has had to idle more than half of them due to the unavailability of gas, or the difficulty and time involved in getting fuel. City bus service was made freely available, yet people are having to wait at bus stops for hours as buses bypass them due to their being filled to capacity. People have begun walking to their destinations, and if they are fortunate they have a bicycle to get them around.

Bikes Out in Force Following Sandy

One thing that is evident is that the normal, affluent, American life is impossible to maintain in such circumstances. Those who try to carry on as normal, driving their gas guzzling SUV’s, expecting to find easy access to food and other necessities, will be greatly disappointed, leading to conflict.

Police Controlling Crowds After Sandy

The majority of Christians today have embraced the lie that God wants them to be wealthy and to pursue the American dream of being materially affluent. Many are in debt. They are living paycheck to paycheck because they gave themselves to a surfeit of consumerism. In Biblical terms, they were guided by covetousness.

For many years I too was caught up in this consumer mentality. It was all I knew. Having been raised in American Christian culture I considered it normal to pursue a comfortable, and materially abundant, life. Had a storm such as Sandy descended upon my life prior to 1999 when I was entangled with this world, and the love of the things in it, I would have been woefully unprepared to survive. I lived a soft life. I would hop in the car just to drive to the corner store, or to a fast food restaurant a short distance away. I was overweight and out of shape. My life was dependent upon a Just In Time, uninterrupted flow of provision.

Since 1999, the Father has been speaking to me about being a forerunner. He has guided me down paths, and through experiences that a much larger remnant of His people must face in days that are close at hand. I will relate to you some of the things the Father has accomplished in transforming my lifestyle, and how these changes have placed me in good stead for weathering the coming storm.

One of the first things the Father did when I surrendered to be led of His Spirit was to strip me of the majority of possessions I had accumulated during many years of covetous living. The best way to survive calamitous days is to be unencumbered from an excess of material possessions. Lighten your load and surviving is much easier. The fewer things you possess, the less will be the demands upon you in coming days.

I Corinthians 7:29-32
But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from concern.

The Father took my family and I through a stripping process. We began with a 2,000 square foot house and a detached garage, both of which were filled with the accumulation of years of material consumerism. Numerous yard sales later, having given up one of our two vehicles, and having had our home foreclosed on, we were led to purchase a 28 foot motorhome and to pull a small car behind it. My family, which included my wife and two children, were able to carry all of our possessions in an RV with space approximately 1/10th that of which we formerly utilized.

I continue to live in this manner at the leading of the Father to this day. Some people have on occasion criticized me for “choosing” to live this way. Let me be very plain in stating before God and man that I did not “choose” this lifestyle. It is what the Father has chosen for me. He has guided me down a very certain path for reasons He has determined by His own counsel. Part of that divine purpose is that I might show forth by my example how it is possible to live in an affluent country like America that is driven by a consumer spirit, and yet live according to entirely different principles than the majority.

In the Bible, Christians are described as aliens and strangers passing through this world. They should stand out as peculiar, as distinct and different, in a world that is ruled by the spirit of Satan. It is the Christian’s other-worldliness that gives them their distinctive flavor, that causes them to be as salt and light in a moldering and dark generation. Prior to 1999 my life blended in with that of society around me. It was difficult to see anything substantially different from my activities, lifestyle, possessions, and priorities than that of my neighbors, whether Christian or non-Christian.

Things are very different today. It is noteworthy that it is those in the church whose lives stand out in contrast the most to that life Yahweh has led me to. It has been those in the church who have resisted, criticized, or reproached me the most for adopting the mode of living the Spirit of Christ has directed me to. This antagonism toward living a humble life does not bode well for the people of God when the storm falls upon this land.

The Dreamer and Trailer

Pictured above is the forty year old school bus the Father provided for me, and which He directed me to convert into a motorhome. I paid $1,200 for the bus four years ago. It was bare inside, having had most of the bench seats removed, and no improvements done to it. When the Father directs us to some activity or work, He will provide the wherewithal to perform it. Having returned from a four month cross-country speaking trip in 2010, I announced that the Father had directed me to move from my 1986 camper/van to this bus, but that I would need to convert it to a motorhome first.

My immediate thought was that I could take the appliances and various RV components out of my van and adapt them for use in the bus. However, the Father had a far more generous provision in mind. A brother in Tennessee contacted me. He had a wrecked, three-year-old, Coachmen motorhome in his salvage yard. He told me I could come strip all of the parts off of it that I needed, and use them to outfit my bus. What a tremendous blessing this was. I drove my van to Tennessee, rented the largest U-haul trailer available (12 feet long) and filled it from front to back with parts stripped off of the Coachmen RV. This included the waste water holding tanks, the potable water system, shower, toilet, plumbing, kitchen sink, roof air conditioner, dinette that makes into a bed, propane tank, stove, refrigerator, light fixtures, roof vent, electrical distribution box, and more. It took me three months steady labor to convert the bus to a motorhome.

Bus Before Conversion

Bus After Conversion

The whole interior of the bus is not in view in the above photo. Adjacent to me, and just out of sight, is a cast iron wood stove that I installed. I picked it up used for $40. Should the power go out, as it has in New York and New Jersey, I would be able to stay warm.

Additionally, the Father has led me to not purchase a tow vehicle. I sold my van and do not own a car. I have been riding a bicycle for years. I have baskets on the rear of my bike for carrying groceries. Last week I rode my bike to the grocery store from my current location. It is 4.2 miles each way, mostly down dirt roads. The trip was pleasant, and it is good exercise. I am in this way enabled to be free of dependency upon gas stations for my local running around.

My Bike and Baskets

Since my recent move to a secluded, rural location, I have been looking for ways to be independent in my daily living. A couple days ago I read a story relating to Hurricane Sandy that focused on people’s inability to wash their clothes. With the power out, and transportation spotty, many people did not have any clean clothes left to wear. Mobile laundries have been set-up in places. Residents are able to drop off their dirty clothes and have them washed for free, but due to demand they may have to wait days before they can come back and get their clean clothes.

Washing Clothes After Hurricane Sandy

It is fifteen miles to the nearest Laundromat from my current location. That is too far to ride my bike while carrying loads of clothes and detergent. I have therefore been putting together my mobile clothes washing system so I can take care of this need without going anywhere. My clothes washing system includes a plunger type mobile washer that can be purchased online at numerous sites for approximately $15, a 7 gallon bucket with a twist on lid, a mop bucket with an industrial ringer to squeeze the water out of my clothes before hanging them on the line to dry, a clothes line and clothes pins. (I have not acquired the mop bucket and ringer yet, but anticipate doing so soon.)

Mobile Clothes Washing System

I also did some research into making my own laundry detergent. You don’t want a sudsy detergent when washing by hand, and you use far less detergent than you would in an electric washing machine. I settled on a mixture of equal parts 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not normal Baking Soda), and Oxi Clean.

My clothes washing solution may appear pretty humble when compared to the new appliances sold in stores today. Yet, the system I have adopted has distinct advantages. It is far less expensive. It does not require expensive maintenance or repairs. It is not dependent upon electricity to use. It is cheaper to operate, and I can carry it with me anywhere I go. It is a storm-ready system.

As I have pondered the many changes Yahweh has brought to my life since 1999,weighing these things in light of the dislocations caused by Hurricane Sandy, I have come to realize that my lifestyle today is far less likely to be disrupted by the events typical of national disasters than the life I was living prior to 1999. Gasoline shortages - no problem. Electricity goes out - I still have heat and lights. Washing clothes - no disruption. Transportation system failures - I still have my bike, and I am healthy enough to ride it. Yahweh has directed me to stock up on grains and legumes and various other staples, so food is also supplied.

People of God, let me stress that I did not make all of these life changes due to having some doomsday mentality, nor am I a rabid prepper. I have simply followed the leading of the Spirit of Christ. The result is that I am now far better situated to weather the storm that is coming to this nation than most Christians.

To arrive at this place I had to repent of the covetous spirit that I had formerly walked in. I had to be willing to let go of the world’s goods that I had accumulated over the course of many years. I had to be willing to be misunderstood, to stand out as different, to bear reproaches and criticism from family, Christians, and others. When the storm hits, as it surely will, I will not despise any of the challenges I had to face to be ready for that hour. I will be immensely thankful that the Father was faithful to guide me and to prepare me for what is coming.

As beneficial as it is to be prepared to weather a time of national unrest, there are many more reasons that the Father is leading His sons and daughters to alter their consumer lifestyles. He wants them to walk in a pure and undistracted devotion to Christ. No man can serve both God and mammon (materialism). Most Christians are attempting to do that which is impossible. As a result their relationship with Christ is suffering.

People of God, Yahweh is calling forth to His sons and daughters to come out of Babylon, to lay aside the love of the world. The church must abandon the mindset that tells them they need to pursue the American dream, to have all the modern conveniences, to keep up with the Joneses.

It may strike you as a radical thought today to ride a bike to the grocery store, rather than jumping in your car. It may seem impractical to wash your clothes by hand rather than using the latest modern appliances. It may seem undesirable to reduce your living space to a small fraction of what you previously have been accustomed to. Yet, in that hour when the storm hits and it is no longer possible to maintain the life of convenience and comfort that you have known, you will find that those who have embraced a humbler life will be the least affected. It is the most affluent, those with the most possessions and conveniences, who will suffer the most.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

U.S. slips out of top 10 most prosperous countries

The U.S. slid from the top 10 most prosperous nations for the first time in a league table which ranked Canada sixth in the world for the second year in a row.

The U.S. fell to 12th position from 10th in the Legatum Institute’s annual prosperity index amid increased doubts about the health of its economy and ability of politicians. Norway, Denmark and Sweden were declared the most prosperous in the index, published in London Monday.

With the presidential election just a week away, the research group said the standing of the U.S. economy has deteriorated to beneath that of 19 rivals. The report also showed that respect for the government has fallen, fewer Americans perceive working hard gets you ahead, while companies face higher startup costs and the export of high-technology products is dropping.

“As the U.S. struggles to reclaim the building blocks of the American Dream, now is a good time to consider who is best placed to lead the country back to prosperity and compete with the more agile countries,” Jeffrey Gedmin, the Legatum Institute’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The six-year-old Legatum Prosperity Index is a study of wealth and wellbeing in 142 countries, based on eight categories such as economic strength, education and governance. Covering 96% of the world’s population, it is an attempt to broaden measurement of a nation’s economic health beyond indicators such as gross domestic product.

The Legatum Institute is the public policy research arm of the Legatum Group, a Dubai-based private investment group founded in 2006 by New Zealand billionaire Christopher Chandler.

Global Prosperity
The report shows that even amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, global prosperity has increased across all regions in the past four years, although the sense of safety and security is decreasing amid tension in the Middle East and fear of crime in Latin America.

Norway and Denmark retained the pole positions they held last year in the overall prosperity measure, while Sweden leapfrogged Australia and New Zealand into third. Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland rounded out the top 10. The Central African Republic was ranked bottom.

In its sub-indexes, Legatum named Switzerland the strongest economy and home to the best system of governance. Denmark is the most entrepreneurial and New Zealand has the best education, while health is best in Luxembourg and Iceland is the safest. Canadians enjoy the most personal freedom and Norwegians have the greatest social capital.

Hard Work

With President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney tussling for the White House, Legatum said the U.S. economy declined two places from last year to 20th. It found that 89% of Americans believe hard work produces results, up from 88% last year, and the government’s approval rate dropped to 39% from 42%.

Plagued by the euro-area debt crisis, 24 out of 33 European nations have witnessed a decline in their economic score since 2009, according to Legatum. On the prosperity scale, Greece recorded the biggest drop in 2012, falling 10 places since 2009 to 49th. Spain held on to 23rd place.

The U.K remained 13th, one place ahead of Germany, and Legatum predicted it will overtake the U.S. by 2014 as it scores well for entrepreneurship and governance. Nevertheless, the status of its economy remains a weakness as it slid five places to 26th on that score and job satisfaction is low.

Asian Scores

In Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan all ranked in the top ten for their economies and the top 20 overall. So-called tiger cub economies Vietnam and Indonesia also rose. Indonesia experienced the largest gain in prosperity of any country since 2009, jumping 26 positions to 63rd.

Switzerland, Norway and Singapore topped the economy sub- index, which measures satisfaction with the economy and expectations for it, the efficiency of the financial sector and foundations for growth. In a gauge of entrepreneurship, Denmark ran ahead of Sweden and Finland for the strength of innovation and access to opportunity.

Switzerland also topped the rankings for best government. It was followed by New Zealand and Denmark in a measure determined by the effectiveness and accountability of lawmakers, the fairness of elections, the participation of people in the political process and rule of law. The highest marks for education went to New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Luxembourg, the U.S. and Switzerland were graded the best for health treatments and infrastructure as well as preventative care and satisfaction with the service. Iceland, Norway and Finland topped the chart for safety and security; Chad, Congo and Afghanistan ranked the lowest on that index.

Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians enjoy the most freedom and social tolerance, Legatum said. Norway, Denmark and Australia had the highest scores for social capital as monitored by social cohesion and family and community networks.

Financial Post

20 US Cities That Are Getting Crushed By Foreclosures

Foreclosure activity was down 4.8 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter, according to RealtyTrac.

And foreclosure activity was down nearly 13 percent from a year ago.

But among the largest metro areas, New York, Tampa, Chicago and Seattle saw big increases in foreclosure activity.

We drew on RealtyTrac's latest report to highlight the 20 metros with the highest foreclosure activity. We also highlighted the change in foreclosure activity from the previous quarter and on a year-ago basis.

Ocala, Florida
1 in every 122 homes received a foreclosure filing in Q3 2012

Properties with foreclosure filings:

Change from Q2 2012:
+15.60 percent

Change from Q3 2011:
-6.81 percent

Lakeland, Florida
1 in every 116 homes received a foreclosure filing in Q3 2012

Properties with foreclosure filings:

Change from Q2 2012:
-2.65 percent

Change from Q3 2011:
+48.65 percent

Fresno, California

1 in every 114 homes received a foreclosure filing in Q3 2012

Properties with foreclosure filings:

Change from Q2 2012:
-13.67 percent

Change from Q3 2011:
-37.55 percent

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California

1 in every 114 homes received a foreclosure filing in Q3 2012

Properties with foreclosure filings:

Change from Q2 2012:
+4.85 percent

Change from Q3 2011:
-21.22 percent

Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Arizona
1 in every 113 homes received a foreclosure filing in Q3 2012

Properties with foreclosure filings:

Change from Q2 2012:
-18.73 percent

Change from Q3 2011:
-27.30 percent

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida

Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Florida

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois

Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, California

Bakersfield, California

Merced, California

Modesto, California

Vallejo-Fairfield, California

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

Stockton, California

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/20-cities-with-high-foreclosure-rates-2012-11?op=1#ixzz2BSo4QR7G

Qatar, UAE request $7.6 billion in missile defense

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have asked to buy more than $7.6 billion in U.S. missile defense technology, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The orders for the Lockheed Martin-made equipment were detailed in documents posted online late Monday by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which said it had notified Congress of the request.

Qatar has requested two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) fire units, 12 launchers and 150 interceptors, as well as radar units, other equipment, spare parts and training, all worth an estimated $6.5 billion.

The UAE has asked for 48 THAAD missiles and nine launchers, as well as spare parts and training, for a total of $1.135 billion, according to a second filing.

The THAAD system is designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles, including those carrying weapons of mass destruction.

The Pentagon recommended both proposed sales, saying the technology would strengthen regional security and reduce both states' dependence on US forces.

Qatar, the UAE and other petroleum-rich Gulf states have eyed nearby Iran with increasing concern in recent years amid mounting tensions over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

The United States maintains a large military presence in the Gulf and has sold billions of dollars worth of arms in recent years to Saudi Arabia and allied Gulf states.

In December 2011 the United States signed a nearly $30 billion deal to sell F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia in a move likely aimed at countering Iran.

Al Arabiya 

Netanyahu vows to stop Iran, even in defiance of the United States

Then-IDF chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi (right), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, pictured in Haifa in 2009 (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday night to put a stop to Iran’s nuclear program by whatever means necessary — even in outright defiance of American objections — if neither sanctions, nor other international action, achieves that goal.

“There is no doubt about Iran’s intention — to destroy us,” Netanyahu said. “I won’t be reconciled to that.”

Asked in an interview whether, if reelected in January, he would “pledge that Iran won’t have a nuclear program by the end of your next term,” Netanyahu said simply, “Yes.”

When it was put to him that the US has opposed a unilateral Israeli resort to force, Netanyahu said President Barack Obama had stated that Israel has the right to defend itself as it sees fit, and that Israel dare not entrust its future to others, even to the United States. Israel’s prime ministers had ignored US disapproval in establishing the country in 1948 and preempting the Arab attack in the 1967 war, he noted.

Netanyahu was interviewed as part of an investigative TV report that traced Israel’s efforts over the past decade to thwart Iran’s march toward the bomb. The documentary, which included interviews with several serving and former top politicians and security chiefs, detailed sabotage, assassinations of scientists and other measures used by Israel — as reported in foreign publications — to slow the Iranian program. It described the 2007 air strike that destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor as “a general rehearsal for an attack” on Iran.

Asked whether he believed Netanyahu had the guts to order a strike on Iran, the prime minister’s former national security adviser, Uzi Arad, said he had “no doubt.”

When it was put to Netanyahu himself that others believed he lacked the guts to order a strike, he replied, “I hope I won’t have to.”

A central theme of the program was the assertion that Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak had ordered the defense establishment in 2010 to elevate its state of readiness so that it would be capable of attacking Iran within hours if so required — “the closest Israel has come to attacking Iran,” according to the program — but that two top security chiefs flatly refused to do as they were told.

The order to raise the IDF state of readiness to what was codenamed “P Plus” was given by Netanyahu and Barak to then-chief of the General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Mossad chief Meir Dagan at a meeting in Jerusalem two years ago, the program said.

But Dagan, the program claimed, rejected it as “illegal,” noting that a full cabinet decision was required for such an order. And Ashkenazi, the program said, vehemently opposed the step because he considered it “a strategic mistake” and feared that implementing the order might lead to an unintended war.

Asked about these dramatic exchanges, Netanyahu did not respond directly, but he indicated that they were inaccurate. And he stressed that “ultimately, the responsibility (for such decisions) is the prime minister’s.” The chief of staff “has the right to make recommendations,” he said. But as prime minister, he would overrule such recommendations if necessary, he indicated.

Barak did not deny seeking to order the raised state of readiness, but he said it had proved impossible because Ashkenazi had not prepared a viable military option. Sources close to Ashkenazi told the program this was untrue.

Vowing that Israel “is ready to act” against Iran, Netanyahu said he was watching the Islamist regime “advancing step by step… toward producing nuclear bombs.” When the Jews were being murdered by the Nazis, they were unable to save themselves, he said. But he, as Israel’s prime minister, did have the capacity to protect the Jewish nation. “When we didn’t have a state, we begged others” to defend the Jews, he said. “Today, we’re not begging, we are preparing.”

A second major theme of the hour-long program featured withering criticism by former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who is considering making a political comeback ahead of January’s general elections, of the handling of the Iranian threat by Netanyahu and Barak. Olmert also blasted Netanyahu for damaging Israeli ties with the Obama administration.

Lambasting Netanyahu’s evident readiness to strike at Iran if all else fails, even in defiance of the United States, Olmert asked mockingly which planes, bombs and special technologies Israel would use — underlining the centrality of American military hardware to Israel’s military capacity. Without naming names, he wondered who Netanyahu would turn to “if something is missing” from the range of equipment needed for an attack or the re-supply needed to sustain one. “Would it be to the people in whose faces we’re spitting,” he wondered, “those who we’re trying to prevent being president of the United States?”

Olmert was reviving allegations that Netanyahu has sought to undermine the Obama presidency and encourage the challenge of Republican candidate Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s presidential elections.

Responding directly to Olmert’s comments, Netanyahu said such an approach could require Israel, unacceptably, to subcontract its destiny to others. “We’re supposed to say there’s nothing we can do?” he asked rhetorically, rejecting the notion. “If our backs are to the wall, we’ll do what’s necessary,” he said.

Earlier in the program, without relating to any specific incidents, Olmert had related to the dilemmas he had faced as prime minister when ordering operations designed to slow Iran’s march to the bomb. Implying but not stating that he had ordered assassinations of people involved in the Iranian nuclear program, he said “I asked myself questions” about such operations, but reminded himself of the imperative “to prevent Iran from developing the fuse that could end my children’s lives.”

The program, part of a documentary series called “Uvda” (Fact) on Israel’s Channel 2, traced Israel’s efforts to stop the Iranian bomb throughout the past decade.

In 2002, it said, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon had ordered Mossad chief Dagan to focus on the Iranian threat. A special Mossad unit was established and, via “dozens of intelligence operations,” information was gathered first on Iran’s reactor at Natanz and then on the clandestine facility at Qom.

Shown the proof, president George W. Bush assured Israel, “Don’t worry, they won’t have a nuclear weapon,” an aide to Sharon told the program.

But Israel, by 2007, had decided it needed to have its own “program for action,” Barak told the program. An Israeli document briefly shown on screen related to plans “to set the Iranians back by at least a few years” and noted, “Israel may have to strike…”

When the American National Intelligence Estimate in late 2007 asserted that Iran had frozen its nuclear weapons program, Israel was stunned, the program said. Its intelligence information conclusively proved that the NIE was wrong, former IDF military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told the program. “There then followed” a series of assassinations, explosions and other setbacks in the Iranian program.

“A lot of things went wrong,” Olmert noted.

“Things blew up,” added Barak.

In 2008, when Bush visited Israel, Olmert said he showed the US president incontrovertible proof that Iran was seeking the bomb. From then on, Olmert said, the US and Israel agreed on open sharing of all relevant intelligence information, and to work together to thwart Iran.

There was one caveat, however, the program noted: Bush made it clear that he was “with you all the way,” so long as Israel did not resort to unilateral military action.

The program featured much sniping by Olmert at Barak, and vice versa, with each accusing the other of requiring more responsible supervision. Olmert said he would not want “the overall responsibility” for thwarting Iran to be in Barak’s hands. Barak said that “when it comes to using force,” Olmert “requires supervision.” Barak served as defense minister in the Olmert government until four years ago, continuing to hold the post in the current Netanyahu government.

The rebuffed call by Netanyahu and Barak for Ashkenazi and Dagan toget the military establishment ready for a possible strike within hours, the program said, brought Israel “closer than ever” to a strike. This section of the “Uvda” report was partially broadcast on Sunday night, prompting headlines in the Hebrew dailies on Monday.

Relating indirectly to the reported differences of opinion with his former security chiefs, Netanyahu said in his interview that he was “not eager for war” and hoped sanctions or other international action would thwart Iran.

The Times of Israel

Korean peninsula teeters on brink of war

War between North and South Korea could break out at any moment, an ambassador from Pyongyang told the UN. He accused Seoul of instigating conflict and ‘increased hostilities’ towards Pyongyang.

Ri Tong-il, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, said in an address that “no one knows when war will break out”between the two antagonistic nations.

“The situation on the peninsula is on the brink of explosion,” Ri said, adding that North Korea is a nuclear state not subject to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which he condemned as “blindly” supportive of the US.

He went on to say that the six-way talks that tried to persuade Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program had failed.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Association described Pyongyang’s stance as “deeply troubling.” The UN also condemned the country’s “military-first policy,” and called for communist ruler Kim Jong-Un to work to raise the country’s living standards.

"I continue to be concerned with both the human rights and humanitarian situation in the country," UN special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman said in a statement. “Slow economic growth coupled with what is known as a 'military-first policy' will of course be detrimental to the welfare of the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.”

Darusman stressed that Pyongyang was putting its nuclear ambitions over the wellbeing of North Koreans, 60 percent of who suffer from malnutrition and food shortages.

Washington cut off aid packages to North Korea earlier in April following Pyongyang’s failed attempt to test a long-range missile. The launch was widely perceived by the international community as a veiled attempt to see if a nuclear warhead could be carried on the missile.

The US has been steadily increasing its military presence in South Korea. Washington claims the buildup is purely defensive, and is not a sign of imminent military action against the North.

The most recent reinforcements were announced in July when the US said it would deliver more than 80 MRAPs (Mine resistant ambush proof vehicles). Currently, over 28,000 US soldiers are stationed in the South.

The reinforcements, according to Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Michael Sennett, are “part of the Army’s continuing rebalancing efforts in the Pacific region.”

The US has also increased its military footprint in neighboring Japan with its deal for a missile defense radar system to be built there in September. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that the measure was purely defensive, and aimed at cementing Japanese-US security ties.

The Institute for Science and International Security gave a stark warning over North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile in August. They predicted that Pyongyang could have over 48 nuclear weapons by 2015 if allowed to continue with its uranium enrichment.


Russian Sub Skirts Coast

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine cruised within 200 miles of the East Coast recently in the latest sign Russia is continuing to flex its naval and aerial power against the United States, defense officials said.

The submarine was identified by its NATO designation as a Russian Seirra-2 class submarine believed to be based with Russia’s Northern Fleet. It was the first time that class of Russian submarine had been detected near a U.S. coast, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of anti-submarine warfare efforts.

One defense official said the submarine was believed to have been conducting anti-submarine warfare efforts against U.S. ballistic and cruise missile submarines based at Kings Bay, Georgia.

A second official said the submarine did not sail close to Kings Bay and also did not threaten a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group that was conducting exercises in the eastern Atlantic.

Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, north of Jacksonville, Fla., is homeport for two guided missile submarines and six nuclear missile submarines. The submarines are known to be a target of Russian attack submarines.

Meanwhile, the officials also said that a Russian electronic intelligence-gathering vessel was granted safe harbor in the commercial port of Jacksonville, Fla., within listening range of Kings Bay.

The Russian AGI ship, or Auxiliary-General Intelligence, was allowed to stay in the port to avoid the superstorm that battered the U.S. East Coast last week. A Jacksonville Port Authority spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the Russian AGI at the port.

“A Russian AGI and an SSN in the same geographic area as one of the largest U.S. ballistic missile submarine bases—Kings Bay—is reminiscent of Cold War activities of the Soviet navy tracking the movements of our SSBN’s,” said a third U.S. official, referring to the designation for ballistic missile submarines, SSBN.

“While I can’t talk about how we detected it, I can tell you that things worked the way they were supposed to,” the second official said, stating that the Russian submarine “poses no threat whatsoever.”

According to naval analysts, the Russian attack submarine is outfitted with SS-N-21 anti-submarine warfare missiles, as well as SS-N-16 anti-submarine warfare missiles. It also is equipped with torpedoes.

The U.S. Navy deploys a series of underwater sonar sensors set up at strategic locations near the United States that detected the submarine sometime late last month.

The submarine is currently believed to be in international waters several hundred miles from the United States.

The official said the deployment appeared to be part of efforts by the Russian navy to re-establish its blue-water naval power projection capabilities.

Naval analyst Miles Yu, writing in the newsletter Geostrategy Direct, stated that Russia announced in February it is stepping up submarine patrols in strategic waters around the world in a throwback to the Soviet period.

“On June 1 or a bit later we will resume constant patrolling of the world’s oceans by strategic nuclear submarines,” Russian Navy Commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky was quoted as saying Feb. 3.

During the Cold War, Moscow’s submarine forces carried out hundreds of submarine patrols annually to maintain its first- and second-strike nuclear capabilities. By 1984, the Soviet Union was declining but its naval forces conducted 230 submarine patrols. Today the number is fewer than 10 patrols.

Richard Fisher, a military analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said Russian submarine patrols in the Atlantic have been reduced but remain “regular.”

“As was their primary mission during the Cold War, Russian SSNs [nuclear attack submarines] would likely be trying to track U.S. nuclear missile submarines deploying from Kings Bay, Ga., and to monitor U.S. naval deployments from Norfolk, Va.,” Fisher said in an email.

While the Sierra-2 is comparable to the U.S. Los Angeles-class attack submarine, Russia is building a new class of attack submarines that are said to be comparable to the latest U.S. Virginia-class submarines, Fisher said.

The submarine deployment followed stepped-up Russian nuclear bomber activity near U.S. borders last summer, including the transit of two Bear-H strategic bombers near the Alaska air defense zone during Russian strategic bomber war games in arctic in late June.

Then on July 4, in an apparent Fourth of July political message, a Russian Bear-H flew the closest to the U.S. West Coast that a Russian strategic bomber had flown since the Cold War when such flights were routine.

In both incidents, U.S. military spokesmen sought to downplay the threat posed by the air incursions, apparently in response to the Obama administration’s conciliatory “reset” policy of seeking closer ties with Moscow.

U.S. and Canadian interceptor jets were scrambled to meet the Russian bombers during the flights last summer.

The officials did not provide the name of the Russian submarine. However, the sole Sierra-2 submarine still deployed with Russia’s Northern Fleet is the nuclear powered attack submarine Pskov that was first deployed in 1993.

Confirmation of the recent Sierra-2 submarine deployment followed a report from U.S. national security officials who said a more advanced and harder-to-detect Russian Akula-class attack submarine had sailed undetected in the Gulf of Mexico in August.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, in response to thereport first published in the Free Beacon, stated in a letter to Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) that “based on all of the source information available to us, a Russian submarine did not enter the Gulf of Mexico.”

Navy spokesmen did not say whether an Akula had been detected elsewhere in the Atlantic around that time period.

A Navy spokesman said later that the last time an Akula was confirmed as present near the United States was 2009.

The U.S. is not the only country responding to increased Russian strategic bomber activity.

Norway’s military has detected an increase in Russian strategic bomber flights near its territory, the most recent being the flight of a Bear H bomber on Sept. 11 and 12 that was shadowed by NATO jet fighters.

Norwegian Lt. Col. John Espen Lien told the Free Beacon in an email that the number of Russian bomber flights this year was more than in the past, with 55 bombers detected.

According to Norwegian military data, Russian aircraft flights near Norwegian coasts began increasing in July 2007 and increased from 14 flights in 2006 to 88 in 2007. There were 87 in 2008 and 77 in 2009 and a decline to 37 in 2010 and 48 in 2011.

“Most of these strategic flights are … Tupolev TU-95 Bear [bombers],” he stated. “In 2007 (and partly 2008) we also identified some TU-160 Blackjack. Lately we have also identified some TU-22 Backfire.”

Washington Free Beacon

Number of jobless in Spain jumps to 28%

The number of people looking for work in Spain rose by 2.7% in October, marking the third month in a row that unemployment levels have risen.

A total of 4.8m people are now out of work in Spain, according to the Labour Ministry, which compiles the monthly figures.

Spain's quarterly unemployment rate, considered a more reliable gauge of employment levels, was 25% at the end of September.

The country remains in recession.

Spain, the fourth-biggest of the 17 nations that use the euro, has the highest unemployment rate in Europe.

It is struggling to reduce its high public debt levels and has imposed tough cost-cutting measures that have hampered economic growth.

On an annualised basis, the number of job seekers climbed by 10.84%, according to the Labour ministry data.

The overall jobless rate in the eurozone is 11.6%.


Iran Nuclear-Weapons Bid Might Trigger Arms Race, Cameron Says

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron warned that an Iranian development of nuclear weapons might “trigger a nuclear arms race” across the Middle East.

Iran obtaining nuclear arms would not only be a “desperately bad development for our world,” it could make the region “a more unstable and more dangerous place,” Cameron told students at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi today at the start of a three-day visit to the Middle East.

Cameron has been discussing future cooperation with the United Arab Emirates on strategic defense issues as contingency plans are examined for any escalation of Iran’s nuclear ambitions -- including the possibility of blocking the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil-supply route.

Three weeks ago, Cameron called on Israel to refrain from a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program, saying time was needed for sanctions to work. The U.S. and European nations say Iran’s program is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Iran says it’s intended for civilian purposes.

Cameron is seeking to boost defense sales in the region and to arrange the sale of more than 100 Typhoon jets in the coming year in a deal that would be worth more than 6 billion pounds ($9.5 billion) to British companies, the premier’s office said in an e-mailed statement. He moves on from the UAE to Saudi Arabia tomorrow.
Gulf Interest

The Saudi government has signaled it’s interested in adding to the 72 Typhoon jets the country has already, according to the statement, while the U.A.E. has shown interest in ordering as many as 60 jets. The Typhoon is built by Eurofighter GmbH, made up of BAE Systems Plc (BA/), Finmeccanica SpA (FNC) and European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. (EAD)

“Britain has important defense industries that employ over 300,000 and so that sort of business is completely legitimate and right,” Cameron said as he landed in Dubai, responding to media questions about the human-rights records of the countries he is visiting. “We have one of the strictest regimes anywhere in the world for sales of defense equipment, but we do believe that countries have a right to self-defense.”

Cameron has put trade at the heart of his administration’s foreign-policy objectives. President Francois Hollande also visited the region yesterday pressing French defense exports.

The prime minister said he wouldn’t hesitate to raise human-rights concerns on his trip.

“On human rights, there are no no-go areas in this relationship,” Cameron told reporters. “We discuss all of these things, but we also show respect and friendship to a very old ally and partner.”

The relationship between the U.K. and Saudi Arabia was strained recently when the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee announced it would be reviewing Britain’s relationship with the Gulf nation, citing human-rights concerns.

Saudi officials told the BBC Oct. 15 they were insulted by the inquiry. Cameron’s spokesman Steve Field told reporters in London today that it is up to Parliament to decide the subjects it looks at.