Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Trumpet

From the Editor: Iraqi WMD: A Deadly Cover-Up?
By Gerald Flurry

Conventional wisdom says there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The intelligence community in several countries has been severely criticized for getting it wrong, and the Bush administration especially has been accused of purposefully misleading the American people in order to justify the Iraq war. Few issues have caused more division in this country.

But is the real debate being missed?

Amid all the controversy over this subject, are the real questions being asked and answered?

Evidence shows there may be a deadly cover-up on this subject.

The whole public debate is built on the assumption that no evidence of Iraqi nuclear, biological or chemical weapons was ever found—removing the justification for the invasion of Iraq.

“Dave Gaubatz, however, says that you could not be more wrong,” Britain’s Spectator magazine reported April 21. “Saddam’s wmd did exist. He should know, because he found the sites where he is certain they were stored. And the reason you don’t know about this is that the American administration failed to act on his information, ‘lost’ his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam’s wmd to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war.”

Before you dismiss this bold claim, consider where it came from. Dave Gaubatz is a counterterrorism specialist and Arabic linguist. He served as an agent in the u.s. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations for 12 years and worked on assignments in several Middle Eastern countries. In 2003, he was specially selected for a position in Iraq. His assignment was to track down suspected wmd sites, in addition to pinpointing threats to u.s. forces in the area and hunting down Saddam loyalists. “Mr. Gaubatz is not some marginal figure,” wrote the Spectator. “He’s pretty well as near to the horse’s mouth as you can get.”

In 2003, Gaubatz found four sites in southern Iraq he is convinced held stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons—not to mention material for a nuclear program and missiles prohibited by the United Nations. What Gaubatz found was backed up by independently gained, agreeing testimony from several Iraqi sources. The four sites were massive, and great care had been taken to hide them: Three were bunkers built underneath the Euphrates river bed, with reinforced concrete walls 5 feet thick.

“There was no doubt, with so much effort having gone into hiding these constructions, that something very important was buried there,” Gaubatz said.

Iraqi informants “explained in detail why wmds were in these areas and asked the U.S. to remove them,” he said. “Much of this material had been buried in the concrete bunkers and in the sewage pipe system. There were also missile imprints in the area and signs of chemical activity—gas masks, decontamination kits, atropine needles. The Iraqis and my team had no doubt at all that wmds were hidden there.” Also, the medical records of Gaubatz and his team showed that they had been exposed to high levels of radiation at these sites.

When Gaubatz reported his findings to the Iraq Study Group, he was told it lacked the manpower and equipment to break into and examine the underground sites.

The U.S. might not have had the manpower and equipment—but Iraq and Syria did. Gaubatz later found out from Iraqi, cia and British intelligence that the wmd had been excavated by Iraqis and Syrians, with Russia’s help, and transferred to Syria. “The worst-case scenario has now come about,” the Spectator wrote. “Saddam’s nuclear, biological and chemical material is in the hands of a rogue terrorist state—and one with close links to Iran.”

Mr. Gaubatz and several other people, including two congressmen, have tried to have the claims investigated—but the Defense Department and cia refuse to provide information. On top of that, all 60 of the classified intelligence reports Gaubatz submitted back in 2003 went missing.

The Spectator explained why the issue is such a political hot potato: “The Republicans won’t touch this because it would reveal the incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to neutralize the danger of Iraqi wmd. The Democrats won’t touch it because it would show President Bush was right to invade Iraq in the first place. It is an axis of embarrassment.”

There is a lot there to be embarrassed about!

Intelligence and terrorism expert John Loftus goes further. “Saddam’s nuclear research, scientists and equipment, he says, have all been relocated to Syria, where U.S. satellite intelligence confirms that uranium centrifuges are now operating—in a country which is not supposed to have any nuclear program. There is now a nuclear axis, he says, between Iran, Syria and North Korea …” (ibid.; emphasis mine).

Loftus says, “With a little technical advice from Beijing, Syria is now enriching the uranium, Iran is making the missiles, North Korea is testing the warheads, and the White House is hiding its head in the sand.”

Of course, the media establishment is also hiding its head in the sand. Back in 2004, when Syrian-sourced wmd were found in terrorists’ hands in Jordan, some terrorist experts believed there was evidence this wmd originated in Iraq.

I wrote about this in the June 2004 Trumpet: “[W]here is most of the media focusing? It would seem that they are focusing on finding stockpiles of wmd only in Iraq. … That is a dangerously shallow view. And surely many in the media know this.

“Are some in the media withholding this Jordanian story so that their political candidate can win the U.S. election? Are they sacrificing the country’s welfare on the altar of politics? …

What if the terrorists had been caught in New York City or Washington or Los Angeles with 20 tons of chemicals? Those 20 tons of chemicals could go a long way toward wrecking the economies of America, Britain or Israel if they were used against our nations. This is a story that goes far beyond politics or even one or two nations. It’s a world crisis of the greatest magnitude!

“The media has been screaming about no wmd ever since Saddam Hussein was toppled. Now we find 20 tons and they go shamefully, shamefully quiet! How can we even describe such a disgusting failure to seek the truth (which is supposedly why they exist)? Has most of the media totally lost sight of the bigger issues—the life-and-death issues of nations?”

Three years later, the same questions need to be asked!

In general, the media have not wanted to know Gaubatz’s story. His claims have mostly gone unreported. Last year, the New York Times wrote him off as a wmd fanatic.

As the Spectator commented, “Of course, we don’t know whether any of this is true. But given Dave Gaubatz’s testimony, shouldn’t someone be trying to find out? Or will we still be intoning ‘there were no wmds in Iraq’ when the Islamic bomb goes off?”

For the White House, admitting there could be wmd in the hands of Syria or Iran would mean having to take action to prevent them from being used. Perhaps going along with the party line that there were no wmd in the first place is an easier alternative than the embarrassment of admitting that those wmd could now be in the hands of an enemy more unpredictable and dangerous than Saddam Hussein—Iran.

The United States has demonstrated over and over that it lacks the will to deal with the fountainhead of terrorism.


Isaiah Chapter 17

א מַשָּׂא, דַּמָּשֶׂק: הִנֵּה דַמֶּשֶׂק מוּסָר מֵעִיר, וְהָיְתָה מְעִי מַפָּלָה. 1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

« Syrian President Bashar al Assad escorts Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before Syrian troops in Damascus July 19. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian President Visits Syria, Threatens War

The Iranian president, while visiting the leaders of Syria and Hezbollah Thursday, said he hopes this summer will bring defeat for “the region’s enemies,” an apparent reference to Israel and the United States.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit with Syrian President Bashar Assad confirmed that
ties between their two countries are as close as ever; Ahmadinejad described them as “amicable, excellent and extremely deep.” He commented on how the two nations “have common stands on regional issues and face common enemies,” in the words of the Jerusalem Post.

The visit came amid mounting regional tensions and war preparations. Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted the head of the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s Strategic Studies Center as saying that because circumstances in the region are “extremely sensitive,” the visit was “quite necessary.” Talks between Ahmadinejad and Assad focused on the region’s most explosive issues—Israel, Lebanon and Iraq. Strong evidence proves both countries are fomenting conflict in all three of these hotspots, and there are strong signals that they are preparing to escalate that conflict into full-scale war.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been reaching out to Syria to start peace talks, but he established as a precondition to such talks Syria cutting off contact with Iran. Ahmadinejad’s visit, then, amounted to a snub of Olmert’s offer.

reported that Ahmadinejad actually warned Assad “he had better stop signaling his willingness for peace talks with Israel because this behavior was hampering Iran’s plans for a war this summer.”

Ahmadinejad reminded Assad that Tehran had spent almost a year on detailed preparations for a summer war and would not tolerate the Syrian ruler sabotaging this effort. Assad was reminded of his huge debt to the Islamic Republic. In the last few months alone, Iran put up hundreds of millions of dollars for Syria’s arms purchases from Russia; Syria gets its oil gratis and raw materials and finished goods at subsidized prices.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah also turned up in Damascus the same day to meet with Ahmadinejad. According to debkafile, he boasted that, with dedicated help, his organization could bring down Israel in a matter of months.

After the meeting, Ahmadinejad told reporters it would be a “hot” summer in the Mideast. “We hope that the hot weather of this summer will coincide with similar victories for the region’s peoples, and with consequent defeat for the region’s enemies,” he said.

additionally reported,

After meeting the group, the Iranian president held face to face interviews with each of the hard-line Palestinian leaders and heard their requests for armaments and funding. Before flying home, he left a group of Revolutionary Guards al Quds Brigade officers with instructions for the missions to be assigned to each of the Palestinian terror chiefs in the forthcoming summer war.

Iran is driving the region on
multiple fronts toward a major war. At the same time, Israel is reportedly bracing itself. Readers should closely watch the Middle East in the coming weeks for the possibility of a massive explosion, as spoken of by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in his 2006 article “Jerusalem Is About to Be Cut in Half.”


Israel’s Last Stand

By Stephen Flurry

In full-scale retreat mode since the Oslo accords in 1993, Israel now finds itself with little else to give away—except half of Jerusalem.

Addressing Israel’s parliament on Jerusalem Day 10 years ago, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the Jews’ stunning victory in the Six Day War of 1967: “The main meaning of this … victory is that Jerusalem will remain united and whole under Israeli sovereignty for eternity.” During that same Knesset celebration, outgoing Labor Chairman Shimon Peres, Netanyahu’s political rival, said Jerusalem “must be recognized as the indivisible capital of Israel. We cannot allow it to be wounded or divided again.” Ehud Olmert, Jerusalem’s mayor at the time, also weighed in on the importance of keeping Jerusalem united: “Only as one city, as the capital of one people, will it continue to exist, to flourish and to be built.”

Many Israeli commentators believe Olmert’s slogan (“Peres will divide Jerusalem”) is what catapulted Ehud Barak to leadership of the Labor Party in 1997. According to Barak, Labor’s position on Jerusalem would never change: “Jerusalem’s unity and Israeli sovereignty in the united Jerusalem are a cornerstone of our policy. This is how the Labor-led government acted in the past and this is how we will act in the future” (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 1997).

Around the same time, Capitol Hill in Washington was nearly as unanimous in its support for a united Jerusalem as was the Knesset. Toward the end of 1995, the House of Representatives voted 374 to 37 in favor of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by mid-1999. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 93 to 5. Even though President Bill Clinton was against the move (and never followed through on it), the vote nevertheless signified overwhelming American support, not only for Jerusalem to remain united under Jewish control, but to serve as Israel’s capital—something the international community had never recognized.

When Netanyahu spoke before Congress on July 10, 1996, he thanked the legislators for their vote to relocate the embassy. Congress gave him a standing ovation after he dismissed Palestinian claims for control over parts of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will never be re-divided, Netanyahu assured his receptive audience: “We shall not allow a Berlin to be erected inside Jerusalem.”

How times have changed in 10 years. Today, Jerusalem is a city united in name only.

The Clinton-Barak Surrender

Despite Ehud Barak’s assurance to the contrary, Israel’s long-standing policy of a united Jerusalem serving as its capital was reversed one year after he ousted Netanyahu in 1999.

Near the end of his first year in office, in May of 2000, with popular support in Israel, Barak pulled Israeli troops out of its security zone in southern Lebanon. Still, on the issue of Jerusalem, he looked unshakable. That same month, on Jerusalem Day, Barak made this celebratory statement regarding the nation’s capital: “Only those who do not understand the depth of the total emotional bond of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, only those who are completely estranged from the vision of the nation, from the poetry of that nation’s life, from its faith and from the hope it has cherished for generations—only persons in that category could possibly entertain the thought that the State of Israel would actually concede even a part of Jerusalem.”

On July 10, the day before Barak left for America to negotiate a peace deal with Yasser Arafat, he reminded the Knesset about the “red lines” he had been proclaiming in the lead-up to the peace talks, which included no return to 1967 borders and “a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty” (New York Times, July 10, 2000).

But then, just days later, Barak inexplicably set out to re-divide the capital city.

Working at Camp David with President Clinton, who was in his last year of office, Barak desperately wanted a deal with Arafat before the American political landscape shifted. For his part, President Clinton was also determined to broker a peace deal between Jews and Palestinians in hopes of repairing a legacy that had been severely damaged by numerous scandals during his second term.

In a move as surprising as it was delightful to President Clinton, Barak agreed to give up most of the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and much of the Old City, even allowing the Arabs “custodianship” of the Temple Mount. This marked the first time an Israeli prime minister had ever offered to re-divide the city.

“From 1967 until 2000, the door for Israeli withdrawal from Jerusalem was largely closed,” wrote former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold in his recent book The Fight for Jerusalem. But during the Camp David meetings, Clinton and Barak busted that door wide open. It was a stunning reversal of what had been a hard and fast Israeli position: a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Arafat,” Gold wrote, “suddenly had over half of Jerusalem’s Old City within his grasp.” Yet to Clinton and Barak—both now firm believers in the land-for-peace strategy—Arafat’s response to their overture must have come as a total shock. He wanted complete sovereignty over the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem. According to an Arab newspaper, Arafat responded to their offer by saying, “I will not agree to any Israeli sovereign presence in Jerusalem, neither in the Armenian quarter, nor in the al-Aqsa Mosque, neither in Via Dolorosa, nor in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. They can occupy us by force, because we are weaker now, but in two years, ten years, or one hundred years, there will be someone who will liberate Jerusalem” (memri, Aug. 28, 2000).

Thus, two days later, the Camp David summit ended with no deal. Making matters worse for Israel, Arafat returned home and drew up plans for another Palestinian uprising against Israel—using Ariel Sharon’s September visit to the Temple Mount as a trigger for the second intifada. If anything, Gold wrote, the peace conference appeared to have hardened Arafat’s stance. “Arafat called his new war ‘the al-Aqsa intifada,’” Gold wrote. “The name was intentionally misleading, implying the Temple Mount’s al-Aqsa Mosque was in danger. It also reflected an effort to mobilize the Palestinians and to signal to the wider Arab world the start of a campaign to capture Jerusalem. The [Palestinian Liberation Organization’s] Radio Palestine called on Palestinians to rush to defend the Temple Mount, while Hamas, the terrorist organization that began as the Palestinian branch of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, distributed leaflets to the same effect. Since that time, Israelis have suffered a never-ending wave of Palestinian sniper, rocket, and suicide bombing attacks, mostly directed at civilians” (op. cit., emphasis mine throughout).

Nevertheless, as if oblivious to reality, President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak forged ahead with another proposal for “peace” that would obligate Israel to surrender half of Jerusalem. In December of 2000, Clinton and Barak sweetened the deal for Arafat, offering Palestinians all the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, as well as unrestricted control over the Temple Mount—in effect rewarding Arafat handsomely for his violent uprising. They offered him everything he asked for at Camp David.

By that point, however, Arafat wanted more. So he rejected their second proposal and pressed ahead with the intifada. Over the next five years, 500 suicide attacks against Israel caused more than a thousand Jewish casualties.

Public Outcry

Once Israelis caught wind of Barak’s duplicitous negotiating—and the fact that they had nearly lost half of their capital without having any say in the matter—they turned out in droves to express their disgust for his administration. In a demonstration organized in January of 2001 by Ehud Olmert, 400,000 Israelis from all over the country assembled at the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. Labeled “One Jerusalem,” the event attracted the largest group of demonstrators in Israel’s history.

“I have never been so deeply moved as I am now to see all of you so pressed together here in the streets of Jerusalem, so excited and enthusiastic,” Mayor Olmert said. “This is not a political rally. This is the expression of the deep emotional link of the people of Israel to our eternal and undivided capital.”

The outcry was loud enough to get Barak booted from office. In special elections shortly thereafter, he was trounced by Ariel Sharon’s Likud after serving only two years of his six-year term.

But, in one sense, the damage of Barak’s offers to Arafat had already been done. “Barak and Clinton expected that unprecedented Israeli concessions would convince the Palestinians of the Israelis’ genuine commitment to peace,” Gold wrote. “But instead, the breaking of Israeli diplomatic taboos opened up a Pandora’s box” (ibid.).

The real significance of the failed negotiations between Barak and Arafat in 2000 is not that Arafat refused to accept half of Jerusalem—it’s that an Israeli prime minister actually made the offer. Before July of 2000, that had never happened.

But with Jerusalem now on the table as a bargaining chip, Israel had revealed its hand to the Arabs. Public opinion among Jews didn’t matter to the Palestinians. All that mattered was that Israeli negotiators were now willing to divvy up Jerusalem.

Olmert’s Redivision Plan

After Barak’s sellout, any air of invincibility Israel may have had at one time all but disintegrated.

In response to the second intifada, Barak’s successor, Ariel Sharon, erected Israel’s “wall of defense”—465 miles of barriers composed of concrete walls, ditches, fencing, barbed wire and security cameras. And while the wall significantly reduced the threat of suicide bombings within Israel proper, one could also argue that the barrier itself signified a concession of the territory located on the opposite side.

In September 2005, Sharon unilaterally withdrew all Israeli forces from Gaza after 14,000 troops escorted, in some cases forced, about 9,000 Jewish settlers out. It was Israel’s first complete territorial withdrawal since handing over the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1979. And it came without any assurances from the plo that it would disarm the terrorist wing of Hamas, whose principle political position has always been the destruction of Israel.

During free elections just months after Israel left, Palestinians left little doubt about what they considered to be the main cause of Israel’s retreat from Gaza: terrorism. Why else would they elect a Hamas majority into the Palestinian Legislative Council?

Meanwhile, just weeks before the Hamas victory, Israel was rocked by political upheaval when Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke. That cleared the way for someone else to step into the position of prime minister: Jerusalem’s former mayor, Ehud Olmert. But by that point, Olmert was a mere shadow of the man he claimed to be as mayor.

Several years had passed. Pandora’s box had been opened. By this time, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, the Palestinians—even Jews—were now discussing the surrender of East Jerusalem. In December of 2005, a poll published by Yedioth Ahronoth found that about half of Israelis supported the idea of giving up parts of Arab East Jerusalem if it would solidify a peace deal with the Palestinians. Quite a change from the public outcry years earlier.

Just before the results from that poll were published, the Jerusalem Newswire said that Olmert had “on more than one occasion stated Israel would eventually have to relinquish the dream of an eternally united Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty” (Dec. 13, 2005). And so, after barely one month in office, the man who coined the phrase “Peres will divide Jerusalem,” who organized “One Jerusalem” day in 2001, who said there was a deep emotional link between Israelis and their “eternal and undivided capital,” revealed his proposal to offer portions of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

In early May of 2006, Kadima lawmaker Otniel Schneller told the Associated Press that Olmert’s government was devising a plan for redividing Jerusalem. Of course, he insisted Olmert wasn’t dividing the city—only sharing it. But this plan, like every other retreat in recent years, calls for evacuating Jews from Arab neighborhoods. “Those same neighborhoods will, in my assessment, be central to the makeup of the Palestinian capital … al-Quds,” Schneller said, referring to the Arabic name for Jerusalem.

Together with the East Jerusalem hand-over, Olmert’s plan calls for dismantling numerous Jewish settlements in the West Bank, hurting the livelihood of tens of thousands of Jews. The separation barrier dividing Israel from the West Bank would then be moved westward in the Jerusalem area, cutting the city in half, meaning Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem would no longer be isolated from their Palestinian brothers in the West Bank. Of course, it also means terrorists in the West Bank would no longer be prevented from entering Jerusalem.

The Old City, including the Temple Mount, according to Schneller, would remain under Israeli control, but would be part of a “special region with special understandings”—which, of course, the Arabs will never accept. In any event, Olmert is ready to move forward with his plan even without further negotiations with the Palestinians. He hopes to have it in place by 2010.

“A division of Jerusalem looks realistic for the first time,” the Associated Press wrote. “The plan reflects a sea change in the thinking of most Israelis, who once considered sacrilegious the idea of abandoning any part of the holy city.

“Since Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War, Israelis had been in broad agreement that the city could never again be divided. But after five years of intifada bloodshed, Israeli voters swept Olmert’s Kadima party into office … on a platform to separate from the Palestinians for the good of the Jewish state” (May 5, 2006).

And even after Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 turned that area into a haven for terrorist activity; even after Hezbollah launched a war last summer from the area Barak evacuated in southern Lebanon in 2000; Israeli voters are holding fast to this platform of retreat. A poll conducted by the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies earlier this year showed that while 84 percent of Israeli Jews believe genuine peace with the Palestinians is not possible, 57 percent are willing to make concessions on Jerusalem in order to reach a peace agreement.

Broken Will (read LEVITICUS CHAPTER 26, VERSE 19)

Even as Israel empties its pockets at the negotiating table, Palestinians are undoubtedly preparing to walk away, just as Arafat did in 2000. If they have learned anything from recent history, it’s that they can get a whole lot more in return for violence. And how much more satisfying their conquest will ultimately be when they humiliate the Jews by forcefully taking half the city, as Bible prophecy says will happen (Zechariah 14:1-2).

But Zechariah’s prophecy is about to be fulfilled only because of another prophecy that, in part, has already happened.

Hosea 5:13 says, “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” That wound, as the Trumpet has often explained, is the Arab-Israeli peace process. One former Israeli leader described it as a “collective bargaining” process. Israel bargains—the Arabs collect.

But it’s even worse than that. The Arabs are using the peace process to destroy Israel. And so even as Israel pulls back, lays down its arms and keeps bargaining, the terrorists will continue pushing for greater gains through kidnappings, rocket attacks and suicide bombings until, as Arafat said at the end of Camp David, they are finally strong enough to “liberate” Jerusalem.

But the tragically sad part of this scenario is that Jews are willing to give most of it away even now, without a fight! What a remarkable change in their thinking—even from what it was just a few years ago, when hundreds of thousands of Jews gathered at the Old City, with Ehud Olmert, of all people, to show their support for a united Jerusalem.

This year’s Jerusalem Day festivities weren’t nearly as festive as they were in years past, even though it happened to be Jerusalem’s 40-year anniversary as a united city. Many members of the Knesset were downright angry because of how many foreign ambassadors chose to boycott the celebrations, including the American ambassador.

But as the president of the Jerusalem Foundation, Ruth Cheshin, noted, Israeli politicians should look at themselves first. They are the ones who, year after year, attend these celebrations and give rousing speeches, and then turn their backs on their capital city. “It has been four decades that prime ministers and ministers who deal with Jerusalem affairs appear at the annual celebrations for Jerusalem and declare how much must be done for Jerusalem. These promises are empty of content and dissipate the following day,” Cheshin told the Jerusalem Post on May 16. She made her remarks soon after a study revealed that the Jewish population in Jerusalem could be reduced to a 60 percent majority by 2020.

Cheshin concluded, “History will surely judge all those who stood at the helm of the government and did not bother to save and cultivate Jerusalem.”



By Thomas Horn
Raiders News Network

PORTLAND -- Today, a strange paradox exists. The threat of actual or false-flag terrorism has escalated, the possibility of an American Hiroshima is greater than ever, weather patterns are behaving irregularly and gateways through biotechnology could unleash upon earth pestilence of biblical proportions. People around the world feel uneasy about what tomorrow might bring.

Yet many people, especially in America, are indifferent to the need to prepare for the unexpected, to be self-sufficient and ready to survive.

One reason some neglect preparedness is a peculiar defeatism that says, "If bad things are going to happen, there's nothing we can do about it anyway." In a word -- dumb.

A second, more likely reason for failing to prepare has to do with how well off we are in the United States. We trust in our bank accounts to sustain us. Unfortunately, money sitting in savings and investments are useless if one becomes stuck in a landslide or other crisis.

Perhaps the greatest reason why some people never plan for disaster is that they view the need to prepare for the unexpected as too complicated and costly. They imagine the back yard being dug up for construction of a massive bomb shelter and the basement crammed with row after row of dry grains and large containers filled with backup water.

Emergency 6 PERSONS - 6 Days Home KitThe truth is, survival preparation is modestly affordable. Under most circumstances, the ability for individuals to remain mobile for a few days to a couple weeks by simply grabbing an inexpensive "survival kit" and heading out is more important than silos filled with long-term storage foods.

Even when we envision a worst-case scenario such as a terrorist nuke or ICBM exchange, low-cost shelters that can be built at home and combined with a minimal amount of Potassium Iodide, would help keep as much as 99 percent of the population alive, according to one synopsis by the Department of Homeland Security, which envisioned a 10-kiloton bomb going off in Washington, D.C. Simple designs for building practical radiation shelters are available free online at places like

While having to try to endure radioactive fallout is a growing possibility, the fact is that most people are more likely to face disaster as a result of things like nature.

Just this week searchers found a climber's body in a snow cave near the summit of Mount Hood in Oregon, nine days after three mountaineers became lost. Almost every year we hear of people getting stranded on this mountain, a popular ski and hiking area located about 50 miles southeast of Portland.

Weeks before that a journalist became lost in a snowstorm on his way to the Oregon coast, and died of exposure and hypothermia as he sought help for his snowbound wife and children.

Who can forget the initial and post-hurricane struggle to survive by victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in late August and early September 2005. These were some of the deadliest hurricanes in United States history and cost billions of dollars in damage.

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Yet, many people and businesses did survive due to disaster preparedness. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers showed how having a business-disaster plan in place helped them focus on employee and community needs. UPS, APL Logistics, DrugMax and Imperial Industries are just a few of the companies whose preparedness plans became key to their survival and ongoing service to the public.

The same was true on a personal level. One woman had a small emergency supplies kit in her attic that kept her and her two cats alive until help arrived days later. A local doctor had followed the advice of a preparedness manual and had food and equipment properly stored in his house. In the aftermath of the storm, his place became a local center for neighbors where they stayed until other arrangements could be made. These and similar stories do not reflect blind luck. Preparedness paid off with survival.

For reasons such as these, my wife and I recently provided each of our children with the basics of emergency preparedness, including a go-bag or "walk out kit" for the trunks of each of their cars. These emergency bags contain enough food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting and communication supplies to keep them alive for days in the case of a vehicle malfunction or other situation where they might need to abandon their automobile or walk out of a storm.

Many of the items vital for a good survival kit can be found at your local shopping center: an inexpensive poncho, a basic first aid assortment, nylon cord, canvas for temporary shelter, duck tape, a whistle.

Other items necessary for an effective emergency kit are a bit trickier to find and may need to be acquired from one of many online emergency preparedness companies. These include five-year-shelf-life food bars, five-year-shelf-life water boxes or pouches, paper-thin thermal blankets designed by NASA to retain body heat, special hand-crank combination flashlights with radios and emergency signals built in, and so on. My personal favorite is the "Transformer 4 in 1 Radio Flashlight," which requires no maintenance, no batteries, no bulb replacements, and can even power your cell phone.

Pre-made emergency kits containing items such as those above can be acquired online at costs of $30 and up, depending on the number of people and the number of days they are designed to sustain.

And there is more good news. Hundreds of pages from reports and booklets on how to perform first aid, prepare temporary shelters, build bomb shelters, defend against terrorism and chemical contamination, shield against nuclear fallout, survive earthquakes, storms, floods, and dozens of other emergency situations are available free at places like

Anybody can download these booklets and reports, print them out and place them on a table in a church foyer, hand them to neighbors, give them out during classes, or better yet teach a community class on preparedness. If nothing else, everybody can forward this article to the people they know with a recommendation that they do what is right to protect themselves as well as those under their care.

Remember the Nike slogan "Just Do It"? When it comes to preparedness, this is good advice. All of us must take personal responsibility for preparedness in an age of growing uncertainty. Dramatic lessons over the last few years have proven that we cannot depend on government agencies such as FEMA to save us if we need them. In fact, a report last month found that five years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the government still isn't fully prepared to respond to a major public health emergency such as bioterrorism or a pandemic flu outbreak.

So ... how do you get your personal preparedness plan started?

  1. If you haven't made or purchased an emergency survival kit, do that right away. If you build your own go-bag or survival kit, make sure to include five-year-shelf-life food and water (most store products will spoil over time or require refrigeration), thermal blankets, and a radio-flashlight combination that does not require batteries. Look at one of the pre-made kits at and copy what you see there. You should include enough of the basic survival products stored in a single safe place at home to cover each member of your family for at least one week. I also suggest you place a "walk-out kit" in each vehicle that you or family members might use for long trips. If you do nothing else, at least do this.
  2. Consider your particular situation. Do you live in the country or city? In a home or apartment? Do you have kids? Pets? Specific medical needs or prescription drugs? Think about what it would take for each member of your family to have the things they need besides food, water and shelter, to stay healthy. Create a list of these items and where they are located in your home. Place that list in several safe places as well as each survival bag and the glove box of every vehicle.
  3. Finally:

  • Place copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, birth certificates, deeds, photo IDs, etc.).
  • Have an extra set of car and house keys.
  • Think about credit and ATM cards and cash. Have small denominations on hand as banks may be closed or not functional during disaster.
  • Medication for each member of your household for at least one week and other essential personal items. Keep a list of their dosages or copies of prescription slips.
  • Child care supplies or other special care items.
  • Personal care items and hygiene supplies.
  • Contact and meeting place information for your household if you should become separated, and a small regional map with several routes out of your area by vehicle or on foot.
  • Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes, bandanas, sweatpants and shirts, spare coats.

For greater details on disaster preparedness, including checklists, forms, important contact information, and even building designs, businesses and individuals are invited to download the free books and brochures created by the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers and others at

Together, we can face the future with confidence and take the lead for our family and communities in disaster preparedness.


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