Tuesday, November 22, 2011
According to the briefing given to a closed meeting of Jewish leaders in New York Sunday, Nov. 13, the window of opportunity for stopping Iran attaining a nuclear weapon is closing fast, debkafile's sources report. It will shut down altogether after late March 2012.
The intelligence reaching US President Barak Obama is that by April, Iran will already have five nuclear bombs or warheads and military action then would generate a dangerous level of radioactive contamination across the Gulf region, the main source of the world's energy.
Sunday, too, President Barack Obama said the sanctions against Iran had taken an "enormous bite" out of its economy. He also said that the "US is united with Russian and Chinese leaders in ensuring Iran does not develop an atomic weapon and unleash an arms race across the Middle East."
He spoke after talking to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii about the new evidence submitted by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran was engaged in clandestine efforts to build a bomb.
He said both shared the goal of keeping a bomb out of Iran's hands.
As to sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference that sanctions against Iran had been exhausted and "now the problem should be solved though diplomatic channels."
Debkafile's analysts note that tough sanctions are pretty much off the table now. In any case, it is obvious that they failed to slow down Iran's work on a bomb as confirmed by the latest IAEA report.
The road of diplomacy, favored by Moscow, has proved worse than ineffectual. Its only result was to buy time for Tehran to carry on with its military atomic project free of international pressure.
Obama went on to say Sunday that, while his strong preference was to resolve the Iran issue diplomatically, "We are not taking any options off the table. Iran with nuclear weapons would pose a threat not only to the region but also to the United States."
This was the first time the US president had called a nuclear-armed Iran a threat to the United States. Until now, official statements limited the threat to "America's regional interests and influence."
The Jewish leaders meeting Sunday were informed that the Obama administration had intelligence data that the US and Israel have no more than a couple of months left for striking down Iran's military weapons development by force. This will not longer be viable after Iran is armed with five nuclear bombs or warheads.
Debkafile's military and intelligence sources refute the wild rumors alleging that the American CIA or Israeli Mossad was responsible for the massive explosion Saturday at a Revolutionary Guards base west of Tehran in which Iran's missile chief Brig. Hassan Moghadam was killed.
While both organizations have formidable capabilities which Iran has experienced in the past, there is no way - even with a UAV - they could have hit a single missile warhead in the middle of a Guards base at the very moment that IRGC chiefs were gathered around considering how best to improve its precision.
All the evidence garnered in the two days since the attack indicates that a single warhead blew up by accident while it was being handled, rather than by sabotage.
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Neither the U.S. nor Israel will attack Iran’s maturing atomic weapons facilities until the benefits outweigh the costs in spite of the latest unnerving report. However, that cost-benefit line is fast approaching.
Last week the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), released a sobering report about Iran’s accelerating atomic weapons program. That report sparked Israeli attack speculation such as an article in the British Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail quoted a British foreign office official as saying “We’re expecting something as early as Christmas.” The official said Israel would not wait for Western approval “if it felt Iran was truly at the point of no return.” Further, the paper speculated President Barack Obama will support the attack because he is “desperate not to lose Jewish support in next year’s presidential election.”
Such reports may sell newspapers, but Iran is not “at the point of no return.” Even though the Iranian threat is growing and our options to deny Iran atomic weapons are diminishing, the costs associated with a pre-emptive attack still outweigh the benefits.
Last week the IAEA for the first time said it believes Iran conducted secret experiments solely to develop nuclear arms. The chilling report said Iran created computer models of nuclear explosions, conducted experiments on nuclear triggers, and did research under a program called Amad that included at least 14 designs for fitting an atomic warhead on a Shahab missile which has a 1,200 mile range, enough to reach Israel.
Admittedly there are still many technical issues to overcome before Iran can miniaturize a warhead and launch it somewhere. But those issues will be overcome which leaves Israel and the U.S. with the question: What to do now?
Diplomacy, sanctions, and clandestine operations have failed to tear atomic weapons away from Iran. In 2007 then-presidential candidate Obama called for diplomatic “engagement” with Tehran “without preconditions” to solve the nuclear problem. But Obama’s diplomacy failed because Iran refused to talk.
The United Nations Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran to persuade the rogue to cooperate. Obama hailed the 2010 round of sanctions as a strike “at the heart” of Iran’s ability to fund its nuclear programs. But the IAEA report makes clear Iran’s “heart” is still quite healthy because the rogue effectively circumvents the sanctions.
It circumvents sanctions by relying on unscrupulous trading partners like Russia and China which coax domestic businesses to evade sanctions. Iran rewards such “cooperation.” China’s oil imports from Iran rose 49% this year according to Reuters and just last week Iran asked Russia to build more reactors for the Bushehr nuclear plant, part of a $40 billion deal which includes five new nuclear plants.
Covert operations aimed at sabotaging Iranian centrifuges with the Stuxnet worm and killing nuclear scientists haven’t worked either. The regime worked through the computer problems to install more sophisticated centrifuges for enriching uranium and the loss of the scientists hasn’t slowed weapons experiments albeit they are now more secret.
That leaves two obvious alternatives to stop Iran from becoming an atomic-armed state: regime change and military attack. Regime change like those seen in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia appears unlikely. Iran’s post-2009 election unrest provided an opportunity for regime change but the mullahs acted quickly to brutally crush dissent, which Obama effectively ignored.
Military attack is the only alternative that hasn’t been tried. But it comes with significant consequences and as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the British Daily Telegraph, I think “a military attack will only buy us time and send the program deeper and more covert.” It would at best set back Iran by two or three years, Gates said.
Any Israeli attack against Iranian facilities would not be like the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak atomic reactor or the 2007 strike against a Syrian reactor, both were pinpoint raids. Yes, Israel has the means – fighters, missiles, submarines – to attack a fraction of the Iranian facilities which number in the hundreds. But even if Israeli intelligence identifies the most critical weapons facilities it would have difficulty servicing them all without significant American assistance, especially if the operation required more than a single strike.
American support is not a given, however. Obama may need the American Jewish vote for the 2012 election but he doesn’t want $300 per barrel oil which would be a likely outcome should Israel attack. That would push America’s foreign-oil dependent economy into another recession or depression, a certain re-election killer for Obama.
Therefore, if the Daily Mail’s report is accurate, and Israel is actively considering a military strike, then Israel’s leadership must decide between two bad choices: accepting a nuclear armed Iran or the consequences of a pre-emptive strike. Of course Jerusalem should defend itself if in fact it knows Iran has an atomic-tipped ballistic missile and is planning to launch it at Israel.
But this does not appear to be the case. And as strange as it might seem Israel still might choose to accept a nuclear Iran believing it will eventually collapse and is unlikely to use atomic weapons.
This issue is coming to a head because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet may be on the verge of a decision. This week they meet to hear from Sha’ul Horev, director general of the Israel atomic energy commission, as well as representatives of the foreign ministry and intelligence community. Likely that meeting will review the threat, attack options and perhaps consider the following consequences should Israel attack.
First, an Israeli attack will draw Iran’s proxies Hamas and Hizbullah into a war with Israel. This will be like simultaneously experiencing the August 2006 rocket war with Hizbullah and another Palestinian intifada, “uprising.” Also, because America supports Israel, U.S. troops in the region will be targeted by Iranian Quds Forces.
Second, there will be Iranian-hosted terrorist attacks against Israeli and American interests. Last month the U.S. foiled a Quds Force-sponsored plot in Washington, DC to blow-up a restaurant in order to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Likely there are more sleeper cells in the U.S. and Hizbullah is known to associate with Mexican cartels and rogues like Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez.
Third, Iran will retaliate using conventional and unconventional (chemical and biological) armed ballistic missiles. Almost two weeks ago, perhaps in preparation for both an attack and defense, Israel hosted a nationwide air raid drill, test-fired a nuclear-capable missile, and hosted air force drills that included refueling for long-range flights.
Fourth, Iran would try to stop all shipping in the Strait of Hormuz through which passes 40% of the world’s sea-borne oil. Iran has perfected guerrilla warfare in the Persian Gulf using mines, anti-ship missiles and small boat swarms.
Finaly, an attack would alienate many Iranians who are sympathetic with Western views. Popular resentment to an attack would help Iranian mullahs rally support for a more aggressive nuclear program and for striking back at Israel and its supporters.
For now the costs of a military strike against Iranian nuclear sites outweigh the benefits. That leaves us with a mixed bag of old options: sanctions, containment, deterrence (air defense shield and equipping partners) and the overthrow of the regime by domestic forces.
These options must be rigorously pursued while America and Israel prepare with other allies for a possible military attack and the day Iran inevitably steps across the cost-benefit line.
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The radical agenda being pursued across the United States now in support of unlimited abortion is taking its toll on individual rights – and the newest battleground is a New Jersey hospital that is trying to require nurses to help kill the unborn despite both state and federal prohibitions.
That's according to Alan Sears, an executive with the Alliance Defense Fund, which has gone to court to obtain an order halting the hospital's plans for now.
"Cases like this are increasingly common in the U.S., as the battle over abortion spurs attacks on rights of individual conscience," he penned in a website column posted by the ADF. "ADF is involved in a similar lawsuit in New York State court."
The issue got the attention of U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.M., just yesterday.
"We're talking about coercion here," he told Fox News & Commentary. "This is an outrage – to coerce nurses or any health care professional to be involved either pre-op or during the commission of an abortion is against federal and state law."
The ADF earlier highlighted that circumstance in its court filing successfully seeking an order halting the action until arguments can be heard.
"Federal law, for instance, prohibits hospitals that receive certain federal funds – UMDNJ receives approximately $60 million such funds annually – from forcing employees to assist with abortions," Sears noted. "And New Jersey law specifically states that 'No person shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilization.'"
ADF explained that the fight is over a decision by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to require nurses in the Same Day Surgery Unit to be trained in and assist in abortions – no matter their religious beliefs.
The ADF said the hospital has threatened the nurses with termination if they refuse, even though they consider abortion, as the U.S. Supreme Court wrote, "an act of violence against innocent human life."
The ADF filed its lawsuit Oct. 31, obtaining an injunction with another court hearing scheduled later.
"No [fewer] than 12 nurses have encountered threats to their jobs at this hospital ever since [this] policy change," said ADF legal counsel Matt Bowman. "That is flatly illegal."
Smith held a news conference yesterday outside the hospital and said, "Because the nurses recognize the innate value and dignity and preciousness of the child in the womb and have refused to participate or be complicit in an act of violence against a vulnerable child, they are punished."
Bowman told Fox that the hospital's "extreme level of arrogance" deserves to be met with the withholding of the federal funding.
"It brings enormous dishonor to the hospital to so callously treat its nurses as they are doing," Smith told Fox.
The order halting the hospital's demands came from Judge Jose Linares, who noted that the hospital had agreed to the restraints, and the issue will be argued in a hearing scheduled Thursday.
Linares said the defendants were ordered not to require "the named plaintiffs from undergoing any training, procedures or performances relating to abortions pending the court's determination on the merits."
Further, he ordered that the hospital could not discriminate "in the employment, promotion, or termination of employment of, or in the extension of staff or other privileges to the named plaintiffs based on any of the plaintiffs' refusal to undergo training, procedures or performances relating to abortions."
The ADF documented that it was in September when the hospital began a policy change and informed staff members of the Same Day Surgery Unit that they would have to help with abortions. It offered termination from their jobs as the alternative.
One nurse objected to helping with abortions on the grounds of her religious beliefs, but a supervisor responded that the hospital has "no regard for religious beliefs" like those.
The case, being handled locally by ADF attorney Demetrios K. Stratis, is on behalf of Sharon L. Danquah, Beryl Otieno-Ngoje, Jacqueline DeSeo, Marites Linaac, Milagros Mananquil, Julita T. Ching, Cristina Abad, Lorna Jose-Mendoza, Virna Balasa, Ossie Taylor, Ronette Habaradas and Fe Esperanza R. Vinoya.
It names the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's board of trustees, its members, acting hospital president James Gonzalez and Suzanne Atkin, chief medical officer there, and others.
Friday, November 18, 2011
I find myself with the Lord and we have descended to the lower slopes of the mountain of rest. I know that I am at the end of this son’s journey and what lies beyond in the valley we shall soon enter shall bring a whole new reality and understanding in my life. I have an insatiable hunger and desire to walk with my God and to receive that new revelation in my life that revelation shall bring.
Up till now I have been on a quest a mission to find him and walk with him. Yet if the truth be told although I have been driven for years by some internal hunger, I never have really known what I was searching for and what I would find when I got there. Yet somehow I know that I know my answers lie just ahead and the missing pieces I have been searching for are about to all fall into place. The revelation and understanding of God is just beginning however. This, this son’s entire journey has been a time of training for that which I am about to walk into.
My spirit is being stirred with each step I take. So many things from my walk with the Lord are going through my mind. The wonderful new friends and mentors that have come into my life in the past sixteen months, and all we have shared are so precious to me. None however are more special to me than the one I am walking with right now. Jesus and I have been together for six days now as we count time on earth. I who have been enduring so much weakness and pain for so long have had little or no problems in my body this week. I find it more than coincidental that my lack of pain is coinciding with the same time I have been with the master,
We have descended below the clouds and I can smell freshness in the air that is having quite an effect on my spirit. I don’t understand why I am feeling this way I just know that what I have been seeking all these years is at hand. During this walk down the mountain both Jesus and I have walked in silence. It has been almost like he wanted to give me time to reflect on all that has happened, and to anticipate with joy what lies ahead.
He suddenly stopped and motioned me to one side and we sat down. From here I am beginning to see and hear sounds in the valley to which we are going but I am sensing nothing that is familiar enough for me to recognize what lies ahead. Jesus and I sat down side by side and he is staring straight ahead. Without looking at me and with a faraway look in his eyes he began to speak to me. “Son you have walked this path in obedience to my and Father’s will. You have seen and had imparted to your spirit many wondrous truths and revelations. This has been a time of preparation and training. You have put your hand to the plow my son and have finished the task that I put in your heart”, He sighed and turned and the look in his eyes was one of joy and inspiration. “Son this son’s journey is at an end. I have been telling you for sometime that your hour will soon be upon you”.
His face broke out in a broad smile. “Your time is no longer at hand but is here even now. When we enter the valley that is just before us your whole world is going to change. You are ready my child to begin to take within yourself that kingdom power and authority that I told you that you would walk into. The greatest anointing of all is to minister to Father and this you have known for quite sometime. You have more of an understanding of this now than you have ever had but nothing like you are about to receive and understand.
The principles of the kingdom you know but now you are going to receive that revelation to take what you know in your heart and make it a living reality not only in your life but the lives of all those to whom we will send you in this hour. As you minister to Father his ability to function in the miraculous shall become part of your life as well. You will my son bind things on earth and they shall be bound in earth and in heaven and hell”.
He stopped speaking and put his arm on my shoulder. I see the glory and power of God in his eyes. “Michael Father gave you his ring and robe back in the beginning of this son’s journey. It was no empty gesture on his part. Yet for all these many months it has made you a target for hell. My son your days of sickness and weakness are at an end for it is your destiny to walk in the kingdom power and authority of your Father. You shall soon easily shake off the chains that hell has attempted and failed once again to bind you with. You shall be a force of anointing and kingdom authority.
You will spoil the enemies’ camp and they shall suffer the just recompense for all their evil directed against you. It is to late for them my son. Soon very soon the wisdom and understanding of the Holy one shall fill your heart and spirit. I told you Michael that once you entered the glory cloud of Father’s anointing and power you would never leave it. Father is effecting a word and power in your heart.
The word is even now a part of you. You are sensing a new power and hunger in your spirit. You are in the process of losing all desire for this world and the distractions of this world. It is the voice and kingdom power of your Father within you that is stirring these feelings within you. It is the tug you are feeling from where you are going that are doing this to you my son. You will never leave the glory cloud of Father’s anointing because the glory of Father is resident within your heart even now. All of hell trembles at the anointing of Father and they see that within you.
Already your heart burns with the compassion and love for others of your Father. Do not concern yourself with why and how but know that Father shall make a way. Your time of trial is at an end from now on it will be you spoiling the enemies’ camp. All this and more awaits you my son in the valley we are about to enter. Come let us be going for not only is Father awaiting us but others who have seen you through this son’s journey are waiting for us at the entrance of the valley.
With that we stood to our feet and began to walk once again down the valley. We had not gone very far when I saw Moses and Enoch standing just ahead of us. They bowed low in worship before the Lord and greeted me with hugs and a holy kiss. Moses said, “Son, it is a joy to my heart to be with you here today. The final end time ministry that Father has for you is here. We have walked many miles together and shared many glorious experiences but as you shall soon see it was all worth it”.
Enoch reached over and grasped my hand and said, “Son my heart is moved and it is a great joy to my heart also to be here with you today”. During all this Jesus had just been standing there his eyes going from one to the other as they spoke. He said, “Son these devoted followers have been where you are going and shall come with us this day as we enter the valley.
Come let us be going for Father awaits us”. He had his arms around us as he said that and with that word we began the last steps of this journey together.
I can see the valley now and I know not what new revelation that Father is about to bring into my life. I do know that one of the things that is about to happen is I am going from just learning to doing. God be praised! May his words, wisdom, and authority be an ever-present revelation in my heart.
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The U.S. Air Force has taken delivery of a new 30,000-pound bomb from Boeing Co. (BA) that’s capable of penetrating deeply buried enemy targets.
The huge bunker buster, dubbed the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, is built to fit the B-2 stealth bomber. The Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the bombs in September, Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller said in a short statement to Bloomberg News.
The deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need,” he said.
The Air Force in 2009 said Boeing might build as many as 16 of the munitions. Miller yesterday had no details on how many the Air Force plans to buy. Boeing in August received a $32 million contract that included eight of the munitions.
Command head Lieutenant General James Kowalski told the annual Air Force Association conference in September the command “completed integration” of the bunker-buster bomb with the B- 2, “giving the war-fighter increased capability against hardened and deeply buried targets.”
The bomb is the U.S. military’s largest conventional penetrator. It’s six times bigger than the 5,000-pound bunker buster that the Air Force now uses to attack deeply buried nuclear, biological or chemical sites.
Chicago-based Boeing is manufacturing the bomb, which was successfully demonstrated in March 2007.
The B-2, developed by Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), has a shape and skin capable of evading radar. It’s the only U.S. bomber designed to penetrate air defenses such as those believed in use by North Korea and Iran. It’s also the only aircraft currently capable of carrying the new bomb.
The B-2 has bombed targets in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Three in March flew round-trip, non-stop missions from Missouri to Libya in the opening hours of U.S. air strikes, dropping 45 bombs.
Little authoritative information has been published about the capability of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. A December 2007 story by the Air Force News Service said it has a hardened- steel casing and can reach targets as far down as 200 feet underground before exploding.
The new, 20.5-foot-long bomb carries more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and is guided by Global Positioning System satellites, according to a description on the Web site of the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
The Pentagon in July 2009 formally asked Congress to shift funds in order to accelerate by three years fielding the weapon.
Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, in his July 8, 2009, request, said there was “an urgent operational need for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high- threat environments,” and top commanders of U.S. forces in Asia and the Middle East “recently identified the need to expedite” the bomb program.
The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency last week reported Iran was trying to develop an atomic bomb to fit on a missile capable of hitting Israel.
Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons facilities are dispersed over a broad area 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) and multiple countries to the east of Tel Aviv. Some are underground. Iran has repeatedly asserted that its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian goals, such as power generation.
Iran is following the lead of China and Russia in protecting its Natanz and Qom nuclear facilities by moving them underground, the Defense Intelligence Agency director, Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, told a Senate panel in February.
“Buried, hardened facilities and improved air defenses are key elements of Iran’s extensive program to protect its nuclear infrastructure from destruction,” Burgess said.
“The spread of western tunneling technology and equipment is contributing to a rise in construction by countries and organizations that have not previously used modern techniques,” he said.
Authorities in Tehran announced recently that they’re moving some uranium enrichment from a more vulnerable site at Natanz to a location at Qom that is 90 meters (295 feet) under rock, said David Albright, who is founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.
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Israel has refused to reassure President Barack Obama that it would warn him in advance of any pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear capabilities, raising fears that it may be planning a go-it-alone attack as early as next summer.
The US leader was rebuffed last month when he demanded private guarantees that no strike would go ahead without White House notification, suggesting Israel no longer plans to "seek Washington's permission", sources said.
The disclosure, made by insiders briefed on a top-secret meeting between America's most senior defence chief and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's hawkish prime minister, comes amid concerns that Iran's continuing progress towards nuclear weapons capability means the Jewish state has all but lost hope for a diplomatic solution.
On Tuesday, UN weapons inspectors released their most damning report to date into Iran's nuclear activities, saying for the first time that the Islamic republic appeared to be building a nuclear weapon. It was with that grave possiblity in mind that Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, flew into Israel last month on what was ostensibly a routine trip.
Officially, his brief was restricted to the Middle East peace process, but the most important part of his mission was a private meeting with Mr Netanyahu and the defence minister, Ehud Barak. Once all but a handful of trusted staff had left the room, Mr Panetta conveyed an urgent message from Barack Obama.
The president, Mr Panetta said, wanted an unshakable guarantee that Israel would not carry out a unilateral military strike against Iran's nuclear installations without first seeking Washington's clearance.
The two Israelis were notably evasive in their response, according to sources both in Israel and the United States.
"They did not suggest that military action was being planned or was imminent, but neither did they give any assurances that Israel would first seek Washington's permission, or even inform the White House in advance that a mission was underway," one said.
Alarmed by Mr Netanyahu's noncommittal response, Mr Obama reportedly ordered the US intelligence services to step up monitoring of Israel to glean clues of its intentions.
What those intentions might be remains distinctly murky. Over the past fortnight, Israel's press has given every impression that the country is on a war footing, with numerous claims that Mr Netanyahu and Mr Barak are lobbying the cabinet to support the military option.
Two weeks ago Israel tested a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching Iran, its first since 2008. Shortly before, the Israeli airforce took part in Nato exercises in Sardinia that involved air-to-air refuelling, a key component of an aerial strike on Iran.
A separate exercise in and around Tel Aviv tested civilian readiness in the event of a missile strike against the city. In a sign of the febrility of the public mood, many beach-goers apparently mistook the air raid sirens for a genuine Iranian attack and fled in panic for their cars.
There were similar jitters in Iran yesterday, when a huge but apparently accidental explosion at arms dump outside Tehran killed at least 27 soldiers and shook the city.
Speculation about an imminent Israeli military action has been a regular occurrence over the years, but rarely as fevered as now. Last week, a British official even suggested that an attack could come before Christmas.
Few in Israel believe that is likely and the difficulty of mounting an operation over winter, when cloud cover hampers aircraft targeting systems, means that if military action is being considered it will not come before the spring or summer of next year.
Many observers also believe that the bellicose rhetoric voiced by a number of senior Israeli figures in recent days is largely bluff, designed to goad the international community into imposing sanctions of such severity that Iran would be forced into economic ruin if it persisted with its nuclear ambitions. Israel says that if Iran's central bank were sanctioned and a ban on Iranian oil exports enforced by an international naval blockade, military action would not be necessary.
Mr Barak has already publicly stated that he does not believe the West can overcome Russian and Chinese opposition to the sanctions Israel wants, leaving military action increasingly as the only alternative.
Mr Netanyahu may have another reason to bluff. In recent months, Meir Dagan, who retired as director of Mossad at the beginning of the year, has made a series of unprecedented speeches countenancing against Israeli military action - describing it as "the stupidest idea I've ever heard".
His comments have infuriated the Israeli establishment - senior officials have said they would like to see him behind bars - because they fear it could convince Iran's Mullahs that Israel's sporadic talk of war is a fiction.
Hints by Mr Netanyahu that he is considering the military option may be designed to resurrect Iran's paranoia of Israel, something seen in the Jewish state as a powerful deterrent, says Yossi Melman, a leading intelligence analyst and journalist.
"Meir Dagan made a laughing stock of military action," Mr Melman said. "Netanyahu believes he damaged the deterrent and he wants to repair it."
Yet the fact that Mr Dagan chose to speak out - extraordinary in itself for a just-retired Mossad chief - suggests that he believes Mr Netanyahu is intent on attacking Iran.
Tellingly, until last year, Israel's four most powerful military and security chiefs, including Mr Dagan, were all strongly opposed to military action. All four have now been replaced by younger men who may be less able to stand up to Mr Netanyahu, not that Israeli prime ministers are necessarily bound to heed objections from their top military advisers anyway. In 1981, Menachem Begin did just that when he bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak.
If Israel is to attack Iran, many in the country believe time is running out. Last week's report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) highlighted Iran's apparent determination to build a nuclear warhead, but did not indicate how long it might take.
Some in Israel, however, believe it is very close.
"It is my personal opinion that, if the Iranian regime decides to do so, it can produce a nuclear explosive device within a year, plus or minus a few months," said Ephraim Asculai, a former IAEA official and leading Israeli expert on Iran's nuclear programme.
Not everyone agrees. Some argue that a covert espionage operation has caused such delays that Iran still needs another three years to build a bomb. Sabotage efforts by Israeli, American and British intelligence have successfully slowed Iranian progress, most notably via the Stuxnet computer virus that caused the centrifuges at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant to explode.
Mossad agents on motorbikes are also believed to have planted magnetic explosives on the cars of at least two key Iranian nuclear scientists as they weaved through Tehran's traffic jams. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the scientist and Revolutionary Guards officer who is thought to be the ultimate mastermind of the nuclear programme, is now believed to be under round-the-clock protection as a result.
But, whatever the time frame, some in Israel believe there is additional cause for urgency that could prompt military action sooner rather than later.
According to western intelligence assessments, Tehran is preparing to move the bulk of its nuclear production to a plant beneath a mountain near the holy city of Qom that would be far harder to hit from the air.
According to Ronen Bergman, senior military analyst for Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper and the author of a forthcoming book on Mossad, that makes a strike necessary well before Iran actually perfects its programme.
"Today Israeli intelligence talks of what is known as the 'framework of immunity'," he said. "In other words, it is not the point at which Iran acquires a nuclear device, but the point at which the project has reached such an advanced stage that a strike any time after would be ineffective."
An Israeli attack could probably manage at most a dozen targets, using more than 100 F-15 and F-16 aircraft.
Three German-designed Dolphin submarines equipped with conventional cruise missiles could also be ordered into the Persian Gulf to take part, although it is thought that Israel's Jericho-3 ballistic missiles are to inaccurate to play a role.
But how effective the mission would be is another matter. At best, Israel can hope to delay Iran from building a bomb by two to four years, experts assess. Optimists hope that within such a period, Iran's Islamist regime could collapse and give may to a more moderate government. But it could equally redouble its nuclear efforts, this time arguing that it now had every right to produce a weapon.
As Mr Panetta warned during a Pentagon briefing last Thursday, such a strike would also have a "serious impact" on the region. Iran could blockade the Straits of Hormuz, through which 25 per cent of the world's oil exports are shipped, sending energy prices soaring. US military assets in the Gulf could come also come under attack from Iranian Scud missiles.
Iran would almost certainly fire its Shahab ballistic missiles at Israeli cities and press Hizbollah and Hamas, the militant Islamist groups it funds and equips, to unleash their huge rocket arsenals from their bases in Lebanon and Gaza.
Despite this, last week Mr Barak - making a rare venture in such sensitive territory - predicted that fewer than 500 fatalities would arise "if people stayed at home".
Such are both the political and military risks involved that many Israelis say it is inconceivable that Mr Netanyahu would go to war without the United States alongside him.
"I think personally that if such action is taken, there will be come kind of consultation with the United States," said Ilan Mizrahi, Mossad's former deputy director and Israel's national security adviser until 2007.
"If Iran breaks all the rules, then military action will be needed, but definitely not alone by a tiny country like Israel," added Uzi Eilam, a retired general who held senior positions at the Israeli defence ministry.
But not everyone is so sure. Mr Obama's willingness to take on Iran militarily is openly questioned in Israel. And while many Israelis do not believe Iran has any intention of actually firing a nuclear missile at them, the the key question is whether their prime minister is one of them.
In Mr Netanyahu's eyes, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is another "Hitler" whose aim is to complete what the Holocaust failed to do by wiping out the Jewish race.
"People outside Israel don't understand how profound memories of the Holocaust are, and how they affect future policy making," said Mr Bergman, the military analyst. "At the end of the day, this policy of 'never again' would dictate Israel's behaviour when intelligence comes through that Iran has come close to a bomb."
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Up to 150 conservative and evangelical ministers are reportedly threatening to resign in Scotland, where the Church of Scotland is about to become the first Presbyterian church in the world to allow the ordination of openly gay ministers.
The 450 year-old Christian establishment and cradle of Presbyterianism famously voted for allowing gay ministers in May, causing mass protests of current ministers.
Presently, as many as 150 serving ministers are considering resignation, The Guardian reported Monday. In addition, at least six ministers have left the church since May. One minister and his entire congregation, a church at Gilcomston South in Aberdeen, even reportedly threatened to leave as a group.
Experts call the event the largest schism in the church since 474 ministers quit in 1843 to form the Free Church of Scotland.
A spokesman for the church reportedly denied that as many ministers threatened resignation, however, other sources seem to confirm the number.
The Church of Scotland became the first major Presbyterian church in the world to allow openly gay and lesbian ministers to take up parishes at its general assembly in May, despite protests from some 20 percent of its officials.
The vote took place after a temporary moratorium was initially imposed in 2009 following an uproar at the appointment of the first openly gay clergyman of the church, Scott Rennie. However, the Presbyterian Church's law-making body voted to lift that ban.
The subject of homosexual clergy has deeply divided the denomination, with a previous report suggesting up to a fifth of the ministers, as well as some 100,000 church members, could abandon the church body in protest.
The Rev. Andrew Coghill, a minister at Church of Scotland, issued a warning in May to the church’s General Assembly, saying that allowing gay clergy would devastate the denomination.
The Church of Scotland has also reportedly commissioned a report to be presented by 2013 on the proposals as well as plans to allow ministers to bless gay and lesbian relationships.
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What should U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke do next? London-based economist Detlev Schlichter says, succinctly: “Abdicate.” What should U.S. President Barack Obama do next? Mr. Schlichter says, succinctly: “Abdicate.” With Mr. Schlichter, you aren’t left with much doubt about his position. He says the world’s major currencies are destined to crash. “The dollar, the euro and the yen are locked in a race to the bottom,” he writes on his website, papermoneycollapse.com. The only question is which one crashes first.
Mr. Schlichter argues that we are only part of the way through the market meltdown – and that the worst is still to come. How much worse? Considerably worse, he says, than the Great Depression.
U.S. industrial production is 12 times higher now than it was in 1929, he says; but the amount of U.S. dollars in circulation is 200 times higher.
The U.S. net debt was 150 per cent of GDP in 1973, when then-president Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard; yet its net debt reached a record high in 2010: 370 per cent. The United States will fall further, Mr. Schlichter insists, because it has further to fall.
Mr. Schlichter is the German-born, British-based author of a provocative and disturbing new book, Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown. An investment manager with JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch and Western Asset Management for 20 years, he quit to write his stern warning of an impending dollar doom.
From his own melancholy perspective, he thinks the crisis will come a little later on – because, he says, the central banks still imagine that they can keep the printing presses running indefinitely. The longer the presses run, Mr. Schlichter says, the more calamitous the crash. And Mr. Bernanke has hardly begun.
Mr. Schlichter recalls Mr. Bernanke’s famous assertion in 2002 that, with the world’s largest printing press, the Federal Reserve can produce “as many dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” Mr. Schlichter says: “Within the logic of the present system, the next step [by central banks] must involve the use of the printing press to fund further state expenditures, to fund corporate spending and, ultimately, to fund consumer spending.” In other words, the central banks won’t stop printing money until they’ve quantitatively eased people’s car loans and people’s credit cards.
Mr. Schlichter’s analysis rests on an Austrian-school interpretation of things. (“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion,” Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1949 in Human Action. “The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner ... or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”) The essential premise of the Austrians is that paper dollars get depreciated, sooner or later, “to a dime a dozen.”
Paper Money Collapse traces the history of paper currencies that weren’t at least partly guaranteed by a fixed-quantity commodity (which, for all practical purposes, means silver or gold). The Chinese invented paper and ink in the year 1000, Mr. Schlichter notes – discoveries that led quickly to paper money. He tracks China’s paper money through a number of dynasties. His conclusion: All of these experiments ended with worthless currencies. The Chinese abandoned paper money in 1500 (returning to it, under Western influence, in the 1800s).
Paper currency, he says, hasn’t fared any better in the West. He defines hyperinflation as a monthly rise in consumer prices of 50 per cent or more; the 20th century, he says, witnessed 29 such hyperinflations involving “elastic money.” Mr. Schlichter thinks that the collapse of U.S., European and Japanese currencies will be the worst in history. It will be a collapse “of epic proportions.”
Mr. Schlichter does not recommend an investment strategy for “the coming monetary breakdown.” And gold, he insists, should not be regarded as an investment. Gold, rather, is simply money, a medium of exchange – and the most successful form of it in history. But the cash in your pocket doesn’t pay interest or dividends and the gold in your pocket doesn’t, either.
“A collapse of paper money will be a momentous event,” he writes. “It will produce a transfer of wealth of historic proportions.” But it does not mean the end of civilization. All wealth is not illusion. And real wealth will survive.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
We have left the rocky enclave far behind and Jesus and I have continued our walk down the mountain of rest. With each step I take my heart is filled more and more with a hunger that I might know him in a new way. We walk in silence but my heart also feels a divine connection spirit to Spirit with him. As I turned my head and looked at him my heart began to be filled with love and devotion for him. His is the most beautiful of faces; his face at the moment is aglow with a look of serenity and peace.
He all at once turned and looked my way. Seeing that I was looking at him he smiled and said, “Son, we walk on the pathway of anointing and consecration. I said in my word that many are called but few are chosen. Fewer yet are those who find their way here. You have been afflicted and tormented by the forces of hell. Yet even in your darkest days, and weakest moments I knew that someday you would find your way here. For no matter how things may have seemed at times I have always been with you”.
We stopped walking and he turned to face me and put his right arm on my shoulder. “Son remember the angel who anointed you with oil in the valley of glory and restoration. He left behind a staff that you picked up and carry with you still. What you do not know is that this staff that you now carry was mine”.
His eyes are now locked with mine as my heart and spirit are drinking in every word.
“Son when I ascended to heaven and came here I had my staff in my hand. It was a staff that I had carried with me through out my ministry on earth. It is that staff my son that you now hold in your hand. A gift from me to you and I bequeath it to you my son as a sign of my love and affection that I have for you”.
“In the dark days that are soon to come may this staff be ever a reminder to you that I am with you and shall carry you through what ever you may face. The days ahead will not be easy ones my son but I shall carry you through them and yours shall be a voice of hope and consolation to others whom I am sending you to”.
With this he ceased speaking and put his arms around me in a loving embrace. Hot tears began to run down my cheeks and I pulled him closer to me and placing my head on his shoulder I began to weep.
I knew the moment I had picked it up there was something different about this staff. I had marveled that I felt a strengthing in my body as I took it in my hand. I had no idea at the time other than I knew there was something strange and wonderful about it. I cannot believe he has given it to me. I value it more than all the wealth the world possesses. Even my heavenly home as wondrous as it is I would not trade for this treasure he has given to me. I fell on my knees before him.
“My Lord I who am but dust cannot find the words to express how moved by your gift to me who am the least worthy of all your servants to have it. It shall ever be by my side and may I prove myself in the coming days ahead to be worthy of your love and favor. You honor me my Lord that I could have in any way be given such a token of love as this”.
He said, “My beloved child this is but a small thing. The glory, which you shall walk in with me, shall begin an internal transformation within your heart. For I shall reveal myself as I am. I shall lead you to the Father and we and the Holy Spirit shall unveil to you the true glory and power of who and what we are. All who give their hearts to me shall one day walk in the eternal light and understanding of our hearts, which you shall see. Few have been those who have seen it during the time of their earthly sojourn. Yet it is our will to unveil to you my son the essence of all that we are.
You shall walk in the strength of that understanding all the remaining days of your life. I will make yours a voice of kingdom power and authority. Many shall be looking for answers and hope in the days ahead and I am sending you to them my son. You will show them my heart, and yours shall be hands of mercy and compassion for you shall share our love and deliverance in this last hour as a witness to the world of the coming kingdom, which we shall soon establish in the earth”.
I stood to my feet and we shared a precious moment he and I. Nothing was being said but he was resting his right hand on my shoulder and in our eye to eye contact of this moment I had all the answers I would ever need. How could I at any time longed for anything in my life but to walk in his divine favor and presence. The hunger that I felt growing day by day in this son’s journey has erupted inside my heart into a roaring flame for my Lord and Savior.
We stood there together not saying a word but the love I saw radiating out of his eyes said all I would ever need to hear. It is a very special moment one that I shall never forget. He by and by smiled at me and we turned and began walking down the mountain again. I could not help but grip my staff a little tighter in my hand. It gives me so much comfort and fills my heart with a holy love and devotion for the Lord who gave it to me.
We are walking together side by side and I was suddenly aware I had no idea where we were going or what lay ahead. I further more could not care less because when I am with Jesus I know that no matter what lies ahead in the valley below this mountain or in my life on earth I am at complete rest knowing he is ever by my side.
Story Taken from
A U.S. intelligence source has told G2Bulletin there are more indicators Israel is preparing to launch an attack – possibly against Iran. And if it does, it may be looking at how to undertake a multi-front strategy that would include an assault against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip or even Syria, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
Separate sources suggest that Syria would welcome such an attack to divert attention from its own internal violent demonstrations against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The latest indications and warnings, or I&W, come two weeks following G2Bulletin's initial report that the Pentagon was watching for a long-anticipated Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites.
That came after revelations of an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States. At that time, a U.S. intelligence source who monitors Israeli I&W said the U.S. was watching "an indicator and warning matrix" in which the U.S. can "go so far as to plot the illumination tables to pick out what nights would be best" for such an attack.
He said that U.S. analysts were concerned that an attack could be "imminent." The intelligence source said there was a "green light" for the Israelis "to do a strike," although it wasn't clear whether that green light is coming from within the Israeli political and military command structure, or from the U.S. government.
The source now reports further I&W to include unusual helicopter traffic at one of the Israeli training bases.
The source reports that the traffic involves some 20 utility helicopters and three attack helicopters.
Story taken from
Do you hear that sound? It is the sound of Europe being hit with a cold dose of financial reality. The air has been let out of the balloon, and investors all over the world are realizing that absolutely nothing has been solved in Europe. The solutions being proposed by the politicians in Europe are just going to make things worse.
You don't solve a sovereign debt crisis by shredding confidence in sovereign debt. But that is exactly what the "voluntary 50% haircut" has done. You don't solve a sovereign debt crisis by pumping up your "bailout fund" with borrowed money from China, Russia and Brazil. More debt is just going to make things even worse down the road.
You don't solve a sovereign debt crisis by causing a massive credit crunch. By giving European banks only until June 2012 to dramatically improve their credit ratios, it is going to force many of them to seriously cut back on lending.
A massive credit crunch would significantly slow down economic activity in Europe and that is about the last thing that the Europeans need right now. If the deal that was reached last week was the "best shot" that Europe has got, then we are all in for a world of hurt.
On Monday, investors all over the globe began to understand the situation that we are now facing. The Dow was down 276 points, and the euphoria of late last week had almost entirely dissipated.
But much more important is what is happening to European bonds.
Investors are reacting very negatively to the European debt deal by demanding higher returns on bonds.
Perhaps the most important financial number in the world right now is the yield on 10 year Italian bonds.
The yield on 10 year Italian bonds is up over 6 percent, and the 6 percent mark is a key psychological barrier. If it stays above this mark or goes even higher, that is going to mean big trouble for Italy.
The Italian government just can't afford for debt to be this expensive. The higher the yield on 10 year bonds goes, the worse things are going to be for Italy financially.
Of course it was completely and totally predictable that this would happen as a result of the "voluntary 50% haircut" that is being forced on private Greek bondholders, but the politicians over in Europe decided to go this route anyway.
Major Italian banks also got hammered on Monday. The following is how a CNN article described the carnage....
Shares of UniCredit, the largest bank in Italy, sunk more than 4% on Friday in Milan and were down nearly another 6% Monday. Intesa, the second-largest Italian bank, slipped 7% Monday, while Mediobanca, Italy's third-largest financial institution, fell about 4%.
The financial world can handle a financial collapse in Greece. But a financial collapse in Italy would essentially be the equivalent of financial armageddon for Europe.
That is why Italy is so vitally important.
Another EU nation to watch closely is Portugal.
The yield on 2 year Portuguese bonds is now over 18 percent. A year ago, the yield on those bonds was about 4 percent.
In many ways, Portugal is in even worse shape than Greece.
A recent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard discussed the debt problems that Portugal is faced with. The following statistic was quite eye-opening for me....
Portugal’s public and private debt will reach 360pc of GDP by next year, far higher than in Greece.
Like Greece, Portugal is essentially insolvent at this point. Their current financial situation is unsustainable and politicians in Portugal are already suggesting that they should be able to get a "sweet deal" similar to what Greece just got.
You see, the truth is that what this Greek debt deal has done is that it has opened up Pandora's Box. Most of the financially troubled nations in Europe are eventually going to want a "deal", and this uncertainty is going to drive investors crazy.
There is very little positive that can be said about this debt deal. It has bought Europe a few months perhaps, but that is about it.
As the new week dawned, financial professionals all over the globe were harshly criticizing this deal....
*The CEO of TrimTabs Investment Research, Charles Biderman, says that the big problem with this deal is that the fundamental issues have not been addressed....
"The euphoria about the latest euro zone bailout will fade quickly, as investors realize that the underlying solvency issues have not been addressed"
*Bob Janjuah of Nomura Securities International in London was even harsher....
"This latest round of euro zone shock and awe is, in my view, nothing more than a confidence trick and has possibly even set up an even worse financial outcome."
In fact, Janjuah says that the debt deal is essentially a "Ponzi scheme"....
This latest bailout relies on the market not calling what I see is a huge "bluff", because if the market does call it, the bailout simply won't be credible or even deliverable. It is instead akin to a self-referencing ponzi scheme, and I can't believe eurozone policymakers have even considered going down this route.
After all, we all have recent experience of how such ponzi schemes end, and we all remember how eurozone officials often belittled and berated US policymakers for their role in the US housing/CDO/SIV financial bubble.
*The chief economist at High Frequency Economics, Carl Weinberg, is calling the European debt deal a scheme "of Madoffian proportions"....
"Now they (EU Leaders) are keen to tap into resources that are not their own to fund this crazy scheme of guarantees, leveraged off guarantees to sell bonds and bank shares that no one may want to buy, (in order) to restore value in the banking system destroyed by other bonds that no one wants to own right now.
This is a construct of Madoffian proportions"
Even George Soros is criticizing the deal. George Soros is saying that this European debt deal will help stabilize things for a maximum of three months.
Of course with Soros there is always an agenda and you never know what his motives are. Perhaps he is honestly concerned about the financial health of Europe, or perhaps he is trying to feed the panic to get Europe to crash even faster. With Soros you never really know what he is up to.
In any event, the crisis in Europe is already claiming financial casualties in the United States.
MF Global, a securities firm headed up by former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
As a recent CNBC article noted, the firm failed because of bad debts on European sovereign debt....
The bankruptcy protection filing from MF Global — a mid-sized trading firm run by former New Jersey Gov. and Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine — only helped amplify the realization that more difficulties remain. MF Global got into trouble mainly because Corzine made tragically wrong bets on European sovereigns that unraveled when it became clear that bondholders of Greek debt will not be made whole as the nation tries to make its way out of its fiscal morass.
As time goes on, there will be more financial casualties. The truth is that someone is going to pay the price for the financial foolishness of these countries in Europe.
Politicians in Europe did not want to increase the "bailout fund" with any of their own money, so they are going to go crawling to China, Russia and Brazil and beg those countries to lend them huge amounts of money.
This is incredibly foolish, and it is already fairly clear that China is going to play hardball with Europe. China has Europe exactly where China wants them, and China will likely demand all sorts of crazy things before they will lend Europe any cash for this bailout fund.
As a recent CNN article noted, Europe is going to be in a lot of trouble if they can't get money out of China, Russia and Brazil....
The hope is that China and other sovereign wealth fund will invest in new special vehicles that will allow the EFSF to add leverage to increase the amount of funding available.
Without the help of China, Brazil, Russia and others, Europe is back where it started. And it still seems clear that the stronger northern European nations aren't keen on the idea of a full bailout of their southern siblings.
What a mess.
It is a comedy of errors for the politicians over in Europe. They can't seem to get anything right. In fact, everything that they do seems to make a financial collapse in Europe even more likely.
Keep a close eye on the bond yields over in Europe. Especially keep a close eye on the yield on 10 year Italian bonds.
A massive financial storm is coming to Europe.
It is going to rock the entire globe.
Now is the time to make certain that your financial house is not built on a foundation of sand. Get your assets into safe places and keep them safe because the road ahead is going to be quite rocky.
Story taken from
Author Joel C. Rosenberg has been called a modern-day Nostradamus. His fiction writings have been viewed by many as intriguing, yet eery, as they often highlight major world-wide events months before they actually occur.
Don’t believe me? Consider the author’s track record. In January 2001, Rosenberg began working on his first novel, “The Last Jihad.” The book, which is a fictional account of a U.S. war with Iraq (yes, this preceded the actual war that America launched in that region), describes the highjacking of an airliner in an attack on America.
Then, there was his second novel, “The Last Days,” which starts by recapping the death of Yasser Arafat (and published 13 months before the Palestinian leader perished). Call it coincidence of divine providence, but Rosenberg definitely seems to have a knack for clairvoyance.
Earlier this month, the communications advisor and famed novelist released his seventh work of fiction, “The Tehran Initiative” (additionally, he has two non-fiction books under his belt). In his latest work, Rosenberg creates a story that he hopes will both entertain and educate readers. A description of the action-packed book reads:
“The world is on the brink of disaster and the clock is ticking. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as ‘the Twelfth Imam’—has just arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second holocaust and the annihilation of Israel.
The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike.”
Timely, no? Considering ongoing global strife and Iran’s role in stoking the international flamed of instability, Rosenberg appears to be delving into subjects that are pertinent to the current political landscape.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with Rosenberg about “The Tehran Initiative” and his motivation for creating such impactful and unique stories. It’s a known fact that Rosenberg has a penchant for exploring End Times theology (a characteristic that works its way into his writings). ”I am intrigued with where we are in human history, especially as a follower of Jesus Christ and as a student of bible prophesy,” he told me.
See, Rosenberg believes that we‘ve already seen some of the Bible’s prophesies come to fruition. “We’ve already seen some of what Ezekiel 36 and 37 promised — the rebirth of Israel and the Jews rebuilding the ancient ruins,” he said. “This has all happened in the last 63 years, which raises the possibility that we’ll see more Bible prophesies in the near future.”
For Rosenberg, novels are a key tool that can help people better imagine what the world would look like if, indeed, these prophesies come to fruition in the coming years. While he says that he‘s not claiming these promised events will happen as he’s writing them, Rosenberg hopes that his written works will get people thinking about the events and possibilities that surround them.
Clearly, he has a firm belief in the Biblical tenets that mainstream Christianity heralds as undeniable truths. For Rosenberg, faith is the motivating force that guides his overall work.
“Faith, to me, is the lens through which I’m watching all these dramatic and tumultuous events — particularly in the Middle East and North Africa,” he said. ”The idea that Russia, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Turkey…end up forming an alliance in the last days to surround, isolate and attack Israel — that type of alliance has never existed in more than 2,500 years, but its happening now.”
Even those who may believe that the Bible is nothing more than a book of fables, may be, at the least, intrigued to hear Rosenberg’s thoughts on the days events, especially when considering what’s happening around the globe. Iran is an ongoing problem for the West. Libya’s future is uncertain. And Russia, Sudan and Turkey, some say, are poised to increase their diplomatic relations with Iran.
But it is this first nation — Iran — that Rosenberg sees as a major threat to both the United States and Israel. “The biggest danger we face as americans right now is that Washington will miscalculate with regards to Iran — that Washington will wait to long to neutralize the Iranian threat,” he explained.
I found this comment intriguing. After all, both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been criticized for what some see as a refusal to go after the Iranian government. These critiques, of course, are diverse in gauging where blame should be placed.
Some have said that Bush chose the wrong target in going after Iraq rather than Iran, while others believe that Obama has been too coddling to the radical, Middle Eastern regime. So, I asked Rosenberg what he thinks the Obama administration is doing in its current handling of the situation.
“The Obama administration is miscalculating,” he affirmed. “They are convinced that they can negotiate with and engage the radical mullahs that run Iran. But after three years it’s demonstrably false…Iran has gotten closer to getting the bomb.”
While the author sees this political strategy as problematic, he concedes that it has, at the least, shown that appeasement and soft handling as a diplomatic tool in dealing with Iran, doesn’t work. ”It’s useful to know,” he says. “But some of us knew that three years ago.”
“Evil,” Rosenberg says, is at the center of his work. “The core of my writing – particular ‘The Tehran Initiative’ centers on the fact that misunderstanding the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it,” he said. “We didn’t understand the Japanese threat and we got hit by Pearl Harbor. We misunderstood Hitler and Nazis and we got World War II. We underestimated Osama bin Laden and we got 9/11.”
Thus, misunderstanding Iran and its goals, particularly when it comes to radical religious adherence, is dangerous to both the United States and the world as a whole. Rosenberg explained that the Iranian government — like mainstream Christianity — is driven by an End Times theology. “As an evangelical Christian, I don’t fault anyone for having an end times theology,” he explained.
But, unlike the Christian understanding of the end days, he asserts that Iran’s government is driven by the idea that they need to hasten the second coming of the Twelfth Imam — a messiah of sorts (read more about Shia Islamic eschatology, including this Imam, here). Rosenberg says that Iran‘s leaders believe that annihilating Israel and the United States may help hasten the Imam’s arrival.
“I have described Shia Islamic eschatology as a photographic negative of Christian end times theology – there are a lot of similarities but they are completely opposite,” he explained. “Christians believe that it’s important for people to get saved and then Christ comes back, not murder to achieve the same result. There’s a difference in the value of life and death and good versus evil.”
This threat, he says, may be overlooked by those who don’t embrace a personal faith. “Too many in our secular, modern, western world don’t understand how deeply faith motivates people,” he said. For those who consider themselves religious, it may be difficult to understand how powerful faith can be. If one can’t relate to this important dynamic, it may be tough to fathom how death and destruction might come as the result of an inherent connection to a belief in a religious system.
Considering all of these hefty elements, it’s surprising that Rosenberg would be so wedded to telling his story through fiction. It would seem, when exploring the content and the real-life events, that non-fiction would be a more effective angle. But — he makes a compelling case for story-telling.
“I think that conservatives, generally, and Christians, in particular, sometimes forget the power of story,” Rosenberg said. “Sometimes fiction has a way of capturing peoples’ imagination and drawing them into certain truths that a speech or an op-ed…simply cant create.”
Rosenberg went on to say that Christians have forgotten the power of a story and that it’s something that needs to be recovered. Fiction, he explains, has created an environment in which he can grab peoples’ attention about the threat of radical Islam. It is these theories that helped lead to his latest book, “The Tehran Initiative.”
In describing the book, he says, “I think of it as a war game to create as realistic a geopolitical environment I can. To run a war game exercise to project forward what could happen if an American president badly miscalculates a threat from Iran”
“There’s nothing like taking people inside Iran from the eyes of a CIA operative to suddenly be in the middle of all hell breaking loose,” he explained with excitement.
Rosenberg hopes that the book will leave readers “wildly entertained,” while encouraging them to consider the implications of how horrific a world with a nuclear-equipped Iran would be. Additionally, he hopes that readers will consider which presidential contenders hold the power to keep their families safe. Lastly, he hopes that the book will cause people to consider their own salvation — something that’s deeply important in all of his work.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Story taken from
About 73 percent of Iraqis said they believe it is likely Iran will act aggressively toward their country after U.S. troops leave in December.
Fifty-one percent said they believe the security situation within Iraq will get worse when the U.S. forces leave.
These are the results of a survey conducted by YouGov-Cambridge, a partnership between the British polling group YouGov and Cambridge University. The survey interviewed 505 Iraqis from July 12-27.
The survey also found that 80 percent of Iraqis—403 of the 505 surveyed—said they believe it is likely that neighboring countries will act aggressively toward Iraq after U.S. forces leave the country.
Of the 403 who said that thought this was likely, 91 percent said they thought it was likely that Iran would act aggressively toward Iran.
That means about 73 percent of the overall sample said they believed it was likely Iran would act aggressively toward Iraq after the U.S. withdraws.
Only 22 percent of Iraqis said they were confident that Iraq’s own forces could protect the country’s borders from neighboring countries after the U.S. withdraws, while 75 percent said they were not confident Iraqi forces could do that.
Similarly, only 31 percent of Iraqis said they were confident Iraqi forces could protect the Iraqi population from terrorist attacks, while 67 percent said they were not confident.
The survey asked the Iraqi respondents this question: “If the security situation does not improve or gets worse, would you personally support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. government to keep the troops in Iraq?”
Forty percent said they would support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. to keep troops in Iraq if the situation did not improve and 26 percent said they would support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. to keep troops in Iraq but only if the security situation got worse. Only 28 percent said they would not support Iraqi politicians asking the U.S. to keep troops in the country under either circumstance.
When asked what they thought would be the impact on Iraq’s governing coalition if Iraqi politicians asked the U.S. to keep troops in the country after the agreed-upon December departure date, 31 percent said they believed the coalition government would collapse, while 56 percent said it would have no impact on the coalition.
Story taken from
A prominent Saudi cleric has offered to pay $100,000 to any Palestinian who kidnaps an Israeli soldier, according to his Facebook page.
Awad al-Qarni said he had made the offer in response to a similar reward promised by an Israeli family for anyone who catches the person who killed one of its members in 1998, following the exchange this month of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
"The media reported the news of the Zionist occupiers paying a huge sum to anyone who killed the freed Palestinian prisoners," Qarni, who is well known in Saudi Arabia for his outspoken views but is not part of the official clerical establishment, said on his Facebook page.
"In response to those criminals, I announce to the world that I am committed to pay a $100,000 prize to any Palestinian inside Palestine who takes an Israeli soldier captive to exchange with [remaining] prisoners."
Qarni told Al Arabiya television that he had received wide support on his Facebook page and elsewhere.
"We have also received letters from ... groups from Arab countries. So the issue is not limited to Qarni, who was just the person who launched this initiative," he told the station by telephone.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, sees itself as a champion of Palestinian rights but Saudi leaders have been at pains to curb more radical statements by Muslim clerics on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In 2002, the Western-allied kingdom floated a peace initiative calling for full Arab recognition of Israel if it withdrew from all territories captured in 1967 and found a solution for Palestinian refugees.
Story taken from
Here we go again. Joel Osteen is in the news once again, this time for saying that Mormonism is just another form of Christianity. Osteen, pastor of “America’s largest church,” as the media repeat over and over, was speaking to The Washington Times in an interview that covered a variety of issues. It was the quintessential Joel on display.
Speaking to the newspaper on Monday, Osteen said, “I see faith in America at an all-time high.” His comments came just as a major research project detailed a significant loss of vitality in America’s Christian congregations. That loss of vitality can be traced, among other things, to a loss of theological and biblical conviction. Joel, of course, is proof positive that you can build a crowd without building a church. He is not inclined to deal in much theological conviction.
In the interview, he distilled his message in these words: “Part of our core message is that seasons change, and when you believe, if you don’t get bitter, and you don’t get discouraged, you may not change overnight, but you can get peace.”
He also told the newspaper: “People need to be reminded that every day is a gift from God, and bloom where you’re planted and be happy where you are, and to make that choice to get up every day and be grateful.”
That message includes some truth, of course — but it doesn’t even come close to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hell will be filled with people who bloomed where they were planted.
On Mormonism, Joel said:
“I believe that [Mormons] are Christians. ... I don’t know if it’s the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with. But you know what, I know Mormons. I hear Mitt Romney — and I’ve never met him — but I hear him say, ‘I believe Jesus is the son of God,’ ‘I believe he’s my savior,’ and that’s one of the core issues.
“I’m sure there are other issues that we don’t agree on. But you know, I can say that the Baptists and the Methodists and the Catholics don’t all agree on everything. So that would be my take on it.”
Osteen just stated his belief that Mormons are Christians. He then expressed the thought that Mormonism “might not be the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with,” but he affirmed Mormon statements that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is Savior.
Evaluating Osteen’s boyhood understanding of Christianity would be a project unto itself, given the shifting theology of his preacher father, the late John Osteen.
The main point of concern in Joel’s latest comment is the lack of any biblical standard of judgment and the total abdication of theological responsibility. He relegates doctrinal disagreements between Christians and Mormons to the status of theological debates between Protestant denominations and then includes Roman Catholicism. There are plenty of issues there, and the issues are not the same when comparing Baptists to Methodists, on the one hand, and Protestants and Roman Catholics, on the other. Comparing any form of Trinitarian orthodoxy with Mormonism is another class of question altogether.
Joel reminded the paper’s staff that he has never attended seminary. This is true, of course, but there are thousands of preachers who never had the opportunity to attend seminary who have a sufficient grasp of and commitment to biblical truth that would prevent such carelessness.
By now, it is clear that Joel Osteen’s carelessness is deliberate and calculated. This is not the first time that he has encountered the question of Mormonism. Back in 2007, he told Chris Wallace of FOX News that Mormons are indeed Christians:
“Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, you know, I’m not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.”
The little details of it? Mormonism does not differ from historic biblical Christianity in “little details,” and a faithful Mormon would be the first to point this out. Mormonism begins with a plurality of gods, not with the monotheism of the Bible. Jesus Christ is an exalted man — not the incarnate Word. The list of categorical doctrinal differences continues throughout the entire belief system.
The very essence of Mormonism is the claim that historic Christianity is fundamentally in error, and that true Christianity did not exist on earth from the time of the Apostles until Joseph Smith. Mormonism can hardly be charged with hiding their movement’s teachings — the Book of Mormon and the other fundamental texts of the Latter Day Saints are published in plain sight.
In a remarkable exchange with Chris Wallace, Osteen muddied the waters further:
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know.
Here we face a fundamental dilemma. When Joel Osteen hears a summary of Mormon belief that mentions God assuming “the shape of a man,” does he lack the theological discernment to hear how that differs from biblical Christianity, or does it not concern him? In other words, does Joel not know, or does Joel not care?
In the end, we have to conclude that he does not care enough to know, and that is the greater tragedy for a Christian minister. He doesn’t “get hung up” on doctrinal issues, nor has he “really studied them or thought about them.” His own words indict him.
Evangelical Christians are going to face many questions in this season, and the question of Mormonism is now front and center. It will call upon all of us to do what Joel Osteen proudly has not done — to study and think about these issues. In this political moment, we will have to think carefully and act judiciously without confusing the theological questions. We will need the full wealth of Christian conviction.
We will also need deep doctrinal discernment mixed with urgent spiritual concern. The Latter Day Saints include some of the most wonderful and kind people we will ever meet. They put a great emphasis on character and on the moral values of our common concern. They talk freely and passionately about their own beliefs, including their beliefs concerning Jesus Christ. Furthermore, they put action behind their commitments, sending their young people on mission and fueling a worldwide movement that remains one of the fastest-growing on the planet.
But their beliefs concerning Jesus Christ are not those of historic Christianity, and their understanding of salvation differs radically from the message of the New Testament. It is the responsibility of every Christian, much less every Christian minister, to know this.
Joel Osteen told The Washington Times that he is constantly “looking for new ways to influence the culture.” Our culture admires those with low theological commitment and high emphasis on attitude. In Joel Osteen’s case, it is the secular culture that has influenced the minister, and not the minister that is influencing the culture.