Monday, December 31, 2007

IDF Advising Israelis How to Prep for WMD War

Today, the well-anticipated guidebook from the Israeli military on how to prepare households in that country for WMD warfare was posted online.

The document is a 48-page pdf. Not sure if you'll have the same issues I did in downloading it, but I found that I had to keep "reloading" about seven times in a row before it completed the process. Overall, because of that, it took about a minute with my DSL connection to get the whole document.

It's certainly worth looking at. The advice is much different than what Americans are used to seeing, that's for sure. Primarily, the difference is the fact that in Israel, rocket attacks are a grim reality of life. The danger of WMDs being used there is clear and potentially imminent.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastle.com

Friday, December 28, 2007

Will We Know If Extremists Gain Control of Pakistani Nukes?

Think about these comments by Gene Poteat, AFIO president, as reported in Newsmax. (Or, if you are particularly susceptible to bouts of anxiety and nightmares, do NOT read the following.)

“The real danger for us now in the U.S. is that if this continues the way it’s going, the Taliban and al-Qaida could eventually have control of a nuclear arsenal,” says S. Eugene Poteat, a former CIA official. “And you know, we might not even know it. Because the way infiltration works by these people, you never know who they are.

"Al-Qaida or its affiliates could be in the military, they could be in control of a nuclear arsenal, and if they get it, we know one thing for sure is that it will be used one way or the other. They may not use it right away, but that’s the danger,” says Poteat, who is president of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. “They’ve let it be known publicly what their plans are: their intentions are to kill us.”


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto's Assassination

The brave, democracy-driven Benazir Bhutto was killed today in an extremist suicide attack in Pakistan.

The former Prime Minister knew the grave risks she was assuming returning to her native Pakistan several weeks ago. Her ambition was to help stabilize and re-democratize a country that is increasingly the focal point of the struggle between the West and radical Islam.

The stakes there ARE enormous--to include the Islamic nation's dozens of nuclear weapons, not to mention the welfare of more than 162M Pakistani citizens, most of whom remain liberal and westernized.

Sadly today, the situation is clearly moving closer to the feared societal meltdown in Pakistan that would pose worldwide danger.

Terror-wielding groups such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda are fully engaged and aiming for chaos in the region--attempting to gain control or influence over unknown numbers of susceptible members of the Pakistani military. If the radicals succeed in overthrowing the government there, the entire global dynamic becomes extremely volatile.

My suggestion--watch this situation very closely and determine how this might impact your own readiness plan.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Database - 247 U.S. Disasters To-Date Since 2000

How do you visualize the risks and threats you are preparing for? One true and unbiased way is to look at researcher-tabulated data.

Since 1988, the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has been maintaining an Emergency Events Database - EM-DAT.

EM-DAT was created with the initial support of the WHO and the Belgian government.

The main objective of the database is to serve the purposes of humanitarian action at national and international levels. It is an initiative aimed at rationalizing decision-making for disaster preparedness, as well as providing an objective base for vulnerability assessment and priority setting.

I strongly recommend you spend at least a few minutes perusing the EM-DAT site. I guarantee you will take away some eye-opening morsels for consideration.

At a minimum, I'd suggest going to this page:
http://www.em-dat.net/disasters/Visualisation/advsearch.php

On that search page, you can call up lists of types of disasters and their impact for any country or region in the world for periods of time as long ago as 1900. A sample search I did was for the U.S., from 2000 to present, all types of disasters. The result was a list of 247 disasters, to include drought, earthquake, fire, disease, floods, storms, industrial and transportation accidents, and more.

This is quite simply a stark reminder that disaster, when it strikes, is rarely going to be the type you might envision in your ongoing program of preparedness.

One lesson to take away is that we need to NOT focus on any one type of threat as being THE danger we want to be ready for. Another lesson is that wherever we are, risk is always there on the periphery of our comfortable and secure existence.

Thankfully, a good prep program is largely applicable across a wide spectrum of disaster risks.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Joy to You and Yours


Thanks be to God for the gift of His Son.

May the spirit of joy and hope be with you throughout the year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

DHS: Resolve to be Ready in 2008

Release Date: Dec. 20, 2007
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reminds Americans that the New Year is a perfect time to Resolve to be Ready. The department’s Ready Campaign has outlined the top 10 items for a basic emergency supply kit so that every American can keep their preparedness resolutions next year.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared for all types of emergencies, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Having a plan can make all the difference, as the recent flooding and ice storms across the country have shown. The time for individuals, families and businesses to plan is now, and to resolve to make readiness a priority for 2008.”

Keeping New Year’s resolutions is challenging, but making resolutions that are simple and realistic is the key to success. Americans can successfully prepare for emergencies by following the Ready Campaign’s three easy steps:

1. Prepare an emergency supply kit;
2. Make a family emergency plan; and
3. Be informed about the kinds of emergencies that can happen in your area and their appropriate responses.


To help get started, the Ready Campaign is issuing a checklist of the leading items needed in a basic emergency supply kit for the home or business. These items include: water, food, radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, whistle, moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties, wrench or pliers, local maps, and personal items.

For the complete list of items the Ready Campaign recommends including in your emergency kit, visit theReady Campaign Web site at www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY. Ready also suggests creating a smaller, portable kit for your home or office in case you need to evacuate immediately. The Web site includes free information, checklists and guidelines about the two other key components of preparedness – developing a family emergency plan and being informed.

DHS reminds Americans to get involved in neighborhood and community preparedness efforts once their families are prepared. A good way to start is by reaching out to a local Citizen Corps Council to learn about hands-on training and opportunities to get involved with a local organization. For more information, visit www.citizencorps.gov.

DHS promotes individual emergency preparedness through the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps as part of a broader national effort conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ready is a national public service advertising campaign produced by The Advertising Council in partnership with DHS. The Ready Campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Individuals interested in more information about family and business preparedness can visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials. Citizen Corps, DHS’ grassroots effort, localizes preparedness messages and provides opportunities for citizens to get emergency response training; participate in community exercises; and volunteer to support local first responders. To learn more and to get involved, contact your nearest Citizen Corps Council by visiting www.citizencorps.gov.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

Think Tank Games Middle Eastern Nuclear War


Unthinkable? Think tank sees Israel, not Iran, surviving a Mideast nuclear war

Thursday, December 20, 2007 Geostrategy-Direct.com

WASHINGTON — Iran could sustain up to 28 million and Israel 800,000 casualties in a nuclear war between the two countries.

A report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies envisioned a nuclear missile war between Iran and Israel that would last 21 days. Authored by former Defense Department strategist Anthony Cordesman, the report said Israel could conceivably survive a nuclear war, but Iran would not.

"Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of the term," the report, entitled Iran, Israel and Nuclear War, said. "Israeli recovery [is] theoretically possible in population and economic terms."

[snip] Click on article title above to read whole article.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastle.com

Reidel: Israel Will Attack Iran

Click title below to read full article:

Former US Intelligence official: Israel will attack Iran

Bruce Riedel, a former career CIA official and senior adviser to three US presidents, including Bush, tells Newsweek he came back from trip to Israel in November convinced that Jewish state would attack Iran. 'Israel is not going to allow its nuclear monopoly to be threatened,' he says.

[snip]


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastle.com

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Olmert's New NBC Bunker

So Israeli PM Ehud Olmert's residence is being outfitted with an NBC (nuclear-biological-chemical) shelter. They admit to a saferoom but not a full-fledged nuclear bunker.

I guess the nay-sayers would prefer their leaders stand front and center on the firing lines if and when things start to erupt over there hot and heavy. Something about being motivated for peace.

Well, I for one think it is good, common-sense logic that bunkers and saferooms are so prevalent in the Holy Land. And yes, of course, Israeli leaders need to be afforded the best protection possible.


Dec 20, 2007 10:26 Updated Dec 20, 2007 16:31
'Nuclear bunker being built for Olmert'

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office issued a statement Thursday strongly denying a report that Olmert's residence was being outfitted with a bunker that can withstand a nuclear or chemical attack.

The PMO called the Yediot Ahronot report "unfounded and misleading." The statement said workers were merely adding a "safe room," a room with thick concrete walls and metal-shuttered windows that is a feature of many Israeli buildings. Israeli construction codes require such rooms to protect residents in case of rocket attacks.

"No atomic bunker is being constructed at the prime minister's official residence, or a bunker equipped with special filters or any special equipment," the statement said.

Yediot Ahronot had claimed that workers at Olmert's official Jerusalem residence were thickening walls, digging, and installing air purification equipment capable of countering chemical agents.

[snip]
.
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Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastle.com

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CTC's New "Sentinel" Publication: Al-Qa`ida’s Resurgence in Pakistan

The "Combating Terrorism Center" at West Point has come out with their first issue of CTC Sentinel.

It's an excellent compendium of current expert reports on global terrorism. You can download the pdf at this site (click on the image there): http://www.ctc.usma.edu/sentinel/default.asp

One of the most noteworthy and cautionary of the reports is on page 8, authored by Bruce Reidel: "Al-Qa`ida’s Resurgence in Pakistan." Reidel concludes ...

It is disturbing enough that Pakistan is the real front line in the war against al-Qa`ida. The most frightening concern, however, is al-Qa`ida’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Pakistan is the world’s only Muslim state with nuclear weapons. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Pakistan has an estimated 50-90 nuclear weapons. The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, in his memoirs laid out in great detail al-Qa`ida’s efforts during the last decade to get its hands on a Pakistani nuclear device. If Pakistan becomes more destabilized, it is likely that al-Qa`ida will make every effort to get one.

As I have stated previously, we should make no mistake on this one--Pakistan's ready-made nukes and missile technologies are a tantalizing target like no other these days for AQ. Those weapons and indeed Pakistan's very government are at their most vulnerable right now and we will be seeing every effort put forth by Bin Laden to seize the flame in that Islamic nation (polls today in Pakistan show Bin Laden is more popular there than Musharraf).


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trust for America's Health: U.S. Still Unprepared for Disaster

See the Reuters article.

Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States remains unprepared for disasters ranging from biological attacks to a flu pandemic, and funding for preparedness is falling, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Many states still lack a stockpile of drugs, masks, gloves and other equipment needed to battle a pandemic of diseases, despite five years of constant and detailed warning, the Trust for America's Health said in its report.

"Overall, federal funding for state and local preparedness will have declined by 25 percent in 3 years if the president's FY (fiscal year) 2008 request is approved," the report reads.

"Until all states measure up, the United States is not safe."

The nonprofit Trust has been issuing reports every year for five years, and said the 2001 anthrax attacks, in which five people died when anthrax spores were mailed to several offices, should have been a wake-up call.

The disasters caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita that wrecked the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 should have galvanized more action and highlighted a variety of problems with U.S. disaster preparedness, the group said.

But the report released on Tuesday still finds preparedness is spotty.

[snip]

See the website of "Trust for America's Health" - Preventing Epidemics. Protecting People.
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Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Another Reason to Watch Pakistan Right Now

Possible H5N1 family cluster probed in Pakistan

Dec 17, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has sent a team to Pakistan to investigate at least eight suspected human cases of H5N1 avian influenza in the same general area, including cases in four brothers and two of their cousins, according to news services.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said limited human-to-human transmission in the cases is possible, according to an Associated Press (AP) report published yesterday. However, he told Nature that 40 contacts of the suspected case-patients have tested negative.

If confirmed, the cases will mark the first human H5N1 infections in Pakistan. They also appear to constitute the largest cluster of related infections since eight cases (seven confirmed, one probable) occurred among relatives in North Sumatra in May 2006. Transmission of the disease from a 10-year-old boy to his father was confirmed by laboratory testing in that episode.

In a Dec 15 statement, the WHO said Pakistan's ministry of health had reported eight suspected cases in the Peshawar area, in the wake of culling operations to control poultry outbreaks there. Peshawar is in the country's North-West Frontier province, near the Afghan border, where most of the country's poultry outbreaks have occurred.

Samples from the patients tested positive in Pakistan's national laboratory and were being sent to a WHO reference lab for confirmation and further analysis, the WHO said.

Doctors from the WHO in Geneva and Cairo and others from US Navy Medical Research Unit 3 in Cairo were on their way to Pakistan yesterday to help investigate the cases and combat the disease, according to a Dec 16 Bloomberg news report. The team planned to track down, treat, and test contacts of the suspected case-patients, according to the Nature report.

Details of the suspected cases remained somewhat hazy today, as news reports varied in some respects.

According to the AP, Hartl said the illnesses involved four brothers, two of whom died, and two cousins, all from Abbotabad, a city about 30 miles north of Islamabad. Specimens were never collected from one of the deceased brothers. The two men who died had been students at an agricultural college in Peshawar; they were not involved in culling poultry, but they visited another brother when he was hospitalized, the story said.

Also among the suspected cases were a man and his niece from the Abbotabad area and a person who slaughtered poultry in Mansehra, 15 miles away, Hartl told the AP. He said some of the patients had had only mild symptoms and were never hospitalized.

The Bloomberg News report, also based on information from Hartl, concurred that the suspected case-patients included four brothers. The first case was in an agriculture official who fell ill after culling poultry in the Abbotabad area in late October. He was cared for by two of his brothers, both of whom subsequently died, one about a month ago and the other on Nov 29. A third brother of the first man also got sick, was hospitalized, and recovered, the story said.

The suspected cases also included two of the four brothers' cousins, who had only mild symptoms, plus a man and his niece who were involved in culling poultry in the area, Bloomberg reported. (It was not clear if the cousins were involved in culling.) Another case was in a male farm worker from Mansehra.

Still another brother of the first man to fall ill lives in New York state but flew to Pakistan to attend the funeral of one of his deceased brothers, according to Bloomberg. On his return, he told his physician that he might have been exposed to avian flu and quarantined himself at home, after which his son experienced flu-like symptoms. Samples from both father and son tested negative in state and federal laboratories last week, the story said.

Hartl told Bloomberg it was too early to tell whether the cases all spread from birds or involved limited person-to-person spread. He said some of the patients kept chickens and quail, and it was unclear what kind of protective equipment they used during culling.

The Nature report said Pakistan was slow to inform the WHO of the possible cases, boding ill for the agency's hope of detecting any person-to-person transmission early and quickly providing antiviral treatment to stop a potential pandemic. The story said the first cases occurred in mid-November at the latest, but Pakistan didn't officially inform the WHO until Dec 12.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Food Prices Continuing to Rise

How far, how fast food prices will go is anyone's guess at this point. This much I can add for your consideration ...

Mountain House freeze dried food (in #10 cans, stores for 30 years) is our number one seller in our buyers club. Until this past September, Mountain House food pricing had remained unchanged for six years! Following the September 2007 price hike, they have subsequently announced to dealers that they will be adjusting their prices twice a year, going forward.

Price stability in foods and other necessities is clearly becoming a casualty in the present global dynamics.

World food price rises to hit consumers
By Javier Blas and Chris Giles in London and Hal Weitzman in Chicago
Published: December 16 2007 22:08 Last updated: December 17 2007 07:45


Global food prices were under further pressure on Monday as benchmark prices for cereals at much higher levels came into operation, making it almost inevitable that a second wave of food price inflation will hit the world’s leading economies.

In Chicago wheat and rice prices for delivery in March 2008 have jumped to an all-time record, soyabean prices are at a 34-year high and corn prices at an 11-year peak.

Knock-on price rises are set to hit consumers in coming months, raising inflationary pressure and constraining the ability of central banks to mitigate the slowdown in their economies.
A first wave of surging cereal prices hit the wholesale market during the summer and has fed through the supply chain and contributed to rising inflation.

[snip]

See also: "Why Are Prices Rising?"


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Peace of Mind is For All Year Long

This time of year tends to be a high point in many households for family, friends, gift-giving, and appreciation of each other, doesn't it? I think it is also reasonable to at least briefly reflect again on how secure we are in our preparedness planning.

For most, the objective is to provide a sense of well-being and peace of mind in our homes, knowing that we have done some good things toward being ready for whatever the future may hold.

I know that's OUR reason for being at Safecastle Royal. We're here to make a difference and we're glad you're part of our circle of friends.

A few quick points and reminders:

1. We've added another new product in our buyers club store--The Solio Universal Hybrid Solar Charger for your personal electronics ... just another smart way of staying viable through thick and thin.
2. We're offering a couple of new Mountain House products--now in #10 cans ... Sliced Bananas and Sliced Strawberries. Freeze-dried of course, and as with all MH canned foods--good for 30 years on the shelf.

3. We've still got volume pricing levels set up on our CELOX listing through the end of the year. This is a bonafide life saver that everyone should have on hand.

4. Our Maxpedition closeout sale is winding down, but we still have a number of great items available to members for 45% off list price.
Stay safe throughout the season. God's blessings!

.
Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Killer Virus?

Something to definitely be aware of ...

Virus Starts Like a Cold But Can Turn Into a Killer
By Rob Stein

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 11, 2007; A01

Infectious-disease expert David N. Gilbert was making rounds at the Providence Portland Medical Center in Oregon in April when he realized that an unusual number of patients, including young, vigorous adults, were being hit by a frightening pneumonia.

"What was so striking was to see patients who were otherwise healthy be just devastated," Gilbert said. Within a day or two of developing a cough and high fever, some were so sick they would arrive at the emergency room gasping for air.

"They couldn't breathe," Gilbert said. "They were going to die if we didn't get more oxygen into them."

Gilbert alerted state health officials, a decision that led investigators to realize that a new, apparently more virulent form of a virus that usually causes nothing worse than a nasty cold was circulating around the United States. At least 1,035 Americans in four states have been infected so far this year by the virus, known as an adenovirus. Dozens have been hospitalized, many requiring intensive care, and at least 10 have died.

[snip]


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Saturday, December 08, 2007

CELOX Saves Lives; You Save Money

THIS is why I'm in crisis preparedness. To be able to really help people and perhaps even help save lives.

I'm excited about being able to offer a great deal on a life-saving product--CELOXTM. If you're not familiar with it, check the manufacturer's website: www.celoxmedical.com

CELOX is amazing stuff, and was approved by the FDA last year. It's in Iraq and Afghanistan and in most emergency response vehicles today. But every household and every automobile ought to have some on hand. It's so easy to use and so important to have if serious bleeding suddenly becomes an issue. It stores for four years and works in any environment--hot or cold.

A No Brainer

If the Washington Redskins football player, Sean Taylor (whose femoral artery was damaged a couple of weeks ago when he was shot in the abdomen during a burglary in his home), had had some in his house, he likely would have been saved.

On a personal note, a dear aunt of mine died tragically this week in a car accident. She bled to death before help arrived. Needless to say, I wish someone at the scene had had CELOX in their trunk. Or that I would have been able to provide her with some beforehand.

But I cannot change what has already happened. What I CAN do is help those around me to be in a position to deal with disaster if something similar happens to them in the future.

I'm just taking delivery of my first large shipment in the next couple of days and I want to do whatever I can to put it in the hands of our friends out there.

We've got volume pricing levels set up on our CELOX listing for this sale. Buyers club members of course get 20% off all the listed prices and free shipping, so the member price for a 35g pouch of CELOX is as low as $22.40 shipped.

These sale prices are good till January, when the manufacturer's prices are going up.

Still need to join the club? Just $19 for a lifetime membership. Join here.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No Good Way to Secure Pakistan's Nukes

The political situation in Pakistan continues to raise major concerns around the world. Nuclear weapons in any country susceptible to instability is a volatile situation ready to disrupt reality around the world.

See:
US war games weigh options to secure Pak's nuke arsenal
By ANI
Sunday December 2, 01:08 PM
Washington, Dec 2 (ANI)

Excerpt:

"Everybody's scrambling on this," Oakley was quoted as saying.

A participant of the last year's exercise said the conclusion of that war game was that there were no palatable ways to forcibly ensure the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons -- and that even studying scenarios for intervention could worsen the risks by undermining US-Pakistani cooperation.

"It's an unbelievably daunting problem," said this participant, a former Pentagon official, on the condition of anonymity.

He went on to say that the planners really have not developed answers for how to deal with nuclear weapons stashed in Pakistan's big cities and high mountain ranges.

"The bottom line is, it's the nightmare scenario," added retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson, who participated in an earlier exercise that simulated a breakup of Pakistan. "It has loose nukes, hard to find, potentially in the hands of Islamic extremists, and there aren't a lot of good military options," he said.

According to an expert on Pakistani terrorism, who did not attend last year's war game but learned about some of its conclusions, senior US officials "weren't pleased with what the game told them; they were quite shocked."

The US efforts related to securing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal involve "really, really black SAPs" -- that is, among the most highly guarded "special access programs," he said.

Zia Mian, a Princeton University physicist and expert on nuclear proliferation in South Asia, expressed the view that such exercises "may actually make things worse." Among other negative repercussions, he predicted, any US effort to secure Pakistan's nuclear arsenal "would really increase anti-Americanism."


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Tempting to Let Down Your Guard, But ...


Bird flu risks will persist for years, health experts warn as they draw up combat plan

By ASHOK SHARMA,Associated Press Writer AP - Wednesday, December 5

NEW DELHI, India - Bird flu is a potentially lethal problem that will persist for years as the H5N1 virus strain continues to spread, pandemic experts were told Tuesday at an international conference in India.

"The virus is still being transmitted between chickens and it is going into wild birds, which are carrying it long distances as they migrate," said United Nations bird flu expert David Nabarro.
"Bird flu is a problem that will be with us still for some years to come," Nabarro said ... [snip]


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com