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Showing posts with label Coming Collapse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coming Collapse. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Secret American Army?

An interesting article sent to me by a another reader, posted on a blog site and written by  Brett Redmayne-Titley. What this letter talks about, open armed conflict in the U.S. is very disturbing as that end would devastate this country. And I know all the arguments about the coming collapse being as devastating as well, but I just hope a solution can be found that keeps this country intact.  I hesitated on posting this, but I am confidant readers can figure out what is B.S. and what is not.

A new American army is growing on American soil. They are prepared.

In hushed tones during conversations across the breadth of the heartland of America there are whispers. Quiet talk. About an army. Of Americans?

An army prepared to defend an increasingly oppressed population craving reprieve from their government’s increasingly draconian methods. This army, they say, is growing.

After firm handshakes all around, Dan T. and Gene R., who I had good reason to believe were both retired military, settled into our task at hand. I was in their company for the day on business. During the one-day meeting Dan and Gene revealed that they were indeed career military. Dan, Army. Gene, retired Navy. I attempted to politely avoid political discussion in the interest of decorum.

So at the first comment on politics from my hosts I took a long deep breath. My opinions, despite being armed with facts, don’t go-over well in conservative America. Much less with ex-military. No doubt, patience would be needed.

Two hours later we clashed the mugs of our third round of beers together in a boisterous toast.

“This country is going to hell!,” I offered just a bit too loudly in the confines of the cramped bar.

“Damn right it is,” agreed Dan. At 6’4”, and a stout 280 pounds, Dan would make a fine nose tackle. “Quite frankly, I’m in favor of ringing America with an expanded Navy to protect us. It’s time our Military went back to protecting our Nation. Leave the world alone. But… the real question right now in America is…,” and he lowered his voice, giving me a direct stare, “are you prepared?”

Indeed America is going to hell. A sleeping America has no idea of the depth of the plot against them. Those few who are paying attention have good reason to fear the direction of their country and their Government.

The savvy American knows about the FEMA incarceration camps. These camps are intended for them. This is confirmed by a leaked two-hundred- fifty-four page US Army manual showing the designs of the camps, defining who is to be culled from the population, and who is to be put to death.

These same Americans also know that their America has recently purchased 1.5 Billion rounds of hollow point ammunition and 800 million rounds of double-aught shotgun shells. This ammo is designed for one purpose; killing… people. While police and National Guard are having trouble getting their own ammo, this massive arsenal is being distributed via the Dept. of Homeland Security to points unknown.

They also know that the FBI formally requested in writing to assassinate with a high powered rifle the leaders of the Houston Occupy camp.

Now, on Tuesday April 29, 2014 the US Supreme Court approved this behavior and a myriad of other authoritarian controls straight from the manuals of Dachau, Auschwitz, or the Gulag.

The informed American should be terrified.

I had heard and read rumblings of a ground-swell movement within the American military. This quiet, passionately pro-American, pro-Constitution, pro-democracy, army is rapidly growing. It has already faced down the US empire twice. Their mission: to save Americans from their Government. They call themselves, “Oath Keepers.”

“I Do Solemnly Swear (Or Affirm) That I Will Uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, Against All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic…Pledging My Life, My Fortune, and My Sacred Honor. So Help Me God.” – US Military Oath of Service.

Oath Keepers are the predictable historical reaction by populations to endemic political, financial, and corporate corruption and the destruction of their society. With a puppet president, malicious congress, and constitutionally irrational court system, to more and more Americans Oath Keepers is becoming the only effective counter weight to a tyrannical empire.

There are approximately 21.5 million military veterans of all ages and ethnic backgrounds in America. Estimates put Oath Keepers membership in excess of 200,000. Within this growing army are every military rank from all four branches of the US military. From Gunny Sergeant to Admiral, from Army Chaplain to Naval Captain, Marine Corp. General to PFC, America’s veteran military corp. remains full of a vast wealth of very expensive and thoroughly trained military.

Oath Keepers include many active duty service men and women who keep their membership very private. Their numbers are reportedly also swelling.

All these men and women were trained to fight. They remember their training. They remember that they are first and foremost American’s, sworn to protect the constitution and the American people. That never changed. These real American patriots have not for gotten the Oath of Service they swore to so many years before.

Few thought the day would come when, rather than providing protection from foreign adversaries, they would actually heed the currently two most important words, “…and Domestic.”

By all current reports Americans hold over 320 million non-military fire arms of all makes, models, and calibers. That figure is only the guns that are accounted for. Actual numbers are higher. With the recent gun buying surge across America, this number is ever rising. Many of these people are buying these weapons whether they are aware of Oath Keepers or not, and hold very similar views on our Government’s authoritarian intentions.

Combine all these weapons with the millions of American veterans and you have a highly trained and well- armed militia ready, willing, and waiting to protect Americans from their own government. Was this not the original wisdom of the inclusion of the American Constitution’s very controversial Second Amendment?

Freedom loving Americans have only two distinct choices. Either use their First Amendment right to assembly and free speech to produce a massive showing of outrage that retrieves the remains of true democracy…

Or… it will be the Second Amendment. Guns.

I asked Dan and Gene to comment.

Dan slams his glass down in agreement, since it is empty, looking intently out from under a beat-up, bleached out, somewhat reddish baseball cap.

“That’s a good way to put it,” he says while eying me carefully over the foam atop a freshly poured beer. “The question really is,” he says again quietly, “are you prepared?”

In America’s desperate condition being prepared runs the gambit from eliminating one’s personal debt, eliminating unnecessary possessions, putting assets into gold or silver, and stocking a sensible amount of supplies and provisions away just in case. It means having the presence of forethought to realize the dire reality of America’s real social and political condition.

It also implies being prepared to protect and defend those possessions, and freedoms, from a growing government tyranny.

A whole lot of well trained, well-armed, Americans have seen this day coming.

The Oath Keeper motto is, “Not On Our Watch!” Their own pro-American, pro-constitutional oath has been sworn by all Oath Keepers whether active military, veterans, police officers, national guardsmen, TSA officials, firemen, or peace officers. The Oath is defined clearly in ten separate guarantees:

Oath Keepers will NOT obey any order to:

1. Disarm the American people.

2. Conduct warrant-less searches of the American people,

3. Detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants”

4. Impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.

5. Invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.

6. Blockade American cities, turning them into giant concentration camps.

7. Force American citizens into any form of detention camps.

8. Assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil.

9. Confiscate the property of the American people.

10. Infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

Only two Days ago the US Supreme Court of the United States formally gave approval for US Government goons to reap all these horrors on all Americans. On Tuesday, the court in Hedges v. Obama, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-758, refused to review the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeal’s (traditionally the president’s pocket court) decision to overturn a lower court decision that did, temporarily, protect Americans from these unconstitutional war crimes of Sect. 1021 of the Obama inspired of the National Defense Authorization Act. All ten horrors are, right now, legal across America.

Foolishly I had mistakenly interpreted the Oath of the Oath Keepers to mean that those who take the oath would lay down their weapons under such extreme circumstances.

“Wrong!” said Paul immediately, inching forward and giving me a penetrating glance while setting down his beer. “We’re not laying down our weapons for anyone!”

Gene was also eying me keenly. Quickly forgiving my small indiscretion, he offered support saying, “Yeah. You’re absolutely right about the Oath. But if you don’t have your weapons you’re not going to fight back. That’s what the huge recent increase in gun sales is all about.”

Gene’s a retired Navy aircraft carrier pilot, one of the Navy’s most highly trained servicemen. Of a Bantam weight’s build, and just as feisty, at sixty Gene is looking as youthful as his days in the cockpit. He is just as assured and straight talking.

I told them about the FBI study that concluded that American citizens and their massive private, and growing, arsenal could never defeat the US military, should the populous finally fight back.

Gene smiled slyly, then laughed. “They’ve got that one wrong,” Gene is quite likely correct. Quantifying the totality of a potential armed push back by an armed American public, truly shows the dire consequences about to befall America. It is no wonder that Gene is smiling.

Sadly, that result will be bloodier than the Civil War, just as apocalyptic, and spell the darkest days in the history of America, should it remain a nation when the sands of time have finally cleared the wreckage.

The American Empire has been keeping any news of Oath Keepers out of the media. The regime does not want an example of courage and successful opposition getting to the minds of its subjugated and fearful people. The regime fears the Oath Keepers for a very good reason; this army has already beaten the devil back-down below.


When the sequestration cuts agreed to by a criminal congress took effect in late 2013, the Obama administration decided to punish Americans for his failure as president. He proceeded to close the ocean to recreational fishing and boating, and close access to lakes and national parks. His dark minions in the Forest Service went so far as to ring the famous geyser, “Old Faithful,” a US tourist attraction, with a twelve foot high solid plastic fence. This made sure that no-one could see and enjoy it. Tourists who went to the third floor of an adjacent hotel to sneak a peek, were arrested.

Then the puppet went too far.

American veterans come from across America to remember their friends and loved ones at the Vietnam and World War Two war memorials. When Obama closed these, it was a call to action for the Oath Keepers.

Wearing side arms, some in uniform, Oath Keepers showed up en-mass. They proceeded to escort arriving visitors past the equally armed Capitol Police and then protected them during their visit. To everyone privy to this successful operation, the Oath Keepers were heroes.

Two weeks ago a corrupt US Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) tried to use his equally corrupt connections at the Bureau of Land Management to then order US Marshal’s Service to seize Clive Bundy’s Nevada ranch so he could sell it to the Chinese. Two thousand people showed up to defend the ranch, but the siege was turning ugly. Marshall’s were tazering peaceful protesters, and slamming women to the ground. Things were getting bad.

Then the Oath Keepers road in.

Armed and ready, several dozen Oath Keepers took up positions and began patrols on Clive Bundy’s property. Many publicly stated that if they were fired on they would return fire.

So, two hundred plus Federal Marshals went home.

UrbanMan's comment: Not U.S. Marshals, but BLM Law Enforcement Rangers and possibly some US Forest Service Special Agents. There were reports of military personnel supporting the BLM operation against the Bundy Ranch, those reports have been discounted. Some of the BLM personnel were National Guardsmen, which is perfect understandable as they can work for governmental agencies during the week and be members of the National Guard during a weekend a month.  And the militarization of Federal LE, e.g..mainly weapons and cammie uniforms supported that misperception.

The cheers were world-wide.

Our conversation had been enlightening, optimistic, supportive, but at the same time terrifying. To discover that so many American active and retired military are of like mind to just as many passionate pro-American progressives holding radical viewpoints was heartening.

Knowing that former members of America’s military had already sworn an oath to protect me, and other Americans, from the very real threat of being shot, or incarcerated without a warrant, by our own government was reassuring.

Assuredly the Oath Keepers will be called to order again soon.

That is terrifying.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Economic Collapse is Coming - Time to Leave the U.S.

The Dollar Vigilante's Jeff Berwick is back chatting about a myriad of economic and stock market-related issues with Cambridge House Live's anchor, Bridgitte Anderson. Taped at Cambridge House International's Vancouver Resource Investment Conference.

This is more opinion and food for thought on the coming financial-economic collapse. Cast your knowledge net wide, collect and analyze that information, discard what is bunk and plan/prepare. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Collapse will Beget Desperate Measures

The Fiscal Cliff,...the new year bringing large tax increases,...the nation's diminished capability to produce food and feed itself,.......natural disasters and drought further degrading our economy and agricultureral capacity,.........our manufacturing base moving outside the U.S. .....and close to 50 million people, more than 20% of the population, dependant upon Government welfare checks to eat, ....and, another large segment of the population dependent upon the government for their retirement pensions. All this spells a perfect storm for a rapid descent once the economic collapse.

I have written before that hyper inflation, or worse yet, a total economic collapse will turn millions or tens of millions of people into "criminals" in short order. All of the people reading this have in some way or form are prepared to provide their own security to counter a threat from hardened predators as well as simply desperate people . It is interesting to look at what is going on in Grece from an economic as well as a social or human dynamic perspective.

I think our pending economic collapse may not be so slow as what we are seeing in Greece right now. But what is going on in Greece with the population is worth studying. The article below, written by Oliver Staley of Bloomberg news and posted on the financial is interesting as it provides a personal look at the gloom from Greece's fall from grace.

Anastasia Karagaitanaki, 57, is a former model and cafe owner in Thessaloniki, Greece. After losing her business to the financial crisis, she now sleeps on a daybed next to the refrigerator in her mother’s kitchen and depends on charity for food and insulin for her diabetes.

“I feel like my life has slipped through my hands,” said Karagaitanaki, whose brother also shares the one-bedroom apartment. “I feel like I’m dead.”

Everyone here is dependent on their parents’ pensions. For thousands of Greeks like Karagaitanaki, the fabric of middle-class life is unravelling. Teachers, salaries slashed by a third, are stealing electricity. Families in once-stable neighborhoods are afraid to leave their homes because of rising street crime.

Karagaitanaki’s family can’t afford gas to heat their home this winter and will rely on electric blankets in the chilly northern Greek city. They live on the 785 euros (US $1,027) a month their mother collects monthly from their late father’s pension. Two years ago, Karagaitanaki sold her jewelry for 3,000 euros, which she gave to her two sons. Her blood sugar is rising because she can’t afford the meat and vegetables her doctor recommends and instead eats rice and beans she gets from the Greek Orthodox Church.

“We are waiting every month for my mother’s pension,” Karagaitanaki said. “If my mother dies, what can I do? Everyone here is dependent on their parents’ pensions.”

UrbanMan comments: What happens when the Greek Government can no longer pay those pensions checks?

No Money. Even as Greece reduces its deficit and accepts a European aid package that may include a 34.4 billion euro loan approved last month, conditions for Greece’s middle class are likely to worsen next year as austerity measures take a bigger bite, said George Tzogopoulos, a research fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy in Athens.

“I don’t think there is a single Greek citizen who believes that things will be better,” Tzogopoulos said. “There is no money for people to spend.”

UrbanMan comments: People spending money is what drives the economy. Without any money to spend manufacturing and services stop. The economy and indeed the country collapses.

Signs of Greece’s decline are everywhere in Thessaloniki, its second-largest city. Stores are closed in the fashionable shopping district downtown. Near an Yves Saint Laurent store, a man searched the trash bins for scrap metal, which he piled in the same shopping cart where his toddler daughter rode.

Outside a soup kitchen run by the Evangelical Church of Thessaloniki, men and women squabble over their place in line. Attendance at the kitchen’s twice-weekly dinners has climbed from 25 to about 140 in five years, said Antonis Sakellariou, a church elder.

Moving Away. In the once stable neighborhood of Kordelio, the unemployed and drug users gather in the parks, scaring away mothers and children, and crimes like chain snatching are on the rise. Many long-time residents have left, moving abroad or to their families’ villages, leaving behind empty houses, said Evangelia Rombou, 58, who has lived in Kordelio for 22 years.

“We feel like foreigners here,” Rombou said.

Greece’s economy has contracted every quarter for four years and one in four Greeks is jobless. Austerity measures have cut public employee salaries and benefits, reduced government services and raised taxes. Another round of cuts passed Nov. 8 raised the retirement age, reduced wages and pensions and means Greece will become the 17-nation euro region’s poorest country in two years, according to the European Commission.

For many unemployed Greeks, the vaunted European social safety net doesn’t exist. Only 17% of the 1.2 million jobless receive unemployment insurance, said Manos Matsaganis, an assistant professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

Poverty Line. Greece’s effective poverty rate has risen to 36% from about 20% in 2009, Matsaganis said. About 8.5% of Greeks now live in extreme poverty and can’t afford a basic basket of goods and services, he said.

The crisis is shredding the middle class, which is feeling the brunt of public-sector salary reductions and private job losses while paying higher taxes, said Elias Papaioannou, an associate professor of economics at London Business School.

Papaioannou, an Athens native who considered a career in Greece and now has no plans to return, compares the situation with the German occupation of Greece during the Second World War, when hyperinflation wiped out the middle class.

“People are suffering massively,” he said. “To me, it’s the collapse of the state.”

Afrodity Giannakis, 52, is a teacher earning 800 euros a month, cut from 1,200 euros a month. When she refused to pay a new, 420-euro annual property tax attached to her electricity bill, her power was cut. She called friends in a neighborhood solidarity group and with the help of an electrician, she was illegally reconnected to the grid within hours.

At War. “We’re at war,” Giannakis said. “The state is against us and we’re trying to protect ourselves and our rights, as much as we can. Things are becoming ferocious.”

Karagaitanaki has bright red hair, expertly applied makeup, and dressed in a white, quilted jacket accented with a Chinese-style pendant. She was raised in a working class family in Thessaloniki and began modeling as a teenager. At 16 she was crowned “Miss Northern Greece,” she said. Runway modeling took her across Europe — to Milan, Paris and Dusseldorf, she said.

In 1978, with her then-husband, Karagaitanaki opened her cafe in downtown Thessaloniki. Based on a Viennese coffee house, the small business attracted the city’s intellectuals and artists. Her younger brother, Maximus, began working there when he was 18, and eventually her two sons joined in. She divorced in 2000.

“We did everything ourselves,” Karagaitanaki said. “We built the cafe ourselves and that’s why people loved it.”

Taxes Surge. When it opened, the cafe’s rent was 400 drachmas a month. By 2010, after Greece’s economy surged and real estate boomed, the rent had climbed to 3,000 euros a month and other expenses rose, Karagaitanaki said. Bills for taxes and utilities climbed fourfold since 2000, she said. To cover her costs, she charged more.

UrbanMan's comment: Tax increases? Where have we heard that before - like that's going to help.

“I had to raise my prices, she said. “That’s why I lost my customers.”

The final straw came when the landlord raised the rent again and demanded an additional 40,000 euros for a new, 12-year lease, she said. She closed the cafe in 2010.

“It’s like losing my life,” she said with tears in her eyes. “The cafe was my life.”

Karagaitanaki said she recently passed the cafe, now a store selling organic beauty products, and cried after seeing that a tree she had planted in front was dead.

Futile Search. Losing the cafe left the family unemployed. Her two sons, aged 32 and 22, moved to Komotini in Eastern Greece, where their father lives, to open a bar there. Karagaitanaki moved in with her 84 year-old mother in April of 2010, joining her brother.

While Karagaitanaki sleeps on her daybed, her 6-foot, 3-inch brother folds himself onto a five-foot couch in the living room each night. Living in such close quarters mean the siblings fight over using the bathroom, she said.

“It’s like being a teenager,” she said. “The only good thing about it is that we can help my mother.”

Maximus Karagaitanakis, 49, said he looks for work daily, going to the unemployment office and asking friends who work in cafes and pubs. Mostly, though, he hangs around the apartment.

“It’s very, very hard,” he said.

Even before the crisis, Greeks tended to stay at home late into adulthood and often depended on parents for support, Papaioannou said. The crisis has made middle-aged Greeks even more dependent on their elderly parents for income, which puts pressure on pensions that are being cut, he said.

Cigarettes and Coffee. Karagaitanaki spends her days cleaning her mother’s apartment and helping a friend run a downtown coffee shop. In exchange, her friend buys her cigarettes and coffee.

UrbanMan's comment: People have to have their vices, cigerettes and liquor. And coffee is also a valuabel barter item. That's why I have roughly 40 bottles of alcholo (wine and booze) and lot's of coffee stockpiled. Some of that coffee I bought at $6 a container and now it's around $10.

In a drawer in her mother’s kitchen, Karagaitanaki keeps a folder of mementos. She has magazine clippings from her modeling days, when she sauntered down the catwalk in boxy ’80s fashions, and photos from parties held at the cafe.

She also has paperwork for a court date over her failure to pay 34,000 euros in back taxes owed by her cafe. Since she has no way to pay, she said she isn’t concerned.

Karagaitanaki also lacks health insurance after falling behind on her payments. While the Greek national health service covers hospital care, there’s no free primary care.

To treat her diabetes, she goes to the Social Solidarity clinic, a free medical center staffed by doctors and nurses volunteering their time. From the clinic she gets insulin and needles, which would otherwise cost her 150 euros a month, and dental care after diabetes destroyed her teeth, she said.

Medication Donations. When the clinic in Thessaloniki’s Chinatown opened in November 2011, doctors expected to primarily serve illegal immigrants who had no other options, said Stathis Giannakopoulos, a general practitioner who volunteers one night a month. Instead, at least half the patients are Greeks who have lost their health insurance. For medicine, they depend on donations of surpluses from drugstores and individuals, he said.

“This isn’t a way to treat a country,” Giannakopoulos said. “This a way to destroy a country.”

Like many doctors in Greece, Giannakopoulos’s salary has been cut, from about 2,000 euros a month in 2009 to less than 1,500 a month now.

While doctors have told Karagaitanaki to reduce starchy foods in her diet to help her diabetes, she said she can’t.

“It’s the most expensive illness because you should eat meat, fish, chicken, everyday,” she said. “How can we afford it?”

Standing in her mother’s kitchen, Karagaitanaki carefully cradles a bandaged hand. On a rainy day last month, she slipped on leaves and sprained her wrist. When she went to the hospital, she had 10 euros her mother had given her for the day. She paid 9 euros for X-rays and bandages.

“I had 10 euros and it cost 9,” she said. “Now I have 1 euro.”

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Federal Government Stockpiling Ammunition?

There are several articles coming across the net about government agencies stockpiling ammunition. This is generating some concern from the citizenery especially with right wing beliefs that the current Adminstration may attempt some election shenagians or events that would allow the current office holders to remain in power.

And another popular right wing belief is that the government knows it is sinking rapidly and is preparing for population and riot controls.

Recent revelations about Department of Homeland Security purchasing 450 million rounds of .40 S&W Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition and the Social Security Administration buying 174,000 .40 S&W rounds have gotten alot of tonges wagging and fingers typing across the blogosphere.

450 million rounds of .40 caliber, purchased by DHS, over a several year (maximum of five) period of time equates to less than 1,400 rounds per year, per DHS law enforcement officer or agent. With annual qualification and training requiring less than 300 rounds per individual, there is some room to believe that 450 million is an excessive number of rounds. Factor in ammunition requirements for the various tactical teams and specialized units then you come pretty close to validating the requirement.

Then there is the Social Security Administration buying 174,000 thousands rounds for it's approximately 300 enforcement agents with arrest powers. That around 580 rounds per agent, hardly an excessive amount in my opinion. Another angle is why does the Social Security Administration need armed agents and why are they carrying hollow point ammunition, banned by the Geneva Convention and the Land Of Warfare? Social Security agents also investigates crimes.  Well, hollowpoint ammunition is easily justified and has been in current use by law enforcemnt agents for the past,..what? 30 years or so? Hollow point ammunition is actualy safer, providing you hit what you mean to as it has a less chance of over penetrsation and posing a danger outside of the intended target.

174,000 rounds for 300 agents is pretty minimal for training and duty carry equating to 580 rounds per man per year. That would roughly be used as 240 rounds for qualifications; 45 rounds or so for duty carry; and, 290 for training.

While as American Citizens we have a duty to remain vigilant against government encroachment of their powers and the subsequent reduction of our freedoms,....the ammunition purchases circulating around the web are not something we need to be overly concerned about.

I am more concerned the planned hiring of, what?, 16,000 additional IRS agents.  I am more concenred about the price and availability of food.....the probability of food shortages and masses of dis-advantaged people rioting in the streets over hyper-inflation and the collapse of the dollar.   I am more concenred about my own survival stocks and that includes ammunition for my family's own security.   So should you.   

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The State of Today

I wanted to titled this "Urban's Man Rant", but a rant insinuates an emotional aspect to one's opinion. And I am stone, cold sober and rational looking that these issues.......not angry,...but a lot concenred, maybe somewhat scared.

It started the other night as my wife and I were watching "Revolution the television show". My wife commented to the effect that it seems like everyone is preaching armagedon and collapse, or, capitalizing on the general belief that things are going downhill and collectively we expect bad things to occur.

I told her she was right and that while you can fool some of the pople some of the time, you can't fool all of the people all of the time. And that people's intuition is stronger than their analytical skills.

Back to the television,.........I don't think I'll be sitting through another episode of "Revolution". The first few minutes showing years after a EMP event where the main characters have built a agricultural enclave on a suburban street (totally realistic and necessary) but then a militia group on horseback enters the community unannounced, no early warning systems, no barriers or obstacles, no weapons nor trained response left me wondering if the entertainment value would supercede the non-enjoyment of seeing un-realistic bad examples.

While my wife understands and supports our preparation aspects and the development of several families in our "survival group", she like many Americans usually decides to ignore analysis of the possible bad things,...she basically leaves it to me to plan and prepare.

I placed the television on mute to explain (again) what Electro Magnetic Pulse was and the possible sources or causes of an EMP event. While many of you believe that EMP is vastly over rated for it's effects it would have on the U.S. infrastructure, I assure you that it is not over estimated.

In a previous life I have done threat and vulnerability assessments on utilities facilities and some of the management was pretty open about how easy it is to bring down major power and telecommunications facilities,...but more importantly in the apsects of an EMP,....very difficult to re-build.

If the threat of EMP isn't enough, we have a good 1/3 of the world pissed off at the U.S.  Doesn't matter if the complaint is legit or not,. there are currently large scale anti-American demonstrations in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Mali, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even Austrailia. Political corruption is not only wide spread,.....but the perpetrators aren't even trying to hide it now. Openly disregarding the constitution in many cases. Reminds historians of the last great act of the Roman empire, and that was to loot the treasury.

This country is a year, maybe months away from more people being on welfare than not. Think about that once the treasury is empty.

The only way we are going to be able to survive as individuals and as a culture is to develop some type of team. Let me back up a bit. Meaning by beliefs not segregated by race or ethnic groups. This is a culture that aspires individual rights, a moral code and compassion for those who cannot help themselves. I have talked at length before on the necessity of developing a survival group. This does not mean that you have to live in a commune now, can,...but it is unrealistic for 90% of Americans. Your survival team can be just a network of alike minded individuals and families.

It's important to vet your people as to their ability to live together and get along. I would much rather have straphangers, with skills and without supplies or equipment, integrating into my team, than to accept some exceptional trained and prepared person who cannot act with the team foremost on his mind.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Urban Farming for Surviving the Collapse

With unpredecented rises in food prices many people, including urban dwellers, are trying to reduce costs by growing their own food and bartering services or goods for food, and vice versa.

The United States used to practically feed the world. Then we went from a agricultural society to a manufacturing society and now to an entitlement society and really to a "pre-collapse society", so the bits and pieces we can see of people learning to take care of themselves, especially through these urban farming co-operatives, are not only good news but gives examples for urban survivalists.

The below is from an article titled Farmscape Brings Urban Agriculture to Los Angeles

In a dry and sunny city like Los Angeles, planting grass is one of the more useless ways to use your property. It takes a lot of water to grow and it's expensive—but beyond that, what's the point when the climate supports much more interesting flora, like succulents, and delicious ones, like fruits and vegetables?

A company called Farmscape is proving that there's enough of an appetite for farming on residential land to turn the proposition into a high-growth business. The less-than-four-year-old company has 12 full-time employees—including seven farmers who receive a living wage plus healthcare—and is looking to keep growing. "One of the things that people don’t talk about when they talk about the food system is who is working," says Rachel Bailin, Farmscape's marketing manager. It's often poorly paid and vulnerable migrant workers.

But the company is changing that by bringing farm labor out into the open, into the yards of city-dwellers and businesses. So far they've installed more than 300 urban farms throughout the L.A. area and maintain 150 of them weekly. Projects range from a rooftop garden on a downtown Los Angeles highrise to small plots for families. An exciting project in the works is a three-quarter acre-sized farm for a restaurant in the West San Fernando Valley. And the diversity of the projects is echoed by the diversity of their clients. "When we first started, we expected that our clients would be of a higher income level and would be two-parent working families," says Bailin.

Instead, Farmscape has been delighted to build gardens for preschool teachers, single mothers, and institutions and businesses that want employee gardens as perks. Bailin says the challenges of farming in Los Angeles are manifold. "You have to account for spaces that haven't had life or biodiversity for decades and then you kind of have to bring it back." The company uses raised beds to avoid contaminated soil and drip irrigation systems to provide water. And their newest challenge? Running for office.

The company has thrown its hat into the ring for the office of mayor of Los Angeles in the 2013 election, running on the platform of bringing back farms into the city. Bailin says it's an ironic way of questioning the bounds of "corporate personhood," extended to a corporation's right to free speech by the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United in 2010. "We’re testing the limit of what it is. If corporations are already deciding our politics by giving a bunch of money and lobbying, why not see if we can take out the middleman that would be the politician and make corporations the politician?" It's a joke, of course, and the company will presumably never make it onto the ballot, but it's a clever way to get the word out about the company while making a statement. And perhaps this corporate candidate wouldn't be so bad anyway.

Urban Farming Sources

Another article: 
Five Innovative Urban Gardening Programs in Los Angeles
This is bad news. Here is some good news: “Let’s Hear It for Urban Agriculture,” “Mayor’s Agriculture
Plan Soon to Bear Fruit,” and “Planners Recommend New Zoning, Lower Tax for Urban Farms.” These
are just a few of the headlines that pop up from a Google search for current news on urban agriculture.

The idea is not new, but it’s being resurrected in cities throughout the country (and, for that matter, the
world), in part because it’s one way of fighting childhood obesity, which, along with diabetes, is a
serious health concern for children of all ages. The number of urban gardens in the United States has
grown dramatically in such cities as Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee, and San Francisco, where local
governments and residents agree that these gardens are an important way to give children and
residents access to healthy food like locally grown fresh produce. Below is a list of innovative
programs and initiatives emerging in the Los Angeles area.

Urban Farming Food Chain Project
A partnership between Green Living Technologies and Emslie Osler Architects, this organization
constructs “edible” food-producing wall panels and mounts them on buildings. The people who tend
these vertical gardens use them for their own purposes (meaning produce is not sold commercially),
but they currently have four locations in and around downtown Los Angeles.

Silver Lake Farms
Launched in 2004, Silver Lake Farms just began a Community Supported Agriculture program offering
subscribers a weekly box of fresh produce, grown locally in Silver Lake. They also hold workshops on
how to start your own vegetable garden, and sponsor a volunteer program that connects urban
residents with local farms, community gardens, and homesteads to help out with some of the work.

Market Makeovers
Responding to poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their communities, South Los Angeles’s
Healthy Eating, Active Communities initiative and Public Matters have teamed up to engage young
people and convert corner stores into sources of healthy foods via an online toolkit.

Urban Homestead, Pasadena
An advocacy group for self-sufficient city living via farming and homesteading, this family-owned
operation was started in the mid-1980s on a one tenth of an acre backyard plot. Most of the produce is
sold to local restaurants and caterers.

Urban Farming Advocates
Formed in June 2009, Urban Farming Advocates is a group of individuals, small business owners, and
organizations seeking to legalize urban farming in the City of Los Angeles. Their goal is to revise
outdated ordinances that restrict people's freedom to use residential land for urban agriculture.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Forecasted Drought and Food Shortages Will Make the Collapse Much Worse

So what's new with a drought? Haven't we always had some sort of drought warning? Aren't we big enough as a country to mitigate drought effects? The answers Drought Forecasted

A double-barreled dose of bad news came out Thursday: Not only did the drought worsen over the last week, but it's likely to widen and intensify through the end of October, according to the seasonal outlook prepared by government forecasters.

"Unfortunately, all indicators (short and medium-term, August, and August-October) favor above normal temperatures," the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said in its Seasonal Drought report."We don't see a reason to say it will improve," Kelly Helm Smith, a specialist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, told reporters. "I'm in the Midwest," she said, referring to her office at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, "it's really unpleasant."

The outlook noted that "a dramatic shift in the weather pattern" would be required "to provide significant relief to this drought, and most tools and models do not forecast this." Drought could take hold in the northern plains by October, the Climate Prediction Center added Moreover, last week saw a continued "downward spiral of drought conditions," according to the weekly report.

Adding to the drought concerns is Lester R. Brown, author of an article titled:  "The world is closer to a food crisis than most people realise".  He is the president of the Earth Policy Institute and also the author of Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, due to be published in October

In the early spring this year, US farmers were on their way to planting some 96millon acres in corn, the most in 75 years. A warm early spring got the crop off to a great start. Analysts were predicting the largest corn harvest on record.

The United States is the leading producer and exporter of corn, the world's feedgrain. At home, corn accounts for four-fifths of the US grain harvest. Internationally, the US corn crop exceeds China's rice and wheat harvests combined. Among the big three grains – corn, wheat, and rice – corn is now the leader, with production well above that of wheat and nearly double that of rice.

The corn plant is as sensitive as it is productive. Thirsty and fast-growing, it is vulnerable to both extreme heat and drought. At elevated temperatures, the corn plant, which is normally so productive, goes into thermal shock.

As spring turned into summer, the thermometer began to rise across the corn belt. In St Louis, Missouri, in the southern corn belt, the temperature in late June and early July climbed to 100F or higher 10 days in a row. For the past several weeks, the corn belt has been blanketed with dehydrating heat.

Weekly drought maps published by the University of Nebraska show the drought-stricken area spreading across more and more of the country until, by mid-July, it engulfed virtually the entire corn belt. Soil moisture readings in the corn belt are now among the lowest ever recorded.

While temperature, rainfall, and drought serve as indirect indicators of crop growing conditions, each week the US Department of Agriculture releases a report on the actual state of the corn crop. This year the early reports were promising. On 21 May, 77% of the US corn crop was rated as good to excellent. The following week the share of the crop in this category dropped to 72%. Over the next eight weeks, it dropped to 26%, one of the lowest ratings on record. The other 74% is rated very poor to fair. And the crop is still deteriorating.

Over a span of weeks, we have seen how the more extreme weather events that come with climate change can affect food security. Since the beginning of June, corn prices have increased by nearly one half, reaching an all-time high on 19 July.

Although the world was hoping for a good US harvest to replenish dangerously low grain stocks, this is no longer on the cards. World carryover stocks of grain will fall further at the end of this crop year, making the food situation even more precarious. Food prices, already elevated, will follow the price of corn upward, quite possibly to record highs.

Not only is the current food situation deteriorating, but so is the global food system itself. We saw early signs of the unraveling in 2008 following an abrupt doubling of world grain prices. As world food prices climbed, exporting countries began restricting grain exports to keep their domestic food prices down. In response, governments of importing countries panicked. Some of them turned to buying or leasing land in other countries on which to produce food for themselves.

Welcome to the new geopolitics of food scarcity. As food supplies tighten, we are moving into a new food era, one in which it is every country for itself.

The world is in serious trouble on the food front. But there is little evidence that political leaders have yet grasped the magnitude of what is happening. The progress in reducing hunger in recent decades has been reversed. Unless we move quickly to adopt new population, energy, and water policies, the goal of eradicating hunger will remain just that.

Time is running out. The world may be much closer to an unmanageable food shortage – replete with soaring food prices, spreading food unrest, and ultimately political instability– than most people realise.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gold and Silver - Perceptions Changing

UrbanSurvivalSkills received this comment from Anonymous…… ”I remained unconvinced that buying Gold or Silver is a smart move. Historically the prices have fluctuated, caused by the filthy rich people buying and selling large amounts to make enormous profits. Anyway, the ratio of Gold to Silver is constantly changes so people can lose their ass buying silver when it will be devalued against gold. If there is a really bad SHTF situation then all commerce will be conducted by either hyper-inflated dollars or through simple barter or trade goods. I also think there are people who are not thinking clearly about what can happen and scaring them into buying Gold and Silver is doing them a disservice.”

UrbanMan’s reply: Everyone has to make up their own mind on the value of owning precious metals, Gold and Silver, or even silver coins for their silver melt value. I know people in my income group who have spent 4x or 5x the amount I have spent on Gold and Silver. Obviously they value precious metals more; think that during a collapse or SHTF situation that it will be extremely valuable to own; or they are thinking about coming out of a collapse and beginning over with a lot of wealth.

I approach buying precious metals, overwhelmingly Silver, as a hedge against the projected worthlessness of paper money during a collapse and as a way to buy necessary items when barter or trade is not feasible. While I prefer Silver not to lose it’s value as I eventually want the world to return to normal and to pass off my Silver bullion and Silver coins to my family, it does not matter too much to me if silver drops to $10 an ounce. Once an economic collapse occurs, the value will certainly rise significantly. I simply own it to be provide a possibility of commerce after SHTF. I would much rather trade in Silver than in food or ammunition.

If you don’t want to procure precious metals, primarily Silver, as a contingency during hard times then that is your business. I just think the suggestion of making this decision after considering all the facts including historically use and value or precious metals; type of collapse and after affects we may see; and your current state of preparation.

Here are some facts from http://dollarcollapse

The US Mint sells about the same dollar amount of gold and silver coins, which means it sells 50 ounces of silver for every ounce of gold. UrbanMan’s notes: Today’s current prices were (approx): Gold/ounce $ 1,715.00 Silver/ounce $ 33.00 This is a near 52 to 1 ratio.

Ten times more silver than gold is produced each year, and the ratio in the earth’s crust is 15:1, so how can the price be 50:1? Expect a return to the historical norm of 15:1, which implies that silver will outperform gold.

The paper silver markets trade a billion ounces a day and the world only produces 900 million in a year. The amount available for settlement of these futures contracts is something like 1.5 million ounces, ludicrously little compared to the amount of paper. On the physical side most dealers are only seeing buyers not sellers. There are a lot more people who can afford a one-ounce silver coin than an ounce of gold.

UrbanMan’s notes: Consider this as well -

Today’s (Oct 2011) fuel prices were $3.55 a gallon and Silver is $ 33.00 an ounce. So one ounce of Silver would allow you to buy 9.3 gallons of fuel.

One year ago (Oct 2010) fuel prices were $2.90 a gallon and Silver was $ 23.00 an ounce. This would allow you to buy 7.9 gallons of fuel.

Two years ago (Oct 2009) fuel prices were $2.80 a gallon and Silver was $ 17.25 an ounce. This would allow you to buy 6.2 gallons of fuel.

One more thing: Roger Wiegand of posted the following alert: "Chances of a major problem in Europe have escalated. Chances of huge precious metals moves in this last quarter of 2011 are very good. I am not talking of $60 in one day but perhaps a huge run from this morning’s gold futures at $1707 all the way to +$2,000. There is no where to go with money if bad things happen in Europe except physical PM and quality related shares. I would not touch any kind of bonds and the only stocks of merit are those juniors holding 2-3 three years of corporate cash with good prospects.

Also the intermediate and larger gold companies should be protected and do well. THIS WEEKEND IN THE USA IS CRITICAL. If SOMETHING GLOBAL BAD HAPPENS. It would probably hit after the markets are closed this Friday. Again, I caution everyone to hold a minimum of one month’s cash, fuel and other provisions. This is not a game. This is very serious and in all likelihood nothing happens. But not make a mistake disregarding this apparent danger."

I hope you are not alleging that I am either scaring people into buying Silver. I have nothing to gain from this. I am simply rendering my opinion. What is right for my Survival Plan is to procure Silver both in bullion and in coins for Silver Melt value. Even then the ratio of my silver procurements is much lower than most of the other Survival Preppers I personally know. I am just trying to cover all the bases. But by and large most of my resources are going into food and other material as well as alternate energy. I have bought several solar power kits when they are on sale – and these are for barter. I have bigger units and small man portable solar power solutions for my groups own use.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Urban Survival - World Economy Affects the U.S. and the Coming Collapse

Whether we like it or not, and most of us certainly don’t, a World economy exists and disruptions within this economy have major effects on the U.S. economy. For some of you knuckle draggers out there, the World economy s not the same as the infamous “One World Government” concept, however make no mistake about it there are people, and people in powerful positions who desire a one world government. But what I am talking about it the global economy and how inflation and collapses in other countries combined with nationalistic trends greatly effects not only how the U.S. economy reacts but dials up the chances and effects of a economic collapse in this Country.

The United States is a consumer and much less the manufacturer or provider like we were 50 years ago. We are simply dependent on other countries not only for consumer goods, but largely for foods and particularly so for oil. Without the our military power and demonstrated willingness to use it, our need for oil can be leveraged by the world’s producers and other large consumers (China, Russia and others). This can, and will, as some experts predict, drive the price of gasoline up to $7 a gallon by the end of this calendar year.

In China , trying for an orderly transition to new civilian leadership in the near future will face a threat from their own military which is executing an unprecedented growth in military expansion and technological development. There is a rift between the civilian Chinese leadership and the military that will only grow as their own economy suffers from reverberations from the decaying U.S. and global economy. If the U.S. defaults on debt owed to China , and as the U.S. necessarily voids or changes trade agreements as an effort in self preservation – the China problem will pick up steam.

Chinese needs for oil that grown at an incredible rate. It will only further grow not only driving the price up but create potential political firestorms as the global economy competes for a limited supply.

Just image gasoline at $7 a gallon. That means Diesel fuel even higher. That means all consumer goods, being trucked across the country, at never to expected high prices. Imagine bread at $6 a loaf,…..milk at $12 a gallon and you start to get the picture. Most people don’t know it now, but consumer commodities have risen an average of 43%. Some of you may admit that in the back fo your head you are aware of growing prices, but it will be really evident when that percentage increases to 400%, 600% or even $1000.

Fuel oil for heating will be at astronomical prices. Electricity, since much of it is produced by fuel oil driven plants, at twice to three times what you pay now. In short everything will go up in price and go up exponentially. This is inflation,…no,…this will be hyper inflation.

What will not go up is your income or buying power. In fact, that will take a dive. If you near the poverty level, this will have incredible and dire consequences for you and your family’s ability to survive. This will also produce a large class of people that will be desperate. This number may reach 60 million. Imagine 60 million people, a full 20% of the U.S. population who cannot sustain themselves.

The U.S. government will have to create large scale entitlement programs just in order to feed these people and keep anarchy at bay. I fully expect the deployment of first line U.S. military combat units to enforce martial laws in some high population density areas. The U.S. government will not be able to borrow more money, so they will print more fiat currency further driving us into hyper inflation….and eventual anarchy.

Beginning in maybe April, certainly no later than July, the banks, lenders, housing market and certainly the people will take a giant hit as adjustable rate mortgages will be re-set causing a large number of people to be upside down in their homes (that is owing much more than the property is worth), and interest rates will skyrocket. Foreclosures will exceed previous record highs. The government will try to control this with more stimulus money drawn from a empty bank account further deflating money and adding to the hyper inflation, and may try to control the dive through government take over (nationalizing) of banks and maybe the whole mortgage industry. This will embolden the U.S. Government to nationalize other segments of the economy such as health care, insurance, and possibly the oil industry.

All of this spells doom for us. What can you do? Do what you are doing now,…..preparing for inevitable. But do it smarter. And do it at an increase pace. And above all, wargame your plan against all the possible scenarios. I have long said that Survival is a Team Sport,..but it is also a thinking man’s game.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - More on the Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Threat

If you are a Survivalist and/or a reader of this site and other Survivalist sites, you either have heard about, or have read the Survival novels “Lights Out” and “One Second After”. As I have said many times before, these well written novels, as well as the Survivor classic “Patriots” (and others) serve as a Wargaming and lessons learned experience for those of us planning and preparing for The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAKI) or otherwise known as the Coming Collapse. Since we as Americans have not faced a catastrophic event plunging us into a collapse and therefore widespread Survivalist scenario, we draw possibilities, lessons, techniques and ultimately “wargame” what can happen from the stories of these novels.

As with the story lines in ”Lights Out” and “One Second After”, nuclear devices are detonated creating an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) across wide portions of the United States, collapsing our delicate financial and communications infrastructure which lead to a collapse of utilities and emergency response infrastructure. I hope this article on EMP from STRATFOR enlightens and educates on the EMP threat. Be Prepared.

Gauging the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

Over the past decade there has been an ongoing debate over the threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to modern civilization. This debate has been the most heated perhaps in the United States , where the commission appointed by Congress to assess the threat to the United States warned of the dangers posed by EMP in reports released in 2004 and 2008. The commission also called for a national commitment to address the EMP threat by hardening the national infrastructure.

There is little doubt that efforts by the United States to harden infrastructure against EMP — and its ability to manage critical infrastructure manually in the event of an EMP attack — have been eroded in recent decades as the Cold War ended and the threat of nuclear conflict with Russia lessened. This is also true of the U.S. military, which has spent little time contemplating such scenarios in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union . The cost of remedying the situation, especially retrofitting older systems rather than simply regulating that new systems be better hardened, is immense. And as with any issue involving massive amounts of money, the debate over guarding against EMP has become quite politicized in recent years.

We have long avoided writing on this topic for precisely that reason. However, as the debate over the EMP threat has continued, a great deal of discussion about the threat has appeared in the media. Many STRATFOR readers have asked for our take on the threat, and we thought it might be helpful to dispassionately discuss the tactical elements involved in such an attack and the various actors that could conduct one. The following is our assessment of the likelihood of an EMP attack against the United States .

Defining Electromagnetic Pulse

EMP can be generated from natural sources such as lightning or solar storms interacting with the earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetic field. It can also be artificially created using a nuclear weapon or a variety of non-nuclear devices. It has long been proven that EMP can disable electronics. Its ability to do so has been demonstrated by solar storms, lightning strikes and atmospheric nuclear explosions before the ban on such tests. The effect has also been recreated by EMP simulators designed to reproduce the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear device and study how the phenomenon impacts various kinds of electrical and electronic devices such as power grids, telecommunications and computer systems, both civilian and military.

The effects of an EMP — both tactical and strategic — have the potential to be quite significant, but they are also quite uncertain. Such widespread effects can be created during a high-altitude nuclear detonation (generally above 30 kilometers, or about 18 miles). This widespread EMP effect is referred to as high-altitude EMP or HEMP. Test data from actual high-altitude nuclear explosions is extremely limited. Only the United States and the Soviet Union conducted atmospheric nuclear tests above 20 kilometers and, combined, they carried out fewer than 20 actual tests.

As late as 1962 — a year before the Partial Test Ban Treaty went into effect, prohibiting its signatories from conducting aboveground test detonations and ending atmospheric tests — scientists were surprised by the HEMP effect. During a July 1962 atmospheric nuclear test called “Starfish Prime,” which took place 400 kilometers above Johnston Island in the Pacific, electrical and electronic systems were damaged in Hawaii , some 1,400 kilometers away. The Starfish Prime test was not designed to study HEMP, and the effect on Hawaii , which was so far from ground zero, startled U.S. scientists.

High-altitude nuclear testing effectively ended before the parameters and effects of HEMP were well understood. The limited body of knowledge that was gained from these tests remains a highly classified matter in both the United States and Russia. Consequently, it is difficult to speak intelligently about EMP or publicly debate the precise nature of its effects in the open-source arena.

The importance of the EMP threat should not be understated. There is no doubt that the impact of a HEMP attack would be significant. But any actor plotting such an attack would be dealing with immense uncertainties — not only about the ideal altitude at which to detonate the device based on its design and yield in order to maximize its effect but also about the nature of those effects and just how devastating they could be.

Non-nuclear devices that create an EMP-like effect, such as high-power microwave (HPM) devices, have been developed by several countries, including the United States . The most capable of these devices are thought to have significant tactical utility and more powerful variants may be able to achieve effects more than a kilometer away. But at the present time, such weapons do not appear to be able to create an EMP effect large enough to affect a city, much less an entire country. Because of this, we will confine our discussion of the EMP threat to HEMP caused by a nuclear detonation, which also happens to be the most prevalent scenario appearing in the media.

Attack Scenarios

In order to have the best chance of causing the type of immediate and certain EMP damage to the United States on a continent-wide scale, as discussed in many media reports, a nuclear weapon (probably in the megaton range) would need to be detonated well above 30 kilometers somewhere over the American Midwest. Modern commercial aircraft cruise at a third of this altitude. Only the United States , United Kingdom , France , Russia and China possess both the mature warhead design and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability to conduct such an attack from their own territory, and these same countries have possessed that capability for decades. (Shorter range missiles can achieve this altitude, but the center of the United States is still 1,000 kilometers from the Eastern Seaboard and more than 3,000 kilometers from the Western Seaboard — so just any old Scud missile won’t do.)

The HEMP threat is nothing new. It has existed since the early 1960s, when nuclear weapons were first mated with ballistic missiles, and grew to be an important component of nuclear strategy. Despite the necessarily limited understanding of its effects, both the United States and Soviet Union almost certainly included the use of weapons to create HEMPs in both defensive and especially offensive scenarios, and both post-Soviet Russia and China are still thought to include HEMP in some attack scenarios against the United States.

However, there are significant deterrents to the use of nuclear weapons in a HEMP attack against the United States , and nuclear weapons have not been used in an attack anywhere since 1945. Despite some theorizing that a HEMP attack might be somehow less destructive and therefore less likely to provoke a devastating retaliatory response, such an attack against the United States would inherently and necessarily represent a nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland and the idea that the United States would not respond in kind is absurd. The United States continues to maintain the most credible and survivable nuclear deterrent in the world, and any actor contemplating a HEMP attack would have to assume not that they might experience some limited reprisal but that the U.S. reprisal would be full, swift and devastating.

Countries that build nuclear weapons do so at great expense. This is not a minor point. Even today, a successful nuclear weapons program is the product of years — if not a decade or more — and the focused investment of a broad spectrum of national resources. Nuclear weapons also are developed as a deterrent to attack, not with the intention of immediately using them offensively. Once a design has achieved an initial capability, the focus shifts to establishing a survivable deterrent that can withstand first a conventional and then a nuclear first strike so that the nuclear arsenal can serve its primary purpose as a deterrent to attack. The coherency, skill and focus this requires are difficult to overstate and come at immense cost — including opportunity cost — to the developing country. The idea that Washington will interpret the use of a nuclear weapon to create a HEMP as somehow less hostile than the use of a nuclear weapon to physically destroy an American city is not something a country is likely to gamble on.

In other words, for the countries capable of carrying out a HEMP attack, the principles of nuclear deterrence and the threat of a full-scale retaliatory strike continue to hold and govern, just as they did during the most tension-filled days of the Cold War.

Rogue Actors

One scenario that has been widely put forth is that the EMP threat emanates not from a global or regional power like Russia or China but from a rogue state or a transnational terrorist group that does not possess ICBMs but will use subterfuge to accomplish its mission without leaving any fingerprints. In this scenario, the rogue state or terrorist group loads a nuclear warhead and missile launcher aboard a cargo ship or tanker and then launches the missile from just off the coast in order to get the warhead into position over the target for a HEMP strike. This scenario would involve either a short-range ballistic missile to achieve a localized metropolitan strike or a longer-range (but not intercontinental) ballistic missile to reach the necessary position over the Eastern or Western seaboard or the Midwest to achieve a key coastline or continental strike.

When we consider this scenario, we must first acknowledge that it faces the same obstacles as any other nuclear weapon employed in a terrorist attack. It is unlikely that a terrorist group like al Qaeda or Hezbollah can develop its own nuclear weapons program. It is also highly unlikely that a nation that has devoted significant effort and treasure to develop a nuclear weapon would entrust such a weapon to an outside organization. Any use of a nuclear weapon would be vigorously investigated and the nation that produced the weapon would be identified and would pay a heavy price for such an attack (there has been a large investment in the last decade in nuclear forensics). Lastly, as noted above, a nuclear weapon is seen as a deterrent by countries such as North Korea or Iran , which seek such weapons to protect themselves from invasion, not to use them offensively. While a group like al Qaeda would likely use a nuclear device if it could obtain one, we doubt that other groups such as Hezbollah would. Hezbollah has a known base of operations in Lebanon that could be hit in a counterstrike and would therefore be less willing to risk an attack that could be traced back to it.

Also, such a scenario would require not a crude nuclear device but a sophisticated nuclear warhead capable of being mated with a ballistic missile. There are considerable technical barriers that separate a crude nuclear device from a sophisticated nuclear warhead. The engineering expertise required to construct such a warhead is far greater than that required to construct a crude device. A warhead must be far more compact than a primitive device. It must also have a trigger mechanism and electronics and physics packages capable of withstanding the force of an ICBM launch, the journey into the cold vacuum of space and the heat and force of re-entering the atmosphere — and still function as designed. Designing a functional warhead takes considerable advances in several fields of science, including physics, electronics, engineering, metallurgy and explosives technology, and overseeing it all must be a high-end quality assurance capability. Because of this, it is our estimation that it would be far simpler for a terrorist group looking to conduct a nuclear attack to do so using a crude device than it would be using a sophisticated warhead — although we assess the risk of any non-state actor obtaining a nuclear capability of any kind, crude or sophisticated, as extraordinarily unlikely.

But even if a terrorist organization were somehow able to obtain a functional warhead and compatible fissile core, the challenges of mating the warhead to a missile it was not designed for and then getting it to launch and detonate properly would be far more daunting than it would appear at first glance. Additionally, the process of fueling a liquid-fueled ballistic missile at sea and then launching it from a ship using an improvised launcher would also be very challenging. (North Korea, Iran and Pakistan all rely heavily on Scud technology, which uses volatile, corrosive and toxic fuels.)

Such a scenario is challenging enough, even before the uncertainty of achieving the desired HEMP effect is taken into account. This is just the kind of complexity and uncertainty that well-trained terrorist operatives seek to avoid in an operation. Besides, a ground-level nuclear detonation in a city such as New York or Washington would be more likely to cause the type of terror, death and physical destruction that is sought in a terrorist attack than could be achieved by generally non-lethal EMP.

Make no mistake: EMP is real. Modern civilization depends heavily on electronics and the electrical grid for a wide range of vital functions, and this is truer in the United States than in most other countries. Because of this, a HEMP attack or a substantial geomagnetic storm could have a dramatic impact on modern life in the affected area. However, as we’ve discussed, the EMP threat has been around for more than half a century and there are a number of technical and practical variables that make a HEMP attack using a nuclear warhead highly unlikely.

When considering the EMP threat, it is important to recognize that it exists amid a myriad other threats, including related threats such as nuclear warfare and targeted, small-scale HPM attacks. They also include threats posed by conventional warfare and conventional weapons such as man-portable air-defense systems, terrorism, cyberwarfare attacks against critical infrastructure, chemical and biological attacks — even natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis.

The world is a dangerous place, full of potential threats. Some things are more likely to occur than others, and there is only a limited amount of funding to monitor, harden against, and try to prevent, prepare for and manage them all. When one attempts to defend against everything, the practical result is that one defends against nothing. Clear-sighted, well-grounded and rational prioritization of threats is essential to the effective defense of the homeland.

Hardening national infrastructure against EMP and HPM is undoubtedly important, and there are very real weaknesses and critical vulnerabilities in America ’s critical infrastructure — not to mention civil society. But each dollar spent on these efforts must be balanced against a dollar not spent on, for example, port security, which we believe is a far more likely and far more consequential vector for nuclear attack by a rogue state or non-state actor.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR.