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Showing posts with label Electromagnetic Pulse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Electromagnetic Pulse. Show all posts

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The EMP Issue

It's no surprise to reader of that I am a big fan of the International Forecaster and especially Bob Rinear. This article reminds us of the potential Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat. This was brought home to me two days ago after a hellacious thunder storm left us without power and even the cellular system was messed up. An EMP event would make this basically permanent. So hopefully, part of your survival plan address a no warning and immediate grid outage. What are you doing to do?

The EMP Issue, by Bob Rinear, The International Forecaster, Wednesday 5 August 2015

On Sunday I wrote a piece called “Fear Porn”, and it was the first of two articles I wanted to write for a long time, but “things” got in the way. The first article was about the concept of our entire lives now revolving around “the Internet”, and yet the net isn’t as stable as you might think. As I pointed out, your life would be massively disrupted if indeed a terrorist (foreign or domestic) did a massive hack which brought down the routers and pointers of the nets infrastructure.

Not because you couldn’t look at photo’s of your “BFF” showing you his or her breakfast, not  because you couldn’t tweet about some terribly unimportant topic…but because we are now at a point where no net…means no transactions. No credit cards, no ATM’s, no phones, no hotel reservations, no “a lot of things”. Given enough time, a nationwide Internet shut down, could very well cause social unrest, deaths, food supply problems, you name it. But the fact is, that’s just the warm up for the real issue. What if our power grid goes down?

I laid out the nightmares we saw during the NYC blackout of 1977 and the Ohio/Northeast blackout of 2004. Robberies, fires, arson, break in’s, looting, shootings, you name it. Ugly stuff, and that was just 1 and 2 day outages. What if something took the grid down for months?

Over the years I’ve looked at different situations wherein the “grid” as we call it (electrical generation and distribution) could be compromised on a wide scale. There’s several things that come to mind, such as network hacking. But the two that get the big attention are Solar burst of energy, and EMP’s. So what’s the real deal here? Can these things do what we’ve been told or not? Let’s look…

EMP stands for Electro-magnetic Pulse. An EMP is a short burst of electromagnetic energy.

Such a pulse may occur in the form of a radiated electric or magnetic field or conducted electric current depending on the source, and may be natural or man-made. Okay, so what’s the big deal?

Well, if the EMP is big enough, it will follow power lines, long cables, grounding straps, and burn up things with a power surge. Anything not “hardened’ against a massive short term burst, simply burns out. Be it computers, TV, phones, hospital equipment, power generators, high voltage lines, etc. Bad stuff.

We have been aware of the “natural” EMP’s that come from the Sun ( and even severe lightening storms) because the sun caused such a “burst” of electro-magnetism in 1859 that telegraph operators were singed around the country as sparks lit up their transmission lines.

Aurorae were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by theaurora's light. It was named the Carrington Event.

It was (and still is) the largest recorded geomagnetic storm. If something of that magnitude were to hit today, with the incredible amount of electronics we use each and every day, it would fry tens of millions of devices and plunge us into the dark for MONTHS. In fact, in Ontario Canada on March 13th 1989 a solar storm impacted their area. At 2 am on the 13th the Ontario grid went dark, plunging millions of folks into the dark. No power, no phones, no water pumping (electrical pumps) No Natural gas (electrical pumps) etc.

They found the fried equipment and things were up and running in about 12 hours. But think about that for a second. A solar “Coronal mass ejection” knocked out the power to millions. Yet it was “tiny” compared to the Carrinton event. So problem one with EMP’s is that they can indeed be natural, and another like the 1859 version would indeed take down huge parts of our entire countries power grid.

But we found out in 1962 just how dangerous Man made EMP’s could be. During that year, the US Government decided to test a high altitude nuclear blast. The test was named starfish and took place about a thousand miles from Hawaii on a deserted island. When the bomb went off some 250 miles up in the atmosphere, something quite strange happened. Electrical components on the Islands of Hawaii were blowing up. To quote one of the researchers….

The effects were bizarre and almost entirely unanticipated. One effect was an electromagnetic pulse, but nobody knew it was going to be anywhere nearly as large it proved to be. They had all this data and they didn’t understand very much of it, including the EMPs that had been observed and the effects produced…all kinds of electrical disturbances were seen over 1000 kilometers away in Oahu.

Since then we’ve learned that a large nuclear device that gets detonated in the upper atmosphere could easily wipe out the electrical grid, and darned near anything connected to it. Which instantly brought up the question of its use as a military weapon. In fact there’s no question at all as to whether the US and Russia have experimented with EMP as a weapon and we’re also worried about North Korea ( and some say Iran) Here’s why…

Let’s suppose some rogue nation takes an old scud missile and tips it with a nuclear bomb. They get the thing near our coast on a container ship or what have you and fire it. The next thing you know an entire area of the nation sees its grid go down, and the resulting surges and brownout’s spread through the network. It is not inconceivable that the whole country could go dark. Here is the statement from the 2008 committee on researching EMP attacks…

A single EMP attack may seriously degrade or shut down a large part of the electric power grid in the geographic area of EMP exposure effective instantaneously. There is also the possibility of functional collapse of grids beyond the exposed one, as electrical effects propagate from one region to another…Should significant parts of the electric power infrastructure be lost for any substantial period of time, the Commission believes that the consequences are likely to be catastrophic, and many people may ultimately die for lack of the basic elements necessary to sustain life in dense urban and suburban communities.

Now, depending on whom you wish to listen to, the effects of a well coordinated EMP attack on the US could last for 18 months of “dark” (no electricity) and MILLIONS dead. I could EASILY see that.

As you probably know, my biggest “big picture” scare is that we are 100% reliant on the electrical grid for EVERYTHING. We just expect it to be there because it’s “always there”. Yet what if it wasn’t? Then yes, there would be mass starvation, mass riots, bands of roaming hungry thieves. No question.

I try and keep the “wacko stuff” and the real Fear Porn out of the letters. I’m not a “shock jock” like Howard Stern who gets his listeners from being outrageous. But in this instance, I am not just trying to scare the hell out of you all, I’m trying to expose something that seems to be all-too real. Consider this…

As late as the 1940’s once you got out of town, just about every rural household had a couple chickens in the yard for fresh eggs. They usually had a hand driven well pump and a few minutes of pumping that handle would bring good clean water up from the depths. They probably had a nice veggie garden, and “mom” probably knew how to can their produce for use in the winter months.

Dad and the boys most definitely had a few small game rifles, and knew how to hunt rabbit, squirrel, and deer. They generally had a coal or wood furnace, and knew how to cook over wood instead of electricity or Natgas. Oil lamps and candles made at home were frequent. In a lot of homes in rural America 1940 if the power went down, no one noticed for half the day.

Today that very situation would be called a “prepper family”. You’d be looked upon as “one of them people”. But the fact is that for about 80% of our citizens, they have NONE of those skills or resources. A chicken coop in modern America? Horror the thought! People get run out of Home owner associations for parking a vehicle in their driveway let alone a chicken coop. A personal water well on your own property? Not today, it’s all about “city water”. Grabbing a .22 and shooting a squirrel for dinner? Perish the thought! The fact is that the typical American is absolutely and totally dependent on the “grid” for survival.

So if you ask me - Bob, what’s your two biggest fears right now? My answer would be a take down of the Electrical Grid first, and a take down of the Internet second. Now do we have any “proof” that either one is coming? Nope, not really. But sometimes you see things that make you think about it.

For example, the Military is moving a lot of its command nodes back into the depths of Cheyenne mountain, a fortified bunker complex deep beneath the granite rocks. Why? Could they be anticipating something like an EMP attack and want to make sure their command and control center is “hardened” against suck a thing? Could be.

I’d like to say I only have two fears about the big picture, but that wouldn’t be truthful. Others on my list are a global monetary reset which I totally believe is coming. A devaluation of our currency which I think is coming. I think were going to get rocked a bit over that when it happens, and frankly it has to happen. Even the wicked Central bankers know that our present system isn’t working.

So “yeah” there’s things that get my attention.

No one wants to live in fear, and I don’t either. But there’s some things that we have very little control over, that have a lot of control over our lives. Power, Internet and global finances come to mind. All 3 of them have the ability to rock our world.

Urban Man

Sunday, May 4, 2014

EMP Threat From North Korea and Others

This is a good article written by Dr. Peter Vincent, and was published on Family Security Matters. It seems I may have read something similar in 2013, and this article is dated 2014, in any case it is still valid today,...maybe even more so given North Korea's, and not to mention Iran's, continuation of their nuclear weapons programs.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards, and served on the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe and Electric Armageddon, both available from and

Presentation by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

The Atlantic and Conservation Institute

New York City ~ April 10, 2014

North Korea's third illegal nuclear test on February 12, 2013, was followed by increased international sanctions, that prompted escalating threats from North Korea to make nuclear missile strikes against U.S. allies, South Korea and Japan, and the mainland United States. President Obama denied that North Korea could deliver on these threats, claiming that North Korea does not yet have nuclear armed missiles--despite assessments to the contrary by DIA, CIA, and NATO.

Three months earlier, on December 12, 2012, North Korea successfully orbited a satellite, the KSM-3, thereby demonstrating the capability to deliver a small nuclear warhead to intercontinental ranges--against any nation on Earth. The Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack assessed that Russia, China, and North Korea (with help from Russia) have probably developed nuclear weapons of special design that produce a low explosive yield and high gamma ray output in order to generate an extraordinarily powerful EMP field. The Russians term these "Super-EMP" weapons. Independently, South Korean military intelligence and a Chinese military commentator in open sources credit North Korea with having Super-EMP warheads.

The design characteristics of a Super-EMP warhead are such that it would likely be small enough for delivery by North Korea's Unha-3 space launch vehicle or its Taepodong-2 ICBM.

North Korea during its December 12, 2012 launch of the KSM-3 satellite apparently practiced making against the U.S. a surprise nuclear EMP attack. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed a secret weapon--the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS)--disguised as a peaceful space launch vehicle, that could orbit a nuclear warhead like a satellite, to make a surprise EMP attack.

The FOBS would launch southward, away from the U.S., and orbit a nuclear warhead on a satellite trajectory over the South Pole, attacking the U.S. from the south. During the Cold War and today, U.S. Ballistic Missile Early Warning Radars and anti-missile interceptors are all looking north. U.S. National Missile Defenses are blind to the south and not prepared for an attack from that direction.

The first warning of a FOBS attack would be the nuclear EMP burst which could paralyze military communications and forces and would have catastrophic consequences for the electric grid and other civilian critical infrastructures. The Congressional EMP Commission assesses that a nuclear EMP attack that causes a protracted nationwide blackout lasting a year or more could kill up to 9 of 10 Americans from starvation, disease, and societal collapse.

The trajectory of North Korea's KSM-3 satellite had the characteristics for delivery by FOBS of a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the United States. The satellite was launched to the south, away from the U.S., transited the South Pole, and approached the U.S. from its southern blindside--at the optimum altitude for placing an EMP field over all 48 contiguous United States.

President Obama, despite public dismissal of the North Korean nuclear missile threats, nonetheless conducted B-2 bomber demonstrations over the demilitarized zone and strengthened National Missile Defenses (but not in the south).

Amidst the nuclear crisis with North Korea, on April 10, 2013, the KSM-3 satellite was near the geographic center of the U.S., at optimum altitude (if KSM-3 was a nuclear weapon) for placing an EMP field over most of the continental United States.

On April 16, 2013, the KSM-3 satellite was over the Washington, D.C.-New York City corridor--the optimum location and altitude for placing a peak EMP field over the area most likely to blackout the Eastern Grid. The Eastern Grid generates 75 percent of U.S. electricity and is indispensable to national survival. The peak EMP field would also have maximized damage to Washington and New York, the nation's political and economic centers.

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, on April 16, 2013, on the same day North Korea's KSM-3 was over Washington and New York, saboteurs unknown attacked the critically important Metcalf transformer substation outside San Jose, that services a 470 megawatt power plant and the Silicon Valley. Had the attack on Metcalf destroyed the transformers, cascading failures might well have blacked out much of the Western Grid. U.S. military operations in the Pacific, and against North Korea in a major war, depend upon West coast power projection capabilities.

Power projection to the Pacific and Asia cannot be sustained if the Western Grid is in blackout.

Three months after Metcalf and the KSM-3 orbit over Washington-New York City, a North Korean freighter that transited the Gulf of Mexico was intercepted trying to enter the Panama Canal carrying, hidden in its hold under bags of sugar, two nuclear-capable SA-2 missiles on their launchers. The missiles had no nuclear warheads. But North Korea's demonstrated capability to move nuclear capable missiles into the Gulf of Mexico is eerily similar to the EMP Commission's nightmare scenario of a rogue state launching a nuclear EMP attack from a freighter operating off the U.S. coast.

An EMP attack launched from a freighter near the U.S. coast could achieve surprise, minimize the possibility of interception, and be executed anonymously to escape retaliation. Deterrence and retaliation depends upon knowing who executed the attack.

The nuclear crisis of 2013 may have been an elaborate training exercise by North Korea for an all-out Cyber Warfare Operation against the United States. The Congressional EMP Commission found, and as explained in May 2013 congressional testimony of former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, in the military doctrines of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, Cyber Warfare is not limited to computer viruses and hacking--but includes sabotage, like the Metcalf attack, and nuclear EMP attack. The objective is to destroy the enemy by collapsing the civilian critical infrastructures--communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water--and especially the electric grid, which sustains all the infrastructures, and modern civilization.

All the elements of a total Cyber Warfare Operation were present. Every day the electric grid and other critical infrastructures experience hundreds of attacks and probes by computer viruses and hacking. The Metcalf attack on April 16 may have been practice for a much larger and more ambitious sabotage campaign against the electric grid, as Jon Wellinghoff, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and many experts believe. The April 16 orbit of KSM-3 over Washington and New York, in the perfect position for an EMP attack on the Eastern Grid, is an astounding coincidence, if it is a coincidence. Three months later, the presence in the Gulf of Mexico of a North Korean freighter carrying nuclear capable SA-2 missiles completes the picture, and checks all the boxes for an all-out Cyber Warfare Operation.

What is to be done?

Former Director of Central Intelligence Woolsey and I have written in the Wall Street Journal that it is too risky to tolerate North Korean launches of their Unha-3 space launch vehicle or their Taepondong-2 ICBM--we should blow them up on the pad in a surgical strike.

During President George W. Bush's Administration, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Ashton Carter, until recently President Obama's Deputy Secretary of Defense, both advocated such a policy. They urged President Bush to surgically destroy North Korean long-range missiles under development--because it would be too dangerous to allow North Korea the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon against the United States.

Now that North Korea has Super-EMP weapons, and the capability to deliver them, preventing their launch of weapons or "satellites" over the United States is even more imperative.

More important than ever, vital to national survival, is protecting the electric grid from EMP and the other elements of an all-out Cyber Warfare Operation. Bills enjoying strong bipartisan support are before Congress designed to protect the grid--the GRID Act, the SHIELD Act, and the Critical Infrastructures Protection Act. But these have been stalled, blocked from a vote, by lobbying from the electric power industry, especially the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

State initiatives to protect the grid from EMP and other threats have been more successful and appear to be a promising way to achieve progress. Maine and Virginia have already passed initiatives to study protecting their State grids. Florida, New York, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma and Indiana have movements afoot to introduce grid protection initiatives, instead of waiting for Washington to act.

Finally, Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, has excellent ideas about how we can quickly bolster National Missile Defense with Aegis cruisers and Aegis ashore interceptors to patch the holes in our defenses--especially to the south. Ambassador Cooper is our nation's foremost expert on missile defense. During the Cold War he was deeply involved in efforts to protect our military forces from EMP.

And then we have this article from World Net Daily, titled: "State warns on EMP: There's no help coming". We're glad there is some level of government recognizing the EMP threat. Just too bad it's not the Federal Government.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed legislation to require the state’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to prepare materials outlining what citizens need to know to deal with either a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse event that could knock out the vulnerable electrical grid system over a wide geographical region.

The legislation, SB 1476, was introduced by Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa. It includes the type and quantity of food, water and medical supplies that each person should stockpile in case an EMP occurs over the U.S.

The legislation, however, doesn’t require actual hardening of the grid within the state.

“In our lifetimes the emergencies we’ve seen have been local emergencies, and really all we have to do is be prepared enough to hang on until help arrives,” Farnsworth said at the time he introduced it last February. “With an EMP, there’s no help coming.”

Under the legislation that now is law, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management is to post on its website recommendations such as the type and amount of supplies residents should stockpile to be prepared for an EMP event.

Farnsworth’s more immediate concern was the prospect of an EMP triggered by the detonation of a high-altitude nuclear weapon. The EMP would have the effect of knocking out the vulnerable grid system and any unprotected electronics. “My hope is that by bringing this out, we’ll start discussions and come to the realization that as a government we can’t feed all these people, but as responsible citizens we need to do our part and make individual preparations,” he said at the time he introduced the legislation. A co-sponsor of the legislation, Don Shooter, R-Yuma, had criticized the federal government for not taking a similar public education program. Read the documentation that’s sparking the worry about the EMP threat, in “A Nation Forsaken.”

“It’s too expensive for the government to prepare on a national scale,” Shooter said. “This time around, it’s people who can do the most to prepare. It’s even possible to EMP-proof your electronics. It just takes time.” Shooter said the threat of an EMP event may be small, but “if it ever does happen, most people won’t be prepared. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and warn them now. God puts a watchman on the tower for times like these.”

State Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, was one of 17 lawmakers who voted against the original legislation, criticizing the focus on a catastrophe that he said was a very remote possibility. “Really, we already have a major catastrophe in the state and that’s called our schools falling apart, our roads falling apart and we should be fixing those things,” he said. “Not living in some fantasy world worrying about some unquantified attack or some disaster that’s not gonna happen.”

Survival gear expert Tim Ralston of Scottsdale, Ariz., however, said that there are simple things that can be done to give people “peace of mind.” “The food, the water, everything has to do with electricity. And an EMP in an instant would shut that all off,” he said. Ralston said that less than 15 percent of the Arizona population is prepared for an electrical disruption of 30 days or more. “I think it’s fantastic,” Ralston said of the new law. “I think any time we can take a proactive step to help people become more self-reliant it will help that transition.”

Arizona has taken a lead in moving on the EMP issue.

In February 2013, Congressman Trent Franks introduced the SHIELD Act in the House of Representatives and established in the U.S. House of Representatives the EMP Caucus. The Shield Act stands for Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage. It calls on industry and government to develop, promulgate and implement standards and processes that are necessary to address the electric grid’s current vulnerabilities and shortcomings that would be affected by an EMP.

Franks has been trying to get the SHIELD Act into law since 2011. In the last session of Congress, it passed the House but failed in the Senate. His efforts stem from findings of the congressional EMP commission which spelled out in considerable detail the cascading impact of an EMP on the electrical grid system and its catastrophic impact on life-sustaining critical infrastructures that depend on it.

Experts agree that if there were an EMP event, the U.S. could see some 90 percent of its population affected. Experts believe food, water, energy and other supply systems could be unoperational, possibly for periods extending to years.

Arizona is but the latest state to take action due to the failure of the federal government to address the EMP issue. Last June, Maine passed and the governor signed legislation ordering its grid to be hardened against an EMP. The law not only requires preparation against a natural or man-made EMP, but it encourages other states to take a similar initiative.

Other states, including New York, Texas, North Carolina and Missouri, also are considering EMP legislation.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has failed to look at EMP as a major threat in its 15 planning scenarios, even though DHS officials have testified before Congress that they are very aware of the consequences of an EMP event, whether natural or man-made.