War

Quote For The Week

“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”

-Ernest Hemingway (American author and journalist. 1899-1961)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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North Korean EMP Weapon That Can Strike U.S. For Real?

There’s been increased chatter about the North Koreans having the capability of attacking the United States using an electromagnetic pulse weapon that could fry electronics and power grids. From F. Michael Maloof on the independent news website WorldNetDaily (WND.com) yesterday:

A long-suppressed report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for the Defense Department concludes that North Korea could deliver on its threats to destroy the United States with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.

The report remains blocked from release to the American public.

However, a copy obtained by Peter Vincent Pry from sources within DHS finds North Korea could use its Unha-3 space launch vehicle to deliver a nuclear warhead as a satellite over the South Pole to attack the U.S. from the south…

Pry said that an EMP attack on the U.S. would not have to originate from North Korea but could be a missile, such as the SA-2, launched from a freighter off the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts. At that point, there would be no missile defense capable of halting such an event.

With a missile launched from a freighter, it could be difficult to identify who is responsible for an attack.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“EMP Bomb Threat Video”
YouTube Video

Peter Vincent Pry. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember his name, as I blogged back on March 8, 2013:

Enter Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards. Dr. Pry, a former intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, wrote on the Family Security Matters website on February 26:

The West consistently and unwittingly cooperates with North Korea and Iran by underestimating the advancement, sophistication, and strategic implications of their nuclear weapon and missile programs.

Despite North Korea’s successful long-range missile test in December 2012, and now its third successful nuclear test on February 12, 2013, the Obama administration and the press keep reassuring the American people that North Korea is not yet a fully fledged nuclear weapons state – that a North Korean nuclear missile threat to the United States is still years in the future.

The facts do not support this judgment. North Korea is already a major nuclear threat to the United States–an existential threat.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dr. Pry went on to say:

North Korea now appears to be armed with a FOBS capability to make a surprise nuclear attack against the United States–or against any and all nations on Earth–with Super-EMP.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

FOBS? Super-EMP? The author of Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe explained:

A Super-EMP warhead is a nuclear weapon specially designed to produce an enormous burst of gamma rays that generates an extraordinarily powerful electromagnetic pulse, capable of destroying even the best protected electronics, thereby paralyzing military forces and blacking out power grids and collapsing critical infrastructures everywhere–across an entire nation the size of the United States…

During the Cold War, the USSR experimented with a secret weapon, the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), that used an ICBM like a Space Launch Vehicle to put a nuclear warhead into orbit, like a satellite. Instead of using the ICBM to lob the warhead on a more accurate arcing ballistic trajectory, flying along the shortest range to target, like an artillery shell, the FOBS lofted the warhead into a “fractional” or partial orbit, sacrificing accuracy for limitless range.

FOBS could reach any nation or threaten any target anywhere on Earth.

A Super-EMP warhead does not weigh much, and could probably be delivered by North Korea’s Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, successfully tested in December 2012, against any nation on Earth. Thus, North Korea already possesses an ICBM and poses a mortal nuclear threat to the United States, and to all nations on Earth–right now.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Scary stuff.

By the way, I noticed Maloof, like Pry, also has a book out on the subject, entitled A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Malood, F. Michael. “DHS study: North Korea capable of EMP attack on U.S.” WorldNetDaily. 9 Apr. 2014. (http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/dhs-study-north-korea-capable-of-emp-attack-on-u-s/?cat_orig=world). 10 Apr. 2014.

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U.S. Security Experts Wary Of American Fighters Returning From Syrian Civil War

Back on December 2, I blogged:

I suspect it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. homeland is attacked once again by Al-Qaeda (major operation), an affiliate, or sympathizers.

Complicating matters is the potential for radicalized Americans and European Union member state passport-carrying jihadists fighting in Syria’s civil war soon being part of this fray…

These radicalized foreign fighters were the focus of a piece that appeared on the International Business Times (UK) website Sunday. Tom Porter reported:

Experts have warned that a terrorist attack by jihadists returning radicalised from the war in Syria is “inevitable”.

It is believed that hundreds of British citizens have fought in the three-year Syrian conflict, with many taking up arms for Islamist groups.

Some have posted videos online, boasting of their exploits.

There are growing fears among security services that returning fighters with combat experience are poised to launch terrorist attacks in the UK. The Telegraph reports that around 250 Syria veterans may be back in the country.

Ahead of a discussion on Syrian fighters at Chatham House this week, Raffaello Pantucci, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, spoke of the growing danger.

“It seems almost inevitable that some sort of a threat back to the UK will come off the battlefield in Syria, something supported by the fact that security services in the UK believe they have already disrupted at least one plot with links to Syria,” he told the Independent on Sunday.

Last year, security forces are reported to have foiled a Mumbai-style plot, involving killing civilians with guns in central London, which involved Syria veterans

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Even though Porter talked about the U.K., Syrian Civil War veterans who fought alongside Islamists will also be returning to the United States.

And U.S. security experts are wary of them.

Henry Austin and Charlene Gubash reported on the NBC News website back on February 15:

Foreign fighters returning home to the U.S., Britain and other countries after honing their skills in Syria’s civil war are posing a “nightmare for security services,” experts and officials say.

About 11,000 people have crossed into Syria seeking to help topple President Bashar Assad’s regime – including about 60 who are believed to have traveled from America. However, many have now been left disillusioned by bitter infighting between rival rebel groups and some have given up their weapons and returned to the West.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson earlier this month said that the U.S. government was “very focused” on the issue of militants returning to the country.

“Based on our work and the work of our international partners, we know individuals from the U.S., Canada and Europe are traveling to Syria to fight in the conflict,” he added.

Raffaello Pantucci, a senior research fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute think tank, said recent history shows that “battlefields that have Sunni jihadist ideology have produced some sort of a threat.”

“It’s not true to say that all of those returning from Syria will come back and be a terrorist threat,” Pantucci added. “Perhaps a couple of them will, which makes it a nightmare for security services to track.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Some suspect Muslim extremists have been trying hard to recruit Western Caucasian members for some time now to use in terrorist operations against the United States and its allies in the “War On Terror.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Porter, Tom. “Experts Warn of ‘Inevitable’ UK Terror Attack By Returning Syria Jihadis.” International Business Times. 6 Apr. 2014. (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/experts-warn-inevitable-uk-terror-attack-by-returning-syria-jihadis-1443631). 7 Apr. 2014.

Austin, Henry and Gubash, Charlene. “Syria’s American-Born Rebels Pose National Security ‘Nightmare’.” NBC News. 15 Feb. 2014. (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/syrias-american-born-rebels-pose-national-security-nightmare-n29451). 7 Apr. 2014.

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Al-Qaeda Magazine Lists Willis (Sears) Tower, Chicago Board Of Trade As Potential Car Bomb Targets

I spotted the following on TV the other night while watching the news on Chicago’s ABC affiliate ABC7. Investigative reporter Chuck Goudie wrote Saturday on the station’s website:

Two Chicago landmarks are called out by name as suggested car bomb targets for al Qaeda sympathizers in a newly-released Inspire magazine, the publication considered required reading for American jihadists.

“America is our first target” are the un-minced words in the Spring 2014 edition of Inspire, the first publication from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in nearly one year.

The magazine offers a detailed, illustrated recipe for constructing a car bomb “in a few hours,” securing it in a vehicle and then detonating it. “It allows Muslims to train at home instead of risking dangerous travel abroad” explains the just-posted online instruction manual that requires easily purchased components.

“This type of car bomb is not usually used to destroy buildings, but is very effective in killing individuals.”

Two Chicago buildings are listed prominently by al Qaeda as locations where car bombs could accomplish that:

1. Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower), 108-story skyscraper, it held the title tallest building in the world for about 25 years.
2. The Chicago Board of Trade Building

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In the ABC7 I-Team report, Goudie pointed out other suggested U.S. car bomb targets included Washington, D.C, Northern Virginia, New York, and Los Angeles.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Al-Qaeda, an affiliate, or devotee(s) carries out another terrorist attack within the United States.

That being said, as long as there’s still a sizable U.S. troop presence in the Middle East, I can’t help but feel that presents a much more “attractive” target to the jihadists.

Once they come home however, I suspect we’ll see attention shift to the “homeland.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Goudie, Chuck. “Chicago targets in terrorist crosshairs, new al Qaeda magazine Inspire says.” ABC7. 15 Mar. 2014. (http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=9467587). 20 Mar. 2014.

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Welcome To Cold War 2

There’s been quite a bit of talk in the mainstream media these days about Russia and the United States being in a new “Cold War.”

As if the Syrian crisis didn’t provide a hint.

In “honor” of Cold War 2, I thought I’d bust out this Elton John classic for readers (I’ve never been a big fan of Elton John, but liked this tune since I first heard it back in the mid-eighties):


Elton John, “Nikita” (1985)
YouTube Video

Even though I first saw this video in 1985, it took me 29 years to realize Elton John was operating the windows of the Rolls Royce Corniche as if the convertible top was on. It wasn’t. Funny guy.

And because I didn’t see the film version of Tommy until 1994, I didn’t realize John had reprised his role as The Pinball Wizard when I first watched the music video on MTV 9 years earlier.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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How Prepping Saved Many Alsatian Jews From the Nazis

Back when I was in high school, I was given an assignment that involved researching my family’s history. I decided to talk to my grandmother about the project, and she provided me a good deal of information. I knew we had been around Chicago since its early years. And that my family came from a number of Western European countries prior to that, including a branch that resided in the region of Alsace-Lorraine- sometimes a part of France, other times Germany. It was these ancestors I thought of the other day when I stumbled upon a November 10, 2013, article in The Times Of Israel entitled “Anticipating the Nazis, Alsace Jews prepared for the worst.” Cnan Liphshiz wrote:

His hearing isn’t what it used to be, but Georges Loinger still remembers Adolf Hitler’s voice emanating from the radio at his Strasbourg home.

Growing up in the heavily Germanic Alsace region of eastern France, Loinger and his family tuned in regularly to broadcasts of Hitler’s speeches. They heard his “electrifying voice” and the plans he had in store for the Jews of Europe.

So when the Nazis’ anti-Jewish propaganda turned to deadly violence on Kristallnacht, the pogrom unleashed on the Jews of Germany and Austria 75 years November 10, the Jews of Strasbourg were ready.

“We had read Nazi propaganda,” said Loinger, 103, who fought in the French resistance. “We spoke to hundreds of Jewish refugees from Germany. We knew what was coming.”

Historians say the knowledge, unusual for Jewish communities outside Germany and Austria, made the 20,000 Jews of Alsace and nearby Lorraine better prepared to face the forthcoming Nazi occupation.

The community was able to help German Jews, hide heritage assets and private possessions and, most important, survive. Ten percent of the Jewish population of Alsace and Lorraine perished in the Holocaust, compared to 22 percent elsewhere in France…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Liphshiz pointed out that between 1934 and 1941, Alsatian Jews banded together to protect themselves and help others in advance of and at the onset of the Nazis arrival in the region.

Lucien Lazare, a historian at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, was also quoted in the piece. Lazare’s family was one of those living in the area prior to the German takeover. Liphshiz added:

Like many Alsatian Jews, Lazare’s family sold their home and other valuables months before the Nazi invasion. Within hours of the arrival of the German army in 1940, the family was prepared to go into hiding

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Great article. With plenty of valuable lessons applicable to preppers today, including:

• Keep up on current events (while filtering out the nonsense, of course)
• Seek knowledge about possible threats
• Put together a plan
• Be mentally-prepared to follow through with the plan
• And last but not least, take care of the community and others seeking help when possible

You can read the rest of Liphshiz’s article on The Times Of Israel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 Europe, Preparedness, War No Comments

U.S. Special Ops Chief Warns Of ‘Broader Threat’ From Al-Qaeda

U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven, commander of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), talked to the House Armed Services Committee last Thursday about the threat of terrorism posed by Al-Qaeda. SOCOM is charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Component Commands of the various braches of the U.S. armed forces. Admiral McRaven warned:

Core Al-Qaeda has gotten markedly weaker. The threat that was emanating out of the federally-administrated tribal areas with the support of other government agencies and the support of the Pakistanis- we have really decimated the core Al-Qaeda. So I would tell you, that threat is significantly decreased.

But of course, what we’ve seen is the franchise elements begin to pop up… So these franchises are beginning to grow up. However, having said that, I think what we see is a broader threat. But the high-end piece that we saw from Al-Qaeda is not as prevalent as it used to be.

So the threat is metastasizing. It is much more broad. But I would tell you that the threat to the homeland- with one or two exceptions- is less today than it was certainly five or ten years ago when core Al-Qaeda was stronger.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I did a quick search on the Internet this morning for those “one or two exceptions,” but found nothing. Wish Admiral McRaven could have elaborated on these in the interest of public safety.


“Special Ops Chief: Threat From al Qaeda is ‘Much More Broad’ Today”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Quotes For The Week

“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

-2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, speaking at a rally in a Reno, Nevada, on October 21 of that year

“Back in 2008, I accurately predicted the possibility of Putin feeling emboldened to invade Ukraine because I could see what kind of leader Barack Obama would be. The bullies of the world are always emboldened by indecision and moral equivalence. We can expect more of this sort of thing in a world where America is gutting its military and ‘leading from behind.’”

-Sarah Palin, speaking to Todd Starnes of FOX News Friday

Speak softly and carry a big stick, my friends.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Americans And ‘EU Passport’-Holding Jihadists Fighting In Syria Scrutinized As Potential Terrorists

I suspect it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. homeland is attacked once again by Al-Qaeda (major operation), an affiliate, or sympathizers.

Complicating matters is the potential for radicalized Americans and European Union member state passport-carrying jihadists fighting in Syria’s civil war soon being part of this fray.

Emery Dalesio of the Associated Press reported on The Christian Science Monitor website this past Saturday:

Federal officials say Americans are joining the bloody civil war in Syria, raising the chances they could become radicalized by Al Qaeda-linked militant groups and return to the U.S. as battle-hardened security risks.

The State Department says it has no estimates of how many Americans have taken up weapons to fight military units loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in the 3-year-old war that has killed more than 100,000 people. Other estimates — from an arm of the British defense consultant IHS Jane’s and from experts at a nonprofit think tank in London — put the number of Americans at a couple dozen.

“A couple dozen.”

You may recall that only ten members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani terrorist organization, attacked the Taj Mahal Palace hotel and other sites in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, between November 26 and November 29, 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.

Granted, just because these Americans are fighting alongside Muslim extremists (among others) in Syria doesn’t mean they’re automatically terrorists. Still, federal agencies are concerned.


“American Mujahid with Chechen Mujahidin fights in Syrian against Bashar”
YouTube Video

There are also worries over 1,000 or so EU member state passport holders who have also taken up arms in Syria. Vadim Fersovich reported on The Voice Of Russia website on November 25:

Of the 5,000 to 10,000 “foreign” mercenaries, about 1,000 “jihadists” carry EU passports, according to a classified report by the German Intelligence Service (Der Spiegel, October 21st ). But that thousand is made up of dozens, perhaps, hundreds (at the most) of nationals of different countries. Some of them will die in Syria; others will choose not to return. But those who will come back will move to their homes, so the hundreds will again break down into isolated people. Experts believe that an overwhelming majority of those who will buy the return ticket have for good lost interest in dangerous adventures because of actual fierce fighting. The insurgents realize that back home, security agencies are quite effective, while the number of those thinking along the same lines as terrorists is incommensurably small.

Of course, even individual terrorists pose a threat, given that they can use their passports to freely travel about Europe and the United States. According to a former CIA analyst, Michael Scheuer, they return home with a list of their mujahedeen buddies who may give advice and/or help out with the money, if necessary.

(Editor’s notes: Italics added for emphasis)

It should be pointed out that not all “EU passport” holders can “freely travel” around the United States. The U.S. State Department explains such restrictions on their website here.

Regardless, continued vigilance is still required to combat the threat of terrorism now- and maybe even more so- in the future.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dalesio, Emery P. “FBI warns about Americans joining Islamic fighters in Syria.” Associated Press. 30 Nov. 2013. (http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/r14/World/Latest-News-Wires/2013/1130/FBI-warns-about-Americans-joining-Islamic-fighters-in-Syria). 2 Dec. 2013.

Fersovich, Vadim. “Is Jihad likely in the West?” The Voice Of Russia. 25 Nov. 2013. (http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_11_25/Is-Jihad-likely-in-the-West-0430/). 2 Dec. 2013.

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Quote- No, Headlines- For The Week

Something different for readers this week. Instead of a quote, here’s two news headlines which made my eyes roll upon spotting them this weekend…

“Dow 20,000 here we come: It’s different this time”

-MarketWatch.com, November 22, 2013

“It’s different this time.”

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard this phrase uttered over the years as some asset bubble was being inflated.

It’s not just me either.

From Michael Kling on the Moneynews website back on May 23, 2013:

Time and again, as stock prices continue rising to unsustainable heights, stock enthusiasts have preached, “This time is different.”

And it’s not just stocks either.

From Charles Hugh Smith on LewRockwell.com this past Halloween:

Defenders of current real estate valuations can draw upon an array of justifications, but they boil down to the same one used to justify valuations in every asset bubble: this time it’s different.

As for my two cents? Like I commented on a Chicago Tribune article last week, it’s my belief that after the economic crisis reared it’s ugly head in the fall of 2008, home prices nose-dived, and the “Great Recession” took hold, Washington and the Fed only managed to paper over the situation and monetary policy was designed to inflate a new asset bubble (or two, what the hell) to “save” the U.S. economy and larger financial system. Subsequently, we find ourselves immersed in QE Infinity and what some of those who correctly-predicted the “Panic of ’08″ and housing crash see as new bubbles forming in residential real estate and equities.

I don’t envision this ending well.

Speaking of the Tribune, here’s another headline that made me cackle in disbelief.

“Breakthrough deal curbs Iran’s nuclear activity”

-Chicago Tribune website, November 24, 2013

All I can say about this hopium-infused headline is that I expect one of two scenarios down the road:

1. Downtown Tehran packed to the gills as the Islamic Republic of Iran parades its first nuclear weapon for the entire world to see. Those in the know understand state actors in this region of the world can only salivate over the prospect of having a nuke in their arsenal- Iran included. Realpolitik, people.

2. A mushroom cloud over an Israeli or U.S. city. If the technology/opportunity presents itself, an electromagnetic pulse originating from a nuclear device detonated in the atmosphere over one of these countries (more bang for the buck).

Of course, all bets are off over these two scenarios taking place if some one (the Israelis?) take out Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities with military force.

Question is, is that even possible anymore given the time Iran has had?

Again, there’s others who think the claim that the interim pact reached betwen Iran and China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States “curbs Iran’s nuclear activity” is one big joke.

Enter Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, “the world’s foremost value investor” with a net worth of $20 billion as of March 2013 according to Forbes magazine. Here’s what the Saudi royal had to say about a potential deal with Iran. From Jeffrey Goldberg on Bloomberg.com Friday night:

“There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran,” he told me, with a directness that would make Benjamin Netanyahu blush. “We’re really concerned — Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries — about this.”

It is quite something for a Saudi royal to state baldly that his country is part of a tacit alliance with Israel, but Saudi leaders, like Israel’s leaders, are frantic with worry that an overeager Obama will accede to Iran’s desire to become a threshold state, one whose nuclear program is so advanced that it would only need several weeks to assemble a deliverable weapon. Alwaleed, like Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, believes that Iran, in its ongoing negotiations with the world’s major powers, will pocket whatever sanctions relief it gets without committing to ending its nuclear program. “Why are they offering relief?” he asked. “Keep the pressure on. Sanctions are what brought about the negotiations to begin with! Why not keep the pressure up?”

Obama, Alwaleed says, is a man who is in desperate political straits and needs a victory — any victory — to right his presidency. “Obama is in so much of a rush to have a deal with Iran,” he said. “He wants anything. He’s so wounded. It’s very scary. Look, the 2014 elections are going to begin. Within two stamonths they’re going to start campaigning. Thirty-nine members of his own party in the House have already moved away from him on Obamacare. That’s scary for him.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Note Goldberg’s headline for his Bloomberg piece:

“Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Saavy Saudi Prince”

Iran is “playing” Obama and many others, judging by the buzz being reported in the mainstream media this Sunday.

Not me. I just can’t see Dow 20,000 being sustained just yet or Iran’s nuclear aspirations being curbed through diplomacy any time soon.

Sources:

Kling, Michael. “New Yorker: No Stock Bubble- This Time Is Different.” Moneynews.com. 23 May 2013. (http://www.moneynews.com/InvestingAnalysis/stock-market-bubble-different/2013/05/23/id/506002). 24 May 2013.

Smith, Charles Hugh. “What Real Estate Bubble? Oh, You Mean the One That’s Bigger Than the 2007 Bubble?” LewRockwell.com. 31 Oct. 2013. (http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/10/charles-hugh-smith/what-real-estate-bubble/). 24 Nov. 2013.

Goldberg, Jeffrey. “Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Savvy Saudi Prince.” Bloomberg.com. 22 Nov. 2013. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/iran-is-playing-obama-says-savvy-saudi-prince.html). 24 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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In Print: SAS Survival Handbook

I can’t believe it’s been almost two-and-a-half years since I last published a book review post.

Where does the time go, right?

Now, I recently got the chance to read John “Lofty” Wiseman’s SAS Survival Handbook. I picked this book to restart my “In Print” series because I’m in the process of adding survival-related texts to my home library. Prior to this purchase, the closest thing I had to it subject-wise was my trusty old Official Boy Scout Handbook from 1983.

There are a number of survival manuals out there, including the U.S. Army Survival Handbook, the U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook, and others. There were some pretty impressive reviews floating around out there on this SAS book, so I decided to pick up the 2009 revised edition of the text. From the back cover:

FOR ANY CLIMATE, IN ANY SITUATION

Newly updated to reflect the latest in survival knowledge and technology, the internationally bestselling SAS Survival Handbook is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. From basic campcraft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster, this complete course includes:

BEING PREPARED: Understanding basic survival needs and preparing essentials, such as a pocket survival kit.

MAKING CAMP: Finding the best location, constructing the appropriate shelter, organizing camp, and creating tools.

FOOD: What to eat, what to avoid, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

FIRST AID: A comprehensive course in emergency/wilderness medicine, including how to maximize survival in any climate or when injured.

DISASTER SURVIVAL: How to react in the face of increasingly frequent natural disasters and hostile situations—and how to survive at home if all services and supplies are cut off.

So who is John “Lofty” Wiseman? According to the back cover:

Wiseman served in the British Special Air Service (SAS) for twenty-six years. The SAS Survival Handbook is based on the training techniques of this world-famous elite fighting force.

A clearer picture of who the author is and what kind of survival knowledge he brings to the table with him in this handbook is found on the website of the Trueways Survival School, with whom Wiseman is an instructor. From that site:

John “Lofty” Wiseman joined the Parachute Regiment in 1958. He applied for service with the Special Air Service Regiment in 1959 and set a record as the youngest person ever to pass selection at the age of 18. John served with 22 SAS for 26 years (and, as he likes to point out, 55 days)! He saw active service worldwide, in every theatre of operations and special operations required of the British Army between 1959 and 1985. Amongst other things, John was Sergeant Major, B Squadron (Sabre Sqn) 22 SAS, Sergeant Major 22 SAS Training Wing, Head of Operational Research 22 SAS, set up the SP Team (Counter Hi-Jack), set up the SAS Counter-Terrorist Team (you know…those chaps who ended the Iranian Embassy siege) and trained the first members of the US Green Berets to return to the USA to form the famous Delta Force (US Special Forces). John also ran the famed SAS Selection Course, deciding who was fit to join the Regiment. By the time he retired from active service in 1985, he was held in such high esteem that it could be said of him, to directly quote the Commanding Officer of 22 SAS at the time, “Lofty is a legend in this Regiment”.

In addition, John ran the Survival Training School for 22 SAS at Hereford, specialising in all aspects of survival training (land, sea, jungle, desert, arctic, mountains – wherever a special forces soldier or civilian might find themselves). After retiring from 22 Special Air Service Regiment, John set up the Survival School at Hereford. John has trained survival instructors and consultants, expedition members, overseas survival training specialists, military and civilian.

Really impressive stuff.

Onto the 576-page book. It’s broken down into the following chapters:

Introduction
1. Essentials
2. Strategy
3. Climate & Terrain
4. Food
5. Camp Craft
6. Reading The Signs
7. On The Move
8. Health
9. Survival At Sea
10. Rescue
11. Disasters
Postscript
Index

In the introduction, Wiseman lays out a solid foundation for understanding survival from which readers are to work from. He says:

Survival depends upon applying basic principles and adapting them to the circumstances. These basic principles form an essential pyramid of learning for the survivor.

Think of a pyramid divided into three layers (largest one being the base, smallest being the tip), where the bottom-most layer is the “Will to live,” the middle being “Knowledge,” and the top-most layer is “Kit.”

In the next chapter, entitled “Essentials,” the former SAS survival instructor points out:

Survival is the art of staying alive. Any equipment you have must be considered a bonus.

Wiseman adds:

The main elements of survival are Food, Fire, Shelter, Water, Navigation and Medicine. To put these in order of priority we use the acronym PLAN. No matter where you are in the world this will never change be it in the Arctic, desert, jungle, sea or seashore.

PLAN stands for (P)rotection from further danger/elements, (L)ocation in terms of alerting rescuers to your position, (A)cquisition of food and water while waiting to be rescued, and (N)avigation where “good navigation will keep you en route and will often avert a survival situation.”

I just love when someone with so much knowledge about a subject can break things down and keep it simple for the rest of us.

The chapter goes on to talk about the “essentials” for survival- being prepared, research, planning, equipment, and the unexpected. It also goes into great detail about survival kits (“a few key items” stored in a tin), the “survival pouch” (“too large to carry in your pocket like your survival tin but kept where it can be grabbed quickly in an emergency”), and knives, before finishing up with a discussion about facing disaster, water, and salt.

The Intro and “Essentials” chapters serve as the launching point for the rest of the handbook, so readers are best served understanding what Wiseman is trying to get across in this section, practicing it, and putting together/acquiring the items he prescribes, especially if the text is being used as a “complete course” as mentioned on the back cover.

The remainder of the SAS Survival Handbook is chock-full of “how-to” information covering those topics broken down above. The accompanying illustrations are both color and black-and-white, and are detailed adequately enough.

I found Chapter 11, “Disasters,” particularly interesting. Drought, fire, chemical and biological warfare, gases and chemicals, flood, hurricane, tornado, lightning, earthquake, volcano, and nuclear explosion are covered, in addition to something called “Home Front.” Wiseman writes in the chapter intro:

Home front faces the problems of coping with survival on your own doorstep if the services and supplies on which we normally depend are cut off.

Wiseman reminds us:

You do not have to be miles away from civilization to be caught in a survival situation. Natural disaster, civil disturbance or military action could cut you off from all the usual services and food supplies. Until they can be re-established, you would be left to manage on your own resources and skills.

The former SAS survival instructor goes on to talk about food stores, priorities, water, fire, food, shelter, and hygiene in such a scenario.

In summary, I really liked this latest edition of the SAS Survival Handbook. Granted, I’m not a survival expert whose knowledgeable enough to point out any shortfalls tucked away in the nearly 600 pages of text and illustrations, nor do I really have anything else to compare it to (unless you count that Official Boy Scout Handbook, in which case, it’s the BSA handbook on steroids). But I do know this. The SAS book has tons and tons of information that I, personally, would want on-tap in case TSHTF. Not only is John “Lofty” Wiseman’s survival reference book a welcome addition to my home library, but I’m thinking about getting the 384-page pocket-size SAS Survival Guide by Wiseman to review as well with an eye towards throwing it in my future bug-out bag that I’ll be putting together down the road as part of my “Project Prepper” series of posts.

The SAS Survival Handbook is available for purchase on the Barnes & Noble website hereicon (all orders for eligible items amounting to $25 or more still qualify for free shipping within the U.S.). Please note by clicking on the link and making a purchase I receive a commission on the sale.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Title added to “Resources” page)

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FBI Director: ‘Risk Of That Spectacular Attack In The Homeland Is Significantly Lower’ Than Before 9/11

I heard that FBI Director James B. Comey was on Capitol Hill yesterday speaking before Congress. I was curious to find out what he had to say about potential terrorist threats out there. Timothy M. Phelps reported on the Los Angeles Times website yesterday:

The terrorist threat to Americans is greater overseas than at home and is significantly lower than before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, continuing a years-long trend, U.S. officials told a Senate committee Thursday…

“Because we took the fight to the enemy and got our act together in the last 12 years in very, very important ways, the risk of that spectacular attack in the homeland is significantly lower than it was before 9/11,” Comey told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Randy Beers shared Director Comey’s assessment and was quoted by the Times as saying:

The dispersion of the Al Qaeda brand in North Africa, in Yemen, in Somalia and in other places- and as it is appearing to manifest in Syria now- means that the kinds of activities that will be undertaken are likely to be undertaken overseas, rather than directed against the homeland.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

While what Comey and Beers said makes sense concerning terrorist activities are more likely to be directed at American interests overseas, I can’t help but think this is only for the time being. From what I’ve taken away from Middle East terror experts, it’s just a whole lot easier for the bad guys to stay local and fight Americans in Afghanistan, for example, than attempting to infiltrate the U.S. homeland and pull something big off there. And according to the Associated Press on November 3:

Washington is expected to keep about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014, provided the security agreement is signed and includes immunity from prosecution by Afghan courts.

So this scenario might continue on for a while.

Still, it must remembered that Al-Qaeda’s stated objective still remains the following (as noted by the Director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Graham T. Allison, in a Council on Foreign Relations debate back on April 20, 2007):

Al-Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith has stated al-Qaeda’s objective: “to kill 4 million Americans—2 million of them children—and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Which, if you think about, really leaves Al-Qaeda no choice but to attack the U.S. ‘homeland” sooner or later in order to achieve such numbers, provided they have the capability of doing so of course.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Phelps, Timothy M. “Officials say terrorist threat on U.S. soil is declining.” Los Angeles Times. 14 Nov. 2013. (http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-us-terrorist-threat-declines-20131114,0,2603061.story#axzz2kj9HI8Ps). 15 Nov. 2013.

“American, NATO officials offer mixed reports on readiness of Afghan troops ahead of withdrawal.” Associated Press. 3 Nov. 2013. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/11/03/american-nato-officials-offer-mixed-reports-on-readiness-afghan-troops-ahead/). 15 Nov. 2013.

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One World Trade Center Terror-Resistant?

Yesterday, Chicagoans found out that New York City’s One World Trade Center will unseat Willis (formerly Sears) Tower as the tallest building in the country once it’s completed.

By the way, when did the skyscraper’s name change from “Freedom Tower” to One World Trade Center?

Chris Kokanes reported on the CNN website back on March 27, 2009:

“We’ve referred to the primary building planned for the site as One World Trade Center — its legal name and street address — for almost two years now, as well as using the name the Freedom Tower,” said Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the Port Authority, in a statement released to CNN. “Many will always refer to it as the Freedom Tower, but as the building moves out of the planning stage and into full construction and leasing, we believe that going forward it is most practical to market the building as One World Trade Center.”

Okay. Seeing that Al-Qaeda attacked the original 1 World Trade Center (North Tower) and 2 World Trade Center (South Tower) in 1993 and 2001, I suspect the 1,776-foot building might very well be a mouth-watering target for these terrorists, perhaps wanting to demonstrate to the world they can keep such an iconic structure from rising from the ashes of its predecessors.

Which leads me to ask another question- what terror-resistant features are built into the new One World Trade Center?

Mara Grunbaum wrote on the Discover magazine website on September 8, 2011:

Security measures begin at ground level with a 186-foot base built to withstand a blast more powerful than the 1993 car bombing, which, according to the NYPD, was equivalent to 900 pounds of TNT. While the frame of the Twin Towers was erected entirely of steel, the base of the new building, as well as a core running up its center, will be forged from 5.4 million cubic feet of concrete, enough to fill 60 Olympic-size swimming pools. The concrete mix can withstand pressure of up to 15,000 pounds per square inch and is the toughest ever used for a New York City building. Its strength comes from a combination of reinforcing steel rods, a newly developed mix of materials, and a high-tech curing process. The chemical reactions that bolster concrete as it hardens are very sensitive to temperature, so as the mix is poured, engineers drop in microchip thermometers that wirelessly relay temperature readings.

The building’s surrounding steel frame will be just as tough. When planes struck the Twin Towers in 2001, the floors located just below the impact buckled beneath the weight above, setting off a domino effect that led to a total collapse. One World Trade will feature beams and columns welded and bolted together to distribute the weight, so that if any two columns fail, the rest can pick up the slack.

Grunbaum also added that of the 70 elevators planned, 5 will clock-out at 23 miles per hour, taking only 1 minute to reach the top floor of the 105-story skyscraper.

While I’d like to think these anti-terrorism features at the new One World Trade Center building won’t be tested by the bad guys, something tells me they very well might be.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Kokenes, Chris. “Owners drop Freedom Tower name for new WTC skyscraper.” CNN. 27 Mar. 2009. (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/27/no.freedom.tower/). 13 Nov. 2013.

Grunbaum, Mara. “The New WTC Tower: Tough on Terrorists, Easy on the Eyes.” Discover. 8 Sep. 2011. (http://discovermagazine.com/2011/oct/06-new-wtc-tower-tough-terrorists-easy-eyes#.UoQumeL4Lq9). 13 Nov. 2013.

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Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 Public Safety, Religion, Security, Terrorism, War No Comments

On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Fight Ahead’ Preview

A week ago, I blogged about the start of season 3 of the National Geographic Channel’s hit TV series Doomsday Preppers. I noted that I was able to get an advance screening DVD of the first two episodes for the new season. Before it airs tonight at 9 PM ET, I want to preview episode 2 of Doomsday Preppers, entitled, “The Fight Ahead.” From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Prepper Chad believes that a nuclear strike resulting in a genocidal siege is a real possibility. At his home in Arizona, he is working on executing the biggest prep of his life- a 140-foot-long escape tunnel from his family’s house to a bug-out vehicle. With the help of his wife and daughter, he begins construction. But as the project unfolds, they realize they’re in over their heads.

In addition to Chad Hudspeth, his wife Debbie, and daughters Heidi and Holly out in Phoenix, there’s Mike Evock and his family out in Laurinburg, North Carolina, who are prepping for a biological/chemical attack.


“Tunnel Time”
YouTube Video

I watched the “The Fight Ahead” a couple of weeks ago and thought it was pretty good, especially as it contained a bunch of potential prepping ideas. Keep an eye out for the following tonight:

-The Hudspeth’s backyard aquaponics system, which also generates algae for producing biodiesel fuel
-The addition of an underground shelter with escape tunnel to the Hudspeth home
-The family’s use of a single code word to signal TSHTF
-The Evock’s being able to run a family business from their bug-out location
-Their BioDome, a portable sealed-off safe room that protects against biological/chemical attack
-Their combat-capable ATV, the “Interceptor”
-How to produce homemade caltrops, a tire-deflating device made from spiked steel

Like I said- lots on potential ideas in this episode.

One more thing. I noticed that while Practical Preppers LLC is still assessing the preppers featured in the TV series, I didn’t see any scores displayed for them at the end of the first two episodes of the third season. I wonder if it’s because I’m viewing copies that are “not cleared for broadcast.”

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the National Geographic Channel here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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U.S. Military Commanders Being Purged By Obama Administration?

“But as I’ve already said, I have had my military and our team look at a wide range of options.”

-U.S. President Barack Obama, in a statement to the media regarding the Syrian crisis, August 30, 2013

“My military.” Nice.

Champaign, Illinois. Fall 1992. I’m sitting in a Soviet history class I’m taking at the University of Illinois when I learn more about the purges of Joseph Stalin. One of these purges really caught my attention- that of the military. In 1937, the commander-in-chief of the Red Army and seven leading generals were shot. In 1938 and 1939, every admiral and half the Army’s officers were either executed or imprisoned.

Is there any surprise Nazi Germany did so well early on in its military campaign against the U.S.S.R.?

So why do I bring up Stalin’s purge of the Soviet military in the days before World War 2? Well, something I read this weekend on the Investor’s Business Daily website reminded me of it. From an October 29 editorial:

Yet what has happened to our officer corps since President Obama took office is viewed in many quarters as unprecedented, baffling and even harmful to our national security posture. We have commented on some of the higher profile cases, such as Gen. Carter Ham. He was relieved as head of U.S. Africa Command after only a year and a half because he disagreed with orders not to mount a rescue mission in response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.

Rear Adm. Chuck Gaouette, commander of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, was relieved in October 2012 for disobeying orders when he sent his group on Sept. 11 to “assist and provide intelligence for” military forces ordered into action by Gen. Ham.

Other removals include the sacking of two nuclear commanders in a single week — Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, head of the 20th Air Force, responsible for the three wings that maintain control of the 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the No. 2 officer at U.S. Strategic Command.

From Breitbart.com’s Facebook page comes a list of at least 197 officers that have been relieved of duty by President Obama for a laundry list of reasons and sometimes with no reason given…

Nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the Obama administration this year, leading to speculation by active and retired members of the military that a purge of its commanders is under way.

(Editor’s notes: Italics added for emphasis)

A purge of United States military commanders by Barack Obama?

Well, it’s been nowhere near the “cleaning house” of 35,000 military officers that was carried out by Comrade Stalin in the late 1930s- that’s for sure.

Although, President Obama does still have 1,172 days left before he departs the Oval Office.

I can understand these officers being removed from their posts for incompetence or something like that. But if the firings are being carried out without cause and over differences in political views, for example, the American public should be worried as our national security is at stake at a time in the world where growing threats coincide with significant budget cuts for the military. Back on October 21, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno even revealed that only two Army brigades are combat-ready these days. A U.S. Army brigade’s strength typically ranges from 2,500 to 4,000 personnel.

As far as I can tell, General Odierno still has his job.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Obama’s Military Coup Purges 197 Officers In Five Years.” Investor’s Business Daily. 29 Oct. 2013. (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/102913-677116-197-military-officers-purged-by-obama.htm). 4 Nov. 2013.

“Army chief: Just 2 brigades combat-ready.” FOX News. 23 Oct. 2013. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/23/army-chief-just-2-brigades-combat-ready/). 4 Nov. 2013.

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Monday, November 4th, 2013 Africa, Europe, Government, Military, Political Parties, War 2 Comments


Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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