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Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

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

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Life Imitates Cartoons: Net Migration From Mexico To U.S. Stops, May Have Reversed

I’ll admit it- all I kept thinking about while reading the following was that (Comedy Central) South Park episode “Last of the Meheecans.” D’Vera Cohn, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, and Jeffrey Passel wrote on the website of the Pew Hispanic Center (a project of the Washington D.C.-based nonpartisan “fact tank” Pew Research Center) yesterday:

The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.

The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Border enforcement, deportations, and dangerous illegal border crossings have been part of the story for a while now. If anything, factor in the violence related to the drug cartels and one might think there’s additional motivation for a Mexican citizen to head north.

So I wonder if the prospective Mexican immigrants aren’t mainly concerned about the “changing economic conditions” going on in “El Norte” and are deciding they’re better off staying put south of the border?

In which case, what does that say about us/U.S.?

You can read the entire report on the Pew Hispanic Center website here.

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 Employment, Housing, North America Comments Off on Life Imitates Cartoons: Net Migration From Mexico To U.S. Stops, May Have Reversed

Terrorism Coming To Chicago?

After receiving today’s marching orders at their place of employment, a number of Chicagoans are settling down at their desks this morning and reading on the Chicago Tribune website:

Some of the first information gleaned from Osama bin Laden’s compound indicates al-Qaida considered attacking U.S. trains on the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. But counterterrorism officials say they believe the planning never got beyond the initial phase and have no recent intelligence pointing to an active plot for such an attack.

As of February 2010, the terror organization was considering plans to attack the U.S. on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. CNN reports that al-Qaida was particularly interested in striking Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Sounds like Chicago’s Al-Qaeda’s kind of town, right?

Probably even more so these days as Illinois lawmakers just got finished shooting down (pun intended) a concealed-carry bill (more about that in a different post).

Think about it. The general consensus of police, military, and national intelligence is that it’s only a matter of time before the United States becomes the target of a Beslan or Mumbai-style operation, in which well-armed, well-trained terrorists massacre civilians with automatic weapons and explosives. So why would a terrorist attempt something like this in Dallas, for example, where a wall of lead would almost certainly greet them- and not initially from the cops- once they got that party started, when they can visit the Windy City and have their way with the unarmed sheep- a good number of whom already gladly waive their right of and responsibility for their self-defense to others, including a police department that has a well-publicized manpower shortage and, as some allege, serious shortcomings when it comes to effectively dealing with a terrorist attack.

It’s possible their might be some improvement on this last point with the new Chicago police superintendent, Garry McCarthy. The Chicago Tribune’s David Heinzmann and Kristen Mack wrote on May 3:

McCarthy arrived in Chicago the day after a U.S. special operations team killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida. The incoming police superintendent has not had a chance to get a detailed assessment of Chicago’s counter-terrorism plans. Although he was only marginally involved in the creation of NYPD’s plan, McCarthy said he knows how it was created.

“It might be the model that local police agencies should pursue,” McCarthy told the Tribune. “(Chicago) should probably have a robust component for counterterrorism.”

Getting back to that AP piece talking about Al-Qaeda threats, the article also stated:

After killing the terror leader and four of his associates, Navy SEALs confiscated a treasure trove of computers, DVDs and documents from the home where U.S. officials believe the al-Qaida chief had been hiding for up to six years.

Other intelligence information gathered at the compound represented a terrorist wish list but has revealed no specific plan so far, a U.S. official said. He said documents indicated a desire to hit the U.S. with large-scale attacks in major cities and on key dates such as anniversaries and holidays. But there was no sign those plans were anything more than ambitions. The U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

In the complete article, it’s repeatedly emphasized that potential terrorist strikes never got past the planning stages. Is it just me, or do you also find this hard to believe, considering Al-Qaeda has now had almost a decade since 9/11 to whip up something nasty? I, however, defer to an actual expert (hard to find these days) on Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)- where for 6 years he was in charge of the search for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden- appeared in a Newsmax.TV interview the other day and spoke about bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. On May 3, David A. Patten from Newsmax.com pointed out that Scheuer believes it’s just a matter of time before Muslim extremists attack. Patten wrote:

A revenge attack from al-Qaida against American or Western targets is “certain.” He adds: “They will counterpunch. I’m not sure it’s going to be in the near term though. If they have something they can do that’s on the shelf, they’ll do it. Otherwise, they’ll plan and execute an operation that is of significant size.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to the former CIA officer, “significant size” could be something on the scale of 9/11- or larger. On Monday I wrote that Scheuer spoke to Leigh Sales of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier that day about President Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s demise. From that discussion:

LEIGH SALES: Does Al-Qaeda have the capacity to mount anything on the scale of 9/11?

MICHAEL SCHEUER: Probably, I think we have to assume they do. The United States has done very little to protect itself here, except for airline things and our borders are completely open except for official crossing points. So it wouldn’t be hard to bring something into the United States to use as a weapon, either through the Canadian border or the Mexican border to the south. So, I think we have to operate on the assumption that the American Government has been pretty derelict in terms of border control. And so if there’s a weapon to be brought in, it’s not that hard to do.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Sources:

“Report: Chicago among U.S. cities in al-Qaida sights.” Associated Press. 6 May 2011. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-report-chicago-among-cities-in-alqaida-sights-20110506,0,748581.story). 6 May 2011.

Heinzmann, David and Mack, Kristen. “9/11 forged Emanuel’s pick for police superintendent.” Chicago Tribune. 3 May 2011. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-05-03/news/ct-met-top-cop-20110502_1_police-superintendent-police-officer-ground-zero). 6 May 2011.

Patten, David A. “Terror Expert Scheuer: Jihad Revenge is Certain.” Newsmax.com. 3 May 2011. (http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/scheuer-al-qaida-bin/2011/05/03/id/395043). 6 May 2011.

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Friday, May 6th, 2011 Firearms, Gun Rights, Preparedness, Public Safety, Self-Defense, Terrorism, Transportation, War Comments Off on Terrorism Coming To Chicago?

Quote For The Week

Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)- where for 6 years he was in charge of the search for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden- spoke to Leigh Sales of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier today about President Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s demise. From their discussion:

LEIGH SALES: How likely is it that we’ll see some sort of Al-Qaeda counter-punch?

MICHAEL SCHEUER: I think it’s very likely that over time we will see an Al-Qaeda counter-punch, not specifically to avenge bin Laden, but to show that Al-Qaeda still is on the ground and still can hurt the United States. I’m not sure if it’s gonna be in the near term or a year from now or two years from now, but it’ll come. I think the bigger danger at the moment is individual Muslim militants around the world who will take it upon themselves to try to avenge bin Laden’s death by attacking randomly, whether Arab countries, in Australia, the United States or against expatriates in the Middle East or elsewhere around the world.

LEIGH SALES: Does Al-Qaeda have the capacity to mount anything on the scale of 9/11?

MICHAEL SCHEUER: Probably, I think we have to assume they do. The United States has done very little to protect itself here, except for airline things and our borders are completely open except for official crossing points. So it wouldn’t be hard to bring something into the United States to use as a weapon, either through the Canadian border or the Mexican border to the south. So, I think we have to operate on the assumption that the American Government has been pretty derelict in terms of border control. And so if there’s a weapon to be brought in, it’s not that hard to do.

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011 Australia, Government, Middle East, North America, Preparedness, Public Safety, Quote For The Week, Terrorism, War Comments Off on Quote For The Week
Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
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