nuclear terrorism

Dick Cheney Warns Of Massive Terrorist Attack On U.S. Before Decade Is Out

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was interviewed by attorney, law professor, and broadcast journalist Hugh Hewitt recently for the latter’s nationally-syndicated radio show. During a June 24 broadcast, Cheney- who’s now spearheading the Alliance for a Strong America along with his daughter Liz- shared his views on U.S. foreign policy and warned listeners of the potential for a future terrorist attack on the American homeland “far deadlier” than September 11, 2001. From the exchange between Hewitt and Cheney:

HH: Do you think we get through this decade without a massive attack on the homeland?
DC: I doubt it. I doubt it. I think there will be another attack. And next time, I think it’s likely to be far deadlier than the last one. You can just imagine what would happen…
HH: Yeah.
DC: …if somebody could smuggle a nuclear device, put it in a shipping container, and drive it down the Beltway outside of Washington, D.C.
HH: And do you, by the way, if that were to happen, do you see the government reconstituting? Because it would have to be military rule for a period of time at least.
DC: Well, there was, some years ago, a program called the continuity of government program. It was part of the Cold War strategy that we pursued here, and basically it involved having a government waiting, if you will, ready to go in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States, so that we could always maintain the Constitutional base of governmental authority. I was part of that program for several years, and a lot of it, I’m sure, is probably still classified. But it was very, very important, and we operated and actually trained under circumstances of how would we go about making, providing for a government to survive if you know, we’re having nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union falling all over the country…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As I noted on this blog’s “About” page back in late 2010, other high-profile, knowledgeable individuals are warning of the same within the next several years. From that page:

This debate asks how likely is it that terrorists will explode a nuclear bomb and devastate a great American metropolis. In the judgment of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, the likelihood of a single nuclear bomb exploding in a single city is greater today than at the height of the Cold War. Nuclear Terrorism states my own judgment that, on the current trend line, the chances of a nuclear terrorist attack in the next decade are greater than 50 percent. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has expressed his own view that Nuclear Terrorism underestimates the risk.

From the technical side, Richard Garwin, a designer of the hydrogen bomb who Enrico Fermi once called, “the only true genius I had ever met,” told Congress in March that he estimated a “20 percent per year probability with American cities and European cities included” of “a nuclear explosion—not just a contamination, dirty bomb—a nuclear explosion.” My Harvard colleague Matthew Bunn has created a probability model in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science that estimates the probability of a nuclear terrorist attack over a ten-year period to be 29 percent—identical to the average estimate from a poll of security experts commissioned by Senator Richard Lugar in 2005.

-Graham T. Allison, director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and author of Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, in an April 2007 debate

Spooky stuff, to say the least.

But getting back to Dick Cheney. Considering the kind of intelligence the man’s had access to over the years, disregarding such a mind-blowing warning may be foolish.

Especially when the enemies of America look not only to be flourishing, but also emboldened, at the present time.

You can read the entire transcript of the interview on Hugh Hewitt’s website here.

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

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Surviving A Nuclear Attack On Washington, D.C.

Personally, I think there’s a good possibility enemies of the United States will someday detonate nuclear devices in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Why?

Because these political and cultural centers in America are just too juicy of targets for the bad guys to ignore.

Particularly that new Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center), which is expected to open to the public this year.

I’m not the only one who thinks nuclear terrorism could be in the cards for us. Read further down my “About” page and you’ll understand what I mean.

And don’t forget this from March 24. I blogged:

Earlier today, President Barack Obama spoke at a news conference while attending the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 in Holland. The U.S. President brought up the danger of a nuclear device being detonated in one of America’s major cities. From a transcript provided by the Federal News Service:

And so my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the number-one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Think POTUS knows something that we don’t?

Getting back to the nation’s capital, Marc Ambinder recently wrote an article on The Week website entitled, “If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?” Armbinder inquired in the April 14 piece:

I was wondering if the government had deigned to share with us citizens any tips for, you know, surviving something their own intelligence points to as the likeliest unlikely Black Swan event… it turns out that there is quite a lot that you or I can do if we get stuck in Washington when something like that happens. Choices we make could very well make the difference between our imminent death and a relatively full and happy life, assuming the bomb is a one-off.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory released a report in 2011 that spells all this out. It hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves.

It’s called the “National Capital Region Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism” and it makes for fascinating reading…

It really does, and if I lived or worked in the nation’s capital, I’d read that November 2011 U.S. Department of Homeland Security-funded publication as if my life depended on it.

Because it very well might one day.

You can find the 120-page publication here (.pdf format) on the Homeland Security Digital Library website.

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

Source:

Ambinder, Marc. “If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?” The Week. 14 Apr. 2014. (http://theweek.com/article/index/259829/if-a-nuclear-bomb-exploded-in-downtown-washington-what-should-you-do). 15 Apr. 2014.

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Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 Government, Man-Made Disasters, Terrorism No Comments

President Obama: ‘Nuclear Weapon Going Off In Manhattan’ Top U.S. Security Threat

Occasionally, I blog about the threat of nuclear terrorism for the United States.

Earlier today, President Barack Obama spoke at a news conference while attending the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 in Holland. The U.S. President brought up the danger of a nuclear device being detonated in one of America’s major cities. From a transcript provided by the Federal News Service:

And so my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the number-one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan, which is part of the reason why the United States, showing its continued international leadership, has organized a forum over the last several years that’s been able to help eliminate that threat in a consistent way…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Think he knows something the majority of Americans don’t?

Personally, I’d be hard-pressed to live in or around New York City or Washington, D.C., if you catch my drift…

You can read the entire transcript on The Washington Post website here.

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

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Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 Europe, Foreign Policy, Government, Terrorism No Comments

Disaster Preparedness And Response Funding Has Plummeted Since 2008

Any police, fire, or public health officials reading this who have been on the job since the early 2000s? Remember after 9/11, when the federal government made tons of money available to state and local governments to bolster disaster preparedness and response capabilities? I remember it clearly, as I used to help obtain these funds for the fire department I used to work at.

Since leaving the public safety field, I’ve heard a lot of this funding has dried up. According to a UPI piece I just finished reading, it looks like I heard right. From their website on January 9:

U.S. disaster funding distribution is deeply inefficient, with huge cash infusions disbursed after a disaster, only to fall abruptly later, researchers say.

Dr. Jesse Pines, director of the Office of Clinical Practice Innovation at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences… said the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City and Washington prompted large increases in government disaster preparedness funding to help communities respond and recover after man-made and natural disasters. However, this funding has dropped considerably since 2008

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

How considerable? I pulled up a paper from The Institute of Medicine Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events (January 7 final submission date) which Dr. Pines helped author. From the piece entitled “Value-Based Models for Sustaining Emergency Preparedness Capacity and Capability in the United States”:

The Department of Homeland Security administered 5 key grant programs to state and local governments during the period 2002-2007. These programs were to include the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS), and the Citizen Corps Program (CCP). The total appropriation for these five programs increased from $315.7 million in federal year (FY) 2002 to $1.66 billion in FY 2007…

In addition to the five key DHS-funded programs, HHS administered the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program and the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP). From FY 2006 to FY 2007, these programs received more than $2.1 billion in grants to all 50 states in addition to U.S. territories and 4 metropolitan cities (New York, New York; Washington, DC; Los Angeles, California; and Chicago, Illinois)…

From FY 2008 to FY 2013, appropriations have been falling for emergency preparedness. For example, in FY 2010, Congress appropriated $3.05 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for preparedness grants to “strengthen out nations’ ability to prevent, protect, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and emergencies.” In FY 2012, this appropriation was reduced to $1.35 billion- a 56 percent cut. During the same period, FEMA pre-disaster mitigations grants declined from $100 million to $35.5 million- a 65 percent cut. SHSP funding was reduced from $2.06 billion in FY 2003 to $354.64 million in FY 2013- an 82 percent cut. UASI was less affected but nevertheless was reduced from $596.35 million in FY 2003 to $558.74 million in FY 2013. Funding for seven key initiatives in DHS totaled $3.08 billion in FY 2003. By FY 2013, DHS funding was focused on only three categories of funding totaling $968.38 million- a total percentage cut of almost 70 percent…

The decline in [PHEP] funding from 2008 to 2013 has been slightly more than 17 percent, with a total of 31 percent since FY 2004…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Disasters don’t wait until there’s money in the till again, so it’s incredibly disappointing to hear of these cutbacks. As was pointed out earlier in the paper:

Since the September 2011, 2001, attacks, there have been periodic but unremitting public health emergencies across the United States. Weather events such a Hurricane Sandy, H1N1, the Boston marathon attack, and outbreaks of foodborne illness from Salmonella and E. coli serve as examples of major local and national public health emergencies demonstrating that no community is immune…

And what if a major terrorist attack occurs? Fine time for funding to be cut with that prospect looming. Consider what a distinguished Harvard professor whose work I first became familiar with back in graduate school said at a forum in April 2007. From Graham T. Allison, director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and author of Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe:

This debate asks how likely is it that terrorists will explode a nuclear bomb and devastate a great American metropolis. In the judgment of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, the likelihood of a single nuclear bomb exploding in a single city is greater today than at the height of the Cold War. Nuclear Terrorism states my own judgment that, on the current trend line, the chances of a nuclear terrorist attack in the next decade are greater than 50 percent. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has expressed his own view that Nuclear Terrorism underestimates the risk.

From the technical side, Richard Garwin, a designer of the hydrogen bomb who Enrico Fermi once called, “the only true genius I had ever met,” told Congress in March that he estimated a “20 percent per year probability with American cities and European cities included” of “a nuclear explosion—not just a contamination, dirty bomb—a nuclear explosion.” My Harvard colleague Matthew Bunn has created a probability model in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science that estimates the probability of a nuclear terrorist attack over a ten-year period to be 29 percent—identical to the average estimate from a poll of security experts commissioned by Senator Richard Lugar in 2005.

“The chances of a nuclear terrorist attack in the next decade are greater than 50 percent.”

By the way, Nuclear Terrorism was published back in July 2005.

I wonder what Dr. Allison would say America’s odds are now eight-and-a-half years on?

It’s only a matter of time before the next major man-made or natural disaster happens on U.S. soil. While public safety and public health personnel will strive to do all they can to lessen the impact of such events, ongoing cutbacks could have possibly impacted planning and preparedness for the incident and the overall response.

Keeping all this in mind, there’s probably no better time than the present for Americans to step up and take charge of their own emergency preparations.

You can read that paper (.pdf format) over on the Institute of Medicine website here.

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

Source:

“Experts: U.S. disaster funding deeply inefficient.” UPI.com. 9 Jan. 2014. (http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2014/01/09/Experts-US-disaster-funding-deeply-inefficient/UPI-52981389329033/). 16 Jan. 2014.

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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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Iran Can Now Produce Enough Weapons-Grade Uranium To Build A Nuclear Weapon Within 2 Weeks?

“Despite what this White House or its predecessors have repeatedly told the American people, it’s my belief that Iran will soon have nuclear weapons (barring military intervention by us or our allies).”

-Christopher E. Hill, Survival And Prosperity, January 20, 2011

There’s been plenty of talk lately that Iran may be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium soon to build themselves a nuclear weapon.

To be fair, the prospect of the Iranians carrying out this achievement is something that keeps popping up in the news on a regular basis.

Still, I stand by that initial statement.

And here’s the latest chatter about the Islamic Republic of Iran getting their weapons-grade uranium and nuke. On October 5, AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace interviewed U.S. President Barack Obama on a wide range of topics. One of those was Iran. From their exchange:

Q: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that Iran is about six months away from being able to produce a nuclear weapon. You said in March, before your trip to Israel, that you thought Iran was a year or more away. What’s the U.S. intelligence assessment at this point on that timetable?

THE PRESIDENT: Our assessment continues to be a year or more away.

U.S. intelligence on an Iranian nuclear weapon? One year.

On October 25, Oren Dorell reported on the USA TODAY website:

Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb in as little as a month, according to a new estimate by one of the USA’s top nuclear experts.

The top nuclear expert Dorell was referring to was David Albright, president of Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Science and International Security and a former inspector for the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency. From the non-profit, non-partisan ISIS in an October 24, 2013, summary for their report entitled “Iranian Breakout Estimates, Updated September 2013″:

We evaluated a range of breakout scenarios based on the current enriching IR-1 centrifuges and LEU stockpiles, total installed IR-1 centrifuges, and a possible covert facility containing IR-2m centrifuges. This analysis utilizes a modified form of the well-known four-step enrichment process that was developed under A.Q. Khan for Pakistan’s centrifuge program and transferred to other countries, such as Iran. Using all four steps, Iran would enrich natural uranium to 3.5 percent in step one, then to 20 percent in step two, then to 60 percent in step three, and finally to WGU in step four. This analysis considers the four-step, three-step, and two-step process also with the use of existing LEU stockpiles.

The table lists the major estimated breakout times of the four scenarios considered in this report. Today, Iran could break out most quickly using a three-step process with its installed centrifuges and its LEU stockpiles as of August 2013. In this case, Iran could produce one SQ in as little as approximately 1.0-1.6 months, if it uses all its near 20 percent LEU hexafluoride stockpile. Using only 3.5 percent LEU, Iran would need at least 1.9 to 2.2 months and could make approximately 4 SQs of WGU using all its existing 3.5 percent LEU stockpile.

(Editor’s notes: Italics added for emphasis)

ISIS on Iran being able to produce one significant quantity (SQ) of weapon-grade uranium (WGU)? One month.

It was also noted in that summary:

The estimates in this report do not include the additional time that Iran would need to convert WGU into weapons components and manufacture a nuclear weapon. This extra time could be substantial, particularly if Iran wanted to build a reliable warhead for a ballistic missile. However, these preparations would most likely be conducted at secret sites and would be difficult to detect.

Which doesn’t rule out the possibility then that some manufacturing hasn’t already been going on.

And finally, Raphael Ahren reported yesterday on The Times Of Israel website:

Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build an atomic weapon within two weeks and has, “in a certain way,” already reached the point of no return in its nuclear program, a former senior International Atomic Energy Association official said Monday.

“I believe that if certain arrangements are done, it could even go down to two weeks. So there are a lot of concerns out there that Iran can hopefully now address, in this new phase, both at the P5+1 [talks between Tehran and six world powers] and with the IAEA,” former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen said, confirming a report released last week by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which stated Iran could muster enough uranium for a bomb by converting all of its 20-percent enriched stockpile within 1 to 1.6 months.

Former IAEA deputy director on Iran producing enough uranium for a nuke? Two weeks.

Two weeks.

Something tells me that while the Obama administration would have liked to kick the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon down the road as far as possible, they might actually welcome these latest estimates as a convenient distraction for the American public away from other problems the White House is currently trying to deal with.

Stay tuned.

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

Sources:

“Full text of Obama’s interview with AP.” Associated Press. 5 Oct. 2013. (http://www.timesofisrael.com/full-text-of-obamas-interview-with-ap/). 29 Oct. 2013.

Dorell, Oren. “Report: Iran may be month from a bomb.” USA TODAY. 25 Oct. 2013. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/10/24/iran-bomb-one-month-away/3181373/). 29 Oct. 2013.

“Iranian Breakout Estimates- Summary.” Institute for Science and International Security. 24 Oct. 2013. (http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/Breakout_Study_Summary_24October2013.pdf). 29 Oct. 2013.

Ahren, Raphael. “‘Iran two weeks away from weapons-grade uranium’” The Times of Israel. 28 Oct. 2013. (http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-two-weeks-away-from-weapons-grade-uranium/). 29 Oct. 2013.

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Pentagon-Contracted Report: ‘None Of The 104 Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors’ In U.S. ‘Is Protected Against A Maximum Credible Terrorist Attack’

Remember all those commissions and panels that convened after 9/11? They put forth all these recommendations that would make the United States “safer” from terrorism.

Problem is, you can churn out as many recommendations as you want, but if they’re not being implemented

From the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project (NPPP) at the University of Texas at Austin last Thursday:

AUSTIN, TX– August 15, 2013– More than 10 years after the 9/11 hijackers considered flying a fully loaded passenger jet into a Manhattan area nuclear reactor, U.S. commercial and research nuclear facilities remain inadequately protected against two credible terrorist threats– the theft of bomb-grade material to make a nuclear weapon, and sabotage attacks intended to cause a reactor meltdown– according to a new report prepared under a contract for the Pentagon by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project (NPPP) at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, and released today.

Available online at www.NPPP.org, the report, titled “Protecting U.S. Nuclear Facilities from Terrorist Attack: Re-assessing the Current ‘Design Basis Threat’ Approach,” finds that none of the 104 commercial nuclear power reactors in the United States is protected against a maximum credible terrorist attack, such as the one perpetrated on September 11, 2001. More than a decade after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, operators of existing nuclear facilities are still not required to defend against the number of terrorist teams or attackers associated with 9/11, nor against airplane attacks, nor even against readily available weapons such as high-power sniper rifles.

Of particular concern, the NPPP report finds:

• Some U.S. nuclear power plants are vulnerable to terrorist attack from the sea, but they are not required to protect against such ship-borne attacks. Reactors in this category include Diablo Canyon in California, St. Lucie in Florida, Brunswick in North Carolina, Surry in Virginia, Indian Point in New York, Millstone in Connecticut, Pilgrim in Massachusetts, and the South Texas Project.

• Another serious terrorism danger is posed by three civilian research reactors that are fueled with bomb-grade uranium, which is vulnerable to theft to make nuclear weapons. These facilities are not defended against a posited terrorist threat, unlike military facilities that hold the same material. The three reactors are at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is located just two dozen miles from the White House in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore suburb of Gaithersburg. The facilities are supposed to convert to non-weapons-grade, low-enriched uranium fuel. But they will continue to use bomb-grade uranium, and remain vulnerable to terrorist theft, for at least another decade, according to the latest schedule…

“None of the 104 commercial nuclear power reactors in the United States is protected against a maximum credible terrorist attack.”

Whew! It’s a good thing Al-Qaeda is “decimated.”

You can read the entire NPPP press release on their website here.

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

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Doomsday Prepper Peter Larson’s Underground Shelter

Fans of the National Geographic Channel hit TV show Doomsday Preppers- remember Peter Larson? Larson appeared in the series pilot back in the summer of 2011. I blogged back then:

The Larson family- Peter Larson lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. Fearing a nuclear strike (it looks as if Peter is describing an electromagnetic pulse attack in the show), the Larsons have constructed a Rocky Mountain retreat for twelve. For those of you who don’t know what an EMP attack is, it’s when a nuclear device is detonated in the atmosphere, where it’s theorized the resulting electromagnetic pulse generated by the blast will “fry” microchips at the heart of electronic devices, rendering them useless.

Well, Mr. Larson is back in the spotlight again these days. From the CNN website last night:

Inside a Doomsday Prepper bunker

Gary Tuchman talks to a peaceful man in Utah who is proud to call himself a survivalist. He built an elaborate $65,000 bunker stocked with supplies, money and weapons. Watch this up close look at his hideout.


“Man builds $65,000 doomsday bunker”
CNN Video
ANY CHARACTER HERE

Nice setup. And nicely done by Gary Tuchman and CNN, considering the number of hack-job pieces out there these days on underground shelters and their owners.

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

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Nuclear Material On The Loose

“The Obama administration is warning that the danger of a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons is increasing, but U.S. officials say the claim is not based on new intelligence and questioned whether the threat is being overstated.”

-Washington Times, April 14, 2010

I don’t agree with President Obama on a number of things, but here’s one we do see eye-to-eye on:

The threat posed by nuclear terrorism.

Consider recent events in the former Soviet Union. Desmond Butler of the Associated Press reported back on December 9:

Despite years of effort and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in the fight against the illicit sale of nuclear contraband, the black market remains active in the countries around the former Soviet Union. The radioactive materials, mostly left over from the Cold War, include nuclear bomb-grade uranium and plutonium, and dirty-bomb isotopes like cesium and iridium.

The extent of the black market is unknown, but a steady stream of attempted sales of radioactive materials in recent years suggests smugglers have sometimes crossed borders undetected. Since the formation of a special nuclear police unit in 2005 with U.S. help and funding, 15 investigations have been launched in Georgia and dozens of people arrested.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

And what of the years between 1991 (Georgian independence) and 2005? I shudder to think how much radioactive material might have found their way across the Georgian border and into the hands of the bad guys during those 14 years.

According to the piece, highly-enriched uranium has also recently been seized from smugglers in Moldova, another former Soviet republic.

From the Council on Foreign Relations website:

There have been no confirmed reports of missing or stolen former-Soviet nuclear weapons, but there is ample evidence of a significant black market in nuclear materials. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported more than a hundred nuclear smuggling incidents since 1993, eighteen of which involved highly enriched uranium, the key ingredient in an atomic bomb and the most dangerous product on the nuclear black market.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

That portion of the CFR website was last updated in January 2006.

While the Council said there have been no confirmed reports of missing or stolen nuclear weapons, the same can’t be said of nuclear material. Butler added:

Russia maintains that it has secured its radioactive material — including bomb-grade uranium and plutonium — and that Georgia has exaggerated the risk because of political tension with Moscow. But while the vast majority of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal and radioactive material has been secured, U.S. officials say that some material in the region remains loose.

“Without a doubt, we are aware and have been over the last several years that not all nuclear material is accounted for,” says Simon Limage, deputy assistant secretary for non-proliferation programs at the U.S. State Department. “It is true that a portion that we are concerned about continues to be outside of regulatory control.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“U.S. officials say that some material in the region remains loose.”

If smuggling is taking place and the whereabouts of the nuclear material is unknown, I wonder if the above shouldn’t be changed to “some material from the region remains loose?”

Since illegal aliens and drugs routinely manage to find their way into the United States, it requires no stretch of the mind to envision nuclear material for a terrorist weapon also being smuggled in.

Butler’s incredibly-informative piece be read on the Yahoo! News website here.

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Friday, December 21st, 2012 Crime, Europe, Public Safety, Terrorism No Comments

On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Escape From New York’ Preview

Season 2 of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series continues tonight with episode 6, “Escape from New York,” which airs at 9 PM ET. From the Nat Geo Channel webpage for the TV show:

With recent storms such as Sandy, New Yorkers now more than ever need to have escape plans in case they need to flee. NGC cameras follow three New Yorkers as they plot their routes out of the city, literally escaping the grid to reach safety.

Once again, the National Geographic Channel provided me with an advanced screening opportunity of the episode, and it didn’t disappoint. As a matter of fact, it really hit close to home as I too live in a large U.S. city (Chicago).

There were three preppers featured in “Escape from New York.” First up was Cameron Moore in Brooklyn, a college student studying for medical school. Cameron told viewers:

I’m preparing for a meltdown at the Indian Point Nuclear Facility.

Next up was Margaret Ling in Harlem, who told viewers:

I’m preparing for a catastrophic hurricane.

Finally, there’s Jay, a Wall Street bond trader, who explained:

I’m preparing for another terrorist attack.

All three preppers fear what might happen in New York City should TSHTF. From the show:

That’s why for these three New York preppers, at the first sign of trouble, survival comes down to one objective.

CAMERON: Get out of New York City.

JAY: Leaving Manhattan as soon as possible.

MARGARET: Grab my bag and just jet out.

They’ve also paired with a mentor to help them refine their plan. Krav Maga instructor Matan Gavish, preparedness expert Aton Edwards, and urban survivalist Shane Hobel. Now, over the course of one night, all three preppers will put their bug out plans into action for the first time and attempt to escape New York.

The first prepper introduced in the episode was Margaret Ling. In this segment, Margaret, who wears a backpack full of survival supplies every day, revealed that she was concerned about a major hurricane hitting the “Big Apple.” Ling told viewers:

I know I don’t want to be sent to a shelter. And I plan to get out of the city and make my way up to the mountains in upstate New York close to Canada. The last and worst case scenario is walking the entire distance to safety up in the mountains.

Margaret is paired with Krav Maga Academy founder and chief instructor Matan Gavish to help get her prepared.


“Doomsday Preppers: Lollipop Lolliprep”
Nat Geo Channel Video

The second prepper the show focused on was Cameron Moore. In this segment, Cameron shared his fears about an Indian Point Nuclear Facility meltdown and the potential for radiation escaping the facility. He informed viewers:

When TSHTF, I will bug out.

Cameron worked with International Preparedness Network executive director Aton Edwards to help him with his preps.

Finally, there’s Jay (no surname given). Jay was in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. And the Wall Street bond trader realizes New York City remains an attractive terrorist target. He told viewers:

I don’t think it’s going to end. I don’t think that we’re going to wake up all of a sudden one day and all of a sudden we’re not going to be a target to terrorists around the world. A dirty bomb is, without question, an option for terrorists out there.

From the show:

If terrorists detonate dirty bombs across Manhattan, as Jay fears, he’s instructed his wife Mindy and their 6-year-old daughter to get ready to flee the city.

Should TSHTF, Jay’s goal is to get out of the financial district and get back to his family as soon as possible. Jay paired up with Mountain Scout Survival School founder and instructor Shane Hobel to come up with a plan to make that happen.

With the three preppers coming from the same area of the country and attempting a simultaneous bug out, this particular episode was more like a TV special. A TV special for urban preppers. According to the U.S. Census earlier this year, more Americans are living in cities now than ever before. And perhaps it’s because I live in a major American city that I found “Escape from New York” particularly interesting. Although that bike “borrowing” bit was a little over the top. Still, good stuff overall.

And I applaud National Geographic Channel for not removing Doomsday Preppers from the air due to some in the press possibly trying to link preppers with last week’s school shooting.

Blamethrowers. Precisely what the world needs more of these days.

Enjoy tonight’s episode. For more information, please visit the Doomsday Preppers page on the National Geographic Channel website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Time of Reckoning’ Review

I recently watched the latest installment of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series, “The Time of Reckoning,” which aired Tuesday night, November 27. Episode 4 of season 2 featured the prepping team of Dr. Tom Perez, a retired chiropractor, and Steven M. Vanasse, a radiation safety officer, both from Houston, Texas.

Dr. Tom Perez

The first part of the show focused on the Perez family. Dr. Perez is married to wife Monica and the couple have thee children, Katarina (17-years-old), Thomas (12), and Matthew (6). According to Tom:

I’m preparing for a terroristic attack.

From the show:

Tom fears the dirty bomb- an everyday explosive like dynamite or TNT packed with radioactive material. Once detonated, its blast can spread radiation anywhere from a city block to several square miles. But that radioactive debris could lodge in buildings, and chemically-bind with concrete and asphalt, making decontaminating a city difficult and possibly forcing affected neighborhoods to be abandoned… A single dirty bomb could contaminate an area 30 times the size of the initial blast site which could cover up to 20 city blocks. The radiation would not be detected by human senses, and the effect of exposure could be immediate.

In the event of a dirty bomb detonation in Houston, the family would bug out to their 700-acre compound- “The Alamo”- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas.


“Doomsday Preppers: Doomsday Alamo”
Nat Geo Channel Video

Steven M. Vanasse

Later on in the show viewers were introduced to Steven Vanasse, Tom’s prepping partner. Steven is married to Gobriella Gubimelli and they have a daughter, Victoria Vanasse. According to Steve:

I’m preparing for a dirty bomb blast in the city of Houston.

In the event of such an attack, the Vanasse family plans on bugging out of Houston and meeting up with the Perez family at “The Alamo.”

Tom is the firearms expert. Steve is the radiation expert. And both are training the members of their young families to be preppers.

My thoughts about Doomsday Preppers “The Time of Reckoning”:

• Both the Perez and Vanasse families plan on bugging out of Houston in the event of a dirty bomb explosion. A number of viewers probably wondered why they wouldn’t just bug in, seeing that this type of weapon is intended to cause fear more than casualties and fleeing Greater Houston and a good portion of its 6.08 million residents could be very difficult- if not impossible- in such a situation. From the show:

Tom’s bug-out route bypasses over 3,000 miles of Houston’s highways, and once on the open road, they travel due west to their safe house- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas… It’s normally a 6-hour drive to Tom’s compound.

I’m guessing that drive would take significantly longer with a lot of other Houstonians on the road after a dirty bomb attack, and that Tom and Steve would rather not shelter-in-place because of the perceived danger from civil strife and other sorts of chaos that could happen in Houston after such an event. Considering the extent these guys have planned and prepped, I’d be surprised if bugging in wasn’t a viable option for them.

• “The Alamo” is an impressive bug-out location. When I first heard that Tom Perez had stockpiled 46,000 rounds of ammunition, I was kind of surprised at the large number. However, upon thinking the situation through (the Perez family alone consists of 5 preppers and their firearms) and being familiar with a number of recommendations being circulated in prepper/survivalist circles as to how much ammo should be stored for a SHTF event, that amount didn’t seem so astronomical anymore.

• On the other hand, when it was revealed that the Perez family only had 9 months of food socked away at the retreat, I was somewhat shocked. Considering all the preps Dr. Perez had already taken care of, I would have thought he’d have at least a year’s worth of food stored- if not more- at “The Alamo.” I’d seriously-consider buying more food before an armored car, as Dr. Perez said they were looking into at the end of the episode.

• When I heard Tom say:

I also have taken the liberty of contaminating 10 percent of my food and water supply if it is ever compromised. I am the only one that knows which supplies are affected.

I was initially surprised (concerned?) here too. But once I thought the situation through yet again, should this prepper network ever get dislodged from “The Alamo” by raiders, it would probably just be a matter of time before the unwelcomed “guests” get sick, giving the Perez and Vanasse families the opportunity to retake their retreat.

• I have to believe there’s a certain amount of distrust among the law enforcement community when it comes to preppers/survivalists. I thought it was a good idea for the Perez family to coordinate their preparedness efforts with local law enforcement. By doing this, not only did they establish a relationship with them- perhaps decreasing the chance they might be seen as dangerous “kooks” by the police- but they even received some helpful advice during their combined drill with the off-duty officers from the local sheriff’s department. For example, Deputy Ramon Gutierrez pointed out that the Perez family are less vulnerable if they stay in the limestone structures during an attack, and Deputy Forrest Spence emphasized family members need to be real aggressive when confronting a threat.

• I was impressed that Tom taught 17-year-old Kat, 12-year-old Tommy, and 6-year-old Matthew how to shoot, among other things. From the show:

Matthew, who’s been shooting since the age of 4, can hit a target from 100 yards away with his child-size sniper rifle.

Cutest little sniper you ever did see.

• Question- What’s up with Matthew’s boots? They look gargantuan on him.

• Another question- Is it just me or does Steven Vanasse look a lot like a younger version of actor Randy Quaid?

• The way the relationship between Steve and daughter Victoria played out in the episode was funny. Steve would say something about how proud he was of Victoria and how she’s coming on board with the prepping, and the young lady would indicate otherwise. In one scene, Steve brought her shooting for the first time at an indoor gun range. Victoria gave it a try- and it looked like she was a natural at it. Steve was just beaming about Victoria’s performance. Victoria tells viewers she probably won’t go shooting again. I had to chuckle when I saw that. A lot of my friends were just like that at that age. I was an angel, of course.

• The National Geographic Channel definitely got their shock value’s worth from this installment. If the Molotov cocktails and slaying of the goat weren’t enough (or Steve’s munching on its cooked eye), Tom Perez almost suffering permanent injury to his hearing from Steve firing his rifle in the hunting blind really took the cake. Cuidado, Esteban!

“The Time of Reckoning” was really interesting to watch, especially as Tom Perez and Steve Vanasse appear to be way ahead of most of their prepping contemporaries. This was apparent in the score they received from Practical Preppers LLC right before the show wrapped-up. But the episode was also painful to watch at times. Even more painful to make by the looks of things.

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Iran, North Korea Push On With Their Nuclear Programs

September 1995. Loyola University of Chicago, Rogers Park campus. My graduate school classmates and I are busy one autumn evening randomly-drawing names of notable political scientists to interview for a class project. I pick Alexander George out of Stanford University (was fantastic and insightful to talk to, by the way). My classmate and good friend Allison ends up with Graham T. Allison out of Harvard. I have no idea at that time how much Dr. Allison, now director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, would eventually contribute to my future knowledge about- and concern over- the threat of nuclear terrorism to America. The author of Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastropheicon, which was selected by The New York Times as one of the “100 most notable books of 2004” and is now in its third printing, had this to say about the danger in a 2007 debate (also noted in my “About” page):

This debate asks how likely is it that terrorists will explode a nuclear bomb and devastate a great American metropolis. In the judgment of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, the likelihood of a single nuclear bomb exploding in a single city is greater today than at the height of the Cold War. Nuclear Terrorism states my own judgment that, on the current trend line, the chances of a nuclear terrorist attack in the next decade are greater than 50 percent. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has expressed his own view that Nuclear Terrorism underestimates the risk.

From the technical side, Richard Garwin, a designer of the hydrogen bomb who Enrico Fermi once called, “the only true genius I had ever met,” told Congress in March that he estimated a “20 percent per year probability with American cities and European cities included” of “a nuclear explosion—not just a contamination, dirty bomb—a nuclear explosion.” My Harvard colleague Matthew Bunn has created a probability model in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science that estimates the probability of a nuclear terrorist attack over a ten-year period to be 29 percent—identical to the average estimate from a poll of security experts commissioned by Senator Richard Lugar in 2005.

“The chances of a nuclear terrorist attack in the next decade are greater than 50 percent.” And Dr. Allison said this in 2007. I’ll have to check with the Harvard professor and administrator to see if he still believes this is the case in light of the progress being claimed by the Obama administration in the “War on Terror.” But based on recent reports about advancements in the nuclear programs of both Iran and North Korea, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still sticking to his guns here.

Concerning Iran, the Associated Press reported Wednesday:

Iran will step up its uranium enrichment program by sharply increasing the number of centrifuges used to make nuclear fuel, a senior official said Wednesday, in direct defiance of Western demands.

The statement by Iran’s nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, is likely to escalate tensions…

“Despite sanctions, we will most likely see a substantial increase in the number of centrifuge machines this year. We will continue enrichment with intensity,” Abbasi was quoted by state TV as saying Wednesday. The Iranian calendar year ends on March 20.

His remarks came days after the U.N. agency said Iran is about to double its output of higher enriched uranium at its fortified Fordo underground facility. That could move Iran closer to weapons capability.

Anyone out there still think the Islamic Republic of Iran won’t be getting a nuclear weapon short of a military conflict?

I wonder if the Iranians will be televising the parade from downtown Tehran when that happens?

As for the North Koreans? Reuters’ Fredrik Dahl reported Thursday:

North Korea has made further progress in the construction of a new atomic reactor, the U.N. nuclear chief reported on Thursday, a facility that may extend the country’s capacity to produce material for nuclear bombs.

Pyongyang “has continued construction of the light water reactor and largely completed work on the exterior of the main buildings,” Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said…

North Korea says it needs nuclear power to provide electricity, but has also boasted of its nuclear deterrence capability and has traded nuclear technology with Syria, Libya and probably Pakistan.

At the end of summer, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was already thought to have 23 nuclear weapons in their arsenal.

The world was already a dangerous place, but grows even more so in our time. Especially as it concerns nuclear proliferation.

Sources:

“Iran nuclear chief: Uranium enrichment to be stepped up with new centrifuges, reactor.” Associated Press. 28 Nov. 2012. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-nuclear-chief-enrichment-to-move-ahead-with-intensity/2012/11/28/98834224-3965-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html). 30 Nov. 2012.

Dahl, Fredrik. “North Korea pushing ahead with new nuclear reactor: IAEA.” Reuters. 29 Nov. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/29/us-korea-north-nuclear-idUSBRE8AS0OT20121129). 30 Nov. 2012.

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How Close Is Iran To Getting A Nuke?

As President Obama spoke to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly this morning and vowed the United States “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, I became curious as to just how close the Western Asia country was to getting a “nuke.”

If you believe the Israelis, the Iranians are several months away from having the capability to build such a weapon. From Matt Spetalnick and Dan Williams on the Reuters website back on September 16:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran was just six to seven months away from the brink of being able to build a nuclear bomb, adding urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a “red line” for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.

Taking to the television airwaves to make his case directly to the American public, Netanyahu said that by mid-2013 Iran would be “90 percent of the way” toward enough enriched uranium for a weapon.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

6 to 7 months away from being able to build a nuclear weapon.

Pop this device over the continental United States and we could be in a real world of hurt.

Is Netanyahu’s warning credible? Regrettably, it seems so.

Spetalnick and Williams added:

He appeared to be referring to Iran’s enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, a level it says is required for medical isotopes but which also is close to bomb-fuel grade. According to an August report by U.N. inspectors, Iran has stockpiled 91.4 kg of the 20 percent material.

Experts say about 200-250 kg (440-550 pounds) would be the minimum required to enrich further into enough material for a bomb, a threshold Iran could potentially reach soon by producing roughly 15 kg (33 pounds) a month, a rate that could be speeded up if it activates new uranium centrifuges.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Glenn Kessler wrote in the Washington Post’s The Fact Checker blog on September 16:

Israeli officials have a long history of claiming that Iran is close to having a nuclear weapon–indeed, in 1992, Israeli officials suggested Iran was just a “few years” from a nuclear weapon. So with that track record, the latest assertion by the Israeli prime minister might be easy to ignore.

But in this case, Netanyahu is on the right track. In fact, a case could be made that Iran already is ahead of his timeline. Note that he did not say Iran would have a nuclear bomb—just that the Islamic Republic would have the material for a nuclear bomb.

The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency suggests that Iran already has more than enough uranium enriched to 20 percent that could converted into weapons-grade (90 percent) uranium for at least one nuclear weapon.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Kessler went on to provide supporting evidence for this fact check.

So 6 to 7 months then.

And I once thought “Atomic Ayatollahs” would be a great name for a rock band.

Not so much anymore.

The allure of having a nuclear weapon is just too great for the Islamic Republic of Iran to let diplomacy get in the way. If anything, they’ll continue using it as a stall tactic to keep on working uninhibited.

Then look for Iran to throw a parade sometime in the near future celebrating its breakthrough.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an attack on Iran by Israel alone, the United States alone, one or the other as part of a coalition, or some other combination.

Some even believe such a strike might take place before the November election.

If you believe war is in the cards, it’s probably a good idea to start considering the potential repercussions it could have back on Main Street. Higher energy prices? Retaliatory strikes on U.S. soil by Iran and/or its affiliates? I plan on blogging about this in the coming days.

Sources:

Spetalnick, Matt and Williams, Dan. “Iran on brink of nuclear bomb in six-seven months: Netanyahu.” Reuters. 16 Sep. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/16/us-iran-nuclear-netanyahu-idUSBRE88F06P20120916). 25 Sep. 2012.

Kessler, Glenn. “Netanyahu’s claim that Iran is ‘six months’ from having nuclear bomb material.” The Fact Checker. 16 Sep. 2012. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/netanyahus-claim-that-iran-is-six-months-from-having-nuclear-bomb-material/2012/09/16/7497078e-002f-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_blog.html). 25 Sep. 2012.

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Post Number 1,000

Well here we are.

Post number 1,000 on Survival And Prosperity, “Protecting and Growing Self and Wealth in These Uncertain Times.”

It feels like it was only yesterday when I launched this successor to Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street.” In fact, it’s been almost 22 months since its debut. My how time flies. Especially when bad economic news keeps piling on. The Pollyanna gang might argue that Keynesian strategies pursued by Washington and the Fed successfully ended the “Great Recession” and have put the United States on a sustainable path to recovery. I’m of the approach that when a lot of money is poured into the financial system you’re bound to see some sort of pick-up in activity. At least initially. And, as we’ve witnessed, only temporarily, as more “stimulus” is required to keep the whole thing afloat.

But where has that left the country? As of last week, over $16 trillion in debt. And on the verge of yet another “quantitative easing.” And anyone who really believes debt doesn’t matter is in for a rude awakening when the nation’s “financial reckoning day” finally does arrives.

Since the launch of Boom2Bust.com back in May 2007, I’ve been warning about a coming U.S. financial crash. As much as some might credit me for calling it, the maelstrom that blew through the U.S. and global economies back in the fall of 2008 was only a part of the collapse that I still see heading our way. Somewhat surprisingly, Washington and the Fed have managed to “kick the can down the road” for the time being. But the road only goes so far. Will the crash happen all it once, or will it be drawn out over several years? I don’t know. I just know that my interpretation of the available data leads me to believe its coming.

To complicate matters, these days Americans must take into account other threats besides an economic crash. Depending on what one believes, these could include:

• Global warming
• Nuclear terrorism
• Overpopulation
• Pandemic
• Peak oil production
• Resource shortages
• Solar flares

There are others. Nevertheless, a lot of threats exist these days which endanger our survival and prosperity.

So in 2012, are we looking at the end of the world? Probably not. But most likely the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), particularly as it relates to the U.S. economy and larger financial system. Accordingly, life in America is about to get a whole lot tougher for most (if it already hasn’t). A number of really smart individuals who predicted the 2008 global economic crisis and “Great Recession” suggest we could see:

• Civil strife, including rioting and looting
• Currency controls
• Hyperinflation
• Martial law
• Much higher taxes and fees
• Rampant crime
• “Second Great Depression”

There’s more, but I think you get the picture.

Despite all this, I must remind you that I’m not talking about the end of the world here. Remember, even at its worst unemployment during the Great Depression ran somewhere around 25 percent. While that really sucked for those without a job, not everyone found themselves in a soup kitchen line. The economy and society, though hobbled, still functioned.

I’m a big believer that, despite the coming crash, things will turn out okay for America in the long-run.

I also believe that focusing on one’s personal and financial safety and growth right now will go a long way in helping you and your loved ones come out on the other side of the approaching storm in reasonably good shape.

Wishing you all the best now, and down the rocky road I see in store for us,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Explosives Found At Swedish Nuclear Power Plant

At first I thought the following from the land of ABBA may be an attempted act of nuclear terrorism, but upon reading further, I’m not so sure. Still, the event should probably serve as a wake-up call for the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies tasked with protecting our energy infrastructure. From the Associated Press this morning:

Security was ramped up at Sweden’s three nuclear power plants Thursday after explosives were found on a truck at the southwestern Ringhals atomic power station. Police said they were investigating possible sabotage.

Bomb sniffer dogs detected the explosives during a routine check Wednesday afternoon by security staff while the truck was in the power plant’s industrial area near its high security enclosure. Police declined to describe the amount or type of explosive material found.

Bomb technicians said the material lacked a detonating device, meaning there was no danger of an imminent explosion.

Four nuclear reactors are at Ringhals, 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Sweden’s second-largest city, Goteborg.

According to MSNBC.com, Ringhals’ four reactors produce nearly 20 percent of the Scandinavian country’s electricity.

Sources:

“Sweden on alert, explosives found near nuke plant.” Associated Press. 21 June 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/06/21/explosives-found-near-swedish-nuclear-plant/). 21 June 2012.

“Suspected explosives seized at nuclear plant in Sweden.” MSNBC. 21 June 2012. (http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/21/12330952-suspected-explosives-seized-at-nuclear-plant-in-sweden?lite). 21 June 2012.

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 Energy, Europe, Government, Terrorism No Comments


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