I want to take a moment today to alert you to very real threat our nation faces from a serious Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) event in the next 24-36 months – a phenomenon that could knock out major electrical systems for weeks, months, or even years.
Many experts regard the probability of a major EMP emanating from our own sun as virtually certain. The last major EMP cycle affecting Earth took place more than a century ago and disrupted primitive telegraph technology. The 2008 EMP commission (authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2006) established that a similar event now would cause very serious disruptions on our lives, society, and our nation.
Our sun is entering a cycle of solar flares/explosions causing severe radiation bursts that could be EXTREMELY problematic if they hit the Earth – and solar-storm intensity is expected to peak in 2012.
Like most modern civilizations, we have become reliant, if not utterly dependent upon, a complex network of interlocking and interdependent support and infrastructure systems. Whether an EMP results from solar activity or from an enemy military/terrorist source (such as a nuclear explosion in the upper atmosphere), these threats are quite real, and it is imperative you at least become aware of them. You might well decide to take more steps to become more self reliant.
An EMP Could Knock Out Power Plants for Months
In the early stages of an EMP solar event, many of the protective devices along our electrical grid that ensure fast recovery of critical system components will be damaged or destroyed. The system’s surge protectors would be tripped or burned out in the initial event, rendering them incapable of preventing further surges.
As a result, much of the electrical infrastructure would be unable to protect itself from the effects of simultaneous failures. Widespread damage to the generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructures and equipment are probable.
The scope of the damage could cover 70% or more of the continental United States, as well as a significant portion of Canada.
Communication Systems Can Get Fried, Shutting Down Phones and Computers
The crucial role that telecommunication plays in a modern society cannot be overstated, and the loss of this infrastructure would seriously impede routine communications between individuals, businesses, and governments.
The vital components that make telecommunications possible include send-and-receive devices for voice and data, such as standard and cellular phones, not to mention personal computers. Consider the effects of EMP on wireless transmission facilities, as well as the monitoring and management systems that identify, mitigate, and repair problems that can impact all those services that make modern communication possible. The major elements of civilian communications networks have electrical systems with circuit boards, integrated circuit chips, and switching equipment such as routers that are inherently susceptible to EMP attack or natural event.
An EMP Could Disrupt Financial Systems, Blocking Access to Your Accounts
While an attack is less likely than the solar-storm scenario, a devastating EMP would result from a nuclear explosion in the upper atmosphere.
The financial services industry is comprised of a network of organizations and attendant systems that process instruments of monetary value in the form of deposits, funds transfers, savings, loans, and other financial transactions. This infrastructure is the record keeper for financial transactions and repository of national, organizational, and individual wealth. Today, most significant financial transactions are performed and recorded electronically; however the ability to carry-out these transactions is highly dependent on other elements of the national infrastructure.
The EMP Commission concluded that in the immediate aftermath of an EMP event, banks would find it very difficult to operate and provide the public with the liquidity they require to survive; that is: to buy food, water, gas, or other essential supplies and services. Wealth, recorded electronically in bank databases, could become inaccessible. Credit, debit, and ATM cards would be rendered useless. The bottom line is a serious EMP event – whether from the sun or a nuclear blast – on this nation would stop the heart of the U.S. economy.
Modern-Day Cars, Trucks, and Trains Would Be Disabled by a Serious EMP
Over the past century, both our society and economy have evolved in tandem with the automobile and trucking industries. With the proliferation of suburbs, citizens are traveling greater distances to work, or to shop, or to obtain medical care and a host of other activities, making automobiles vital to our daily lives. At the instant an EMP strikes, the body of your car and its radio antenna will feed the power surge into your vehicle’s computer – possibly rendering it inoperable. Today’s automobiles have as many as 100 microprocessors that control virtually all functions, and the effects of EMP attack could disable a major portion of the 130 million cars and some 90 million trucks on the road today.
The 2008 EMP Commission report highlighted our dependence on the trucking industry to continuously supply food from scattered farms and processing centers. Today, a typical city’s food supply consists of what’s available on grocery shelves for consumers – enough for several days at most. Replenishment of that supply depends on the flow of trucks from processing centers to distribution centers to warehouses, and eventually to stores and restaurants. The commission stated that if “…urban food supply flow is substantially interrupted for an extended period of time, hunger and mass evacuation, even starvation and anarchy, could result.”
The U.S. rail lines themselves are unlikely to suffer direct destruction as a result of an EMP, but rather it is the control computers onboard locomotives, countless traffic signals, and numerous control centers that will most likely be disabled. These railroad control centers rely on personal computers, servers, mainframes, routers, phone communication and local area networks. To this date, neither the control centers, nor the equipment operating inside them, have been hardened against EMPs.
Planes Could Literally Fall From the Sky – an Early Sign an EMP Has Hit
Air travel has become ingrained in our way of life, transporting over a half a million domestic passengers daily.
Navigation, communication, and radar equipment are critical to modern flying technology and will be vulnerable to the effects of an EMP.
Airline control towers would suffer irreparable damage, and the aviation industry would likely be grounded for a significant time. According to the 2008 EMP Commission, if the FAA air traffic control system is damaged by exposure to an EMP, its reconstitution would take considerable time to rebuild.
It is estimated that at any given moment, during regular business hours, somewhere between three to four thousand commercial airliners are crisscrossing the skies, meaning between 250,000 to 500,000 people may be at risk in those first few minutes of a deadly EMP event. It is a sobering thought of many experts that planes falling from the sky may be one of the first telltale signs of an EMP event.
Food Production and Water Systems Could Be Taken Offline, Leading to Widespread Panic
The United States’ food infrastructure is critically dependent upon electricity. An EMP attack could disrupt, damage, or destroy the systems necessary in making, processing, and, as mentioned before, distributing food. Our modern form of mass-agriculture requires large quantities of water supplied through irrigation or other artificial means that utilize electric pumps, valves, and other machinery to draw or redirect water from aquifers, aqueducts, and reservoirs. Even more troubling is that our food production equipment primarily consists of motorized combines, planting, seeding, and harvesting machines that have similar EMP vulnerability as automobiles. Butchering, cleaning, sorting, packaging, canning, and refrigeration equipment are also all electrically dependent.
The EMP Commission concluded that the transportation and distribution of food to supermarkets may be the weakest link in the food infrastructure in the event of an EMP event. Widespread damage to these infrastructures would impede the ability of undamaged fringe areas to aid in recovery. The consequences of our food infrastructure failing poses a clear threat to life and social order.
Since the invention and proliferation of the electric water pump early in the last century, modern society has been liberated from dependence on gravity-fed water systems. Electrically driven pumps, valves, filters, and a wide variety of other electrical machinery are indispensable for the purification and delivery of water. The removal and treatment of wastewater also relies heavily on electrical machinery. The EMP Commission concluded that an EMP attack could degrade or damage these systems; affecting the delivery of water to a very large geographic region for a protracted period of weeks or even months. The consequences of disrupting our water infrastructure are catastrophic considering the denial of water can cause death in as little as 3 or 4 days.
People would most likely resort to drinking from lakes, streams, ponds and other sources of surface water. Unfortunately, most surface water, especially in urban areas, is contaminated with wastes and pathogens, which could cause serious illness if consumed.
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And Forget About Help from Emergency Personnel! They Will Probably Be Fending for Themselves
Emergency services are essential to the health and safety of the general public. Law enforcement is equally essential for the maintenance of law and order, protection of property and the public’s safety. Americans rely on the prompt and effective delivery of fire, police, rescue, and emergency medical services. Augmenting these services in time of natural disasters are the state police and National Guard. Obviously, emergency responders can be expected to experience an increase in demand following an EMP attack. This will only be further complicated by their inability to communicate with each other and the general public. Commuters will be trapped on subways, while many office workers may find themselves trapped in elevators.
These people will require timely rescue. If looting or other forms of civil disorder break out, it is likely the local police services will be overwhelmed. One can imagine the chaos that an EMP event would have on our social fabric, as we suddenly find ourselves without electricity, transportation, food, water, communication, healthcare, or access to emergency services. A prolonged event would no doubt strain the system to a breaking point, as our emergency responders might very well find themselves not reporting to work out of fear for the safety of their own families.
I’m not trying to scare you – just forewarn you, so you can weigh the issue for yourself. The fact is U.S. scientists are quite concerned about this possibility in the next two or three years. For more information, please access this meticulously researched and FREE report on the EMP threat.
Lee Bellinger, Publisher
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