EMP: I See a Different World Than You Do, and it Frightens Me
By Barrett Moore
Why is it that no one is paying attention to, much less doing anything about,the imminent threat of an EMP,1 an all-too-possible "black swan" event2 that could result in the deaths of some 300 million Americans?3
That said, some thinkers are on the ball: in 2004, the Federal EMP Commission was formed,4 and the warnings contained in its reports are dire5; the WND journalists do an excellent job articulating the threat an EMP poses6; James Woolsey, the former Director of the CIA, has been a tireless leader on the subject7; and Former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD),8 along with Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,9 understand the threat and have courageously warned others within government.
Yet no one appears to be listening. Our local, state and federal governments remain mute, while corporate America myopically focuses on short-term earnings that simply do not matter if an EMP intervenes before they act to protect their businesses. So the question remains, is everyone in denial, do they misunderstand the stakes, or does the entire nation suffer from normalcy bias?10
If I may, let me be blunt: forces are conspiring to destroy the United States,and one day, possibly even tomorrow, the US will be impacted by an EMP. There are several ways this could occur. First, some smaller nation, or a non-nation-state actor, could successfully detonate a nuclear weapon(s) in our atmosphere, generating an EMP. Second, a more sophisticated enemy (Russia11 or China12) could attack us with an emerging class of new super EMP weapons.13 Third, a naturally occurring coronal mass ejection could generate a "natural" EMP pulse.14 While the technical aspects of each type of EMP are different, the results are effectively the same: you and your family would be set on a course to perish within two years, as the technology underpinning most of modern society would be destroyed. Period. Adios. Goodbye.
Don't believe me? Consider this: we are a society addicted to electrons. Without them our lives do not function. Ask yourself how your day went the last time the electricity went out. I am sure it changed radically, despite your best intentions. Now imagine that the lights and everything else powered by electricity goes out, permanently, across the entire country. This is an EMP's capability. In the simplest of terms, it destroys the electrical grid. More specifically, the gamma rays emitted in the first instant of an atmospheric nuclear blast (i.e., the E1 pulse) are capable of destroying the semiconductor- based electronics15 that underpin every link in every modern-day supply chain. In the case of a solar storm (technically a "coronal mass ejection," or CME), the rapidly changing electrical and magnetic fields that are generated approximate the slower-moving E3 pulse of a nuclear blast, which shuts down power grids wherever it impacts.
What does this mean? Let's start with the smell, that difficult-to-describe, pungent, oily, burnt-technical smell that emanates from fried electronic devices. It will be the first sign that you are facing more than just a power outage. Unfortunately that sickly smell will be the harbinger of the deaths of an estimated 300,000,000 Americans, and tens of millions elsewhere, as the miracle and efficiency of modern American society grinds to a halt. Gone will be the modern agricultural practices that feed us (and much of the rest of the world), the incredible just-in-time supply chain that supports us, modern medical practices, the banking and financial industries, and all your digital wealth, which will be erased.
You and your loved ones will be thrust into the equivalent of the mid-17th century without any of the conditioning, toughness, knowledge or skills needed to operate and survive in such an environment. There will be no electricity, running water, treated water, sanitation (sewage treatment), communications, credit cards, ATM, Internet, or recognizable transportation. The means of production and any ability to recover the "grid" will have evaporated. Are you prepared to handle that?
If you think the government will to come to your aid, think again. The federal government is not prepared to help you, much less itself. Various military personnel have talked about EMP risks since well before the Starfish Prime test in 1962,16 yet our military is not ready either. In short, a strategically placed EMP of sufficient magnitude will destroy the foundations of modern life. Civil society will rapidly break down, and the rule of law will cease to exist. This threat is so imminent (compared, for example, with "climate change"), and so grave, and its consequences are so large, one would think that someone would be addressing it. But no. No one is.
To dispel any notion that the government might be proactive on this threat, one has only to study its most recent lapse, which resulted in the theft of millions of federal employee personnel records from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)17 by the Chinese Liberation Army (PLA).18 For over ten years experts have been warning that the architecture protecting government computer systems was penetrable.19 Yet nothing was done.
Oh, it gets worse but you are probably unaware of the details, as few in the media recognized the significance of the Chinese stealing the personnel records of government employees holding security clearances, each of which involves up to 127 pages of very personal documentation. The Chinese communists now have ream upon ream of the most intimate financial, social and medical details of the intelligence, military and other personnel charged with keeping our nation's secrets. While I will explore the significance of this debacle in a future paper, the reality is that the Chinese now have a road map to blackmail virtually anyone with a security clearance.20 And so of course our government delayed and obfuscated the news of this data breach.
To summarize, stunningly few people recognize that an EMP is a real threat. Those who belittle the threat ignore the science as well as the verifiable fact that weapons manufacturers,21 such as Boeing,22 are testing and optimizing the delivery of an EMP strike.23
To ensure there is no ambiguity, let me outline just a few of the grittier details of a post-EMP world:
- Air travel deaths: On most days, roughly 3,000 commercial airliners fly the skies over North America at any given moment. On average, each aircraft contains 100 passengers. Virtually all modern-day airliners now incorporate fly-by-wire technology, meaning the traditional mechanical linkages that move the flight control surfaces have been superseded by precise electronic inputs from computers. During an EMP, these computers will fail, downing every commercial aircraft, as well as private aircraft using the same technology. Up to 400,000 will die in one stroke.
- Medicine-related deaths: Roughly ten percent of the nation's population-30 million people-depend ongoing medical care to live. Within two weeks of an EMP, most of these will die. This number does not include the country's 29 million diabetics, 10 million of whom have Type 1 diabetes and need insulin. Once their insulin supply is exhausted, these people will perish as well, bringing the medicine-related death toll closer to 40 or so million.
- Electrical grid shutdown24: Many elements within the power grid are vulnerable to an EMP, including among other things the computer and switch controls, the line insulators, and the distribution transformers- any of which would take years to replace. This of course, does not address the continuity of the fuel supply as no power plant can operate without the timely delivery of coal, natural gas, or similar. While no one is certain how an EMP would impact the operation of our nation's 104 nuclear power plants, the consensus is that there might well be multiple melt-downs,25 compounding the growing human toll. In the simplest of terms, think of our nation's power grid as akin to the natural-gas- powered standby-generator that you may own: resumption of operation in a post-EMP environment would require the services of a technician, the availability of scarce, specialized parts (such as the power control module(s)), and fuel, which presents its own challenges since the natural gas supply will have been disrupted by the EMP and might take years to restore. Gasoline, diesel, propane and solar-powered generation equipment would have similar operational issues in a post-EMP environment.
- Malnutrition, exposure, starvation, and medical complications: In the 24 months following an EMP, much of the population will perish from a combination of exposure, starvation and medical complications. In a post-EMP world, even a small but infected abrasion can turn fatal due to lack of antibiotics. Your home becomes effectively a large cold box (or a hot box if you live in the South). Would you continue to live there? Without electricity and a clean water supply, sanitation becomes difficult. Food and food preparation cannot be taken for granted. What would you eat? How would you cook? The average suburban grocery store, which normally receives about 14 deliveries a day, would be stripped bare within hours. Some mistakenly believe they will be able to live off the land, but this is not generally realistic. With hundreds of millions of people in the same situation, the competition for resources will quickly become deadly.
- Means of production: An EMP would destroy our manufacturing base, eliminating products necessary to rebuild and support a civil society. Doubters should visit a modern factory and study the variety and types of technology used there. For example, an EMP would incapacitate the hundreds of millions of programmable logic controllers (PLCs)26 that are ubiquitous in manufacturing facilities across the country.
- Supply chain and distribution: Our modern supply chain is a remarkable achievement, supported entirely by a reliance on electricity and computers. UPS, Fedex, U.S. Postal Service, Walmart, Amazon and all their competitors would be out of business, including the roughly 2 million semi-tractor trailers used daily to deliver goods.27
- Agriculture: The family farm is dead and agriculture has become a highly specialized industry completely dependent on external inputs to ensure operations. The regular deliveries of diesel fuel, fertilizer, seeds, and a myriad of other things upon which crops and livestock depend would be an early casualty of an EMP, grinding farm operations to a halt. Even with deliveries, farms would be crippled beyond use, since most modern tractors and other equipment incorporate electronics at all levels.
- Security and violence: When a person is fed, bathed, clothed, and living in an environmentally regulated atmosphere, their behavior is relatively predictable. Remove any one, or all, of these elements, and all bets are off. In today's politically and racially charged society, this is especially true, as desperate people will do desperate things, and no one will respond to calls for help.
- Communication or data: If you have traveled in a truly remote portion of the world without radio or other means of communication, you might have an inkling as to what a post-EMP environment would feel like. There will be no Internet, television, satellite, radio, phones, cell phones, fax, telegraph, or other form of commercial communication-except at the service of a small number of people who prepared beforehand.
- No means of exchange: We live in digital world, where paper records have largely been displaced and there is no longer a "back office" to keep track of transactions (trades or sales). An EMP would destroy digital wealth in short order, as there would be no functioning bank, brokerage firm, stock exchange, nothing. Confidence in the US dollar will plummet and currency will quickly become worthless. Barter will be the only means of exchange.
- Transportation: Some have suggested that they will just drive (or fly) right out of an EMP target.28 Good luck with that. While there are a few exceptions, and while there might be some limited truck and automobile transportation in a post-EMP environment, most modern automobiles, planes, and trains are nothing more than mobile computers vulnerable to an EMP. Even if a vehicle operates after an EMP, fuel will be scarce, and human predators and thieves will abound.
- Will to live: We have become soft-physically, emotionally, and spiritually-when compared with our forefathers. We lack the mental fortitude and acuity to deal with the potential EMP-triggered trials. One common refrain I hear is, "I hope it ends quickly for me, I don't wish to live in a post apocalyptic world." Is this a lack of courage, a certain laziness, or perhaps a justification for doing nothing to prepare?
- Sexual assault: This is an uncomfortable but real subject. During war and related social turmoil, lawlessness, including incidences of sexual assault, skyrocket. In a post-EMP environment, social niceties will be gone and degenerates will prey on the vulnerable. If you think I am wrong, then I invite you to tour or otherwise investigate any war zone.
The threat of an EMP is real29 and must be addressed. Our nation, however, is
adrift, bereft of real leadership, while a growing, ignorant, under-educated
secular mob mentality has taken hold of our culture. Hardly a day goes by
where another divisive issue does not emerge. Last week it was the
Confederate Flag, this week it is the American Flag as Rush Limbaugh so
accurately predicted.30 If one believes in conspiracy theories, one could
formulate a case that America, and in turn Americans, are being positioned to
become the world's scapegoat as the Western democracies default on their
massive debts.31 While you might not agree with that assessment, surreal
things are happening. I never thought I would live to see real Americans sign a
petition to have the American flag retired.32 Or that an arm of our government
would render laws and words meaningless, aiding and abetting the
government's complete lack of accountability to anyone or anything, including
regarding EMPs and civil defense. In the words of J.R. Nyquist,
"...the Supreme Court has violated the English language; that is, the Court has assumed a power that no government authority may safely assume. It is the most arbitrary power imaginable; for the Supreme Court may now say that "up" is "down," and "black" is "white." We cannot tell what such a court will do next; for it is now certain that no property is safe, no contract protected. Anything may happen. We are no longer ruled by laws, for laws are made of words and now, as of this moment, words are made of nothing , having no intrinsic meaning."33
Would any country come to our aid in the event our nation was crippled by an EMP? Years ago I would have emphatically believed that many nations would line up to help. Today, however, I am not so sure.
The French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal suggested that even if we cannot prove God's existence, we should live as though God does exist - because we have, comparatively, nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so. This is called "Pascal's Wager." In a world where EMP weapons as well as biological and nuclear weapons are deployed and where we depend on distant supply chains for our daily sustenance, we created an analogous "Preparedness Wager",34 which says that, comparatively speaking, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain but making basic preparations for an insecure future. Although we experienced security and prosperity in the past, we should live as if these will cease tomorrow.
Preparing to protect your family from an EMP is difficult, but not impossible. A haven is an important element in that solution and I help people in that regard everyday. However, before you panic and set out on the long, expensive and involved process to construct and equip a haven, I recommend the use of social media to pound the living daylights out of your elected officials and educate them on the risk an EMP poses to our nation. Your messaging should push for the critical need to protect the electrical grid and to reestablish a real civil defense35 program capable of protecting the population from enemies both foreign and domestic. Also you need to stop wasting time on meaningless activities and establish a Life Continuity36 plan capable of protecting your loved ones from the insidious threat that an EMP poses to hundreds of millions of Americans. It is not too late, but some day soon it might be.
These papers are not intended to predict the future, but rather to offer a thought process and perspective unavailable from mainstream media outlets. I hope to avoid repetition of history’s darker moments, and to that end I spotlight the dangers of our nation’s current path.-Barrett Moore
For those that wish to learn more about EMPs, I recommend the following books:
- One Second After, by William Forstchen
- Electric Armageddon: Civil-Military Preparedness for Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe, by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
- Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle to Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
- A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe by Michael Maloof
- Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP): Threat to Critical Infrastructure by Subcommittee on Cyber-security, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies of the Committee on Homeland Security House of Representatives
And, for you naysayers, who ignorantly claim the threat of an EMP is overblown,37 we will just have to wait see what happens. I place my faith in God and pray that he will allow me to help others survive the coming adversity; however maybe Darwin will be right after all when the naysayers are culled by an EMP for failing to heed the advice of the real experts.
- Paper "Do You Have Normalcy Bias? Most likely, yes..."
- Paper "The Dead Man's Curve"
- "Preparedness Wager"
- Life Continuity