Archive for November, 2009

What is preparedness & survivalism? Some folks think the two are one in the same, and others think differently. And when you add the term ‘sustainable living’ into the mix you can develop a slew of new ideas and definitions. So, I feel it is important to differentiate the terminology and meaning behind all of these words in order to form a more comprehensive view of the coming times, what we are in for, and how we will learn to cope with what is ahead.

In simple terms, we can say that preparedness is the planning that comes before the fact, and survival is the act of living with what happens after the fact. How well we survive is dependent upon how we prepare. But there is much more to consider when making your plans to survive than simply piling up a bunch of go packs, MRE’s, water and endless supplies to feed the family and tend to their scrapes and bruises. Part of this planning should include a plan that has a goal of adapting yourselves to learn to live with less. And this doesn’t mean that you need to learn to live in the woods covered with deer skin to keep you warm. This means that you have to learn to do without what we take for granted today.

There are various stages or levels of disaster after-life that may be permanent, or they may be temporary. But what happens in the aftermath of any disaster is directly related to your response and the level of planning prior to that same disaster. For instance, let’s look at the infamous Katrina event, or Hurricane Katrina, of a few years ago. The storm was well documented, and warnings were given in plenty of time for people to have been evacuated, but they weren’t. There are many reasons for this failure to do the right thing, but the underlying cause of the devastation remains dedicated to just a few basic points.

Number one, New Orleans is built for the most part under sea level, and also has the advantage of being the mouthpiece of the Mississippi River. And remember, all water flows into the sea, if it doesn’t evaporate beforehand. In my opinion, much of what has been rebuilt after the storm should not have been rebuilt. At some point another major storm will bear down upon that same city and we’ll be repeating what never should have happened in the first place. But all that is beside the point.

The point here is that the Gulf is a region prone to hurricane damage, and people know that. Even if the government doesn’t tell you to leave, that doesn’t mean you should stay. Common knowledge would have suggested that the low lying areas of that city were going to be flooded, and that knowledge was, and is attainable by everyone. If these people would have had a survival mindset they would have had go bags ready to go and should have get gone well before the first warnings of flooding potential were issued. But people still wanted to party, and hold onto their property.

The afterlife of many showed just how poor their preparedness was, and the stories of many indicate the level of survivability people were prepared for. Many were orphaned out to other states where they had to rely upon the welfare system to put a roof over their heads and food in their guts. Some still rely upon that aid, in fact. Those who had the preparedness aspect under control and in place long before the flooding fared much better. Those people got out much sooner, they had cash to live off of, and sometimes relatives they could go to, they had insurance to cover their losses, and they were able to obtain alternate employment relatively quickly if their employers were shut down and out of business.

There are lessons that we can all learn from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but very often we fail to listen to our instructor, don’t we? The first lesson we can learn is that no matter how prepared we are to meet disaster, we often times will fail because of some small overlooked detail. For instance, if the Levees hadn’t failed, how badly would the area have been damaged? Did anyone take the possibility of their failure into consideration prior to, and during the period where evacuations were being considered?

Transportation is yet another factor. I recall reading quite a few headlines concerning the usage of city and private busses to get certain segments of the population out of harm’s way. Why would that have been an issue in the first place? Proper planning would have had the mechanisms in place to utilize every means of possible transportation available, and yet the various government agencies bickered over the usage of those busses.

There are a good many more examples that could be presented here, but the picture painted as we look back at this particular disaster just brings to light the fact that there will always be something overlooked that may cause us to fail in our attempts of survival after the fact. Unfortunately, many of these overlooked items could have been seen if we had only put more effort into preparedness. When developing your emergency preparedness plans you need to take the time to think through every conceivable scenario. You need to pretend in your head that this event or another is actually happening, and play out the scene as it were real life. What if should be one of the main mottos of your survival and preparedness agenda.

And then you need to practice and act out your survival plans to see what you have forgotten in the preparedness stage. Remember, once the hurricane, or other disaster hits you can no longer prepare for it. You have nothing less but to survive upon what your preparedness planning has given you.

There’s been a lot of chatter lately over the increasing presence of the military in civilian circles by way of the Northcom military command and their participation with local law enforcement agencies. Recently, a major disaster training event was held, Vibrant Response, and I am betting that at least some of the jump the gun survivalists are fearing that this exercise is a stepping stone to suspension of our constitution. I won’t disagree that the potential for abuse exists with this command, but I’m also betting that when it gets down to the wire, the majority of these soldiers care more about the constitution than they do getting reamed by their commanding officers.

There is of lot of distrust and resentment against the feds in the world of the anti new world order, small gov. crowd, and there is reason to be suspicious, but come on folks, these things need to take place if training is to be effective. After all, you can read a dozen textbooks on how to repair the brakes on your car, but until you get the toolbox out and actually change those brakes, you’ve never changed them. Consequently, you have no real experience with that exercise, and when you are down and out, and your brakes need repairing, what are you going to do? Stumble through the job and make mistakes when you can least afford to?

That analogy goes for disaster preparedness as well. The military is best suited to respond to a major catastrophe as they have the logistics, supplies and equipment in place and ready to go. These exercises train these men in what and how to do the things they need to do to be effective and minimize loss. We’ve always used the military by way of the National Guard etc. to help out in emergencies, so don’t second guess and come to rash conclusions when these types of events occur. The military voluntarily, for the most part, places their lives on the line in order to protect us and keep our borders secure. The dipsticks in Washington are another problem altogether, and there is no escape from that quarter, and that is where our distrust and complaints should be directed. Soldiers are soldiers and not politicians, and that’s the way it should be.

From some of the commentary I have read over this training exercise I gather there are many in the far right community that would rather rake in the mud than play in the grass and that’s too bad. I believe we would be much better off if we were to start to put some of the extremism to the side and start working together to bring true conservatism back to this nation. Socialism has been 100 years coming to this nation, let’s hope it doesn’t take 100 years to get rid of it.

I have included here a couple of press releases from Northcom regarding the Vibrant Response exercise, which was to be a practice for a nuclear strike on a local level.

Inter-agency exercise prepares all for national emergency

Nov. 11, 2009
By T. D. Jackson, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

BUTLERVILLE, Ind. – With an exercise the magnitude of Vibrant Response comes the need for inter-agency communication, team/unit cohesion and quick reaction time.  Vibrant Response, an exercise that simulates a terrorist nuclear attack in the United States, implements those three tenets in order to accomplish the mission at hand – working together to help save lives. 

More than 4,000 military and civilian participants converged on Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center and its surrounding communities Nov. 5 – 12 to participate in a training exercise that would put their capabilities to the test. 

Air Force Gen. Victor E. “Gene” Renuart Jr., the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, explained how when attacks of this nature surpass the capability of first responders, there are people in place who are trained specifically for such an occasion.   

“When an event like this occurs,” he said, “absolutely the first people on the scene are going to be the local first responders…”   

“But as you could imagine, an event like a nuclear detonation will rapidly grow beyond the capacity of certainly the local first responders and maybe state and potentially national responders,” he said.  “And so what we’ve tried to approximate in this scenario is that those first responders have arrived, they have conducted those initial searches, and we’ve asked for the civil support teams from within the state to come and assess for chemical, biological and nuclear conditions and help us understand what would be required to respond to this.” 

On Friday and Saturday that assessment team was the Ohio Chemical Enhanced Force Protection Package, or Ohio CERFP, chemical and engineering Soldiers and Air Force medics pulled together from the Ohio Army and Air National Guard.   

Army Maj. David Mason, Ohio CERFP commander, said the benefit of having the team is that it is set up to be on stand-by alert. 

“When looking at a major incident, your initial first responders can only do so much in a certain time frame,” he said.  “When the FEMA assistance comes in [there can be] a lapse in that response.  We’re here to fill in the gap.  We have the ability to arrive on site within 12 hours of call up.” 

The team got their trial-by-fire Saturday during the second simulated nuclear attack on a city.  The once peaceful neighborhood soon erupted like a volcano: smoke spewed from building windows, fire engulfed wrecked cars and trucks and dazed citizens – bloodied and battered – poured into the streets shouting for medical attention.  Some could not be consoled. 

“Where is my daughter?” a woman cried.  “I’m not leaving without my daughter!” 

Bloodcurdling screams and thunderous pounding erupted from the city jail as “prisoners” were determined to not be left behind.  Feeling angry and forgotten, they rattled and shook their jail cell bars yelling for someone to help them. 

 “Why isn’t anyone coming?” they cried to one another. 

But someone was coming.  Outside, the Ohio CERFP members were performing land surveys to identify the damage, erecting triage centers and setting up decontamination sites.  The “decon team” then moved out to rescue the people in need.

 Army Cpl. Jaime Ramirez, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear explosives specialist with the 379th Chemical Company headquartered in Chicago said the scenario was as real as it gets.

 “It was exciting the second we got in the gate,” he said.  “The simulated town and wreckage everywhere, role players with simulated injuries… It seems really well thought out.”

 In fact, every burning car, every trash heap and rubble pile was put in place so people who come to train at Muscatatuck are immersed in the most realistic scenario possible.

Lt. Gen. Tom Turner, commander of U.S. Army North and the Vibrant Response director, describes Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck as second to none.

 “This should be a national treasure,” Turner said.  “I really think it is a perfect place to do the integration of inter-agency training.  It is an incredible piece of terrain,” he said, adding that Muscatatuck provides “great opportunities and great realism.”

 “You can see over the next few days this is going to be a very realistic battlefield and [the Indiana National Guard] has really done a heck of a lot to facilitate it so I can’t thank them enough,” he said.

 Turner said training in an exercise such as Vibrant Response helps the participants work through any kinks that would otherwise manifest at an inopportune time.

 “When you show up at an incident of this magnitude, that is not the time to start meeting the players that are going to be involved in this kind of effort,” Turner said.

 “Everyone will get training in their own task that they perform but they’ll also go away with a much better understanding of how the pieces fit together, how federal, local and state folks get integrated to conduct this mission,” he said.

 The same nuclear attack was carried out on Monday, this time with Marine Corps responders from the Chemical-Biological Incident Response Force, or CBIRF, out of Indian Head, Md.

 Brig. Gen. Clif Tooley, commander of the Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck Center for Complex Operations, said that he was honored to support U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Army North in their execution of this year’s exercise, Vibrant Response.

 “The size and scope of this event will showcase our unique capability to support large-scale live training of Department of Defense forces missioned to provide support to civil authorities in consequence management,” Tooley said.  “The Joint-Interagency-intergovernmental team participating in this experience will undoubtedly leave better prepared to perform their mission should they be called upon to do so.”

Vibrant Response brings realistic disaster training close to home

Nov. 11, 2009
By Spc. John Crosby, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

EDINBURGH, Ind. – Smoke billowing from buildings, the beating of helicopter blades and constant radio chatter echo over ground zero; the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Ind., on November 9.

The scenario is unimaginable to many; a nuclear weapon detonates over a large U.S. city. The catastrophe calls on our nation’s military and first responders. The Army and Air National Guard answer the call. The training event is dubbed Vibrant Response.

Over the years, the tragedies of the tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina and the attacks on September 11, make training for an event of this magnitude seem necessary.

“Some would say it’s not a question of if but when there’s going to be another large scale catastrophic attack on our nation,” said Lt. Gen. Tom Turner, U.S. Army North commander.

Training for such a catastrophe has been deemed mandatory by U.S. military officials.

“It is an extraordinary training opportunity for a nation’s capability,” said Gen. Victor E. “Gene” Renuart Jr., commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. “The kinds of scenarios that you see throughout this training venue allow us to practice not only the individual skills but the organizational skills necessary to respond to this type of an event.”

The training event, commanded by Army North, involved more than 4,000 people. Muscatatuck’s layout of 120-plus buildings, nine miles of roads and underground tunnel systems proved an excellent venue to create such a scenario.

“It hits all of the major training venues that you would find in an urban area,” said Lt. Col. Chris Kelsey, Muscatatuck commander. “It should really task all of these units to really use their full spectrum of tools to get the job done.”

Casualties, rubble piles and emergency sirens added to the event’s realism.

“It was exciting the second we got in the gate,” said Army Sgt. Mathew Morgan, 379th Chemical Company headquartered in Chicago. “The simulated town and wreckage everywhere, role players with simulated injuries… It seems really well thought out.”

The Army and Air Guard units operated with a full spectrum of components necessary to respond to the mock nuclear attack. First, identifier teams roved the wreckage taking radiation tests ensuring the levels were safe enough for servicemembers to begin work.

Next, search and rescue teams extracted civilians and casualties from the affected areas. The affected people were decontaminated and then triaged and given medical care according to priority of injuries. Several echelons of care operated by several units of different military branches all operated as one.

“It gives them an assessment of their capability, gives them an assessment of their level of physical fitness and their endurance,” said Jeff Taylor, operations and medical and analytical evaluator. “It helps you to understand just how much you actually can do and how hard you can push yourself.”

Valuable lessons are learned each day during Vibrant Response including communication, logistical and coordination issues.

 “I’d like to see them gain confidence in their equipment, confidence in their team and confidence to do the job they need to do anywhere in the United States or anywhere else in the world if they were called,” said Kelsey.

Beyond the challenges of working in the mass-casualty situation and the chaos of the aftermath of the mock nuclear blast, the Guard units faced the challenges of working with other units, other branches of the military and civilian authorities.

“That’s what we’re focusing on today is the evacuation piece and the integration of units that don’t normally work together,” said Taylor. “I think they learned a great deal.”

As Vibrant Response draws to a close, plans for future events such as this are discussed, possibly a smaller quarterly event in conjunction with a yearly training scenario according to Kelsey.

“I would say without a doubt that the quality of this force that we have is as good as anywhere in the world,” said Turner. “I think that we as a nation have come to realize that the threat is real and we have to be prepared for that. Is the nation prepared to respond? Yes. Do we need to grow that capability further? Yes. That’s what these exercises are designed to do.”

I found this fascinating quote today:

Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies said one of the most shocking findings of his recent polling on the subject was that 65 percent are expecting an attack within six months.

“Some of the communication between Fort Hood shooter Hasan and al-Qaida figures included discussion of such attacks inside the United States, and it has been a common form of violence in the Middle East for years,” he said. “Now, Americans appear resigned to the fact that these attacks will soon come to our shores.”

He asked a series of questions in a WorldNetDaily/Wenzel Strategies survey regarding the recent Fort Hood attack, allegedly carried out by Muslim Maj. Nidal Hasan. The survey, Nov. 13-16, used an automated telephone technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers nationwide. The survey has 95 percent confidence interval. It included 806 adult respondents and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

“More than one-third of respondents – 36 percent – said they think it is ‘very likely’ that such an attack will take place in the next six months, while another 29 percent said it is ’somewhat likely,’” he reported.

via Source.

Harold, Americans Expect Islamic Terror Strike Within 6 Months, Nov 2009

You should read the whole article.

I found this fascinating quote today:

A year ago tomorrow, millions of people worldwide began watching a terror attack play out live for three days in Mumbai. Ten gunmen staving off the police, special forces, and army troops captured world attention while slaughtering 173 people and wounding more than 300.

As the Mumbai victims are remembered this week, federal terrorism intelligence experts have quietly embarked on a campaign to help some major metropolitan police forces in the U.S. learn the lessons of Mumbai. Two weeks ago, I was the first journalist allowed to sit in on a two-hour briefing conducted by John Miller, the assistant deputy director of intelligence analysis for the Office of Director of National Intelligence, to 200 top Miami police officers, SWAT team leaders, and leaders from the fire department. The briefing, conducted at the Miami Police Department’s headquarters, was a sobering PowerPoint presentation. Miami was the third city, after Los Angeles and Boston, to get Miller’s briefing.

In the exercise set up for Miami, a Mumbai-type attack meant the first shooting was along the business district in Coconut Grove. Less than 30 minutes later, a car bomb went off in crowded Little Havana.

“Mumbai signaled a turn in terror operations,” says Miller, the former co-anchor of ABC’s 20/20, best known for his 1998 cave interview of Osama bin Laden, who has worked with the government on the terror front since 2001. “With al Qaeda being hit hard, less centralized and having more trouble raising money, Mumbai is the format for the future: low tech, low cost and high yield. It was a strategic and technical success that got them the biggest bang for the buck, creating a lot of fear while getting great media attention.”

Read Full Article

nationalterroralert.com, Could A Mumbai Style Terror Attack Happen Here, Nov 2009

You should read the whole article.

A lot of people seem to think I am just a tad nuts when I talk about the coming biometric and RFID identity cards we will be required to carry someday, maybe soon. They claim that America does not need to carry a national ID in their back pocket because we are a free nation and that would violate our rights. That’s true, it would violate some rights, and/or privileges, but when have you known our rights to stop the politicians from enacting more controls over our everyday lives?

There is an article out, Youth will find ID cards ‘handy’, that tells of a new biometric card in England targeted towards the younger set. The article says; A voluntary national identity card scheme will be launched in Greater Manchester today designed to give young people “day-to-day convenience”. Manchester residents over the age of 16 who hold a UK passport will be able to apply for the £30 biometric ID cards from November 30th.

I find it interesting that there seems to be little resistance to this card, perhaps because the UK is already a socialist nation and the citizens are used to the government telling them what to do and where to go. The article quotes a Home Office minister, Meg Hillier, as saying , the cards would be particularly useful for students and young people who do not wish to take their passports on a night out. And that Having a card would save the “cost and hassle” of getting into clubs and bars…

Apparently the biometric information will be stored on a database that will not be able to be downloaded onto disc format and is supposed to be used for criminal and border issues. The article goes on to say; Fingerprints and photos will be stored on one database and biographical information on another, linked together by a third. This information is already held by the Passport Service.

At this point the card will not be mandatory, but at some future date it will be, and the Brit’s can count on that happening. Meanwhile, India will begin issuing their own mandatory national ID cards in August of 2011, with 600 million people expected to be issued with their cards over five years, or about half of India’s population. In the US, our federal government is experimenting and researching away, under the watchful eye of the DHS and other control oriented agencies. Many universities and large employers already utilize an RFID card as a means of secure and positive ID, and some cards are even connected with financial accounts of the holders allowing them to also use the card to pay for some purchases, and to pay for rides on public transportation.

As we become more and more a nation of overconsumption and convenience we are using contactless payment cards, which are RFID cards, for everything from a meal at a fast food joint to zipping through the tolls on the turnpike. This usage will make us become complacent with the technology, and we will forget that there are risks with allowing this technology to become part of our everyday lives.

And therefore we will have to make some heavy decisions when making our preparedness plans for the future. To ID or not to ID, that is the question. One of the problems I foresee is the fact that if we need any governmental assistance at all, we will need to have the national ID card in hand to get that assistance. Also, we may well be jailed in an event that would allow martial law to be imposed if we do not have that same ID at hand.

Health care, food and housing all come under the umbrella of the FEMA world when our constitution becomes suspended, so what do we do? In fact, we may well be forced to relocate and take employment that we don’t want when the you know what hits the proverbial fan. By planning ahead, we won’t have to make these excruciating decisions under pressure, making the wrong decision as a result. Like I’ve said before, those of us who will be able to be self sufficient will have a much better chance to survive the coming times with a thorough plan in place. Research the facts and learn before it becomes too late to act as a free person. RFID is not the way to go, and by refusing to use it today, we can make it take much longer to be implemented, and extend our free lives for many more years. Resist the new world order, resist the new technology, and you can resist the power of the coming times.