Archive for September, 2010

Twenty pieces of silver came to my mind when I read the Hill’s piece on the twenty pieces of legislation that Congress my cram down our throats as an unwelcomed Christmas gift. Here’s the story of twenty pieces of silver, in case you are not familiar with it;

13And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.

14And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

15And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?

16And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.

17And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

18And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.

19And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.

20Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

21And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.

22And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

23And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

24And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

25And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

26And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

27Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.

28Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

29And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.

30And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

31And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;

32And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.

33And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.

34And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

35And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

I’ll bet you were thinking of the other story weren’t you? This is from Genesis 37, verses 14 through 35. The other one is of course regarding Judas, but he was given thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus. But this one is similar, believe it or not, to the current drive to get twenty pieces of legislation passed in just six weeks after Congress gets back in session. (You can read the article here.) what’s so similar about the two stories?

Well, you need to look at the entire story to see what’s going on. In a nutshell, Joseph had a couple of dreams that showed not only his eleven brothers, but his father and mother as well bowing down to his superior position that God was going to place him in. of course, his brothers became exceedingly jealous of him, and when the saw him coming decided to throw him into a pit and kill him. Reuben, being the wise one of the lot suggested that instead of killing him and shouldering the guilt of Joseph’s blood they sell him off into slavery instead.

I can just imagine the look on their faces when they returned to the pit and found that Joseph was gone, kidnapped and sold by the Midianites.

The same story is unfolding today in this nation as our elected representatives forget that they are our servants, and instead of doing what is right for the nation supply the fodder that boosts their own ego and pride by passing legislation that doesn’t free us, but places into a kind of slavery instead. The power brokers in Congress all want their own little favored bills brought up and voted on, but I wonder how much debate is actually going to take place prior to passage of these laws.

And these laws will only add to the burden we have to bear as taxpayers in this nation. Remember the Health Care bill we now call Obamacare? Madame Pelosi said they’d have to pass the bill so we could find out what was in it. Imagine those people we pay huge salaries to not knowing what they were voting on. They’re kind of like the brothers who decided to kill the boy without taking the time to consider the ramifications.

The Obamacare bill, the Bailout Bill, and now these twenty pieces of legislation may well lock this nation into an irrecoverable financial pit with no water for our relief, just as Joseph was thrown into. Are you prepared for the coming times? None of these pieces were passed with the appropriate debate needed for their scope. Will the trend continue? If you haven’t made plans to get out of town and onto a survival homestead, you may be too late come 2011 and the implementation of this new wave of socially engineered legislation prompted by the demands of the UN’s Millennium Goals.

Read the goals and compare them to the massive bills heaped upon us in the last eighteen months. And I suggest you download and read the report What Will It Take to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The goals sound like they art benign enough, and the causes are just, however, we are being sold to the Midianites under the noses of those we have elected into office. The laws they have passed, and intend to pass may sound beneficent, but they are not. Let’s try to wake Josephs brothers up before it’s too late, shall we, or is it too late already?


This is another blast from the past, so to speak. It is conceivable that at some point and time homesteaders in a survival situation may wish to harvest and store ice from local streams or ponds, and they will of course need a place to store the ice for summertime usage. This farmer’s bulletin from the USDA gives some good instructions for building a small house for the farm use. Click onto the link if you wish to download this bulletin as a PDA, or to get a closer look at the images.

USDA bulletin # 913 prep. by G.H. Parks

To keep perishable products for a considerable time, some farmers may find it convenient and necessary to build a small ice house, which is not unduly expensive and has the advantages of saving perishable products that otherwise would spoil. The following description, plans, and bill of necessary materials will assist in the construction of a small ice house.


Cut four pieces of rough 2 by 6 inch scantling 4 feet 10 inches long and spike them together in pairs to make the girders. (See A, figs. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.) Cut four pieces of rough 2 by 6 inch scantling 6 feet 5 inches long and set them on edge, spaced as shown in figure 19, on the girders which are to be placed at the extreme ends of the joist. The frame should now be turned over and the first layer of floor boards (marked C, figs. 18, 19, and 21) nailed to the joists. The floor boards should be cut so that they will just come to the outside edge of the joists (see C, figs. 19 and 21).

Over the flooring put on a layer of building paper. Cut the paper long enough to be turned up at least 4 inches on the outside face of the joists. The next layer of boards is now put on over the paper. The boards should be cut long enough to extend the thickness of the board beyond the outside face of the joists (see D, figs. 18, 19, and 21).

In figuring the drawings it is assumed that the 2 by 4’s are dressed four sides, that they will measure 1 ¾ by 3 ¾ inches, and that the flooring is three-fourths inch thick.

The platform is now ready to be turned over and the ends of the girders nailed on posts which are buried in the ground about 2 feet and extend above the ground about 10 inches, so that a bucket can be placed under the dram pipe to catch the water from the melting ice and to form a trap (figs. 18 and 22).

Cut two pieces of boards 8 inches wide and 4 feet 10 inches long and nail across the ends of the joist, placing the top edge of the board flush with the tops of the joists (see D, figs. 18 and 10). Fill the spaces formed by the joists and the end boards with dry mill shavings, using about 100 pounds.

A layer of matched and dressed boards (marked E, figs. 18, 19, 21, and 22) should now be nailed on the joists. The floor should begin and end flush with the ends of the joists and not extend over the boards nailed to the ends of the joists (see E, figs. 18 and 21). On the long side of the platform nail a 2 by 4 laid flat wise the full length of the platform (see F, figs. 19 and 22). Across one end nail flat wise a 2 by 4 cut 4 feet 3 inches long and on the other end nail a 2 by 4 cut 4 feet 6 ¾ inches long, both 2 by 4’s to start from the ends of the 2 by 4 marked F in figures 19 and 22. (See G, figs. 18 and 21.)

Erect a 2 by 4 stud at the end of each 2 by 4 marked G, setting the studs so that the width of the stud will be parallel with the long side of the platform. The face of stud K will be flush with the outside edge of the platform, and the outside edge of stud L will be 3 ¾ inches back from the same face. (See figs. 17, 21, and 22.)

Cut two pieces of 2 by 4 inch 4 feet 10 ½ inches long for plates (plates marked J, figs. 18, 21, and 22). Cut the corner stud marked K, in figures 17 and 21, 5 feet 11 inches long and the stud marked L, in figures 17 and 21, 6 feet 11 inches long.

Now cut a 2 by 4 inch 3 feet 7 ½ inches long (marked H, fig. 21) and nail it along the outside edge, beginning at the outside corner of the platform. At the inside end and resting on the piece erect a 2 by 4 (marked I, figs. 17 and 21) cut to the correct height to fit under the first layer of ceiling. Cut three rafters each 8 feet 7 inches long.

Nail one of the plates on top of the corner stud K, level it, and support it at the other end by a board placed upright, nail to the platform on the end and at the corner. Place the plate on the stud L, letting it project over the stud inches, and support the opposite end by a board erected in the same way as that used to hold up the first plate.

At each end of the building, 3 feet 6 inches from the floor, put in a piece of 2 by 4 (marked M in figs. 18 and 22) set flat wise, and nail to the upright 2 by 4 and to the upright board. Next cut a piece of 2 by 4 6 feet 5 inches long (marked N in figs. 18, 19, and 22) and lay it on the end 2 by 4’s (marked M) and nail them together.

The boards marked O in figures 17 and 18, forming the first layer of the inside lining, should now be put on the ends. The boards are cut just long enough to extend from the floor to the top of the plate. Cut three rafters 2 inches by 6 inches by 8 feet 7 inches and nail to the plates, spaced as shown in figure 18. The frame is now ready to put on the first layer of boards to form the ceiling. The ceiling boards (marked P in figs. 18 and 19) are cut just long enough to reach between the outside faces of the rafters.

A 2 by 4 (marked Q in figs. 19 and “21) is now to be nailed flat wise to the ceiling. The inside edge of the 2 by 4 is set on a line with the 2 by 4’s already in place and is for the purpose of forming a support to which the upper ends of the side boards are nailed. After this scantling is nailed in place put on the first inside layer of boards (marked R in figs. 17 and 19). Next put on the first layer of boards forming the outside. The boards for ends of building should be cut to extend from the top of the rafters to the top of the board nailed across the ends of the floor joists (see S, fig. 18). The boards for the side should be cut flush with the top of the rafter and should follow the slope of the roof. The roof is now ready to have the shavings put in place. Use about 100 pounds and then put on the roof boards in two layers with paper between. The roof boards should project over the ends of the rafter about 2 inches and beyond the sides of the building about 1 foot. The roof boards should be covered without delay with whatever kind of covering it is intended to use, as the shavings must not be allowed to get wet or damp.

The roof may be covered with tin, shingles, or one of the prepared roofings, and should be made thoroughly watertight. When putting up the first layer of the boards on the outside of the frame the corner boards cannot be put on until the shavings have been packed in the walls. The walls will require about 400 pounds of shavings.

Before the shavings are put in the walls the side of the building containing the doors should be framed as shown in figure 21, then the first layers of boards put on the inside and outside of the wall.

After the shavings are in place put on the comer boards and cover all the walls with a waterproof building paper, lapping the paper at the corners and at the horizontal courses.

The building is now ready to receive the outside layer of boards, which should be put on without delay to prevent as far as possible any moisture getting into the insulation.

The doorways are beveled to receive the doors and to assist in making them fit tightly (see drawing. figures. 17 and 18). After the outside boarding is on, the inside of the room can be papered and sheathed. The paper is put on as follows: Cover the floor with two layers of waterproof paper and turn up on the walls 1 foot all around : then, starting at the floor, lay a course of paper on the walls parallel with the floor. Cut the strip 2 feet longer than the length of the wall and start the paper 1 foot from the corner, then carry around the nearest corner, tack to the wall, and carry around the next corner, doubling the paper at the corners. Put on the next course and lap over the lower course about 4 inches. Put on the remaining courses until the ceiling is reached, when the paper should be turned over and nailed to the ceiling so that the paper covers the corner between the ceiling and the wall. Now lay the ceiling and bring down on the walls about 1 foot. Use care in putting on the paper so that no holes will be punched in it. After the paper is on lay the top floor and ceiling before putting on the side and end walls, using care to make as tight a fit as possible between the floor and walls and the ceiling and walls.

After the walls are finished build the ice crib. The floor of the ice crib is made of 2 by 4 dressed longleaf yellow pine, spaced 2| inches apart. The supports for the floor are made by nailing a piece of dressed 2 by 4 inch scantling parallel with the floor to the inside boarding of the house and under each end of the scantling is nailed a 2 by 4 extending from the floor of the house to the underside of the supports. Running across the box nail a piece of 1 by 3 inch flat wise on the ceiling. The strip is so placed that it will be outside of the ice crib and to it are nailed 1 by 3 inch dressed slats spaced about 3 inches apart. The bottoms of the slats are nailed to the outside of the first joist of the ice crib. This joist is located 3 feet from the back of the ice crib.

The joist nearest the back of the ice crib is spaced 2 5 inches from the back wall. On the face of this joist between the joist and the wall, nail a strip 1 by 4 inch dressed, letting the strip project 2 inches above the top of the joists. Five inches from the inside end of the ice crib nail a 1 by 4 inch dressed strip across all the joists to form a stop for the ice cakes.

The drip pan under the ice crib is made of a sheet of galvanized corrugated iron. The corrugations run the long way of the room. The sheet is made 2 feet 7 inches wide and 3 feet 4 inches long, the width being the length of the corrugations. A 3-inch galvanized iron glitter 3 feet 4 inches long is riveted to the edge of the sheet on the underside. The sheet should pitch about 2 inches in the width. The high end of the sheet is nailed to the bottom of the first joist and the low end is supported by three straps soldered to the gutter and nailed to the joist above. The gutter should be closed at each end and should pitch about an inch from the front to the back. At the lowest point of the gutter the drain pipe should be attached by soldering. The drain pipe is a piece of gas or water pipe f-inch inside diameter and should extend from the gutter through the floor of the house and project below about 12 inches. If a bucket is so placed under the pipe that the bottom of the pipe will be about an inch from the bottom of the bucket, the water from the melting ice will form a water seal that will prevent the outside air from entering the house. At least 2 inches of water should be kept in the bucket to form the seal.

If a drain is provided to carry away the water, the bucket can be omitted, provided a trap is made in the pipe.

The meat should not be stacked on the floor of the building, but racks should be provided. The racks are made by nailing 2 by 4’s edgewise against the wall and on the floor. On the face of the 2 by 4’s strips 1 by 3 inches spaced about 3 inches apart are securely nailed.

The racks on the floor should not be nailed to the floor, but should be made removable in order to facilitate cleaning.

The racks against the walls are for the purpose of permitting the air to circulate around the meat.

The doors are made of three thicknesses of boards similar to those used in lining the room, nailed to a frame made of dressed 2 by 3’s. The frame is first made and covered with a thickness of boards. The box thus formed is filled with shavings and covered with boards. Turn the door over, lay a sheet of paper on the boards, and add another thickness of boards. The edges of the door are to be beveled to fit the door opening. The door must be made smaller than the opening to allow for the canvas and felt that are to be nailed all around the edges of the door and around the door opening. The hinges to hang the door should be extra heavy T hinges. The outside of the building should be painted three coats with an oil paint. The efficiency of the house depends upon the tightness with which it is built, and to assist in keeping it tight it is necessary to paint the outside to keep moisture out of the boards, which would cause them to swell and pull away from the inner boards. The paint will also help to keep the boards from the shrinking caused by heat from the sun. The inside of the building should be shellacked or varnished with a waterproof varnish. The varnish will keep the boards from absorbing moisture and causing trouble and will also permit the house to be easily cleaned. The house should be thoroughly cleaned immediately after the meat has been removed.



2 pieces 2 by 6 inches, 10 feet long, for girders, rough.

2 pieces 2 by 6 Inches, 14 feet long, for joists, rough.

3 pieces 2 by 6 inches, 9 feet lonp, for rafters, rough.

2 eednr posts, 6-Inch diameter, 6 feet long.

1 piece 2 by 4 Inches, 6 feet long, stud K. dressed. 1 piece 2 by 4 Inches, 7 feet long, stud L, dressed. 1 piece 2 by 4 Inches, 7 feet long, stud I. dressed.

3 pieces 2 by 4 Inches, 10 feet long, for plates and pieces G and M, dressed.

3 pieces 2 by 4 Inches, 14 feet long, for pieces F, H, M, Q and framing for doors, dressed. 800 feet b. m. tongued and grooved flooring, dressed.

25 linear feet 1 by 3 inches, for door stop, dressed.

1 piece, 2 by 4 inches, 10 feet long, for beveled jamb of doors, dressed.

2 pieces 2 by 3 inches, 14 feet long, for frame of doors, dressed.


1 piece 2 by 4 Inches, 6 feet long, for supports, dressed.
7 pieces 2 by 4 inches, 4 feet long, for floor beams, dressed.

1 piece 1 by 4 inches, 8 feet long, for ice stop, dressed.


3 pieces 2 by 4 inches, 7 feet long, for walls, dressed.

2 pieces 2 by 4 inches, 10 feet long, for floor, dressed.

9 pieces 1 by 3 inches, 14 feet long, slats for ice bunker and wall and floor racks, dressed.


3 extra-heavy T hinges, 18 inches long and screws.

1 pair extra-heavy T hinges, 12 indies long and screws.

1 pair 6-inch handles and screws.

25 pounds 6-peuuy flooring nails, wire.

5 pounds 10-penny wire nails, common.

5 ounces of 3-ouuce tacks.

1 sheet corrugated galvunized iron, 2 foot 6 inches by 4 feet. 1 piece 3-inch galvanized iron gutter, 3 .feet 4 Inches long, with 3 straps |-inch wide by 8 inches long, to fasten gutter to ice floor.

1 piece J-inch gas pipe, galvanized, 4 feet 6 inches long. 24 yards canvas or heavy duck, 9 inches wide.

20 yards felt, 6 inches wide, for padding under canvas.

2 gallons waterproof varnish. 2 gallons lead and oil paint.

400 square feet of insulating paiwr.

70 square feet roofing paper with nails and pitch.

600 pounds dry mill shavings.


My advice to those of you who dwell in the truly urban areas of this nation has always been to get yourself gone, ASAP! Yesterday isn’t soon enough. I know there are large numbers of people who plan on trying to survive what is to come in these urban centers, and there have been several TV shows and movies that show us how simple it will be to take control of a large population center and make a go of it. Unfortunately, this is make-believe. It’s all made up by a scriptwriter and producer, brought to life by a director.

There are many facets of life in the city that are not discussed on these shows, and by not addressing these issues you are merely adding new dangers that you really should not have to be dealing with in an end time’s survival scenario. The city’s infrastructure is a huge burden, and with no one to foot the bill, how do you propose to keep the infrastructure in shape? Roadways will crumble if not maintained, especially under the stress of repeated earthquakes. Who will take care of the roadways? The infrastructure under the streets will also decay and collapse, so if you think simply tooling around in a four wheel drive truck will work, think again. Water and sewer pipes will burst, and any remaining liquids in them will pour forth under these streets undermining the pavement and creating sinkholes that will swallow many vehicles whole. You’ll have a harder and harder time of getting around with a vehicle, and eventually you won’t be able to travel anywhere without great difficulty.

Where do you intend to get your water from? The public water supply will cease to function without power to force the water through the system. Chemicals needed to make safe water for drinking will not be available as there will be no supply houses to obtain them from. And even if there are supply houses that may remain open, who will manufacture these chemicals? Who will test the supply to make sure it remains safe to drink? Then there is the delivery system itself. Sometimes the source of your water supply can be miles away from the city requiring huge outlays of manpower and cash to maintain the mainline piping, sometimes referred to as aqueducts. And don’t forget the hundreds of miles of local delivery piping that lay just under the surface of your streets. Failure to keep these systems safe and secure could lead to contamination of your water supply, not to mention the waste incurred by not repairing the leaks that will occur.

How about electrical power? Where is that going to come from? Very few communities can boast of having their own power generation capabilities, and those that do have them, particularly those with hydro-power will fare better than others. But if we fail because of an EMP or similar event the grid will be useless for distributing power, and according to some analysts it could take a decade or more to get the grid up and running again. Your choices are few in this matter. Fuel will become available in decreasing quantities and you will have to resort to pumping out storage tanks if you wish to run portable generators. Some people seem to believe that they will be able to rely on natural gas, and that too is a fallacy in a widespread breakdown. The natural gas wells need to have someone keep them running, as well as the compressors installed at intervals along the pipelines to keep the gas up to pressure. How do you intend to do that from your secure little enclave of urban survivalists?

There are many more issues that we fail to adequately address in our planning that can cause complete failure to what we want to envision our end time world to look like. Sanitation, communication, transportation, food sources and many more areas need to be fully investigated before we come to a complete understanding of what we have to look forward to in the coming times. Unfortunately, many of us insist that the picture we see is the correct picture, and many times the picture we see will be so distorted by our own pride that we could end up getting people hurt, or worse, killed for no good reason. We like to believe that we can shelter and survive in our snug little city type dwellings, but this is a false dream. The odds of winning a survival scenario in such a setting are so heavily weighed against success that it isn’t worth the effort.

Leave the major population centers for the warlords and gangs that will rise up after the fall of law and order. Ignorance will prevail by brute force and eventually their numbers will be reduced through their own stupidity. True, they will migrate to the countryside and rural communities to forage for that which they are to ignorant to obtain on their own knowledge, but if you have followed my advice and set up small communities of like minded people you will be able to withstand their assaults, provided they can even find you. And if you have followed my advice, they won’t

The primary aspects of survival can be found as what I call the SaWaFo pyramid. Safety, water, and food are the three pinnacle points of need for survival. Water is of course the most vital, but without these three you will not survive long term, no matter what the situation is. Safety, water, and food, are your primary needs, and not necessarily in that order. In a city you have reduced opportunity to find clean potable water, reduced opportunity to plant and grow necessary food and fuel crops, and at the same time an increased level of threat and reduction of a safe environment due to the risk of other people desiring what you have. At least in suburban areas you’ll have greater opportunity for water and food, even though the proximity to the greater population centers increases the potential risk.

Rural is the way to go, no matter how you want to look at the issue. If you find a locality with other like minded people you can band together for defensive purposes, and have plenty of room for crops, fuel plants and clean water from drilled wells.


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Gauging the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack is republished with permission of STRATFOR.”

Gauging the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

September 9, 2010 | 0856 GMT

By Scott Stewart and Nate Hughes

Over the past decade there has been an ongoing debate over the threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to modern civilization. This debate has been the most heated perhaps in the United States, where the commission appointed by Congress to assess the threat to the United States warned of the dangers posed by EMP in reports released in 2004 and 2008. The commission also called for a national commitment to address the EMP threat by hardening the national infrastructure.

There is little doubt that efforts by the United States to harden infrastructure against EMP — and its ability to manage critical infrastructure manually in the event of an EMP attack — have been eroded in recent decades as the Cold War ended and the threat of nuclear conflict with Russia lessened. This is also true of the U.S. military, which has spent little time contemplating such scenarios in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. The cost of remedying the situation, especially retrofitting older systems rather than simply regulating that new systems be better hardened, is immense. And as with any issue involving massive amounts of money, the debate over guarding against EMP has become quite politicized in recent years.

We have long avoided writing on this topic for precisely that reason. However, as the debate over the EMP threat has continued, a great deal of discussion about the threat has appeared in the media. Many STRATFOR readers have asked for our take on the threat, and we thought it might be helpful to dispassionately discuss the tactical elements involved in such an attack and the various actors that could conduct one. The following is our assessment of the likelihood of an EMP attack against the United States.

Defining Electromagnetic Pulse

EMP can be generated from natural sources such as lightning or solar storms interacting with the earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetic field. It can also be artificially created using a nuclear weapon or a variety of non-nuclear devices. It has long been proven that EMP can disable electronics. Its ability to do so has been demonstrated by solar storms, lightning strikes and atmospheric nuclear explosions before the ban on such tests. The effect has also been recreated by EMP simulators designed to reproduce the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear device and study how the phenomenon impacts various kinds of electrical and electronic devices such as power grids, telecommunications and computer systems, both civilian and military.

The effects of an EMP — both tactical and strategic — have the potential to be quite significant, but they are also quite uncertain. Such widespread effects can be created during a high-altitude nuclear detonation (generally above 30 kilometers, or about 18 miles). This widespread EMP effect is referred to as high-altitude EMP or HEMP. Test data from actual high-altitude nuclear explosions is extremely limited. Only the United States and the Soviet Union conducted atmospheric nuclear tests above 20 kilometers and, combined, they carried out fewer than 20 actual tests.

As late as 1962 — a year before the Partial Test Ban Treaty went into effect, prohibiting its signatories from conducting aboveground test detonations and ending atmospheric tests — scientists were surprised by the HEMP effect. During a July 1962 atmospheric nuclear test called “Starfish Prime,” which took place 400 kilometers above Johnston Island in the Pacific, electrical and electronic systems were damaged in Hawaii, some 1,400 kilometers away. The Starfish Prime test was not designed to study HEMP, and the effect on Hawaii, which was so far from ground zero, startled U.S. scientists.

High-altitude nuclear testing effectively ended before the parameters and effects of HEMP were well understood. The limited body of knowledge that was gained from these tests remains a highly classified matter in both the United States and Russia. Consequently, it is difficult to speak intelligently about EMP or publicly debate the precise nature of its effects in the open-source arena.

The importance of the EMP threat should not be understated. There is no doubt that the impact of a HEMP attack would be significant. But any actor plotting such an attack would be dealing with immense uncertainties — not only about the ideal altitude at which to detonate the device based on its design and yield in order to maximize its effect but also about the nature of those effects and just how devastating they could be.

Non-nuclear devices that create an EMP-like effect, such as high-power microwave (HPM) devices, have been developed by several countries, including the United States. The most capable of these devices are thought to have significant tactical utility and more powerful variants may be able to achieve effects more than a kilometer away. But at the present time, such weapons do not appear to be able to create an EMP effect large enough to affect a city, much less an entire country. Because of this, we will confine our discussion of the EMP threat to HEMP caused by a nuclear detonation, which also happens to be the most prevalent scenario appearing in the media.

Attack Scenarios

In order to have the best chance of causing the type of immediate and certain EMP damage to the United States on a continent-wide scale, as discussed in many media reports, a nuclear weapon (probably in the megaton range) would need to be detonated well above 30 kilometers somewhere over the American Midwest. Modern commercial aircraft cruise at a third of this altitude. Only the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China possess both the mature warhead design and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability to conduct such an attack from their own territory, and these same countries have possessed that capability for decades. (Shorter range missiles can achieve this altitude, but the center of the United States is still 1,000 kilometers from the Eastern Seaboard and more than 3,000 kilometers from the Western Seaboard — so just any old Scud missile won’t do.)

The HEMP threat is nothing new. It has existed since the early 1960s, when nuclear weapons were first mated with ballistic missiles, and grew to be an important component of nuclear strategy. Despite the necessarily limited understanding of its effects, both the United States and Soviet Union almost certainly included the use of weapons to create HEMPs in both defensive and especially offensive scenarios, and both post-Soviet Russia and China are still thought to include HEMP in some attack scenarios against the United States.

However, there are significant deterrents to the use of nuclear weapons in a HEMP attack against the United States, and nuclear weapons have not been used in an attack anywhere since 1945. Despite some theorizing that a HEMP attack might be somehow less destructive and therefore less likely to provoke a devastating retaliatory response, such an attack against the United States would inherently and necessarily represent a nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland and the idea that the United States would not respond in kind is absurd. The United States continues to maintain the most credible and survivable nuclear deterrent in the world, and any actor contemplating a HEMP attack would have to assume not that they might experience some limited reprisal but that the U.S. reprisal would be full, swift and devastating.

Countries that build nuclear weapons do so at great expense. This is not a minor point. Even today, a successful nuclear weapons program is the product of years — if not a decade or more — and the focused investment of a broad spectrum of national resources. Nuclear weapons also are developed as a deterrent to attack, not with the intention of immediately using them offensively. Once a design has achieved an initial capability, the focus shifts to establishing a survivable deterrent that can withstand first a conventional and then a nuclear first strike so that the nuclear arsenal can serve its primary purpose as a deterrent to attack. The coherency, skill and focus this requires are difficult to overstate and come at immense cost — including opportunity cost — to the developing country. The idea that Washington will interpret the use of a nuclear weapon to create a HEMP as somehow less hostile than the use of a nuclear weapon to physically destroy an American city is not something a country is likely to gamble on.

In other words, for the countries capable of carrying out a HEMP attack, the principles of nuclear deterrence and the threat of a full-scale retaliatory strike continue to hold and govern, just as they did during the most tension-filled days of the Cold War.

Rogue Actors

One scenario that has been widely put forth is that the EMP threat emanates not from a global or regional power like Russia or China but from a rogue state or a transnational terrorist group that does not possess ICBMs but will use subterfuge to accomplish its mission without leaving any fingerprints. In this scenario, the rogue state or terrorist group loads a nuclear warhead and missile launcher aboard a cargo ship or tanker and then launches the missile from just off the coast in order to get the warhead into position over the target for a HEMP strike. This scenario would involve either a short-range ballistic missile to achieve a localized metropolitan strike or a longer-range (but not intercontinental) ballistic missile to reach the necessary position over the Eastern or Western seaboard or the Midwest to achieve a key coastline or continental strike.

When we consider this scenario, we must first acknowledge that it faces the same obstacles as any other nuclear weapon employed in a terrorist attack. It is unlikely that a terrorist group like al Qaeda or Hezbollah can develop its own nuclear weapons program. It is also highly unlikely that a nation that has devoted significant effort and treasure to develop a nuclear weapon would entrust such a weapon to an outside organization. Any use of a nuclear weapon would be vigorously investigated and the nation that produced the weapon would be identified and would pay a heavy price for such an attack (there has been a large investment in the last decade in nuclear forensics). Lastly, as noted above, a nuclear weapon is seen as a deterrent by countries such as North Korea or Iran, which seek such weapons to protect themselves from invasion, not to use them offensively. While a group like al Qaeda would likely use a nuclear device if it could obtain one, we doubt that other groups such as Hezbollah would. Hezbollah has a known base of operations in Lebanon that could be hit in a counterstrike and would therefore be less willing to risk an attack that could be traced back to it.

Also, such a scenario would require not a crude nuclear device but a sophisticated nuclear warhead capable of being mated with a ballistic missile. There are considerable technical barriers that separate a crude nuclear device from a sophisticated nuclear warhead. The engineering expertise required to construct such a warhead is far greater than that required to construct a crude device. A warhead must be far more compact than a primitive device. It must also have a trigger mechanism and electronics and physics packages capable of withstanding the force of an ICBM launch, the journey into the cold vacuum of space and the heat and force of re-entering the atmosphere — and still function as designed. Designing a functional warhead takes considerable advances in several fields of science, including physics, electronics, engineering, metallurgy and explosives technology, and overseeing it all must be a high-end quality assurance capability. Because of this, it is our estimation that it would be far simpler for a terrorist group looking to conduct a nuclear attack to do so using a crude device than it would be using a sophisticated warhead — although we assess the risk of any non-state actor obtaining a nuclear capability of any kind, crude or sophisticated, as extraordinarily unlikely.

But even if a terrorist organization were somehow able to obtain a functional warhead and compatible fissile core, the challenges of mating the warhead to a missile it was not designed for and then getting it to launch and detonate properly would be far more daunting than it would appear at first glance. Additionally, the process of fueling a liquid-fueled ballistic missile at sea and then launching it from a ship using an improvised launcher would also be very challenging. (North Korea, Iran and Pakistan all rely heavily on Scud technology, which uses volatile, corrosive and toxic fuels.)

Such a scenario is challenging enough, even before the uncertainty of achieving the desired HEMP effect is taken into account. This is just the kind of complexity and uncertainty that well-trained terrorist operatives seek to avoid in an operation. Besides, a ground-level nuclear detonation in a city such as New York or Washington would be more likely to cause the type of terror, death and physical destruction that is sought in a terrorist attack than could be achieved by generally non-lethal EMP.

Make no mistake: EMP is real. Modern civilization depends heavily on electronics and the electrical grid for a wide range of vital functions, and this is truer in the United States than in most other countries. Because of this, a HEMP attack or a substantial geomagnetic storm could have a dramatic impact on modern life in the affected area. However, as we’ve discussed, the EMP threat has been around for more than half a century and there are a number of technical and practical variables that make a HEMP attack using a nuclear warhead highly unlikely.

When considering the EMP threat, it is important to recognize that it exists amid a myriad other threats, including related threats such as nuclear warfare and targeted, small-scale HPM attacks. They also include threats posed by conventional warfare and conventional weapons such as man-portable air-defense systems, terrorism, cyberwarfare attacks against critical infrastructure, chemical and biological attacks — even natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis.

The world is a dangerous place, full of potential threats. Some things are more likely to occur than others, and there is only a limited amount of funding to monitor, harden against, and try to prevent, prepare for and manage them all. When one attempts to defend against everything, the practical result is that one defends against nothing. Clear-sighted, well-grounded and rational prioritization of threats is essential to the effective defense of the homeland.

Hardening national infrastructure against EMP and HPM is undoubtedly important, and there are very real weaknesses and critical vulnerabilities in America’s critical infrastructure — not to mention civil society. But each dollar spent on these efforts must be balanced against a dollar not spent on, for example, port security, which we believe is a far more likely and far more consequential vector for nuclear attack by a rogue state or non-state actor.

Read more: Gauging the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack | STRATFOR

I came across this old article on starting an emergency campfire that I found pretty interesting, as I do most articles from the past when they relate skills that we need today for surviving in an emergency or disaster situation. The drawings are from another work, but I felt them relevant so inserted them for art’s sake, by the way. I think one of the ways we fall short in our planning is to forget about how things were done before the advances of technology made things easy for us modern day outers. Oh, an outer was a term used in the late 19th and early 20th century to describe a fellow that loved to spend as much time roughing it in the woods as he could. But at any rate, my recommendation to you as you develop your emergency preparedness plans as to learn as much as you can about pre-technology ways. That way, when technology fails, you will still be able to continue on.

Your Emergency Camp Fire

By L. E. Eubanks
Indicating Ways and Means of Doing the Things Our Ancestors Had to Do

THERE is not a great deal of art in building a fire, either a stove fire or an open fire, if conditions are right and, the proper fuel at hand. Most readers of this magazine have read all about fire building in the ordinary camp, under the usual conditions.

Old campers know, and prospective campers should be warned, that very much of the pleasure and profit from an outing depend on the camper’s maintenance of a comfortable temperature in the cabin or tent. The novice should guard particularly against being misled by the bodily warmth he feels when he first returns to camp from a vigorous tramp. He will cool quickly; even after a nice day the evening often grows unexpectedly cool, and a fellow, particularly if not used to roughing it, may take a cold that will spoil his fun—if it does nothing more serious.

An old woodsman with a big streak of humor has said that the best way to dry matches is not to let them get wet. The best drying treatment for “the last match” when it is damp is to rub it in your hair. The best way I know of to increase the chances of getting a fire from the last match is to cut some splinters the size of a toothpick from a piece of dry pine, if such is procurable, and bind them, say six or eight, around the match—their points within about an eighth of an inch from the fulminating end of the match. Even if a wind is blowing, at least one of the sticks is quite certain to hold flame.

I believe the most certain way to get a fire when it is raining is to find a rotten stump, gouge a hole into its heart, and start your kindling in the cavity. If you have a cartridge, cut it open carefully, dampen the powder slightly, and sprinkle it on the tinder.

But how about the tinder, you may ask; suppose even it is not to be found in a dry condition? A good many outers, hunters, trappers, etc., have learned to provide against such a contingency as that by carrying some kind of fire-starter in the camp outfit. A small roll of birch bark is fine: even if it gets wet the dampness does not penetrate beyond the outer layer, because of the oil in the bark.

But I know of something for “pocket kindling” even better than birch-bark—and a little more dependable, since the latter is not easily procurable in all sections. I refer to celluloid, a few little pieces of which will start a dandy fire in jig time. It is not only very inflammable but waterproof, and much more compact than bark. A few pieces of an old celluloid comb or of the white composition used to cover some harness rings can be carried in one’s pocket without the slightest inconvenience.

When the fire has to be built on snow—and of course it is impracticable to scrape away three or four feet of snow for a hasty, temporary camp—the novice at such work may fail even when he has at hand plenty of good starting material. Nine times out of ten he will place his dry wood directly on the snow, and by the time he finds out his mistake he may not have any dry stuff left.

He should make a bed of green logs on which to build the fire. Small logs will do, six or eight inches in diameter; and balsam is good because it is very sappy. The fire that is to be kept all night ought to be self-feeding; there are several arrangements of logs that permit the fuel to slip down into the fire as that below it burns out, and any thoughtful camper can soon devise a plan.

Remember too that a fire-back—a ledge of rock, bank of earth, or a big green log—will greatly increase the effectiveness of a fire that is built for warmth, by reflecting the heat. So pitch your tent, with reference to the fire-back’s position, so that when you build the fire you will get its full force.

But without a match! In that case, the outer, if he has a gun and ammunition, can even yet start a fire, if he goes at it right.

Sprinkle a little powder on the dry leaves, then put in but a small charge and do not pack it. Do not poke the muzzle into the leaves and twigs, but hold the barrel flat on them.

But if a fellow has neither match nor gun!! Pretty bad, if the weather is cold or he has to cook something; but he mustn’t give up. If there are two watches in the party, and if the sun is shining, you can make a burning-glass that will ignite dry leaves, by removing the crystals and placing them together, enclosing a little water between them. According to the historian Pliny, the ancients used a sphere of rock crystal as a burning glass for collecting the sun’s rays to a focus.

Starting a fire with a piece of ice is not at all impossible; in fact, it is easy if one has clear, pure ice, and knows how to shape it into a double convex lens—a lens that bulges on both sides. Sometimes the ice lens will act on fine, inflammable material even more quickly than a glass.

Take a piece of ice shaped like a silver dollar but a little bigger and a little thicker, and so hold it between your warm palms as to melt off the edges and bring it to the desired convex shape. Now catch the sun through it right, and see how quickly you can make a bit of tissue paper smoke. When the fire appears, a little later, gently blow it into a flame. Have additional fine fuel handy.

Among primitive peoples, there were two principal methods of starting fire—both used yet when emergency cannot be met otherwise. They were, by striking two suitable mineral substances together, or secondly, by rubbing two pieces of wood against each other. The principle was the same in both—ignition by friction. Fine, dry material like grass or punk was ready and the spark transferred to it.

It is said that in some parts of Alaska the natives rub sulphur on two pieces of quartz and strike these together to produce flame. Eskimos sometimes strike a piece of quartz against a lump of iron pyrite, with the same result.

Friction of two pieces of wood is still being used in some parts of the world. It is not likely that you and I will ever have to revert to these methods, but if the necessity should —well, it can’t do any harm to remember them.

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Surviving the Times takes you through the steps to make your own preparedness planning binder. You’ll learn how to guage the level of various threats as the relate to your preparedness planning by using the three P’s of preparedness, the SaWaFo pyramid and more.