Thursday, September 26, 2013

ABC Nightline reports on "microwave" delusions of Navy Yard shooter, and then on Al-Shabab

The man (Aaron Alexis) who perpetrated the Washington Navy Yard Building 197 shootings, resulting in twelve deaths, is reported on ABC Nightline to have believed the government had inundated him with “low frequency radio waves” or microwaves. The shotgun had inscriptions about “ELF” waves and the like.  There were diary postings (not online) on his own computer about ELF.
  
The idea is noteworthy because the military does have radio frequency wave generating weapons that it uses to disable enemy electronics in the battlefield in Afghanistan and had used in Iraq.  The Marine Corps (as part of the Navy) probably uses similar weapons.  I had discussed this on my International Issues blog March 4, 2010 after a visit to Aberbeen Proving Grounds, and the Ordnance Museum.
Some writers on the political right have warned that terrorists could acquire these weapons or even manufacture them (as in a book my Michael Maloof, reviewed April 13, 2013 on the Books blog.  This predictions have been known since 2001, when a report about the possibility appeared in Popular Science shortly before 9/11, and were reported by the Washington Times in 2009. Nightline's link (4 minutes) is here

ABC Nightline also discussed Al-Shabab (or Al-Shabaab) as a particular militant offshoot of Al-Qaeda from Somalia.
  
What is so disturbing about the Kenya attack is that individuals in the Mall, as a soft target, were targeted, interrogated and executed for not being Muslim.  This may sound like Christian claims of persecution (as in Egypt).  But it seems the group likes to target individuals as if they should be held personally responsible for western self-indulgence or for supposed religious flaws, making these individuals pay personally as well as their loved ones for "benefiting" from what radicals see as ill-gotten material lifestyle gains. .  This sounds a bit like the tactic of the Boston Marathon attack. The Nightline 7-minute film is here. It was a mentality common on the Far Left that I noticed with radical groups (like the Peoples Party of New Jersey) early in my working adult life in the early 1970's. 
    
Al-Shabab has been able to attract westerners, including some young men from the Midwest, especially the Minneapolis-St. Paul area which has a large Somali presence. I believe that the Arabic word means "The Youth". 
    
Democracy Now has a short documentary (17 min) on Al-Shabaab. 



If one connects the dots, last night’s Nightline was particularly disturbing. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In 1999, ABC Nightline had broadcast a fictitious simulation of an anthrax subway attack; new questions on the 2001 attacks and Ivins surface

In a dinner conversation Sunday night, there was mention of a 1999 ABC Nightline report on a fictitious anthrax attack on the BART system in San Francisco.  The report had aired more than two years before 9/11.  It supposed that terrorists threw glass vials in a subway tunnel.  In two days, cases started showing up in hospitals, and in five days thousands were dead, in the simulation.  But for such an attack to work, the anthrax would have to be skillfully weaponized, something that can be done in only a few labs around the world, including Fort Dietrick in Frederick MD. 
  
Subway systems in London and Paris often (in many major stations on many lines) have “suicide” panel barriers, transparent plastic guards that open at specific spots for subway doors.  I remember noticing these in the spring of 2001 when I was there. It would be costly, but prudent to install these in the US in NYC, Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, etc.  
      
The report had been largely forgotten, but apparently it was inspired by report written by William Patrick III and obtained by ABC News in February 1999, as in this report from ABC News dated in June 2002, (website url)    link
  
Some people believe that not only was Steve Hatfill wrongfully accused by the FBI, but so also was Bruce Ivins, whose suicide is said to have occurred out of hopelessness.   ProPublica has a series on Ivins and the incident here. There are dangling stories, such as 2002 arrests at a garden apartment complex near Trenton NJ that were never followed up on by the media, and a troubling question as to why American Media was attacked in Florida, when it housed supermarket tabloids.  Was it because the trademarked name of the company was iconic?  All this could generate another documentary film, I think.  

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

CNN's "The Flag": more valuable as a retrospect of the entire 9/11 event than just about the flag itself

The Flag” came from a yacht owned by a lower Manhattan couple.  This refers to the flag raised by three firemen in the runs of the twin towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Months later, when the couple wanted it back temporarily for a commemoration, they found that the flag had been replaced and the original one misplaced.
  
It is a mystery how the picture was taken, but it was first published in New Jersey Sept. 12, 2001. 
As a flag picture, it is iconic as the Iwo Jima picture from WWII.
  
Most of the CNN film, first broadcast on Sept. 4, 2013, rehearses a lot of the action on the street that horrible day, where lower Manhattan had turned into the scene of a black-and-white horror movie.  It is all familiar now.
  
   
The film is directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, and is branded by "CNN Films" for distribution.  The most important link seems to be here.  There may be some limited theatrical showings. 
     

The original flag still has never been found. 

Sunday, September 01, 2013

"The End of America": Financial publisher predicts world will refuse to accept dollar as reserve currency because of our printing money to pay debts, leading to collapse



I haven’t covered purely “financial” disaster videos on this blog much.  I saw Porter Stansberry’s video “The End of America” being pushed in a news feed by Toshiba on my new Windows 8 laptop on the Internet Explorer default screen. 

The video visually is nothing more than a series of Power Point slides matching his speech that runs 83 minutes. 

Stansberry’s thesis is that the world is already turning away from the dollar as a reserve currency, and that this can cause a sudden, financial Armageddon.   That could occur, he says, one day when the rest of the world simply refuses to by bonds un US dollars at all. The reason for the process is that the US can print money to pay for its growing debts and deficit spending.  This obviously feeds into the debate on the debt ceiling, as well as population demographics (an aging population, fewer children in some populations).   The rest of the world will naturally balk at the US’s living beyond its means at their expense.  International monetary authorities are already developing bonds defined with “special drawing rights” or SDR’s.

Stansberry predicts sudden banking collapse within the US, wiping out normal assets.  Even ATM’s won’t work, he says.  Why would financial operations fail within the US?  Well, he claims, civil disorder and marital law could ensue.  The video was posted on March 13, 2013 and predicted a collapse within a few weeks of that time.

Toward the end of the video he offers his newsletter subscription, and refers to four steps which he will not name specifically.  The advice appears to include putting some assets overseas, owing more gold and especially silver, apparently doing puts and calls (but that requires skill in day trading), and, most of all, owning more commodities, and looking for barter opportunities.  Although the video denies that “guns” are involved, it sounds from the tone that rural real estate with real physical self-sufficiency in terms of food would be a good idea.  There is a tone of “doomsday prepper” mentality.

I actually heard some of these advice from co-workers in the early 1980s, one of whom was investing in junk silver.  I wonder what Stansberry would think of bitcoin today.

I does seem as though Stansberry thinks that the currencies of countries whose people are more "disciplined" (like China) will turn out to become dominating.  That view takes on moral aspects.
     
Stansberry does introduce a useful concept, called the "normalcy bias", which explains why people don't prepare for disasters that haven't happened before. 
  
An article on the Daily Crux gives some more info here.

Some other references on the web do indeed call into question Stansberry’s reputation.


I think it pays to bear in mind that some of the most serious threats are to infrastructure, particularly the power grid, and maybe even from cyberwarfare.

Stansfield’s theories would obviously cause other commodity prices to rise.  But the United States has the newfound ability to meet its fossil fuel energy needs (whatever the effect on climate change) from new technologies (fracking) to develop enormous local reserves of natural gas.  Demonstration of that ability could offset the reduction in the value of the US dollar.