Wednesday, December 06, 2017

"America Lights Out": Christian group expands on Ted Koppel's expose of EMP threat

There are a lot of YouTube videos ought there now predicting that North Korea can kill 90% of the US population with a thermonuclear EMP attack.   I do see some Fox vides at least six months old addressing North Korea’s possible EMP threat, so the recent article last week may not be as surprising.

VFNTv appears to be a conservative evangelical Christian media group. I won’t get into theology, but at least their 24 minute film put up in mid November makes “America Lights Out” does a respectable job of referencing Ted Koppel’s 2015 book “Lights Out” (Book reviews Nov. 10, 2015).

An E1 attack (which can be done with a smaller fission device or even non-nuclear microwave flux) sounds more likely than the thermonuclear E3. 

The US might be able to knock out a lot of North Korea’s missile capability with its own stealth microwave weapons, but the North Korean infrastructure seems to be largely hidden and underground (maybe with Faraday shields).
But we still don’t see the major “mainstream” news broadcasting channels (including CNN and Vox) quite ready to discuss this threat openly yet.  That needs to change. 

Thursday, November 09, 2017

"EMP Myths Debunked and your EMP Questions answered by Dr. Arthur T. Bradley", from Reluctant Preppers

Reluctant Preppers sponsors a 54-minute video interview by Dunagan Kaiser of NASA’s Dr. Arthur T.  Bradley ("Disaster Preparer") on the EMP threat.  Reluctant Preppers has ties to Patreon which also sponsors "Strange Mysteries". 

Bradley suggests that an attack could be more insidious than generally proposed.

Devices that are powered off may be less vulnerable than those in use.  Maybe 25% of cars would stall on the highway with some attacks (sounds like E1). But that could cause real mayhem. Because the attack would be unprecedented and irregular and hard to assess at first, a power like North Korea might be able to “get away with it” for a while.

He describes an “experiment” that occurred in Kazakhstan and caused a power plant go to on fire.
Solar systems might be partially susceptible to EMP.

He talks about the rather remote threat to heart pacemakers.

He explains the difference between a solar storm, which is largely E3, with a typical EMP which might be largely E1 unless thermonuclear weapons were used.

It is not likely that an effective EMP could be detonated from an airplane.

Bradley suggests that an enemy like North Korea could try more than one kind of attack in a short time period.
“The Survival Mom” on Facebook shared this video.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

"ISIS in America": Diane Sawyer hosts ABC 20-20 report she has been developing for over a year

On Friday November 3, 2017 ABC 20-20 and Diane Sawyer broadcast “ISIS in America”.  This broadcast is bound to get some official attention in Congress. A couple of the main links are (one) (two). Variety has coverage of the episode here

(To see the ABC embed below, you may need to turn off https on your browser.) 

Much of the narrative concerns the case of Justin Sullivan in North Carolina (in Morganton), who grew up Catholic (was not an immigrant and not a Muslim) but was recruited.   Justin’s father was a Marine and turned him in.

ISIS “gave him a place to belong”.  But his perception had to do with a “death cult” and feeling “powerless”.  One of the videos promises “no more humiliation” for “losers”.   This seems to have to do with the idea that in an open society where anyone can “show off” gratuitously online without supervision, some will win and some will lose (just like in sports). That’s just a consequence of logic (or "going to the root" as I  used to say as a boy).       
Charlotte Observer story on Justin’s case;  CBS News story.

Part 3 of the ABC report mentions radiation detectors in New York City (and biological) which are also used in ports.   Part 3 also deals with the “dark web” and right wing extremists as well as jihadism. There was talk of “hastag hijacking”.   It talks about “content war” (even hijacking “Game of Thrones”).  Sawyer visits the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma, and the stories of two honor students who fell into the trap.

Part 4 talks about targeting involving possibly Pamela Geller.   A defendant was “fat, failed and a complete idiot”.

There is some coverage of Sayfullo Saipov, who had planned is truck attack for weeks.  Trump says Saipov was a point of contact for 23 other questionable immigrants from Uzbekistan.

Part 5 talks about a mosque in Miami that sheltered everyone during Hurricane Irma.

Update: Nov. 6

The New York Times has an important piece by Jim Rutenberg, the "Mediator", "A How-t on Terror I as Close as a Click: (print) or "Terrorism is faster than Twitter" (online). The links in this story need to be followed closely.

Friday, November 03, 2017

CBS 60 Minutes reviews North Korean threat with visit to USAF center near Dayton, Ohio

David Martin reports on North Korea’s Nuclear Threat on CBS 60 Minutes on Oct. 29. 

The report, for the first time ever, showed the innards of an Air Force command center near or at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where North Korean missiles are studied and NORAD defense is simulated.

The upshot is that North Korea probably does not have a heat shield that can survive reentry on an ICBM capable of reaching the US, but is likely to have it by some time in 2018.

The broadcast showed some shorter range SCUD missiles capable of hitting South Korea or Japan. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"North Korea 'Decoders' Are Sounding Alarms": from "Moving Upstream"

Moving Upstream, a series, from the Wall Street Journal, has an 11-minute short film in early October, 2017,  “North Korea ‘Decoders’ Are Sounding Alarms”.

Jason Bellini, who I believe traveled with Marines during the war in Iraq, reports.  The film presents a technology group in Silicon Valley, the Middlebury Group, which uses “open source” to re-simulate all the calculations that would be done by the CIA at Langley regarding North Korean missiles.

The group reaches the alarming conclusion that North Korea could probably reach the US with a nuclear weapon even now, and that it will not be possible to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
The film also notes the possibility of horizontal mounting of weapons inside tunnels, which makes them very hard to destroy.  Some nukes are probably pre-loaded, which would make revenge strikes against the US possible even if Kim Jong Un is removed by force.   But then how good is NORAD?

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Advanced Fusion Systems: "Dispelling the Myths about EMP"

Curtis Birnbach, of Advanced Fusin Systems, presents “Dispelling the Myths about EMP” in 2014.
Birnnach explains the E1 v. E3 threats, and notes that we may not have sound mathematical reasoning on the frequency of extreme solar storms.  It’s possible that a few have irradiate the Earth and caused mass extinctions.

He claims his company’s product is superior to “neutral blockinh” devices that some utilities are starting to deploy.

Virginia (Dominion Power) and Maine are said to be ahead of most utilities in actually designing safeguards from E3 threats.

Advanced Fusion says that proper protection of utilities should cost about $50 billion for all consumers ($500 per person).

He noted that the Russians still use vacuum tubes on some jets as EMP avoidance.

He also discusses non-nuclear magnetic flux guns, which he claims amateurs could figure out had to build, as shown in a September 4. 2001 Popular Mechanics story. He mentioned the scene in the movie “Oceans 11” where Las Vegas is hit by non-nuclear flux. 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

"What to Expect After an EMP": Video slide show talks you through doomsday prepping

What to Expect After an EMP”:

This video, comprising  lot slides like a grade school filmstrip (20 min) is pretty grim indeed. The EMP is indeed the bogeyman.

Cities will break out into chaos in 24 hours, and rural areas in 5 days.  Will this be a moral purification from the fascist idea of survival of the fittest?  It sounds like it from this video. But there are lessons in how to improvise survival.

Actually, there are more recent reports, from Popular Mechanics, for instance, that report much more moderate, spotty, and perhaps recoverable damage from such an enemy.
EMP attacks go in several stages.  The smaller weapons can produce E1, which affects electronics and many later cars.  It is the E3 (from fusion reactions and extreme solar storms) that can possibly destroy big transformers, which we don’t have the ability to replace.  But utilities may be able to do a better job of grounding them.

Monday, September 18, 2017

CBS "Face the Nation": John McCain underscores gravity of North Korean nuclear crisis, as has Diane Feinstein

I’ll share the transcript of Senator John McCain’s “Face the Nation” interview (as  “film” for the purpose of this blog),  on CBS on Sunday. Sept. 17, 2017.  He discusses the gravity of the threat of North Korea but also discusses military training accidents and is now sympathetic to transgender service in the US military.  In late 2010, he was at first somewhat reluctant to sign on to the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. 

Resilient Societies says that Senator Diane Feinstein has “admitted” that North Korea can hit the US now almost anywhere with a nuclear weapons, or implicitly an E1-level EMP. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Your Voice Your Future" series from Sinclair looks at "Free Speech in America"

Free Speech in America” became a topic tonight on Sinclair Broadcasting’s “Your Voice Your Future”.  Jonathan Elias hosted the panel.
Jeff Goldberg showed footage of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, triggered by the proposal to take down a confederate statue (Robert E. Lee’s) in Lee Park in that city.
Alex Lehnert reported from Berkeley on the proposed free speech rally in Berkeley.

The panel comprised Antonia Okafor, Jolene Ivey, Richard Vatz (Towson Statem MD), Donna Edwards (former MD Congresswoman).  There is some concern that “free speech” is in jeopardy because the way a lot of less intellectual people are socialized.

Vatz pointed out that free speech doesn’t mean there are no consequences for speech, and he indicated that a lot of people really don’t believe in individualized free speech if it challenges social order.  Professors are not free to speak outside of their “expertise” at most universities.  Students may feel thet cannot challenge professors on controversial issues.  Antonia talked about shutting down someone else’s opinion in the classroom. 

Is this the “trophy generation” of sheltered kids?'

One speaker (Sebastian Gorky) talked about the “failed days of rage” from 1968 and the snowflake kids of today. 

He spoked about ISIS getting Afghan and southeast Asia warlords to recruit youth.

Ashley Honea spoke from Gettysburg about Pickett’s Charge and the monuments.  Scott Hancock said confederate monuments could be seen in terms of “states rights” as well as slavery and do provide teachable moments. 

Ivey discussed the intent of putting up the Confederate statues. 

Elias discussed the Media Fairness Caucus, and Scott Thuman continued the discussion, into the subject of fake news.

The panel then got into Trump’s accusations of the media on “fake news” and his command “listen to me”.
Brian McConchie reported from Columbia SC on the confederate battle flag after the Charleston shooting. 

Sunday, September 03, 2017

"North Korean EMP Threat: Real of Ridiculous?"

On the Sunday afternoon where Trump and the media reacted to Kim Jong Un’s claims of having a miniaturized hydrogen bomb, I watched the 13-minute short film,  “North Korean EMP Threat: Real or Ridiculous” by Anon Z, July 8, shortly after North Korea’s first “ICBM” test.

The woman who narrates this video sounds quite balanced. She says she voted for Trump, but she says she loves this country.

She traces some warnings to Congress about the EMP threat back between 2004 and 2006 in some conservative newspapers (like The Washington Times). 

She points out that a small nuclear weapon would much more likely to be used.  She presents James Woolsey’s claim that the “Shining Star” satellite already in orbit might be used when over the US.  Vut she believes it is more likely that a weapon would be launched from a submarine or from a hijacked commercial ship off shore.  She mentions smuggling of North Korean parts through Cuba and Panama. It isn’t hard to imagine connections between North Korea and Islamic fascists (including Iran) and even, on a downloadable personal level, ISIS ideology that ensnares young Muslim adults who feel “left behind”. 

A Twitter handle called “ResilientGrid” says that a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb can execute the third phase of the EMP pulse, but fission bombs can execute the first phase; so “EMP Deniers” could have been rebutted even before North Korea’s claims today.

She presents Newt Gingrich’s testimony before Congress earlier this year, where Gingrich compares this thereat to 9/11 but considers it a threat to civilization (as in the 2009 book “One Second After”).
She says that an attack would likely be regional, from an offshore source.  The US might recover.  But it would not recover from a high-altitude blast blanketing the entire country.  She says China would then come in an conquer the US, and remaining survivors would face moral judgment on their ability to function in a communist totalitarian society.

She also points out that North Korea has unusual hatred for the U.S. because of the way it conducted itself during the Korean War of the 1950s. It cares less about reunification of Korea, she says. 
Resilient Grid claims that the power grid can be protected for about $5 per American (for less than $2 billion), but I don’t know what that technology is or the reference.  One issue is to make more transformers at home (a case where keep industry at home – as Trump claims he wants – is critical for national security).
This reminds me of the "domino theory" of the Cold War, where the draft and the ability to fight conventional war sacrificing young men was seen as a buffer to nuclear war.
Is this an “I told you so” post? 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

NBC Dateline: "Hostage": how 2 moms survived the Nairobi Westgate Mall attack in 2013

NBC Dateline aired “Hostage: A Tale of Survival”, a 30-minute report on two mothers who survived the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 21, 2013,  video link here

One was a white woman who had grown up with missionaries and whose husband frequently traveled to the US.  Her husband had to get news from friends on Facebook in Charlotte before the news coverage caught up.  Friends had to be careful not to call cell phones in the Mall which would give away locations.  The woman’s oldest son had to protect the younger brother in a gradual escape.

Both women were assisted by strangers who turned out to be undercover police. 

The entire event lasted about 4 hours.

The film shows how modern the Mall was.

This report with Kate Snow seems to be an update of the earlier "Nowhere to Hide" episode reviewed here Nov. 23, 2013. 

The last twenty minutes of the Datelines broadcast covered the flooding in Houston.
By Anne Knight - Direct personal communication between copyright holder and uploader, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"How Japan Is Preparing for North Korean Threats" (HBO)

HBO and Vice News offer a short film, “How Japan Is Preparing for North Korean  Threats”.

There is an elementary school drill, and then some demonstration of bunkers for sale for $200,000 each, which contain hand pumped air filters.  The shelters would be good for two weeks.

Picture of Hiroshima memorial by HKT3012 under CCSA 4.0. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Vox offers video: "What Happens When ISIS Fails?"

Vox has produced a short film (7:30) by Sam Elllis, “What Happens When ISIS Fails?”

The film does go into the issue of fighter (sometimes whole families) returning  after ISIS loses all its territory that it had claimed as an unrecognized “state”.  Many return with very radical views, and many were recruiting by slickly produced media on the Internet, and then processed subsequently on the Dark Web.

The video above on YouTube asks “What’s It Like to Fight for the Islamic State?”

Wikipedia attribution link for Qayyarah fighting near Mosul, by Chernov, CCSA 4.0. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"Salvation" on CBS looks at the threat of a hidden asteroid, 6 months out, able to extinguish civilization

Salvation”, a new CBS sci-fi series created by Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro, poses a rather “obvious” dilemma for an end-of-the-world scenario.  The Pilot episode aired tonight (CBS link ).

Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe) is an appealing, clean-cut MIT teenage student working on a project to map all of space.  One night, after a date and while in bed with a girl friend (maybe a first time) he gets a cell phone text that his project has discovered an asteroid due to hit Earth in 6 months.
Here is where there are too many coincidences. The government conveniently has a gravity deflection rocket that it wants to use against asteroids, but it wants to keep the knowledge of the asteroid classified.  But the kid has found out, and might talk (or blog about it).  The Pentagon already has a holographic simulation of the projected course.

Liam somewhat resembles the precocious college student Sal in my novel "Angel's Brother".  But what does Sal know in my opening chapter?  In my case, it's a meeting that sets up the dangerous knowledge for both lead characters, as a plot point.

The opening of the series is intriguing, as Liam is in a scene in a bar with the girl friend that reminds you of the opening of “The Social Network” (Thirsty Bernies), also in Cambridge.  Neither show or film is concerned about drinking age of 21.

But how the world would deal with an asteroid is important, and we don’t know that there isn’t something like this out there.  Is Trump ready for this?

“Space” discusses the physics of the project here.  Comets would be less dense than asteroids.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

CNBC "Squawk Box" features James Woolsey with dire warning about North Korean EMP threat now

CNBC’s “Squawk Box” featured an interview with former CIA director James Woolsey July 5 on the idea that North Korea has the capability to detonate a small nuclear weapon from an orbiting satellite now, over the US, knocking out the power grid.  So, for the sake of this blog, I’ll call this a “short film”.

Woolsey says that satellite technology is much easier to master than ICBM’s, and cites the Soviet Union’s Sputnik in 1957 as evidence.

Some reports say that this claim has been disputed.

But Woolsey repeated this assertion to Don Lemon on CNN on July 6.

But other than that, major media outlets have not picked up on this and the Trump administration has not yet acknowledged this particular risk.

Tony Cordesman has suggested that a limited military operation against DPRK could do a small (non-nuclear flux) EMP to take out their grids, but woukdn’t that trigger a retaliation if Woolsey is right?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

"Terror in the Library" in ABC's "In an Instant" series, 1994 event disturbing for singling out hostages

ABC’s “In an Instant”, a series of 2-hour documentary films sponsored by 20-20, aired
Terror in the Library” (link) Saturday June 24, about an event March 5, 1994, when Clifford Lynn Draper took hostages and threatened to block himself and the hostages up if many demands related to his military service were not met.

The perpetrator was said to be a paranoid schizophrenic. He was finally shot by an off-duty policeman who used specific intelligence to decide when to act.

The episode is unusually disturbing because he singled out hostages, made one of them call a TV station, and made them draw straws.  One of the hostages almost went into a diabetic coma.

Incidents like this have happened (before 9/11), from non-islam-related causes more often that people realize.  The most notorious was he kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1974.

This is particularly disturbing to me, as I have outlined here.

The Salt Lake Tribune has a detailed story here.

Picture of Salt Lake library today, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"What Is Happening Under Yellowstone Park in 2017?": Is a massive eruption about to destroy 1/3 of the U.S.

What Is Happening Under Yellowstone Park in 2017?”, from News USA 2017, plays on the recent reports of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park as a possible precursor to a massive eruption.

The video mentions the rumor that the US has contact four countries to ask for radical hospitality to house US homeowners made homeless by the eruption. A map in the video shows the predicted zones of destruction, which would encompass about one third of continental United States.  There are reports that there is a 10% chance of a massive eruption by 2100. Eruption occurs about every 650000 years, but we are about due (but statistically any given year is unlikely).

The video then goes on to speculate about a secret network of underground bases all over most of the US, with many subterranean high speed lines already bit.  It even speculates these bases could explain some UFO abductions.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weather Channel's "Tornado: Inside the Vortex"

Today, Saturday, June 17, 2017, the Weather Channel presented its own hour-long documentary “Tornado: Inside the Vortex”.

Here’s an excerpt dealing with mutli-vortex tornadoes.

The documentary also explained the SLIM system for anticipating tornadoes:  S for Shear (speed and height), L for Lift, I for Instability, and M for Moisture.  Both cold fronts and ordinary surface low pressure systems can produce big thunderstorm complexes.

The documentary also showed the spot in Moore OK crossed by both the 1999 and 2013 tornadoes.

Here is some discussion of NOAA's discussion of the categories of risk for severe thunderstorms:  marginal, slight, enhanced, moderate, and high.

Wikipedia attribution link for 2013 Moore OK damage, p.d., FEMA. 

Friday, June 09, 2017

"Can the US Defend Against a North Korean Missile Attack?" short film by Warthog Defense

“Can the US Defend Against a North Korean Missile Attack”, by Warthog Defense, explains the GMD (Ground Missile Defense) strategy against a low-volume nuclear attack that could happen before 2020.

GMD is predicated on destroying a missile as it re-entry with the kinetic energy of a collision.

The film confirms that Bush was concerned about the idea of an eventual North Korea attack as early as 2002.

A similar defense from NORAD should deflect any high altitude launch from a terror group from offshore intended to launch an EMP attack with a small high-altitude nuclear explosion or possibly flux device.

Check out Foreign Affairs (paywall), Jeffrey Lewis article, "Kin Kong Un's Quest for an ICBM, the State of North Korea's Missile Program", here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cassandra Richard Clarke's "Warnings", mini short film from ABC Nightline

ABC Nightline made a mini-short where Richard Clarke, national security adviser, discusses his book “Warnings” and enumerates various catastrophes that could have been prevented, including 9/11 and the breaking of the levees at New Orleans.  He mentioned asteroids and pandemics.  He is called a Cassandra, as am I.  Here is the best link.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sinclair Broadcasting forum show warns about possible return of military conscription

I don’t think I can really call this a “film” in the sense of the blog title, but I wanted to mention News Channel 8 in Washington DC, under station WJLA and owner Sinclair Broadcasting in Baltimore.  The show is “Government Matters”, most weeknights.
Thursday night’s discussion, around 8 PM, was interesting because a female panelist warned that a return to the draft (military conscription) could well become necessary in the future.  There have been proposals in the Senate to require Selective Service registration by women. The commentator suggested that the US may not have enough “volunteers” for future conflicts, perhaps specifically with North Korea. She said we could not get enough “volunteers” for World War II, but didn’t specifically say that about Korea (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1965-1973).

It’s odd that this happens on a Sinclair station, inasmuch as Sinclair has been reported as pushing more conservative content on its own stations.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

"FBI Translator Goes Rogue, Marries ISIS Fighter", on AC360

FBI Translator Goes Rogue, Marries ISIS Fighter”, was an 8-minute report on CNN’s AC360 Monday night, May 1, 2017.
The terrorist was Denis Cuspert, who had developed a career as a rapper in Germany.
FBI translator Daniela Greene was assigned to tail him, but when she went to Germany, she fell in love, followed him to Syria through Turkey, and married him.  This was no honeypot.

Cuspert would be “KIA”.  Eventually she came to her senses and returned to the US and was immediately arrested.  She has plead guilty and her sentence was kept to two years plus probation (or parole) for cooperating.
But this does play like a short film, a teaser for a Hollywood thriller.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Aleppo in 1961 by Manfred Nuchter, CCSA 3.0.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CNN's coverage of 9/11: it took several minutes for them to realize a second plane had hit; also "Soundtracks"

There is a lot of unauthorized video of the coverage of 9/11 from all the news services, so it’s good to find an original set of films owned by one of the networks.  Here is CNN’s own link ("Inside 9/11: The Day that Never Ends"), which shows that at first, people inside the North Tower had no real idea of what had happened.

CNN’s original coverage is curious.  It took about four minutes for the newscaster to realize a separate second plane had hit the South Tower.  And for a little while there was speculation about a “navigation error” rather than acceptance of terrorism. Most other networks immediately said that a second plane attack implied terrorism.

Donald Trump’s own reaction on 9/11 is in this video.

I was in my apartment in Minneapolis for about 15 minutes during the aftermath and saw the South Tower fall on ABC.

Update: April 27

CNN tonight aired the one-hour "Soundtracks: The Songs that Defined History" about the music world after 9/11.  Tribeca showed it (notes).

Springsteen appeared, but "We Are Family" got played.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

"Return to Mosul" on CNN: reporter returns to family that sheltered her from ISIS

Return to Mosul”, a one-hour special on CNN, aired 9 PM EDT Saturday April 8, 2017, shows correspondent Arwa Damon returning to visit the family she had sheltered in place with two months before in 2016 in Mosul, Iraq. The subtitle is "Return to Hell: Finding the Mosul Family Who Sheltered Us. 

I'm reminded immediately of the US Third Amendment about quartering soldiers (or maybe refugees).

Most of the soldiers were still there; one had lost an eye, another had recovered from leg wounds. But as she traveled around the city, she found it still very unsafe.

She visits eastern Mosul, which is supposed to be more liberated.

In one place, she found ruins of a makeshift plane intended as a kamikaze.  In another place, she encountered a family that had been recently forced to become human shields after an ISIS home invasion.

She visited a school that had recently opened, with male teachers trying to install something to live for, besides fundamentalism. She found wall art where images had been covered up by ISIS,  Cell phones, banned by ISIS, were returning.

I worked with a woman who had relatives in Mosul back on 2002 in Minneapolis, so I am only on degree of separation removed from all this.  Mosul has about the same population as Philadelphia.

About half of the buildings in the city looked flattened in to rubble.

Wikipedia attribution link for Voice of America picture of Eastern Mosul in 2016, p.d. 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

"ISIS: Under the Mask" examines a Catholic-turned-Muslim who left Belgium to join the group and returned

Friday night, March 31,  CNN broadcast “ISIS: Behind the Mask”, a special report with Clarissa Ward interviewing Michael Delefortrie, 28, now living in Belgium, who was raised as Catholic but left Belgium to go to Syria and fight with ISIS in his mid twenties and returned.

European authorities are very concerned about returned fighters.  But except for a brief jail sentence, Michael has stayed out of trouble.  He uses Europe's free speech to spread his ideas.  He also happily excepts welfare from the state for income.

“I am not a Belgian, I am a Muslim”, he maintains.

He denied killing anyone while with ISIS and says he will not use violence at home.

However, he wants Europe and the U.S. and the entire world to be brought under Sharia law.

He did start using drugs and getting bad grades in school as a teen.  Muslim laws seemed to give him an absolute sense of morality and a group to belong to.

He regards Osama bin Laden as a hero, and says historical figures should not be downgraded in judgement for killing people.

In general young men (and women) with some petty crime and drug use and a psychology of wanting to fit in to a warrior group sound more vulnerable to cult-like radicalization.  Also relevant is a desire to see others have to follow the same rules of living that they think have been imposed on them, as this seems to make their lives (and potential marital relationships) more exciting and meaningful.

Micheal is married and wants his son to be a fighter. The documentary mentioned some domestic abuse. He is tall, slender, very "white", and wears a beard without mustache.

Michael spoke in absolute terms, that everything is for Allah and that Allah alone will judge whether the violent actions of people suit His purposed.  He did not question why one source of scriptural authority (like the Koran) is more valid than another (the Bible). He showed no sense of epistemology.

Later the broadcast showed an experiment with recruiting online.  CNN went undercover and got 223 strangers wanting to be “friends”, from Belgium and France.  Several wanted to go underground with conversations on Telegram .   Seeker has an article on this matter here.

There was discussion of “Sharia4Beligum”.

Wikipedia attribution link for  Atomium in Brussels,    under CCSA 3.0.    

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"An Attack in Garland" on CBS 60 Minutes: Could an FBI agent have stopped it?

Anderson Cooper, tonight working as a correspondent with CBS 60 Minutes (for the first time?) reports on “The Attack in Garland” in May 2015.

The episode that an undercover FBI agent was at the “right place at the right time” to witness the aborted attack on a cartoon drawing contest sponsored by Pamela Geller.

The attackers had a huge cache of weapons and a massacre was averted by local police or sheriff.

But the FBI had tracked people associated with the attack on social media, and one had ties to extremis, as far back as 2006.
Why didn’t the FBI do more itself to stop the attack?

Monday, March 06, 2017

A few videos maintain North Korea could launch EMP attacks from orbiting satellites

Lori Buelow has a filmstrip Youtube video “Heillish Nightmare: North Korea’s Satellite Launch EMP Attack”.

I guess the article title is in subjunctive mood. The attack didn’t happen (the video dates from Feb. 2016).  But in late February 2017, former CIA director James Woolsey warned  in the WSJ that North Korea could put a warhead on a satellite and launch an EMP attack from high altitude with a small nuclear weapon. It’s unclear how many transformers in a wide area it could wipe out. Woolsey discussed the article with Erin Burnett tonight on CNN (Monday, March 6, 2017).  The satellite orbits at about 315 miles elevation.

NBC news reported this today. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Blindspot" episode on NBC highlights radioactivity dispersion device risk, even from domestic revolutionaries

I’m not a big fan of Blindspot, an NBC domestic  spy series based on an unidentified tattooed woman (Jaimie Alexander) found in Times Square.

But an episode Wednesday night, “Borrow or Rob”, did hit a lot of major risks.  A cabal based on a college fraternity seems to have developed a mathematical algorithm to calculate the best day to start world revolution.

The revolution apparently includes ruining the real estate values of much of America with dirty bombs.  It’s an idea that sounds chillingly plausible.  Donald Trump, given his real estate career centered on property rights and "air rights",  would have more incentive to “keep us safe” from such an idea than anyone else.  But this scheme seems to be domestic and based on 70s style terror, not foreign. Immigration bans would be irrelevant.

The “cult”, for what it was worth, with the pinko gowns, rather reminded me of the 1999 film “Eyes Wide Shut”.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"End Day": a scientist creating a strangelet is taken through three other ways to end the world first

The BBC TV film “End Day” (2005, written and directed by Gareth Edwards), in 48 minutes, covers four ways civilization could come to an end.

A scientist (Bill McGuire) gets up in his London condo and heads for the airport to New York.  Once he gets there, he will turn a key on a particle accelerator (it’s actually in Switzerland) that, it turns out, creates a strangelet that consumes the Earth and converts it to grey goo. The film does mention the idea of a microscopic black hole, which would evaporate (as Hawking radiation).

But the first three acts reenact three other possibilities:  They’re all handled in pretty cornball fashion. In each case, the scientist tries to fly to NYC.

One is that the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands splits in half, with an underwater landslide that sends a 500-foot tsunami toward the East Coast.  That’s high enough to topple the skyscrapers in New York, and it would go much farther than three miles inland.

A second scenario is that a huge asteroid hits Berlin, preceded by meteor storms.  Attempts to blow it up with nuclear weapons fail (even with Trump as president).  The disasters are narrated dispassionately by a BBC news anchor who shows no emotion.

The other idea is that a 1918-style bird flu suddenly spreads by air travel from the far East.

The film is available on Instant Play with Netflix subscription.

Wikipedia attribution link for Aceh 2004 Indonesia tsunami VCSA 2.0 unde CCSA 2.0 byr Aus AID.  

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

"Passports in the Shadows": CNN reports bust of Venezuelan passport fraud in Iraq

AC360 tonight had a 10 minute report, “Passports in the Shadows”, involving massive fraud with Venezuelan passports issued in Iraq, which might have been used anywhere in Europe by terrorists.

Although the FBI office in Madrid was aware of this (the interview with the whistleblower was conducted in Spain), it seems that CNN uncovered this story.  Donald Trump is so critical of the media, but this time CNN helped him out with a major terror bust.

Will Venezuela be placed under travel restrictions?  How would Obama or Hillary Clinton react to this story (or how would Anderson Cooper himself were he president).  Maybe the liberal Democrats know more about terror than Trump gives them credit for.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Baghdad red zone.  p.d. by Robert Smith.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos explains how left-wing civil disorder threatens to shut down free speech

Milo Yiannopoulos gets interviewed by Tucker Carlson about the Berkeley Riots.  His event was canceled by effectively a "heckler's veto".

There are many rumors.  For example, the rioters were not students but outside agitators from a Symboniese-like Left.

Milo points out that university officials complained about Trump’s tweet threatening to cut off funding, but not about the rioting itself.

Here’s another Milo video explaining why Hillary lost

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Steve Bannon has a script for "Islamic States of America"

Steve Bannon had plans for a film “Islamic States of America” as far back as 2004, and had written the screenplay in something like FinalDraft, according to a Washington Post story, front page, Saturday morning, by Matea Gold, link here.

Bannon seems to imagine a cultural laxness and lack of social cohesion and drop in resilience that allows an enemy to destroy society, probably more gradually than in many other accounts (such as witn WMD or EMP attacks).

Bannon seems obsessed with “the other” indeed.

Yet, at an individual level, his idea that capitalism should be tempered with some sort of faith, since pure individualistic intellect can rationalize anything, makes some moral sense.  It’s the magical thinking, the invoking of holy wars and crusades and personification of Satan and the like that is scary.  That gets way beyond individual personal responsibility and speaks to the durability of the group.

Steve Bannon has produced a lot of right-wing films, and directed some, such as “Occupy Unmasked”, which I have reviewed on Wordpress.

It sounds like Bannon thinks that writing an Executive Order is like writing a screenplay: in your imagination, you can hurt people (like in "The Town").

But Bannon’s influence on Trump is indeed alarming.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

"The Jihadis Next Door": British filmmaker interviews some of the UK's most notorious radical Islamists

In the Channel 4 short (46 documentary) “The Jihadis Next Door” (20160, British filmmaker Jamie Roberts interviews a fundamentalist radical preacher Abu Haleema, and bouncy castle salesman Abu Rumaysah now one of the world’s most wanted men.  He also explores the possibility of similarity of one of the men’s voices to “Jihadi John” in the ISIS beheadings.

Both men (it’s hard to tell them apart) espouse the idea that Britain should live under Sharia law.  They claim everyone will live well if obedient to Allah, but people who refuse will have their property and lives taken from them by force.  The preacher is pretty blunt about this.  He also claims civilians deserve to be treated as  combatants, because individual Muslims in the Middle East are attacked by the British.

There is a major descriptive link for the film here.

Toward the end, the documentary shows a brief clip in Paris after the November 13, 2015 attacks.

You get the feeling that combativeness of radical Islam is driven in part by a desire not to deal with people “as they are”.

Update: June 5

New York Times connects this film to the perpetrators of the 6/3/2017 attack in London.