Friday, April 29, 2005

Darn Good Intelligence

The hypercredulous ninnies over at Rapture Ready have been reading Joseph Farah again, and thus they're in a tizzy over the possibility that Iran will detonate a nuclear weapon over American skies, knocking out our power and communications and bringing this once-proud nation to its knees.

Farah has been consorting with a man named Peter Pry, who is involved with a weird group called the "Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack." Pry says that an EMP attack is a grave and gathering threat, because

[A]n Iranian military journal has publicly considered the idea of launching an electromagnetic pulse attack as the key to defeating the world's lone superpower.
That the name of this journal doesn't appear in the article is probably a mere oversight. And when you're talking about something as upsetting as America's defeat at the hands of bloodthirsty Islamists, you can be forgiven for ignoring little details like the author's name, or the date of publication. Farah did manage to include the article's title, though: "Electronics to Determine Fate of Future Wars." And I, for one, am glad he did.

I found only one other reference on the Internets to an article with that title. It claims to be from something called "Iranian Journal," and it was published all the way back in 1998. The citation appears on a rather deranged-looking Powerpoint presentation by Dr. William Graham, a former "scientific advisor" to Ronald Reagan. Oddly enough, Dr. Graham also turns out to be the former chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack.

A Google search for "Iranian Journal" and "EMP" brings up very few pertinent results, and all of them lead to Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, an ultra-right thinktank funded by Scaife and defense contractors. The redoubtable Frank Carlucci sits on the IFPA's board of directors.

The IFPA's reference is to an article called "Iranian Journal Examines Electronic Warfare." Searching the citation for this article leads you right back to the IFPA. To the very same page, in fact. One gets the feeling that "Iranian Journal" is published by the same folks who brought you Paris Business Review.

At this point, I think we've ascertained that the Iranian article is apocryphal at best. But maybe it does exist, somewhere. A more serious problem is that fact that the scenario it allegedly described - eight years ago - is really, really stupid. Take a gander at this quote:
If the world's industrial countries fail to devise effective ways to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults then they will disintegrate within a few years. American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat nor would they be able to fire a single shot.
Does that makes sense to anyone?

Well, yes. It makes sense to the batshit-crazy con artist Jerome Corsi, who claims that this hallucinatory gibberish proves
...just how devious the fanatical mullahs in Tehran are. We are facing a clever and unscrupulous adversary in Iran that could bring America to its knees.
That sort of talk is neither hysterical nor simpleminded enough for current CATUSEPA chairman Lowell Wood, who claims that an Iranian EMP attack could "literally destroy the American nation and might cause the deaths of 90 percent of its people and set us back a century or more in time as far as our ability to function as a society."

Farah goes on to report that these EMP paranoiacs are being sneered at by the Department of Homeland Security, which is the only positive thing I've ever read about that august body.


Grant Swinger said...

You see lunacy, I see opportunities in government contract work... errr, I meant, conducting adequately funded studies absolutely essential to national security.

OUTTAMYWAY, lemme get at those taxpayer mammaries and latch on tight with a good L'weeesiana lip-lock!

Anonymous said...

EMP pulses are real, and if one occurred, the grid would be done and every nuclear reactor in the U.S. would melt down at once.

That is not to say Iran has the capability; they probably don't.

North Korea, Israel, Japan, France, Russia, etc probably do.

Phila said...

Of course EMP is real. But I don't think it's accurate to say that "every nuclear reactor in the U.S. would melt down at once" if it happened. It depends on the height and location of the blast, for starters. And while there's legitimate concern that EMP could cause meltdowns, there's also debate over whether that's a likely outcome, or a worst-case scenario.

At least, that's my understanding of the matter. If you have documentary evidence to the contrary, please feel free to post it here, or to e-mail it to me.

--mf said...

Well, without donning too much tinfoil, Iran does not have the ability to deliver said weapon to American skies.

However, here in the US, WE have the ability to deliver EMP attacks without resorting to nuclear weaponry, anywhere on the globe. I point you to HAARP:

This is Tesla technology writ big, and used for very bad purposes.

The most credible of the (tinfoil?) sites that are "monitoring" HAARP are and

Frankly, I think HAARP is a pretty scary thing. I've no doubt that the current administration would put it to use, on us or other countries.

Just saying. The only countries that are using Ionospheric cookers are Puerto Rico, Norway and Russia. Of them, HAARP is the largest, by far.

If we get hit by EMP large enough to take out a city, or region, I would first turn to HAARP, and see if it was cooking that day.

In 1908, when Tesla fired up the first cooker, he aimed it over the North Pole, in an effort to light up the sky so Perry might see it as he explored the Arctic Circle. That same day, the Tunguska Range was flattened-- the cause, to this day, is unknown, but the local residents claimed the sky glowed for nearly a week.

just offering a little sumpin' to make ya say, "Hmmmmmmmm."

Tony B.

Anonymous said...

Does that make sense to anyone?

Yes, it does, since it has already happened - about 40 years ago.

The US set off a small atmospheric a-bomb test about 1500km from Hawaii.

Streetlights blew up in Honolulu, phones destroyed, TV sets exploded.

That was in an era when electronic devices were pretty primitive and less sensitive to EMP pulses than the solid-state devices we now use. So, yes, losing the power grid, phone system, cell phones, and of course the Internet
which is powered by the electrical grid
in the long term is going to cause some serious problems.

Not that Iran would necessarily try something like that, but there are plenty of radicals who wouldn't hesitate.

Phila said...

Yes, it does, since it has already happened - about 40 years ago.

Here we go again! I don't know why this is such a sticking-point for people. I never said EMP wasn't real; I never said it didn't affect electronics; I never said some of those effects couldn't be severe.

I asked the question "Does this make sense?" not in regards to an EMP attack per se, but in regards to this specific scenario: American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat nor would they be able to fire a single shot. I think that's incoherent, and that the idea of 90% of the population dying from an EMP attack is absurd. As for the possibility of Iran launching such an attack, I'm very, very skeptical.

In any case, the "Iranian Journal" article was actually about cyberwarfare, and has nothing to do with nukes or EMP. Manipulated data put in service of alarmism...gee, where have we seen that before?

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