BY ANTHONY FUREY, POSTMEDIA NETWORK
Canada is vulnerable to a crippling attack and is doing nothing to prepare for it.
That’s what I learned while researching my new book on electromagnetic pulse.
After speaking with top level national security sources in the United States the other year, I began studying this little known phenomenon that was classified until not long ago.
An EMP — whether naturally occurring via a solar flare or detonated above North America from a missile — sends extremely high voltage energy through the atmosphere and into electronics and our electricity grid. It’s so powerful that it has the ability to fry electronics and shut down the grid for days, weeks or even months.
The worst case scenario is that our water, food, transportation and communications systems all go down. The result is societal decay and a staggering death count.
No, this isn’t science fiction or a thriller novel. It’s all real, as government reports and laboratory documents I’ve dug up from years ago reveal. And now, with rogue states like North Korea on the rise, the few experts who know about this issue are sounding the alarm.
While EMP crops up in a few Canadian government reports over the years, I’ve discovered from access to information requests that our bureaucrats and politicians are basically clueless about this serious threat to our way of life.
There is no mitigation strategy. There is no action plan. There isn’t even significant awareness of the issue.
In the book I look at the science behind the issue, previous EMP attacks, where we’re at with it now and where we should be heading.
One well timed, properly aimed missile sent from a failed state or terrorist group is all it would take to bring us to our knees. It’s just not right.
Thankfully, there are things we can do to prevent it. The question is if we’ll get to it before it’s too late.
From Chapter 1 of Pulse Attack: The Real Story Behind the Secret Weapon that can Destroy North America
It was a quiet night at the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Metcalf transmission substation. Even though it’s one of the largest electric utility companies in America and its combined operations provide electricity to over 5 million customers, there were no security guards posted at the facility that night. Just like on most nights. There weren’t any other employees on shift either.
The only eyes on the ground were the surveillance cameras and motion detectors and someone clearly knew how to avoid their detection because just before 1 a.m. a person was able to sneak in and cut the telecommunications cables leading into the station. The phones went dead.
Thirty minutes later, a group of people opened fire on the station with military-grade rifles. They continued firing for 19 minutes — targeting the transformers. When they finished firing their weapons they didn’t enter the facility. They didn’t steal anything. They just left as mysteriously as they had arrived.
Officers arrived only one minute after the last bullet was fired. But the attackers were already gone. The officers didn’t see them leave or even hear any of the blasts. All they had to work with was a 911 call about shots fired. So, seeing nothing suspicious, they shrugged it off and left.
A couple hours later — soon after 3 a.m. — an employee finally arrived to check things out. What he found was doubtless a surprise. While there are a number of different types of equipment failures the electricity industry is used to dealing with, this wasn’t one of them.
The employee discovered in those early morning hours that a total of 17 transformers had been riddled with gunfire. Over 50,000 gallons of oil had leaked out around the station. Power had to be rerouted to avoid a blackout in the area. The most troubling evidence was the more than one hundred shell casings found littering the ground.
Who were these unidentified figures, systematically firing their weapons into the dark of the California night, targeting the metallic monoliths that powered nearby homes and businesses? Were they disgruntled former employees giving the finger to an old boss? Petty criminals looking to steal anything they could resell? One of California’s notorious gangs or drug rings? Operatives of a foreign terrorist group, prepared to die for a chance at taking down the Evil Empire?
The attackers left no trail behind them. There was zero evidence aside from the shell casings. Zero hint as to their motivation or goals. And this unsolved mystery has left a small but informed number of academics, politicians, industry experts and intelligence operatives deeply concerned for the safety of their country.
But why? Just how big of a problem could this attack have caused? Even if they’d blown up the transformer station entirely, and even if they were terrorists, how bad would the effects from this one incident have been?
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