21 OCT 16 – Executive Intelligence Summary – Forward Observer Shop

21 OCT 16 – Executive Intelligence Summary


[wcm_nonmember]In this EXSUM…

  • Friday’s massive DDOS attacks affects internet
  • Executive order tackles ‘space weather’
  • Russia & China SITREPs
  • Post election fallout
  • Faber: Prepare for low returns and inflation
  • And more…


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ADMIN NOTE:  There will not be an EXSUM published for 28 October, one week from today.  I will be taking some personal time that week, however, I will send out a link to watch a lecture I’ve recorded on local intelligence gathering.  In this lecture, I discuss the four primary intelligence disciplines we should be focusing on at the local level — Open Source, Imagery, Signals, and Human Intelligence.  I’ll introduce you to some collection methods and some commercial-off-the-shelf gear that you can employ during a SHTF situation.  I will resume publishing EXSUMs on Friday, 04 November, just ahead of the general election.

Bottom Line Up Front: The greatest SHTF risk I’m seeing right now continues to be what happens in November.  There are other flashpoints that concern me, like today’s internet denial of service attacks, but the election fallout tops everything for the foreseeable future (and I’m not discounting the possibility of another round of internet disruptions on election day).  In Wednesday night’s debate, Donald Trump said that he may not accept the election results, and he’s repeatedly accused the election of being rigged.  I can’t argue with that because we’re already seeing proof of potential voter fraud (for instance, there are 1.8 million deceased Americans still listed on voter rolls).  Should we have a replay of the “hanging chad” incident, in whatever form it takes — voter fraud, election systems disruption, instability at polling places, etc. — then we’re likely to see violence.  Last week, I mentioned that a 2013 Supreme Court ruling now restricts the federal government from posting election observers in all but five states.  I think that’s liable to come up again after the coming allegations of voter intimidation.


Priority Intelligence Requirements:

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to a SHTF event?

PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict?

PIR3: What are the current indicators of military, government, political, or social-related instability or violence that leads to widespread domestic conflict?

PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that leads to civil unrest?

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to a SHTF event?

Friday’s massive denial of service attack

Throughout Friday afternoon, the internet servers in North America and Europe came under a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS), which floods servers with an insurmountable amount of fake traffic.  The result is that the servers stop working because of all the traffic requests, which is what we saw today.  What’s more troubling is that this wasn’t just the work of a few hackers, as internet security firms quickly pointed to participation from the Internet of Things (IoT).  The IoT refers to all sorts of internet-connected devices, ranging from refrigerators to thermostat systems to baby monitors and mobile devices.  So what’s happened is that these devices have been infected with malware, or perhaps were manufactured with malware, which has allowed hackers to take control of the devices and direct them to produce internet traffic aimed at DDOS attacks.

Today’s DDOS attacks shut down a number of large websites in three waves throughout the day.  Investigations are ongoing as of Friday night.  CNET has a really good article that explains what DDOS attacks are and how the affect internet traffic.

Election irregularities could lead to problems

In a recent brief, the Pew Center on the States found a number of irregularities that really should call into question the legitimacy of the current election system.  For instance, there are 1.8 million deceased Americans still listed on voter rolls, and nearly three millions Americans are registered to vote in more than one state.  In all, 24 million voter registries are either invalid or “significantly inaccurate” — that represents 12% of all registered voters, enough to swing an election.  These problems may be enough evidence — even before we get into voter fraud that occurs on Election Day — to satisfy Trump’s desire to call into question election results in the event that he loses.

Executive order tackles ‘space weather’

This week, the president signed an Executive Order to deal with ‘space weather’ and the fallout from cosmic activity.  From the order:  “Extreme space weather events — those that could significantly degrade critical infrastructure — could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation.” In addition to focusing on developing early warning of these events, the order also directs the Secretary of Energy to protect the power grid.  The order does not include a date by which the grid should be protected, just that measures should be evaluated within 120 days, and a plan developed within 180 days.


PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict?

The prospects of global conflict continue to revolve around the usual players: Russia, China, and the Middle East. The ways in which global conflict could cause or contribute to a SHTF scenario in America are myriad and they largely depend on which conflict is initiated. We’re certainly at risk of cyber attack in the event of conflict in any of the three regions. Systems disruption, like the price and availability of fuel, is also a top concern that could cause a SHTF event.

US-Russia Situation Report (SITREP)

Russian naval forces embarked on their largest deployment this week as the Northern Fleet and part of its Baltic Fleet is now under way to support miiltary operations in Syria.  Included in that deployment is Russia’s only aircraft carrier, which is a big deal.  This comes as last week I reported that Russia is expanding a naval base in Syria and rebuilding a former Soviet base in Egypt.

One major trend is Russia’s continued expansion into the grey zones of America’s failed foreign policy, to include Ukraine, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and central Asian nations.  And that matters because the more governments that endorse a multipolar world where nations like Russia and China exercise greater influence globally, the faster the US loses legitimacy, the dollar’s hegemony, and the unipolar world.  The coming shift in global power and influence will be painful for Americans, and it represents a longer-term SHTF event that’s going to affect our quality of life.  (The 2018 World Cup is planned for Russia, which will allow Russia to showcase its growing power and influence.)

In other news, the Russian government is also reportedly ordering its civil agencies to begin building and retrofitting old buildings to be used as nuclear fallout shelters.  This follows reports of up to 40 million civilians taking part in a nuclear defense exercise, although those numbers may be inflated.  It also follows the successful launch of three ballistic missiles fired from Russia’s Pacific Fleet earlier this month.  Putin is flexing his strategic muscles and the world is watching.


South China Sea SITREP

The greatest development in the South China Sea this week comes as Filipino president Duterte announced a ‘separation’ from the US — a claim that he appeared to retract a day later when he clarified that what he meant was ‘not really a separation’.  What Duterte announced on Friday was that he didn’t mean that he was severing ties with the US, which had been reported in numerous outlets, but that he wanted to separate from US foreign policy.  Duterte has been very clear that he’s choosing to focus on establishing a greater relationship with the Chinese government, which really reflects the changing world.  The US is losing influence and legitimacy around the globe, and losing the Philippines is one of Obama’s greatest foreign policy failures (of which there are, perhaps deliberately, many).

Losing the Philippines is a very significant strategic loss for the US, and that Duterte is realigning himself with China marks American’s decline in that area.  Continuing from the trend that Russian expansion will spell the loss of US influence, so will Chinese expansion of their foreign policy towards nations in the South China Sea.  In the event of a conflict with China, US leaders won’t be able to count on Filipino support, however, I suspect that Filipino leaders realize that they wouldn’t have been able to count on US military support, either.

PIR3: What are the current indicators of military, government, political, or social-related instability or violence that leads to widespread domestic conflict?

Post election fallout

According to several news outlets, Clinton campaign advisors are concerned about what happens on 10 November, when Trump announces that the election has been stolen.  In the current climate where many believe — and rightly so — that Clinton has been ordained by “the powers that be” to be the next president, the idea that the election was stolen is likely to catch on, especially with what many would refer to as the “fringe” right (including me).  I don’t believe that we have free and fair elections; certainly not after seeing the voter fraud of 2012.  But without definitive proof, Trump’s not going to win that article in the mainstream, not by far.

What concerns me right now is the direction of the GOP after a third consecutive loss in the general election.  This week, one of Donald Trump’s sons announced that he would be creating TrumpTV, likely a parallel to Breitbart, which has adopted many of the tenets of the alt-right.  One effect I have seen is the rise of the alt-right, even when I didn’t think Trump would ultimately be nominated.  I thought Trump would be involved in the creation of a new political party, and I still think that’s a possibility, especially given the motivations of Steve Bannon, the Trump campaign’s CEO.  For every action, there is a reaction, which is why I think Hillary’s administration will do for the alt-right what Bill’s administration did for gun rights.

One of Hillary’s priorities is to increase immigration and eventually provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.  I’m going to be sure to keep an eye on the electorate in Texas.  If a new amnesty or path to citizenship program is successful in turning Texas blue, then there may be generations without a Republican president.  Given current voting patterns, Texas is the only state keeping the GOP competitive in the electoral college, against the Democrat’s ownership of California and New York.  Once Texas is turned, I think the GOP fails as a national party.


PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that leads to civil unrest?

Faber: Prepare for low returns and inflation

In an interview this week, contrarian investor Marc Faber says to prepare for low market returns and inflation.  “The returns over the next 5 or 10 years will be very disappointing to you because you expect to make between 8 and 12 percent on your portfolio every year. That is simply not going to happen,” Faber says.  He continues on inflation:  “[O]ne of the potential significant problems that may occur is what the Fed and other central banks actually wish for and that is inflation. There is a good chance that commodity prices have bottomed out and that inflation in general will accelerate. In other words, people’s cost of living will start to go up more than what is desirable. And that will depress real earnings, but it will be good for assets such as commodities, especially precious metals.”


Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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