By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Shortly after the Venezuelan government denounced the huge blackouts in March that were caused by cyber and electromagnetic attacks, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order paving the way for his country’s critical infrastructure to be investigated and defended against foreign electromagnetic pulse offensives.
The initiative took many by surprise, as electromagnetic pulse weapons (EMPs) look like something from the movies rather than real threats.
Since 2001, the US Congress has been evaluating the possible risks of an EMP attack against the US through a Commission made up of scientists, engineers and corporate operators intimately linked to the structure of the Defense Department and private contractors linked to the military-industrial complex.
The reports produced by the Commission study a high altitude EMP attack (the so-called Rainbow Bomb), capable of producing a blackout with power similar to a lightning discharge (50 thousand volts per meter) and the explosion of an atomic bomb about 700 kilometers above the target.
Also mentioned are small-scale EMP weapons, with the ability to damage specific areas such as the electrical system, telecommunications, banking and finance, the oil and gas industry, transportation, food and water infrastructure, and security and emergency services, as well as those of any country’s government.
The Commission’s first executive report was published in 2004 with fairly general considerations on the possible consequences of the Rainbow Bomb on the US. The in which the EMP attack is described there as a “terrorist activity” that uses a small number of nuclear weapons to produce a catastrophic impact on society.
The electronic and electrical collapse scenarios are neatly described, and related to some natural and man-made disasters that have had similar effects in recent North American history.
With the same vehemence with which the U.S. is concerned about electromagnetic attacks, which it claims is imminent, the Venezuelan government denounces the possibility of an EMP attack against the Simón Bolívar Hydroelectric Plant system in Guri.
The report emphasizes the fact that the U.S. electricity grid is deeply connected to all activities of society and the economy, as in many other parts of the world (including Venezuela). In the US, load distribution is divided into three, with the (oil) state of Texas being the backbone of a network with 300 million dependent users.
This means that a modest alteration to the electrical system can cause a functional collapse, with catastrophic consequences.
As it was denounced with respect to the attack against the Guri Hydroelectric Plant, the United States maintains that the electrical network of its country could be attacked “using information of the operations in the control systems”, that is to say, there must be internal hand that assists the terrorist operation.
Such is the capacity of a small EMP weapon that, without the use of the Rainbow Bomb, an attack on a precise target in the U.S. electrical system could take place that would leave 70% of its territory without light in the blink of an eye.
In fact, the Commission admits that a small EMP attack can wreak electrical and electronic havoc similar to those left by Hurricane Katrina (2005), which left some 4 million people without light in some 233,000 km² (989961.8029 square miles) of the US, an area equivalent to that of the UK.
The anti-chavista media have ridiculed the denunciations of cybernetic and electromagnetic attacks in Venezuela, which shows either ignorance about the new tendencies of the military industry with these technologies in the context of a new “cold war”, or that they operate as bleachers of information and scenario before some consumers of news without any critical reading of the facts.
Neither the Commission formed in 2001 nor Trump’s recent Executive Order had been interested in these weapons, either because of their own vulnerabilities or because of their future offensive prospects.
But the arms race and the technological development between powers is currently going through this arms scheme that sounds like science fiction films. And this armament industry is part of a much more current dimension than those shown by Hollywood.
July 29, 2019
This article can be reproduced citing the newspaper POR ESTO! as source.