A lot of Americans are mocking Venezuela right now, but the truth is that what has happened to them could also happen to us very easily. As you will see below, DARPA is so concerned about the possibility of a cyberattack taking down our power grid that they held an extended exercise recreating such a scenario late last year. And even though scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a “solar tsunami” will absolutely devastate our power grid at some point, our leaders on the federal level refuse to spend the money that it would take to protect our basic electrical infrastructure. In addition, Russia, China, North Korea and others have developed extremely advanced EMP weapons, and we have absolutely no protection against them. One way or another, an extended blackout will eventually happen in the United States, and so we should try to learn some lessons from what is going on in Venezuela right now.
What would America look like with absolutely no electricity? Could you survive in a world with no lights, no cell phones, no computers, no televisions, no ATMs, no cash registers and no refrigerators? Such a world is not as far away as you might think. A very powerful nuclear blast directly over the center of the continental United States could potentially fry electronic equipment from coast to coast, and it would take months or even years to fully restore power. During that time, the entire country would be plunged into chaos and experts tell us that tens of millions of Americans would die. But even if we are never attacked by a nuclear weapon in that manner, scientists assure us that it is inevitable that a massive electromagnetic blast from the sun will produce a similar result someday anyway. In fact, back in 1859 a giant solar storm that came to be known as “the Carrington Event” fried telegraph machines all across North America and Europe. If a similar event happened today, life as we know it would be brought to an abrupt halt, and chaos would ensue from coast to coast.
Scientists are rightfully worried that our current solar cycle might trigger an electronics collapse of anything not electromagnetically shielded. The weakest link is the electric power grid — which we all depend on nowadays — and some of the aging satellite systems that do not have military grade hardware protection. Can you imagine all electronics either fizzling out or bursting into flame?
In decades past, the few key electronic systems that existed worked at higher voltages than today’s machines and at lower frequencies, making them less sensitive to EM disruption. Today, though, any digitally controlled infrastructure presents a target: Power, telecommunications, finance, water, natural gas, and more are all coming under the ever-finer control of computers.
In 1962, during the depths of the Cold War, the U.S. military exploded a nuclear weapon high above an atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Dubbed Operation Starfish, this exercise was part of a larger project to evaluate the impacts of nuclear explosions in space. The missile, launched from Johnson Island, 900 miles from Hawaii, was armed with a 1.4 megaton warhead, programmed to explode at 240 miles above the earth. It detonated as expected. What was not entirely expected was the magnitude of the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP).