The Times In Which We Live

Hawaii SMS.jpgI spent the weekend off the grid and of course, we ran the knife edge of nuclear war. Having lived for a time on Oahu, I have a hard time believing it was an ‘accident’, especially considering the process by which EAS is actually activated. The other side of that coin is also that I’ve lived on Oahu, and the local government is every bit as competent as they appear in this SNAFU. It is what it is- but it ran dangerously close to sparking a possible nuclear war. My assessment is not far from the one contained here, with the most interesting information contained in the comments:

“False Alarm”
Firstly, it’s obvious there’s a cover-up going on. There are steps which have to take place before an alert like that one is broadcast.
I lived on Maui for twelve years, and used it as my home base for extensive travel. But it’s been too long ago to provide updated info on how the the Hawaiian emergency system works. Things have changed, but there still must be some kind of “failsafe” procedure in place. In the past, you could not just accidentally push a button and a warning would be sent out. So, unless they changed the protocol, something must really be wrong — like in the ****ed up IT department. I could see how it could be some computer screw job or even a backdoor or, perhaps, a hacked system.. Yeah, when it comes to computers, those ****ing machines make so many SNAFUS possible. I mean, just look at the ****ing mess the SCADA systems are in. And how vulnerable are the systems? It’s pretty ****ing scary.
I’ve been warning people for decades that man has never invented a weapon that wasn’t used. And modern nuclear warfare won’t be any different…..
….. The larger, more important question is: what are you and I going to do when it’s NOT really a false alarm?
More to the point of our purposes though, this comment was very interesting:

This whole thing stinks.

I don’t know how the infrastructure in Maui and Oahu held up, but when the 8:07 alert went out, the Big Island effectively lost internet and phones (cell and landline both). My family there couldn’t contact anyone, not even locally, after getting the alert. So those (eventual) cancellation notices via twitter and FB were useless. Not until the text went out again did they know it was a false alarm.

I just thought to ask (via social media) if the warning sirens went off, haven’t heard back yet.

No way to check if the local shelter was even open (shy of driving there) or anything else.

So they just buttoned up the house, and hunkered down. Mom’s closest neighbors, a nice Marshallese extended family (about 20 people in 800 square feet of house – with limited English) sent a boy about 12 as a runner to ask what they should do. Mom told them “gather everyone in the house like for a hurricane, and pray. If it’s real, we’ll know soon. Then you come back and we make plans”.

And that story right there folks, one that I’ve read a hundred times in a hundred scenarios, is why having a communications alternative matters. It’s why knowing how to build improvised antennas and network with those close by means you control matters. And its why constant training matters. Getting a radio means you just have stuff. Testing for a amateur radio license just means you memorized some data. Both equate marginal success. Getting in the field and getting quality training, however, is a big step in the right direction.

Being a self-starter and networking with others who are the same is the answer to bureaucratic incompetence.

38 thoughts on “The Times In Which We Live

  1. LodeRunner

    “Accident”, “Operator Error” my XexpletiveX. Just remember the test for whether a government representative is lying to you – if his/her lips are moving, you’re being lied to. Period.

    It was indeed a test. Not a test of the EAS system, but a test as to how the population would respond to such a warning. And the subsequent phone/internet outage furthers that point. They simulated an EMP attack to see how much panic they’d get.

    For them it was a test, for us its a warning – Heed it with the appropriate gravity.
    If the infrastructure you rely on isn’t your own, then its not reliable.
    If it is your own, then its only as reliable as YOU make it.

  2. Yes, yes and yes. We have been planning to take our comms up a few notches here, and had already made plans to do so prior to this weekends events. However, I think we’re going to accelerate the timeline a bit more……

  3. Yeah, our group all think it purposeful and played a part in some drama yet ahead – Stay tuned.

    Anyway, with the minus zero temps becoming +40 degrees fir a few days at the end of last week, some local hams were drafted to go to choke points along the Susquehanna River to report back to NOAA, via 2-meters, what we saw at those choke points.

    Due in part to a lack of available hams I was assigned three historical choke points along the river. Drove to those locations and reported back three times on Friday. Then once Saturday during returned single digit temps and a nice snow storm.

    Today on my usual old person/ retired net I asked why we didn’t just call in the info. I was told that the Director of NOAA wanted to use this minor drama as a drill as well as gathering needed info.

    I guess some folks in the Government are not enamored with the existing emergency communication system that other folks have signed off on.


      1. Assuming the action was not incompetence, and instead was insurrection or terrorism. Are you in possession of intelligence information that would alter an analysis? If so, please share?

      2. An override of existing protocol could not have been incompetence.

        Further, semantics on domestic vs. foreign is irrelevant to the underlying point. Conventional communications went down, as per the usual.

      3. Existing protocols are classified and therefore only subject to conjecture. Which is relevant for the intelligence side of things. And in the field of intelligence information and effective communication, semantics are very important.

      4. No they are not. EAS systems are not classified, nor is the protocol to which they are used.

        In the intelligence side of things, we don’t confuse one subject with conjecture of another either. This something I have verified experience in.

        What do you have to share?

      5. Source? Corroborating source? Tertiary source? Plausibility of action?

        How about list of likely actors and/or specific motive? BDA? ML/MDCOA of actors?

        Any of the above?

        Your statement is vague and sidesteps my question. If you have something to tell me not for public ears then you have my email. Unless you have a product which satisfies the above (differentiates information from intelligence), spare the ‘trending thought’ and associated cat drama.

      6. My biggest issues right now are with the BDA, whether the consequences where part of the plan or unintentional, and the limitations of hobby-grade SIGINT.

      7. You’re right, I was spit-balling. I hate tossing out incomplete analysises after that time in 1990 when I gave the US 6 years until a total economic and social collapse. Mea culpa.

        After the latest “mistake” in Japan, I tore up half my original analysis. Original thoughts were mistake or cyber attack. Latter was leaning towards non-state actor either pranking or targeting Hawaii because of its political leanings. That final bit was a theory based on a quick “cui Bono?” and at the time warranted further investigation, IMO.

        Then two things came up.

        1. NWS Hawaii stating false alert, broadcast over NEAR came from State of Hawaii. Why would a NCA alert come from a state agency, and why wouldn’t NOAA fact check it with NCA/DHS/FEMA?
        2. A similar incident just happened in Japan.

        Obvious answers are the Norks did it, or some entity with an interest in stirring the pot between US/Japan & NK.

        Also of interest is lack of hobbyist SIGINT data via open sources, but that’s known to be inconsistent. If there was consistent and accurate data coming from that source, then we’d be able to better confirm or deny certain things. I’ll talk about that on my blog later when I have more time.

        My opinion is that while I would still trust EAS to warn me about a blizzard, I’d look for further confirmation with anything more serious.

        Caveat: YMMV. Do not apply to broken skin. May cause swelling. Do not taunt happy fun ball.

      8. Whether “Existing protocols are classified” or not doesn’t matter. All of us with a mil background understand that it’s not an “Easy” button, “One stop shop” procedure. Multiple steps are the rule, and there is no way this was an accidental act, via an “Easy” button. This isn’t a movie.

  4. nick flandrey

    They did a press conference with post it notes on the workstations with the passwords clearly visible on the TV…

    They claim the operator started a drill by selecting the wrong message from a drop down list. He had a fifty fifty chance…

    I’m voting for incompetence at the moment.

    I’m also taking it for a wake up call. Had a brief conversation with the wife (not a prepper) about what you can actually do. (not much but duct tape, plastic sheeting, and sealing off air infiltration can’t hurt)

    We are currently forecast for snow (in Houston) and the FUbook is full of long lines at gas stations and grocery stores. I looked at the wife when she share that, and said, good thing we’ve got all this food and don’t have to go out then…..


  5. Nobody

    So sparks, let me get this straight, do you, or do you not, actually, know what your talking about?
    All I am seeing is a lot of speculation and vague generalized statements, non of which seem to be backed up by any facts or solid intel.
    From my perspective at least, it seems as if you have decided to crawl out from your hole and so called “retirement” to stir things up on what has been a very comfortable place to learn and share knowledge, and a site dedicated to helping individuals prepare for unforeseen eventualities.
    Personally, I would like to keep it that way.
    If people are interested in drama there are dozens of places they can go to be entertained, if their so inclined.
    What strikes me most as being odd, is the timing of your recent re-emergence from your so called retirement, specifically in regards to the fact that it coincided with NCScout announcing that he is offering training classes. Hmm…
    I am truly failing to see your relevance and any benefit to what you are offering here.
    In closing, unless you have specific first hand knowledge that directly relates to the subject at hand, please keep it to your self and do not clutter up what is a productive and beneficial site that is trying to help people.
    You had your day, you quit, so if you are seeking notoriety again, open your own site back up, and leave this one alone.
    I think I hear your bingo numbers being called out, best to leave us alone here, and get back to that retirement.

  6. Now with the whole analysis thing done, I can say this: Regardless of how it turns out in the end, Brushbeater is right. You need to have comms set up and working, and you need to have multiple and alternate means for not only communication, but also news/information/intelligence gathering.

    Also, don’t trust analysts 100%. We’re only human, occasionally make mistakes, and procastrinate releases until we are comfortable with a finished product.

  7. Two false alarms, Japan and Hawaii, makes me definitely think there was a third party of some sort involved. Whether domestic or foreign, state sponsored or not, I don’t really care. It was truly a wake up call, for more than just the unfortunate residents of those islands. The truth is, there was definitely a test involved. Was it a test to see public reaction, to determine the security protocols of the systems involved, or the ability of the local emergency services to manage a crisis under duress with no prior warning? You decide. As for me and mine, we’re going to continue training, prepping, and listening to the good folks who routinely contribute to this blog. Sparks included. 😀

    1. We can flap our gums and speculate till the cows come. We will never know why.

      Just take the drama as a heads up. Stop wrapping yourself in the “Trump Blanket of normalcy”. There is crap coming and we all need to keep focused on being ready.


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