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IS THE PENTAGON BEHIND THE RECENT SPATE OF GLOBAL BLACKOUTS?

In July 2002, George W. Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive 16 (PD-16), a secret plan for the United States to wage cyber-warfare against other countries. Under the directive, the Pentagon—which is under the control of neoconservative zealots who make Dr. Strangelove seem relatively sane—is authorized to use electronic weaponry to bring down the electrical grids of enemy nations.

Since Bush's directive was signed, the world had witnessed more unexplained massive blackouts in the history of the modern age of electricity. Considering that the Pentagon, through manipulative schemers like Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and retired Admiral John Poindexter, has championed such ideas as a stock market betting parlor for future terrorist attacks and an Internet-based personal information surveillance program (both fortunately killed off by Congress), it is not far-fetched to consider the possibility that the recent spate of blackouts around the world are the result of another harebrained operation cooked up by the necons to demonstrate America's superiority in cyber-warfare.
PD-16 and the constant blackouts
Are the neocons in the Pentagon targeting electrical grids?

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

September 29, 2003—In July 2002, George W. Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive 16 (PD-16), a secret plan for the United States to wage cyber-warfare against other countries. Under the directive, the Pentagon—which is under the control of neoconservative zealots who make Dr. Strangelove seem relatively sane—is authorized to use electronic weaponry to bring down the electrical grids of enemy nations.

Since Bush's directive was signed, the world had witnessed more unexplained massive blackouts in the history of the modern age of electricity. Considering that the Pentagon, through manipulative schemers like Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and retired Admiral John Poindexter, has championed such ideas as a stock market betting parlor for future terrorist attacks and an Internet-based personal information surveillance program (both fortunately killed off by Congress), it is not far-fetched to consider the possibility that the recent spate of blackouts around the world are the result of another harebrained operation cooked up by the necons to demonstrate America's superiority in cyber-warfare.

After all, the Pentagon has a very bad track record when it comes to using civilian populations as guinea pigs for its experiments. Witness the awful effects of nuclear bomb testing on the peoples of the western United States and the Marshall Islands, depleted uranium-hardened shells on innocent civilians in war zones, and Agent Orange on American troops and civilians in Southeast Asia.

Since PD-16 was signed, blackouts affecting hundreds of millions of people are occurring on an unprecedented scale.

On September 23, 2002, a massive power failure disrupted central Chile, including the capital city of Santiago. Some 3,500 passengers had to be rescued from stalled Metro trains in Santiago. The official reason was said to be "faulty programming" and a "technical failure" at a power station. On April 29, 2003, a power failure hit the airport in Melbourne, Australia, disrupting operations for 90 minutes.

Buenos Aires and La Plata, Argentina, were hit by a huge power failure on November 24, 2002. January 31, 2003, saw an unusual power failure hit Cambridge, Ontario. Buenos Aires was hit again by another sudden blackout on August 6, 2003. Power company officials blamed that outage on the collapse of three power lines but Argentine President Nestor Kirchner said he believed private power companies were engaged in a conspiracy to pressure the government to increase utility rates.

The first major blackout in 2003 occurred in the northeastern United States and Canada on August 14. NewYork City, Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, Cleveland and smaller cities and towns in between lost power for hours at the height of the evening rush hour. Some 50 million people were affected. Canadian and U.S. officials pointed the finger at one another for causing the blackout but blame soon shifted to a power generation plant owned by Ohio's FirstEnergy Corp. President [sic] Bush, who was conveniently fundraising in California at the time, called the blackout a "wake-up call."

A few days later, the Republic of Georgia was plunged into darkness. On August 18, 4.5 million people in Georgia lost electricity; the Tblisi metro ground to a halt and the water supply was cut off. The Georgian energy minister blamed "sabotage" for the outage but he wasn't more specific.

During the evening of August 23, Finland's capital Helsinki and suburbs, including the international airport at Vantaa, were blacked out. Helsinki Energy was at a loss in explaining how a minor short-circuit in a Helsinki switching station resulted in such a widespread failure affecting over a half million people, especially in a country known for its first-rate electrical grid. Saturday evening's revelers at Helsinki's Linnanmäki amusement park had to be rescued when the blackout left them dangling in rides in midair. Even Radio Suomi, which relies on emergency generators, went off the air when both its generators and backup battery power failed. After conducting an investigation, Helsinki Energy announced that no problems were found with its equipment.

On August 28, at the height of London's evening rush hour, a massive power outage struck the city and southeast England. The blackout was blamed on a "fault" in the national electrical grid. Eighteen-thousand trains stopped, including 60 percent of the London Underground, an event that Britain's Network Rail called "unprecedented."

Monday morning, September 1, started out as a normal business day for people in Malaysia's bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur. However, at 10 o'clock the city and five other Malaysian states were struck by a massive blackout. Workers in the Petronas Towers, the world's tallest buildings, were trapped in elevators and with signal lights out, traffic in downtown Kuala Lumpur ground to a virtual halt. What made the event all the more perplexing is that blackouts are very rare in the country.

The next day, September 2, Cancun, Mexico, which was swarming with tourists and advance teams for the following week's World Trade Organization meeting, also found itself plunged into a blackout. The power failure struck Quintana Roo state on the Yucatan peninsula and two neighboring states. Power was out for six hours and affected 3 million people.

Shortly after the lunch hour on September 23, eastern Denmark and southern Sweden, including the cities of Copenhagen and Malmo, lost power in what was described as a "very unusual" blackout. Four million people were affected, including passengers stranded on board trains and at Copenhagen's busy international airport. Factories on the island of Zealand and in southern Sweden stopped production and the Oresund Bridge linking Denmark to Sweden was closed to traffic.

On early Sunday morning, September 28, another massive power failure struck Italy, leaving 57 million people without electricity. A simultaneous blackout plunged Geneva, Switzerland, into darkness. A finger pointing game started among Italy, France, and Switzerland for the cause of the failure. The blackout cut off electricity to Vatican City and Pope John Paul II had to rely on emergency generators to power amplifiers in order to deliver his Sunday sermon. Thirty-thousand passengers were stranded on trains throughout the country. The blackout was later blamed on a tree hitting a high voltage transmission line in Switzerland.

It's clearly time for the U.S. Congress to demand to see PD-16 and what tasking for the Pentagon cyber-war planners may have arisen from it. A special focus should be on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the outfit that helped concoct Poindexter's cockamamie Policy Analysis Market and Total Information Awareness schemes. Congressional investigators should toss aside concerns about security, intelligence methods and sources, and similar Taurean excrement and demand full access to the cyber-warfare plans of DARPA and the Pentagon's equally culpable Office of Net Assessment and Directorate of Policy and Plans.

There is a reason why massive power failures are striking cities around the world and PD-16 may be a part of that reason. It is also noteworthy that the U.S. energy firm, AES Corporation of Arlington, Virginia, has a financial stake in the power companies involved in the blackouts in Chile and Georgia. AES's board of directors is jam packed with individuals with links to past Pentagon highjinks. It includes Richard Darman of the Caryle Group who was Office of Management and Budget director under the first Bush and Philip Odeen, former Pentagon 21st century transformation task force chairman and a former president of the top Pentagon contractor, BDM. AES, too, should be investigated.

The necon wackos running the Pentagon may know those reasons and it's beyond time for our elected members of Congress to start cracking heads together to get at the truth of who and what lies behind the multiple blackouts of 2003.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based journalist and columnist and the co-author of "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush."


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This is the first summary I've seen 01.Oct.2003 15:46

Telly

Of a lot of the recent events. How does one sift through them to determine which were possibly routine, and which were highly unusual? Here's the timeline (that I don't have time to research) - can someone else investigate more? I'd say create a chart of data - when, where, how many affected, for how long, reasons put forth, etc. To get started, here's the prelim data from above in chronological order.

The only odd thing I've noticed in terms of a pattern is that August and September both had blackouts on the 23rd and the 28th of each month. What's the likelyhood of that? And what happened between April and August? Why that break? That's assuming that the earlier ones are actually a part of some potential sabotage and not just random.

But to me, this pattern is alarming in terms of the sudden increases in August and Sept of 2003. And notice the symmetry - both have 4 and 5 blackouts, not very bizarre or chaotic, almost evenly divided by month, not just 1 or 2 in one month and then and then 6 or 7 in the next, or 5 in one week, or any on the same day.

Take a look and have a say! There's something bizarre going on - is it sabotage, terrorism, captialism, a 'crumbling grid,' coincidence?

------------------------------

September 23, 2002 - Chile - but how massive *was* it? And for how long?

November 24, 2002 - Buenos Aires and La Plata, Argentina - again, how massive, how long?

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January 31, 2003 - an unusual power failure hit Cambridge, Ontario - again, how massive, how long?

April 29, 2003 - Melbourne, Australia aiport - disrupting operations for 90 minutes - This seems small compared to the others.

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August 6, 2003 - Buenos Aires was hit again by another sudden blackout on - again, how massive, how long?

August 14, 2003 - United States and Canada, 50 million affected.

August 18, 2003 - Republic of Georgia, 4.5 million affected.

August 23, 2003 - Finland's capital Helsinki and suburbs, over a half million people affected.

August 28, 2003 - London and southeast England.

-------

September 1, 2003 - Kuala Lumpur (capital city) and five other Malaysian states.

September 2, 2003 - Cancun, Mexico, Power was out for six hours and affected 3 million people (1 week before WTO Meeting).

September 23, 2003 - eastern Denmark and southern Sweden, 4 million were affected.

September 28, 2003 - Italy and Geneva, Switzerland, 57 million people affected.

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Y2K blackout and SCADA 02.Oct.2003 05:28

spider

First some archived info
................
2. Remediation: the next phase consists of remediation, or correcting the problems identified in the assessment phase. Components and systems are prioritized to correct those that are critical to operations. The remediation phase provides for several options to reach Year 2000 readiness: retire, replace, remediate, or work-around. At the conclusion of the remediation phase, contingency plans must begin to take shape. Contingency plans should be prioritized so that plans for critical operations are the highest priority.

YEAR 2000 ANALYSIS OF UTILITIES REGULATED IN NORTH CAROLINA
______________________________________
"What's not been invested in during the last 40 years is the infrastructure for transmission and distribution, including the hardware and software that power SCADA systems," he said, referring to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems, which are real-time computers used to manage grid capacity.
______________________________________
The problem is multiplied by the billions of embedded chips, which must be changed manually. Chips are found in controllers and pipelines, among other systems, and often start or stop processes. John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on year 2000 conversion, said out of 5 billion chips in use, even if just 2 percent fail, that is still 100 million chips.
Power Companies Blackout On Y2K

June 12, 1998 (7:11 p.m. EST)
By Mary Mosquera, TechWeb News
______________________________________
Now a recent article
..........
Private-sector cybersecurity experts have for years also warned of the vulnerabilities posed by the energy industry's deliberate efforts to connect Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems -- the real-time computers used to manage grid capacity and flow -- to corporate LANs as a way of improving statistical tracking and sales of excess grid capacity.
Northeast, Canada power failure exposes infrastructure frailty

 http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/recovery/story/0,10801,84042,00.html
_______________________________________
Readiness of the Electric Power Industry GAO report April 1999

NERC has identified a large number of Year 2000-related risk factors that may impact the operation of electric power systems. The internal risk factors include generator outages, constrained operation of nuclear power plants, partial loss of EMS/SCADA systems, loss of portions of company-owned data and voice communications, and a failure of environmental control systems. According to the assumptions suggested by NERC for contingency planning purposes
? a probable scenario may include 10% to 15% loss of generation, the loss of wire-based voice and data communications, and the partial loss of EMS/SCADA systems.
? a credible worst case scenario might result in area blackout caused by the long-term loss of generating and control facilities, and the loss of fuel supplies.
While the electric power industry has made substantial progress in making its equipment and systems ready to continue operations into the Year 2000, significant risks remain. According to NERC's survey, the industry Year 2000 readiness target date of June 1999 is expected to be missed by
? 46 percent of the reporting bulk power entities,
? 20 of 66 nuclear power plants,
? 26 percent of municipal distributors, and
? 10 percent of cooperative distributors.
_____________________________________
Islanding

I'd like to add that the SCADA system was supposed
to island the problem areas. The power system was
supposed to operate normally when any system
went down. This process did not happen. Thus the
SCADA controls did not break each system into an
island as designed. No doubt that fingers will point
to every direction to obfuscate this fact.
_______________________________________
Midwest Utilities Were Warned About Pushing Limits of System

For several years, as growing summertime surges of power criss-crossed the web of transmission lines in Ohio and the rest of the Midwest on their way to Manhattan or Toronto or Detroit, utility and government monitors grew increasingly concerned about the risks of straining the system.

 http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0818-02.htm

[Several = 3]
________________________________________
SCADA

London power cut

"Originally it seems the problem was a transformer failure,
but that's pretty common and should not have caused this
amount of trouble. It was really a mini New York, with a
small fault cascading into a larger one. I think
we were actually quite lucky - this could potentially have
wiped out power all around the UK.

 http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/...ning%20Standard
___________________________________________
Italy power cut

The real problem is knowing why all Italy cut out and why
the safety systems did not work," he said.
[safety systems = SCADA/EMS]

 http://afr.com/articles/2003/10/01/1064819958711.html
________________________________________________
Although the lack of investment is the underlying problem,
experts say there must have also been some technical fault
which failed to stop the domino effect.
But the problem area should have been isolated rather than
allowing the lights to go out in each region in turn.
Some experts blame this on a computer failure, while others
say people at control centres should have been able to trip
the necessary switches to stop the problem escalating.
[switches = SCADA/EMS]

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3153237.stm
______________________________________________
The Italian state broadcaster RAI said the problem was
believed to have originated in France and caused a domino
effect throughout Italy.

 http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-eur/2003/sep/28/092805365.html
_____________________________________________
According to Italian national grid operator GRTN, a four-second
lapse in energy inflow from abroad triggered a domino effect
on its network. "It collapsed just like when you remove one
card from a house of cards," said a spokesman.

 http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$P4RQLVTJEBQ0BQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2003/09/29/wital29.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/09/29/ixportaltop.html
____________________________________________