US Government’s Argument Against Barrett Brown “Should Chill Journalists to the Bone”

(TheAntiMedia) Journalist and activist Barrett Brown appeared in a Federal Court in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday. Brown was brought before Judge Sam Lindsay wearing the stereotypical orange jumpsuit. He only spoke a few times throughout the eight hour proceedings. Aside from looking up occasionally to listen to testimony, Brown’s focus was on his pen and notepad. The avid writer scribbled away, determined to tell his next story.

His family and nearly 30 supporters from around the country were in attendance. As the judge noted, 102 letters of support were sent from the United States, Australia, France, Sweden, Germany, Sweden, the UK, and India.

Brown has been an activist, and a journalist. His articles and blogs have been featured in numerous publications including the Guardian, Vanity Fair, and the Huffington Post. He has been behind bars for over two years for charges stemming from his reporting on the hacking of the servers of HB Gary Federal and Stratfor by the decentralized hacker collective Anonymous.

The exact charges Barrett Brown faces are (1) transmitting a threat in interstate commerce (2) accessory after the fact in the unauthorized access to a protected computer and (3) interference with the execution of a search warrant and aid and abet. (Brown has since apologized for the threat and admitted it was a mistake caused under duress)

The second charge comes from Brown offering to be a mediator for hacker Jeremy Hammond following the hack of Strafor. Brown also attempted to hide computers which contained journalistic sources.

Since Brown had already signed the plea deal the sentencing hearing was expected to be short. However, early in the hearing the government’s team introduced 61 exhibits including hundreds of pages of chat logs and emails. The government forced Brown’s defense to decide to allow the documents without question or object to them slowing down the proceedings and possibly frustrating the judge. The judge would give the defense a 30 minute recess to view the documents and return with any objections.

The defense objected to 11 exhibits for lack of relevance. The government told Judge Lindsay that the documents showed Brown identifying targets of the hacks, and established his role in Anonymous. The Judge agreed with the government and allowed all 61 exhibits to be entered into the record. The prosecution called FBI Agent Robert Smith to the witness stand as they spent the next two and a half hours going through the exhibits one by one.

Federal prosecutor Candina Heath repeatedly had Smith read transcripts of chats that Barrett Brown had been involved. Using his own words against him, often taken out of context, the prosecution spent the afternoon describing Brown as a “agitator”, “propagandist”, “strategist”, and “spokesman” for Anonymous. In one chat Brown discussed splitting Project Pm into two groups. One would be the “legal” faction and the other, lead by Brown, would do more radical activities.

The prosecutions goal was to muddy the waters, and convince the judge that Barrett was neither a political prisoner, or a journalist, but instead a dangerous mind intent on creating havoc. The truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. Some of the quotes the prosecution used include:

“Anonymous has become powerful and I am close to everyone involved.”

“People will die because of the things we do.”

“I am always happy to recruit.”

“I have been Anon for 5-6 years.”

“We’re the most effective process for smashing those foundations that need smashing.”

“My goal is absolute dramatic reform of governments.”

“When we take down sites the press pays attention.”

The court listened to an interview Brown did with NBC where he detailed the work of hacktivists as a “guerrilla cyber-war.” Late in the evening we would hear from the defenses only witness, Quinn Norton. Norton is a journalist who has extensively chronicled the Anonymous movement. She would describe many of Barrett’s statement as not welcome or appreciated by members of Anonymous. He had been “kicked” at least once from an Internet Relay Chat.

Apparently there was not a consensus on Brown speaking in the media about Anonymous’ activities. Quinn was attempting to illustrate to the judge that Barrett Brown had not been an official member of the hacker collective. One of the reasons is because the culture does not operate with a static set of members or defined roles. It is a fluid process by which everyone can become any part of the revolution.

Hacking skills are a requisite for being deeply involved in Operations (Ops). These are skills that Barrett Brown did not have. So while some of Anonymous appreciated the media coverage and words Brown was writing, others were uninterested and downright angry at his self aggrandizing actions. When the defense questioned Smith on the topic he said he was aware that hackers were angry at Brown.

Heath also asked Smith to read chats pertaining to Barrett Brown’s role as a journalist. Or, as she would have it a “pseudo-journalist.” Smith read several chats where Brown does refer to himself as a “former journalist.” Despite these comments from Brown he continues to write. He pens a column for D Magazine, and has also released a book. Again, the governments arguments hinged on the idea the Barrett Brown was a former journalist who left that world to lead a global cyber war against corrupt governments. Or something like that.

The remainder of the prosecutions arguments were about the stolen credit card information and whether or not Brown could be directly linked to the use of that information. This was perhaps the most surprising element of the sentencing hearing. Despite Barrett Brown having no direct connection to the Stratfor hack, he was facing a century in prison for sharing a link to the leaked documents with a chat room. Jeremy Hammond would later receive ten years for that leak.

Those charges were later dropped when Brown signed the plea deal. However, the prosecution was able to bring the dismissed charges to the forefront in an attempt to sway the judges ruling towards the maximum sentence. Brown’s own defense noted that this was a perfectly acceptable and legal practice but felt the government had previously been unable to make its case on the hyperlink charge and was not attempting to recharge him.

In September of 2013, one of Brown’s attorneys Ahmed Ghappour talked to Rolling Stone about the situation.

He copy-pasted a publicly available link containing publicly available data that he was researching in his capacity as a journalist. The charges require twisting the relevant statutes beyond recognition and have serious implications for journalists as well as academics. Who’s allowed to look at document dumps?

In order to make this point stick the government had to prove that Brown knowingly shared stolen information and establish evidence that his sharing of the link directly lead to credit card information being stolen. The government stated there were 113 victims of fraudulent activity directly attributed to Barrett Brown’s actions. There was much back and forth about whether or not the prosecutors could clearly define victims directly wronged by Brown.

The defense compared what he did to an individual sending a picture of a stolen car to friends. They argued merely pointing at a stolen vehicle is not the same as stealing it for a joy ride or damaging the vehicle. Heath disagreed, stating that once the stolen information hits the public domain anyone who traffics in it is committing a crime.”

Marlo Cadeddu, a member of Brown’s defense team, told the judge that allowing the argument to stand would have “serious implications for journalist.” She also stated the actions should chill journalists and researchers to the bone.”

Judge Lindsay was obviously annoyed throughout the day but allowed the exhibits and arguments to stand. The judge told both sides that they seemed to be missing the whole point of the hearing, and he was doubtful of the relevance of the submitted documents. He admonished the defense and the prosecution for trying to “get the last word in” and attempting to “get a leg up” on the other.

Two other interesting aspects of the hearing were discussions on Anarchism and trolling.

Anarchism was mentioned twice while going through the chat logs. When questioned on whether Anonymous was an Anarchist hive Brown answered, “Anon does not like to define itself and my Anarchism is my own.” Another more contentious point came during exhibit 29 when the prosecution attempted to use Brown’s words against him. The government attempted to use his political philosophy as an example of criminal behavior. The defense objected to the questioning as prejudicial and the judge agreed.

During Quinn Norton’s testimony she discussed how trolling is part of the Anonymous culture. Trolling refers to any Internet user behavior that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate someone else in order to provoke a response. This includes making exaggerated claims to the media in an attempt to get a fake or outrageous story reported. The defense attempted to illustrate that Brown’s statements of being a leader of Anonymous could not be taken at face value.

It’s important to remember that the entire time Barrett has been incarcerated the federal government has sought to suppress details related to the case. In September 2013, Judge Lindsay accepted a motion for a gag order related to the case. Brown and his attorneys would be barred from talking to the public about the proceedings. The gag order remained in place for 8 months until Brown’s team signed a plea agreement in April.

Once the gag order ended, unsealed court documents revealed the prosecution’s fears that Brown’s media connections would paint the government in an unfavorable light. Prosecutors argued that silencing Brown’s attorney’s was necessary to protect the jury, and Barrett himself, from being tainted by media portrayal of the case.

Another telling part of the unsealed documents relates to media connections Brown maintained. Ms. Heath told the court that after listening to recorded phone calls made from the county jail between Barrett Brown and Kevin Gallagher she worried more articles would be written about the case. Gallagher is the head of Free Barrett Brown. The prosecution discussed conversations between Brown and Gallagher where the two discuss journalists who had been in contact with Brown regarding writing about the case. The documents mention Michael Hastings, Janet Reitman of Rolling Stone (listed as Jenna Wrightman), and Glenn Greenwald.

The secrecy was in full view during the sentencing hearing as well. Judge Lindsay reminded the defense and the prosecution that many of the documents related to the case were under public seal and would remain so. He made it clear anyone caught leaking information to the press would face his wrath.

Barrett Brown will return to the federal courtroom again on January 22, 2015. Judge Lindsay said he would take the time to review all the documents and make his decision in January. He also said he would not be accepting any more documents or testimony on that day.

When the judge renders his verdict we will find out whether Barrett Brown will finally be allowed to go home, or if he will face more time behind bars. If the judges verdict is based on arguments that Brown committed a crime by posting a hyperlink there will be disastrous repercussions to journalists, activists and researchers across the country. We must do what we can to bring attention to Barrett Brown’s situation, as well as the many others who are facing imprisonment for shining a light into the darkness in which government thrives.

Sentencing for imprisoned journalist delayed (again) until January 22, 2015.

Written by: DERRICK BOZE at ANTI-MEDIA.ORG

Monsanto USDA Study: Mixing Non-GMO Seed with GMOs Not Helping Pest Resistance

Photo by Rich Sanders, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Photo by Rich Sanders, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Failure of ‘Refuge in a Bag’ Method of GM Crop Help

Did you know that farmers who plant genetically engineered crops need to also plant some non-GE crops in the same field? It is supposed to delay pest resistance to Bt corn crops.

Chemical and biotech companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer et al. have a long history of blaming farmers for failures of genetically modified crops and herbicides. When crop yields don’t provide, when corn rootworm takes over, and when farmers have to hire extra help to hack down superweeds when they were promised an easier season – the companies will be the first to throw farmers under the tractor. They like to claim that farmers aren’t following proper pesticide management and planting “refuges.”

For a long time that reason was truly considered a factor. Then came RIBs – “refuge-in-a-bag.” That way, some non-Bt corn would be pre-included in the Bt seed mixture.

GMWatch reports:

…previous studies have shown that refuges do not work well, for three reasons: farmers don’t comply with refuge requirements, pests are able to live and reproduce in Bt maize fields, and the non-Bt refuge plants become contaminated by cross-pollination with Bt toxin-producing genes (see “Refuge concept breaking down” in GMO Myths and Truths).

According to them, the study, “A challenge for the seed mixture refuge strategy in bt maize: impact of cross-pollination on an ear-feeding pest, corn earworm” – was actually funded in part by Monsanto and the USDA. This writer was unable to locate the full text. It was originally published in PLOS ONE, in November.

Researchers write:

A major concern in RIB is cross-pollination of maize hybrids that can cause Bt proteins to be present in refuge maize kernels and negatively affect refuge insects. Here we show that a mixed planting of 5% nonBt and 95% Bt maize containing the SmartStax traits expressing Cry1A.105, Cry2Ab2 and Cry1F did not provide an effective refuge for an important above-ground ear-feeding pest, the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie).

Cross-pollination in RIB caused a majority (>90%) of refuge kernels to express ≥ one Bt protein. The contamination of Bt proteins in the refuge ears reduced neonate-to-adult survivorship of H. zea to only 4.6%, a reduction of 88.1% relative to larvae feeding on ears of pure non-Bt maize plantings. In addition, the limited survivors on refuge ears had lower pupal mass and took longer to develop to adults.

GMWatch explains:

The study found that over 90% of maize kernels expressed at least one Bt protein. In addition, the surviving pests on the refuge plants did not thrive, meaning that no viable Bt-susceptible pest populations survived. (emphasis added)

This could mean that the lack of pest control was never the fault of farmers – that refuges simply do not work, and in the end show more complications from cross-pollination. Back to the drawing board for them. Please also see: Thanks for the Super Genes – Weeds Receive Transgenic Material From GMOs

Written by: HEATHER CALLAGHAN featured at ACTIVIST POST

Police Pre-Crime Algorithm Uses Social Media Posts Against You in Real-Time (video)

Screen capture photo from below video

Screen capture photo from below video

We have finally reached the moment where Orwell’s nightmare in 1984 meets the movie Minority Report. We’re living there right now.

And still, astoundingly, we have people saying “Well, I haven’t done anything wrong, so I don’t have anything to worry about.”

Trending in the world of tomorrow is pre-crime “predictive policing,” which uses vast Big Data stores to compile profiles on all the citizenry, allowing law enforcement and government officials to hone in on targets, with promises of predicting where crimes will happen next, and preparing for encounters with individuals who have been assessed as high risks.

Welcome to the ill-conceived Orwellian-era of “Big Data”-enhanced intelligence-led integrated policing which compiles records from private, consumer, government and social media sector create a pre-crime threat assessment that determines how police will handle you and whether you will be suspected before even doing anything wrong.

Wow! That’s a mouthful of terms.

But it’s true. This technology has already been put into the hands of police across the country.

Private sector surveys have found that 83% of law enforcement now use social media in conducting investigations, while social media data that has been used for probable cause in warrants has been upheld by courts 87% of the time when challenged.

Written by: - continue at TRUTH STREAM MEDIA

CDC: Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 5 deaths Illness reported in 10 states, including Missouri

cdc-890x395_c

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Health officials say prepackaged caramel apples are linked to five deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in 10 states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says investigators are trying to determine the specific brands that were involved. But consumers are being warned not to eat prepackaged caramel apples until more is known.

from The Associated Press, info@ap.org

Read more at KY3.com

Leaked Internal CIA Document Admits US Drone Program “Counterproductive” … Obama Did It ANYWAY

Painting by Anthony Freda.

Painting by Anthony Freda.

Previously-leaked documents showed that the CIA warned Obama that funding rebels doesn’t work … but Obama decided to fund the Syrian rebels anyway for cynical political gain.

Top CIA officers say that drone strikes increase terrorism (and see this). Indeed, virtually all aspects of the American “war on terror” strategy creates more terrorists and weakens our national security. And see this.

Now, a leaked internal CIA memo shows that the Agency told Obama that drone strikes might be counter-productive.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports today:

According to a leaked document by the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence, “high value targeting” (HVT) involving air strikes and special forces operations against insurgent leaders can be effective, but can also have negative effects including increasing violence and greater popular support for extremist groups.

The leaked document is classified secret and “NoForn” (meaning not to be distributed to non-US nationals) and reviews attacks by the United States and other countries engaged in counter-insurgency operations over the past 50 years.

***

The 2009 CIA study lends support to critics of US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen by warning that such operations “may increase support for the insurgents, particularly if these strikes enhance insurgent leaders’ lore, if non-combatants are killed in the attacks, if legitimate or semi-legitimate politicians aligned with the insurgents are targeted, or if the government is already seen as overly repressive or violent”.

Continue at WASHINGTON’S BLOG

The Countdown to the Next Gaza Conflict Has Begun

Thousands of armed Hamas troops showed off their military hardware at a Dec. 14, 2014 parade in Gaza, marking the organization's 27th anniversary. (Image source: PressTV video screenshot)

Thousands of armed Hamas troops showed off their military hardware at a Dec. 14, 2014 parade in Gaza, marking the organization’s 27th anniversary. (Image source: PressTV video screenshot)

Hamas could, with a fair amount of ease, cause Israel to end its security blockade by accepting the terms of the international Quartet. These include recognizing the state of Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by past agreements.

Of course, those would contravene Hamas’s ideology of Islamist jihad and move it away from its current trajectory of organized violence and religious hatred, the foundations upon which it was established in the 1980s by the Muslim Brotherhood.

For now, it seems, Hamas will try, as it has been doing for months, to orchestrate terrorism in the West Bank, on the opposite side of Israel, while upholding its truce in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces, too, has spent recent months preparing to respond if there is a fresh round of hostilities.

More than three months have passed since the end of the fifty-day conflict between Hamas in Gaza and Israel this past summer, yet all of the catalysts that helped spark that war remain in place and are pushing the sides into their next clash.

One of the reasons Hamas launched a war in July this year was to try to end its strategic isolation, which became severe after the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in next-door Egypt. Hamas also sought to improve its crumbling economic situation as the ruler of the Gaza Strip; its dire situation was illustrated by Hamas’s inability to pay 40,000 of its Gazan employees their monthly salaries.

Hamas could, with a fair amount of ease, cause Israel to end its security blockade by accepting the terms of the international Quartet. These would include recognizing the state of Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by previous diplomatic agreements. Of course, those would contravene Hamas’s ideology of Islamist jihad and move it away from its current trajectory of organized violence and religious hatred, the foundations upon which it was established in the 1980s by Palestinian members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Written by: YAAKOV LAPPIN – continue at GATESTONE INSTITUTE

10 Prepping Mistakes That Could Kill You (and how to avoid them)

PrepperMistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to Prepping, all of our efforts are directed toward actions that are designed to either keep us safer, prolong our lives or stave off some disaster that could be prevented with a little foresight and planning. When it comes to survival, mistakes can kill you and that is the last thing we want to happen isn’t it?

In this article I wanted to discuss some common prepping mistakes that I have seen over the years and ideas I have that I believe will help the person new to prepping avoid them. I do this with the hopes that others will realize how some of these actions can put you at a distinct disadvantage in your prepping efforts in the best case, but could result in death in others.

Preparing for a single event

All too often we come to the world of prepping due to outside stimulus. Something triggers either an awareness or sense of need in us that drives us to learn more about being prepared. For a lot of people out there, Y2K was just this type of event and before the clock struck midnight on December 31st 1999 millions of dollars had been spent on survival gear and preparedness items to plan for the disaster that was supposed to happen. As you all know by now, nothing happened at midnight; planes didn’t fall from the sky and our country wasn’t sent back to the Stone Age.

When this happened a lot of people became disillusioned with prepping. They looked at the money they had spent on supplies and felt foolish for believing the hype about the approaching doomsday scenario. As a result, they sold all of their gear on Ebay and a lot of people were able to buy unwanted survival supplies for very cheap.

Preparedness shouldn’t be for a single event. You should prepare for any event that could put you or your family in danger. There are common prepping basics you should follow and while they might be motivated by a single event like the threat of Ebola, you shouldn’t believe that if Ebola never happens that all of your preparations are worthless. Think of all the people who sold their freeze-dried food, survival weapons and gear. If we had another disaster after they sold their supplies, they would have been back at square one and just as desperate as someone who didn’t prepare at all.

Preparing for a specific date

Similar to people who planned for Y2K, there were those who feared the Mayan Calendar ending at the end of 2012. They did the same thing when nothing happened and the world kept on spinning. The danger of prepping for a specific threat that is date-based is believing that nothing else in the world could happen to you. Natural disasters in the form of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, winter storms happen every year and any supplies you store should keep you alive regardless of the disaster. Don’t believe that if the world doesn’t end, you will never see any disruption causing event in your life.

Even people as far south as Atlanta were caught unprepared last year as a relatively minor winter storm stranded thousands of motorists on the side of the road. Now, I will grant you that this isn’t as ominous as the end of the world as we know it, but wouldn’t you rather have supplies in your car if you were stranded due to a winter storm that caught you by surprise? Most disasters don’t keep appointments so you never know when they will strike. It is better to be prepared all of the time instead of when the calendar says a disaster is supposed to happen.

Bragging about your prepping supplies

I advocate that everyone should practice OPSEC as much as possible to avoid the problem of having hordes or your friends and neighbors appear on your doorstep in the event of a disaster. When you tell everyone that you have food stored up, weapons and ammo and all the supplies you would need to last for years if the grid goes down, you are inviting trouble.

In desperate times, people who have nowhere to turn will act out of desperation. Your friends who didn’t prepare will view your food supplies as necessary to keeping their children alive. By your actions of bragging about what you have, you now have a potential threat to your life and the lives of your family in someone who knows that you have food and who knows their children will die without it. Keep your preparations secret unless you want to share with the world. In that case, expect your food, supplies and anything you have to be taken from you in a worst case scenario.

If you think you can just show up at a prepper’s home and spit in his face, you might be in for a surprise.

If you think you can just show up at a prepper’s home and spit in his face, you might be in for a surprise.

Planning on being a criminal

There is a sub-culture of people in the world who are not preppers in the true sense of the word. They are predators, but they hang around in the circles of survival and preparedness websites. They share some common traits with preppers in that they see the possibility of a SHTF event in their future, but instead of planning ahead, storing food and supplies and trying to become self-sufficient, they plan to take what others have. If this is you, I want to let you know you are making a huge prepping mistake.

Those who ascribe to the theory that when we reach some TEOTWAWKI event, they will just grab their guns and take whatever they need to survive, will be in for a rude awakening. Just as they have prepared to take by force, preppers are preparing to defend with force. In that scenario someone is going to die. My money is on the prepper who is defending his family. Sure, you may get away with some violence, but it will catch up to you. My advice is to forget this idea and start taking steps to prepare your family with supplies you acquire. It will make you appreciate what you have more and could keep you from getting shot in the face as you try to steal from someone else.

Buying a fortune in food you hate

I will admit that the easiest (but not cheapest) way to stock up on food that will last a long time is to purchase a pallet of freeze-dried food. Throw this in your basement and you will be prepared to last a long time without the benefit of your local grocery store but what if your family hates the freeze-dried food you have? What if they have allergies to the ingredients? What if you bought from a supplier who wasn’t really reputable and instead of lasting 25 years that stored food went bad without you knowing it?

Food Storage seems like a complicated thing, but it isn’t. Start by stocking more of what your family already eats. You can augment that with some freeze-dried foods, but make sure you test this with your family first to get their take on what they will be forced to eat possibly to survive. Try several manufacturers; try alternate forms of long-term storable food like MREs, but more importantly plan for providing your own fresh food. Vegetable Gardens and small livestock are much better than a pallet of food in the basement.

Thinking you will be able to defend your home against all invaders

We simply don’t live in defend-able structures anymore unless you have built a custom compound on hundreds of acres in the wilderness. Most of us live near cities even if our suburban lives allow us to see more trees between ourselves and our neighbors than our city cousins. If a collapse happens and violence breaks out, you will not be able to defend your home against an overwhelming determined force. You may survive if you are able to band together and create a neighborhood defense plan with your fellow neighbors. This may work or it may be impossible depending on the circumstances and you could end up needing to leave.

Have a plan to bug out if that becomes necessary. My own personal plan is to shelter in place for as long as feasible but if the situation dictates that my neighborhood is no longer safe, my family will be heading out. Make sure you have a plan B.

Believing that a gun is all you need

I believe that every law abiding citizen can use a firearm as long as they are trained to defend themselves in certain situations. However, just because you have a gun that doesn’t mean you are going to shoot your way out of a firefight like a Navy Seal. Guns are tools but they require a lot of skill to be used effectively in highly stressful situations. You might think that if you have a gun, that is all you need to defend your family but it isn’t that simple.

Take the time to practice with your firearms often. Beyond going to the range and killing paper zombies, sign up for classes that put you in different scenarios with stress that is similar to what you will experience in a real life or death situation. At bare minimum look at this firearm as a tool that is only capable of what you are capable of doing. If you can’t handle it properly under pressure it could end up getting you killed instead of saving your life.

Prepping in isolation

There are a lot of preppers who “wake up” for lack of a better term to the world around them and begin well in advance of any of their loved ones to feel a sense of urgency. In some cases, this can lead to frustration and even outright animosity towards the notion of prepping from spouses or family. A common question then becomes how can I get my spouse on board with prepping. If a prepper isn’t succeeding on one front they may try to hide their prepping and that usually doesn’t bode well.

Prepping is most effective when you have a team of people moving toward a common goal. Prepping should be a family affair if possible so that if nothing else, everyone in your family knows what you are trying to do and why this is important to them. Naturally if you have small children you have some limitations, but if you go it alone without getting your family on board, they might not be prepared to act in a crisis. Without a plan and direction, this could get some people killed.

At some point you have to stop making lists and act.

At some point you have to stop making lists and act.

Analysis Paralysis

Some people like lists. My wife is a huge fan of lists and draws them up on a daily basis for what she needs to do each hour of the day. When you start prepping, one of the things that I recommend after you think about what you are prepping for and who you are prepping for is to make lists of items you feel would make you more prepared. This can get into a world of side issues and specific areas of expertise as you research and investigate. I have seen people with multiple tabbed spreadsheets with items they want to purchase with comparisons between vendors and prices online. The net effect is that some people research for years before they ever do anything and it doesn’t matter if you have the most thorough and complete plan on paper; if disaster strikes you have to roll with what you have and what you know.

Take basic steps now to cover the biggest bases of preparedness. Get a month worth of food and water taken care of before you develop your 5-year plan. If you don’t have the money for the perfect survival arsenal, get a fairly cheap shotgun and learn how to use it. If the world has gone to hell, something will be better than nothing.

Thinking you can save the world by yourself

This might be the hardest to reconcile for my Christian readers because we are called to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This phrase from the bible is most often associated with charity and whole reams of paper have been expended on how we can plan for charity in our prepping supplies. I believe that there is a place for charity and I will plan on taking care of those who are in need. To a point.

My primary goal in prepping is to provide safety and security for my family. After that has been accomplished, I will do what I can to offer assistance to those who need it. I won’t be opening my doors to everyone and I won’t sacrifice my family’s safety or security for everyone who has a need. I will have to reconcile my actions when the time is right, but I do anticipate turning some away. I think if you go into thinking about a world in chaos and expect everything to be sunshine and lollipops, you could be in for a rude awakening. Charity will be dispensed with the utmost of discretion and it is my goal to make sure that as much as possible nobody knows the charity I am dispensing. If you want to feed someone try to arrange to deliver food or supplies to a third-party like a community center or church anonymously.  This will keep my family safe and it could protect yours as well.

Those are my 10 prepping mistakes and this article ended up being longer than I expected. If you hung in till the end I would like to hear your thoughts below. Stay safe, and keep Prepping.

Written by: PAT HENRY of THE PREPPERS JOURNAL

7 Ways to Lighten Your Bug Out Bag

BackpackingWeight-1

In just a couple of weeks a lot of you are going to be making New Year’s resolutions and according to our good old government (not sure why they have to have a webpage to tell us this) the most common resolution is to lose weight. This is a great goal for a lot of people but as preppers we can look at this another way too. Maybe it’s time to trim some pounds off your Bug Out Bag and save your back in the process. For a lot of us, the mythical – perfect bug out bag is one part Swiss army knife, one part hardware store and one part supermarket with a dash of your favorite clothing outfitter thrown in for good measure. Over time in our efforts to be prepared for anything, we have lost sight of what this bag is meant for and traded common sense for comfort, at the expense of weight.

What choo talkin bout Willis?

In my research as a prepper I have watched a lot of YouTube videos about Bug out bags from people all over the world and in many of them you get very well-meaning people who put together pages of items that you simply don’t need. Others have items that could be lighter or who carry too much of a single item when that isn’t necessary. I myself am a well-meaning person so here is my take on some simple steps you can take to lighten your bug out bag but before I get into that, I want to give you my opinion on what a bug out bag should be in the first place.

What is a bug out bag for?

A bug out bag has been called by a lot of names. I have heard I.N.C.H bag (I’m Never Coming Home). G.O.O.D bag (Get Out Of Dodge), the 72-Hour bag, Go Bag and others that crop up from time to time when I think people are just trying to create something new and trendy (S.N.A.P – Seriously Need Another Plan). Whatever you call it, the bug out bag concept was envisioned as a bag to carry everything you will need to LIVE for 72 hours if you only have that bag on your back and nothing else in the world. Why did I put the emphasis on live? That is because a lot of people start throwing everything but the kitchen sink in their packs and it is one of the reasons why I wrote the post “Is your bug out bag going to get you killed?

When you start adding items with minimal practical use or perhaps less likelihood of keeping you alive then you start adding weight. Do this enough times and your bug out bag becomes an unwieldy mess that can cause injuries or worse, get you killed. So what are some ways we can prevent that from happening?

Don’t carry too much water

Unless you live in the desert and I know that some of you do, water should be something that you know how to find and can easily disinfect to make it drinkable. For the large majority of us, packing 3 days’ worth of water is suicide in terms of size and weight and it is really unnecessary. Again, if you live in a desert I am not talking to you, but you really need to evaluate your plans also.

 

Sawyer Mini is a lightweight hero when it comes to water filtration.

Sawyer Mini is a lightweight hero when it comes to water filtration.

Water sources are everywhere and you only need a good water filter to make all but the nastiest water perfectly safe for drinking. I like pump filters like the MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter and have taken this on several backpacking trips because they are simple and filter water very quickly. In terms of sheer weight and even space reduction, the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a real champ though and in those respects it kicks even decently sized filters like the Miniworks to the curb. The Miniworks weighs 1 pound. The Sawyer mini weighs 2 ounces.

For water I would carry one full litter bottle and have one plastic bladder that I would use to collect water that I need to filter with my Sawyer. Nalgene water bladders weigh almost nothing empty and can roll up to fit in tiny spaces. My plan is to find and filter water as I need it along the way. Could you boil your water instead and maybe save these few ounces or use water treatment tablets? Of course, but you have to have a fire, keep something to boil it in, wait for it to boil, then cool down, lather rinse repeat or deal with the weird taste of those tablets. The filter is the easiest fastest way to go for me and the Sawyer will filter over 100,000 gallons! That is enough to keep you alive for over 200 years if my math is right.

Don’t pack like you are going on vacation

Too many bug out bag lists will contain a spare pair of boots and another change of clothes. Do you need more clothes to live? Maybe if you are bugging out from a nudist colony and you don’t have any on, but you should already have some clothes on. Maybe you need to adjust your wardrobe and put on a good pair of boots before you bug out, but packing another set of clothes takes up space and adds weight; especially if you are packing heavy winter clothes.

Dress in layers and take items that will compensate for a lot of additional items. I would bring a pair of socks so you always have a dry pair, set of clean underwear and not much else. If it was cold I would have a base layer(s) and maybe a fleece, but I might have that on my body anyway. Clothes shouldn’t be packed in place of shelter; you should deal with that separately.

What about my camping towel, deck of cards, favorite coffee cup and my travel pillow? Leave all of that stuff at home. This pack should only have the essentials if your goal is truly to have the least amount of weight you can. If you are running from everything you know for some reason you have bigger problems than a pillow and you will never pack everything you need in all scenarios for all situations so why try?

Use a tarp instead of a tent

Tents can easily weigh 5 pounds so they are prime opportunities for reducing weight. One of the simplest alternatives to packing a tent is to pack either a rain fly or tarp. Tents do not offer much in the way of protection from the elements unless you have a serious mosquito problem and primarily they are for keeping the rain off of you while you sleep and maybe affording some degree of privacy.

Written by: PAT HENRY – continue at THE DAILY SHEEPLE

Wounded Bear: Putin Lashes Out at Economic Woes, U.S. Imperialism, “Certain Situation to Improve Within 2 Years” (videos)

putin-speech

With the ruble free falling value, and the Russian economy in serious trouble, Putin took to the stage in an end of year speech, boldly proclaiming that Russia would recover from its economic woes within a few short years, and hanging blame on “external factors.” He expressed his intention to diversify the economy, now heavily dependent on oil and gas, and under attack on the volatile international market.

Putin was branded by many as ‘defiant’ in the 3 hour press conference, accusing the U.S. of being an empire and blaming it for the ongoing Ukraine crisis. He even speculated on the possibility of an internal coup in attempt to oust him, despite his widespread popularity and heavy handed tactics.

He stated:

“Are we the ones moving troops towards the U.S. or other states borders? Who moves NATO bases and military infrastructure towards us? Not us. Does anyone listen to us? Has anyone been having some kind of dialogue with us on that? No one. We always get the same answer: this is none of your business. Every country has the right to choose its way in ensuring its security. OK, but in that case, we will do the same.

Ahead of the speech, a Russian TV promo for the annual speech strangely boasted that “The bear never asks permission,” drawing further sharp looks about the messages behind Putin’s posture in the midst of a dramatic economic squeeze during plummeting oil prices, as SHTF outlined recently in Falling Oil Prices Could Cripple ‘Vulnerable’ Russia, Trigger World War III.”

Written by: MAC SLAVO of SHTFPLAN

Get Prepared: 122 Of The Best Prepper Websites On The Internet

Prepper – Photo by Nomadic Lass on Flickr

Prepper – Photo by Nomadic Lass on Flickr

Getting prepared for the chaos that is coming to America in the years ahead is not that complicated.  Help is out there – if you know where to look.  And it doesn’t have to be expensive either.  In this article, I have put together a list of 122 of the best prepper websites on the Internet that will teach you how to prep for free.  The great thing about the prepper community is that there are always highly skilled people that are willing to freely share their knowledge and experience with the general public.  As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, I am constantly being asked about what people need to do in order to get prepared for the hard times that are coming to this country.  And when I am asked, I do my best to encourage people to build up their emergency funds, to store food and supplies, to put together bug out bags and to do everything that they can to become more independent of the system.  But sometimes people need a lot more than that.  Sometimes people need to have someone give them some real hands on practical advice about things like canning food or setting up home defense systems.  So in this article my goal is to connect you with some of the top experts from all over the nation for free.  I think that this list is going to be a great resource for people that they can reference again and again, so don’t forget to bookmark it.

And sadly, the truth of the matter is that most Americans are not prepared for much of anything at this point.  The following statistics come from a survey conducted by the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation.  As you can see, a substantial portion of the population is not even prepared for a basic emergency that would last for just a few days…

  • 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
  • 48 percent lack emergency supplies
  • 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
  • 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
  • 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
  • 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
  • 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
  • 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
  • 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents

So needless to say, there is a great need to educate the general population about preparedness.

Before we get to the list, I want to explain a few things about it.

First of all, this is a list of sites that offer practical advice about prepping.  So I kept most websites that focus on the news off of it.  Perhaps in the future I will do a list of my favorite alternative news websites.  Some of my favorites include Infowars, Zero Hedge, WND, SteveQuayle.com, TruNews, and Raiders News Update.

I have also not included my websites The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.

In addition, I have only included websites that offer information for free.  There are a lot of great companies out there that sell some really cool survival supplies, but the goal of this list is to help people find useful information that they can access without cost.

Finally, I want to make it clear that these websites are listed in no particular order.  Some of the best known prepper websites are toward the front of the list, and some of the newer ones are toward the end, but I do not want anyone to get offended if they are not as “high on the list” as they think they should be.  In this list, I have not attempted to assign a value to each site.  All of these sites have excellent information, and in fact some of the ones toward the end have some of the best hands on practical advice.

With that being said, the following are 122 of the best prepper websites on the Internet…

1. Survival Blog

2. American Preppers Network

3. SHTFPlan.com

4. The Survival Mom

5. Urban Survival

6. Natural News

7. Off Grid Survival

8. The Organic Prepper

9. Survival 4 Christians

10. Backdoor Survival

11. Preparedness Mama

12. The Prepper Journal

13. The Suburban Prepper

14. Modern Survival Online

15. Food Storage Moms

16. Off The Grid News

17. The Survivalist Blog

18. Prepper Website

19. AllOutdoor.com

20. Doom And Bloom

21. Prepared Christian

22. SHTFblog.com

23. Graywolf Survival

24. Provident Living Today

25. Home Ready Home

26. Survival Cache

27. Modern Survival Blog

28. Prepared Housewives

29. Rural Revolution

30. Preparedness Advice Blog

31. Food Storage And Survival

32. The Survival Podcast

33. Prep-Blog.com

34. Mom Prepares

35. Survival And Prosperity

36. Prepared For Survival

37. TEOTWAWKI Blog

38. The Apartment Prepper

39. Ask A Prepper

40. Preparing For SHTF

41. The Home For Survival

42. Mainstream Preppers

43. My Family Survival Plan

44. Prepography

45. Survival Life

46. Prepper Dashboard

47. SHTF School

48. The Survival Doctor

49. Canadian Preppers Network

50. Expert Prepper

51. Maximum Survival

52. Survivor Jane

53. More Than Just Surviving

54. LastOneAlive

55. SGTReport

56. On Point Preparedness

57. SHTF Wiki

58. Food Storage Made Easy

59. Prepper Forums

60. Survivalist Boards

61. Ready Nutrition

62. Tactical Intelligence

63. Family Survival Planning

64. The Prepared Ninja

65. Ed That Matters

66. Seasoned Citizen Prepper

67. The Neighbor Network

68. Mom With A Prep

69. Survival At Home

70. Patriot Rising

71. The Berkey Guy Blog

72. Your Preparedness Story

73. Survival Sherpa

74. Prepper Recon

75. Homestead Dreamer

76. The Doomsday Moose

77. All About Preppers

78. The Deliberate Agrarian

79. The Homestead Survival

80. Preparedness Advice Blog

81. The Daily Prep

82. Prepared Bloggers

83. Active Response Training

84. Survivalist Prepper

85. Mama Kautz

86. Happy Preppers

87. Tin Hat Ranch

88. Living Prepared

89. The Prepper Pages

90. Resilience

91. The Herbal Survivalist

92. The Preppers Life

93. Survive Hive

94. Prepper Resources

95. Omega Tactical And Survival

96. Freedom Preppers

97. Essential Survival

98. Prepared For That

99. Survivopedia

100. A Matter Of Preparedness

101. Practical Tactical

102. SHTF Dad

103. Prepper Ideas

104. Geek Prepper

105. The Poor Man’s Survival Blog

106. Prepper Chimp

107. FloridaHillbilly.com

108. Survival Prepper Joe

109. The Survival Place Blog

110. Rational Preparedness

111. Code Green Prep

112. Preppers Survive

113. Stealth Survival

114. Totally Ready

115. Preparedness Pro

116. The 7 P’s Blog

117. Preparing With Dave

118. Disaster Mom

119. Destiny Survival

120. Underground Medic

121. An American Homestead

122. Vigil Prudence

So what do you think?

Are there any other great prepper websites or blogs that were left off of this list?

Are there some sites on the list that you feel should not have made it?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

Written by: MICHAEL SNYDER of END OF THE AMERICAN DREAM