What Happens When the Plug Gets Pulled?

What Happens When the Plug Gets Pulled?


America’s infrastructure and military have a catastrophic vulnerability—well known for decades, yet not dealt with.
From the March 2016 Trumpet Print Edition

“America is the greatest superpower this world has ever known,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in 1995. “But we have a very vulnerable point in our military—our own Achilles heel. It is so dangerous that I am amazed it hasn’t received more publicity.”

The deadly weakness? Cyberwarfare. Twenty years later, it would be easy to assume this problem has been fixed. After all, we’ve known about this vulnerability for decades. America has even set up a United States Cyber Command—a cyberwarfare headquarters. No massive hacking attack has shut down our infrastructure or military. Surely the United States is adequately protected by now?

Sadly, that could not be further from the truth. The average American would be shocked to find out just how much of his daily life is vulnerable to cyberattack.

Cyberwarfare is, by nature, incredibly hard to defend against. But the vast scale of America’s vulnerability reveals a complacency at the heart of America’s defense establishment. Since 1995, this danger has increased dramatically.

Civilian Infrastructure at Risk

Cyberwarfare refers to attacks on a country’s electronic information systems. These systems are connected to real-world operations: military bases, power plants, dams, reservoirs, reactors, energy grids, logistics centers, airports, financial institutions and telecommunications centers. If hackers can gain access to these systems, they may be able to rob, cripple or destroy important information and infrastructure. It is not just military targets that are in danger. Just as in wartime, some of the biggest targets are civilian.

On December 21, the Associated Press published an in-depth study on the vulnerability of the U.S. electric grid system to cyberattacks. It said, “About a dozen times in the last decade, sophisticated foreign hackers have gained enough remote access to control the operations networks that keep the lights on, according to top experts who spoke only on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.”

“The public almost never learns the details about these types of attacks,” the report said, adding that many attacks “are never even reported to the government. These intrusions have not caused the kind of cascading blackouts that are feared by the intelligence community. But so many attackers have stowed away in the largely investor-owned systems that run the U.S. electric grid that experts say they likely have the capability to strike at will.”

The report warned that much of the equipment used in the grid is “decrepit” and vulnerable to attack. Equipment that was never designed to be connected to the Internet is now online—and vulnerable. To make matters worse, the age of the infrastructure could mean that damage caused by an attack could take months to fix.

In a cyberattack on the energy company Calpine, which manages power stations across the United States, hackers gained access to usernames and passwords, enabling them to connect remotely to the network. The intruders accessed detailed engineering drawings of Calpine networks and power stations and information on how each power plant communicates with the others. This is enough information to shut down generating stations and cause blackouts and enough technical information to gain control of a network while still being able to hide an attack.

Iran has been identified as the most likely culprit for this attack. These same hackers also accessed the systems of Pakistan International Airlines, Mexican oil giant Pemex, the Israel Institute of Technology, and the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

An attack on an electrical grid was only theoretical—until 2015. On December 23, a computer program gave hackers access to the systems of Prykarpattya Oblenergo, a Ukrainian electricity provider. They shut down the power to 80,000 homes for six hours, and kept the company from discovering the attack by flooding it with phone calls so customers could not report the outage.

All this exposes the vulnerability of just one target: the U.S. power grid. Other industries have also been hit. In 2014, hackers infiltrated a steel mill in Germany and prevented its blast furnace from being safely shut down, causing what Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security described as “massive damage.” More recently, Iran hacked the control infrastructure of a dam in New York. The details of this attack are classified.

The United States has been complacent and lazy in responding.
The Post

“Unfortunately, many accounts of cyberattacks these days seem to produce yawns,” the Washington Post wrote Aug. 12, 2015. America has been vulnerable to cyberattacks for so long that now it’s just old news.

After giving a litany of examples of cyberattacks, the Post wrote, “[Y]et the United States has been complacent and lazy in responding.”

“Doing nothing is not an acceptable option,” the Post wrote. But that’s all the U.S. is doing.

History’s Costliest Weapon System

So far we’ve discussed only civilian assets. But America’s military is also hugely vulnerable. Perhaps nothing symbolizes this vulnerability better than the F-35.

The U.S. Air Force has bet its future on the F-35. With a total projected cost of around $1.3 trillion, the fighter jet is the most expensive weapons system in history. The United States military plans to buy around 2,500 of these planes. In fact, it plans to own more F-35s than all other manned aircraft put together.

This plane is high-tech. It is stealthy. Its pilots wear virtual reality helmets (costing $400,000 each) that allow them to see through walls of the aircraft. If the pilot looks down, for example, images of the ground below appear on his helmet’s visor from infrared cameras mounted on the outside of the airplane.

These capabilities require a powerful computer in the plane. Its designers went all out on computer control—the software is far more complicated than any other fighter ever built. All the instructions the pilot gives to the plane—ascend, bank left, etc.—pass through this computer. The computer controls all the weapons systems. The computer detects when a part is failing or is due to be replaced, orders a replacement and tells the ground crew where to fit it.

That’s the theory. In practice, all these IT systems have been a nightmare. The U.S. has already rolled out approximately 100 F-35s. But its main cannon cannot fire. The cannon is there, but the software to run it is not finished.

Troubles with the F-35 fighter jet’s computer systems are keeping it out of the air.

But most disturbing is its huge vulnerability to cyberattack. In November 2015, the U.S. canceled its cybersecurity tests on the F-35.

Why? There would have been plenty of bad reasons: complacency, or an unwillingness to spend the extra cash, for example. But these tests were canceled for the worst imaginable reason. Military officials canceled the test because they worried that even a simulated cyberattack could ground all the F-35s currently in operation.

That’s right: The next generation of America’s Air Force is so fragile that just testing its cybersecurity could ground the entire fleet.

Perhaps any plane as computer dependent as the F-35 is going to be vulnerable. But the specific weakness due to be tested last November was completely avoidable. It was the maintenance software—the system designed to automatically order spare parts—called the Autonomic Logistics Information Systems (alis) program. Defense analyst Dan Grazier wrote for the Straus Military Reform Project, at the Project on Government Oversight, that many consider the alis program “the plane’s largest vulnerability.”

“Should an enemy hack the alis system successfully, they could disable F-35 systems in combat, cause disastrous crashes, or ground the entire fleet,” he wrote.

“It’s not as if this is a theoretical threat,” wrote Grazier. “The Department of Defense admitted in 2013 that a foreign power had hacked into unclassified F-35 subcontractor systems and stolen large amounts of sensitive information about the aircraft.”

If defense planners were at all worried about cyberwarfare when commissioning these planes, there would have been a very simple solution: Don’t create a network that links all F-35s together simply to make it easier to order spare parts.

A High-Tech Ticking Time Bomb

Counterfeit electrical parts are another area where a huge range of American military hardware is at risk, and the government has done little to fix the problem.

The U.S. is not at all picky about whom it buys computer parts from. A foreign country wouldn’t need to hack into American computers—it could have all the software it needs built into a computer chip already installed.

Experts have been talking about this problem since the mid-1990s, but nothing has been done.

In 2011, the U.S. nearly installed faulty transistors on a U.S. helicopter that would have prevented the helicopter from being able to fire its weapons. They traced the transistors back through five companies to China. In this case, it was concluded that the flaws were a mistake. But it shows the danger in America’s high-tech weapons systems being dependent on tiny parts from foreign nations. The fear is that a foreign government could easily do the same thing with deliberately designed fake parts. One may have even done so already.

“Microchips are the bedrock upon which our digital world is based, and they are almost entirely unsecured,” Popular Science wrote Feb. 17, 2015.

One of the reasons these types of problems haven’t been addressed is that they are so hard to fix. “The potential avenues of attack are so numerous and insidious, they can be hard to contemplate,” Popular Science continued. Cyberattacks using microchips can “hit anywhere hardware exists, from coffeemakers to fighter jets,” it wrote.

Retired Air Force four-star Gen. Michael Hayden, who headed both the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, was asked about hardware hacking in 2011. “It’s the problem from hell,” he stated.

“Frankly, it’s not a problem that can be solved,” he said. “This is a condition that you have to manage.”

Microchips are the bedrock upon which our digital world is based, and they are almost entirely unsecured.
Popular Science

A huge number of the electrical parts in the F-35 come from China. Any one of a number of these chips could disable the whole system. Counterfeit chips could be programmed to kill the system after receiving a specific signal, or after a predetermined amount of time, for example. But with billions of transistors in a single system, it’s impossible to even check most of them.

The U.S. has some programs in their infancy to help stop this problem. But they are likely too little too late when it comes to securing planes with supercomputers and complex, high-tech parts.

Cyber Spying

Further proof of America’s weakness in this area comes from the related field of cyber espionage. The lines between cyber espionage and cyberwarfare can become a little blurred, but in general, cyber espionage involves spying—stealing data, rather than destroying it.

America’s ability to prevent cyber theft gives us a good indication of how good it would be at stopping cyberwarfare.

Once again, America’s track record is abysmal. Last year, the government suffered its biggest attack in history when the Office of Personnel Management was hacked. A foreign power accessed a trove of sensitive information about 21 million Americans—everything they need to know to figure out who can be bribed or blackmailed, and how to do it.

The Internal Revenue Service was also hacked, and data from 330,000 accounts was stolen. In another incident, even cia Director John Brennan had his personal e-mail account hacked. In this instance the perpetrators appeared to be bored teens. Imagine what a foreign government would be—or is—capable of doing.

Civilian targets have also been hit. Last year, for example, hackers compromised 100 million health insurance records.

The nature of cybersecurity makes it very hard for America to secure itself. As the Washington Post wrote, cyberwar is “asymmetrical, favoring a smaller, stealthy attacker over the defender. The concept of deterrence from the nuclear age—the idea of two cocked pistols preventing either side from shooting—offers limited comfort in a conflict in which attackers often can avoid identification until long after an attack” (op. cit.).

America, with its Cyber Command, is able to carry out cyberattacks—such as the Stuxnet attack on Iran. But to attack, you need to compromise just one system. To defend, you have to stop your enemy from compromising thousands.

A Nation Asleep

The U.S. military has been incredibly complacent. It has barely tried to take effective measures at defense. Civilian planners have been even worse.

This points to a deeper sickness. America’s leaders, military planners and citizens are acting on the assumption they will never have to fight a war with another major power. The whole defense doctrine is geared around fighting a terrorist network, or maybe an Iran or North Korea. If you only expect to be fighting Third or maybe Second World countries, cybersecurity is a nuisance, but not a life-threatening danger.

Many believe that even if China, for example, has completely infiltrated the American electrical grid, it would never shut it down, simply because it would have too much to lose. That is a comforting worldview. It also reflects the way people thought before World War i and at several other times in the past. It’s also a view completely demolished once someone gains even a modicum of historical perspective. Human beings have always fought wars, and human beings have always used the tools of warfare at their disposal.

But this complacency means America’s leaders are asleep to this huge danger.

When Mr. Flurry first wrote on this subject back in 1995, he quoted defense analyst Joseph de Courcy, who wrote, “Computer dependence is the Western world’s Achilles Heel, and within a few years this weakness could be tested to the full.”

Mr. Flurry wrote that de Courcy’s warning immediately reminded him of Ezekiel 7:14: “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.”

Computer dependence is the Western world’s Achilles Heel.

“It seems everybody is expecting our people to go into battle, but the greatest tragedy imaginable occurs!” Mr. Flurry wrote. “Nobody goes to battle—even though the trumpet is blown! Will it be because of a computer terrorist?” (January 1995).

Last year, top defense journalists P. W. Singer and August Cole decided to write a novel about what America’s next war could look like. With hundreds of footnotes, their book Ghost Fleet “can come across as a 400-page warning,” as the tech magazine Wired wrote.

In the book, China launches a surprise attack on the U.S. The first shot of this war is against an American satellite (a subject we addressed in our February 2016 issue: “Space: The Final Military Frontier.”) At the same time, the Chinese launch a massive cyberattack. With the U.S. now completely blind, China launches carrier-killer missiles and destroys America’s Pacific Fleet.

As the combined Russian-Chinese attack rolls out—using troop carriers disguised as container ships, for example, something Russia is already working on—it comes up against the F-35. In the authors’ imagination, counterfeit chips inside the F-35 emit a signal that Chinese missiles can home in on. They are easily shot down.

By the time the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff knows what is going on, the attack is already over. America has lost: The Pacific Fleet is gone, and Hawaii has been taken.

When some of America’s top military thinkers imagine what America’s next war could be like, they come up with something remarkably like what is recorded in Ezekiel 7, and about which Mr. Flurry warned decades ago.

The Worst Foreign-Policy Blunder in American History

The Worst Foreign-Policy Blunder in American History

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Obama administration has given the number one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the world a clear path to nuclear weapons.

The world became a safer place on January 16, according to United States Secretary of State John Kerry. That day marked the implementation of the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. and the European Union lifted sanctions on Iran and released about $100 billion in frozen assets—and they received nothing in return!

This cataclysmic foreign-policy blunder is the first day of the worst suffering ever on this planet! “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

The Iran deal contains bad news and good news. The bad news is that Iran is now capable of triggering World War iii (Daniel 11:40). The good news is that Jesus Christ will return to stop mankind from annihilating itself (Daniel 2:44).


Embarrassing the Navy

The timing of events surrounding the nuclear deal reveals the involvement of an evil spirit power. Satan is a master at distracting people from what is most important.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9). You can prove that Satan was cast down from the heavens 30 years ago following the death of Herbert W. Armstrong. Now, the devil and legions of demons are confined to this Earth and accelerating the pace of turmoil and violence! This will end in nuclear warfare, barring some deep repenting, which is highly unlikely.

Diplomacy with a maniacal nation like Iran will never succeed. Just four days before the implementation of the nuclear deal, Iran humiliated the U.S. Navy—holding some of its sailors hostage at gunpoint for supposedly drifting into Iranian waters.

One of two small Navy Riverine boats had broken down as the sailors moved between Kuwait and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. If this boat had a propulsion issue that caused it to go adrift, it is hard to explain how the boat was up and running the very next day. Does Iran have the technology to shut down enemy vessels?

Taking U.S. sailors hostage, parading their humiliation before the world, and demanding an apology from them constituted a strong power play for Iran. The mullahs sent an ominous message to the world, and especially to the rest of the Middle East: You can’t rely on America for protection and support anymore. We are in charge here.

Hours after the hostage situation, President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address. The administration had initially hoped to cover up the incident, so Mr. Obama never mentioned it during his speech. However, he did say that America is the most powerful nation in the world by far.

Is that still true?

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (verse 12). Woe! Of all the nations on Earth, Satan and the demons hate the nations of Israel most of all. They are working urgently behind the scenes to undermine and topple America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East. Iran’s embarrassment of the U.S. Navy is just another example of that strategy at work.

Swapping Hostages for Criminals

It’s no coincidence that a lopsided prison swap with Iran took place at the same time as the implementation of the nuclear deal. The U.S. forfeited 21 Iranians—seven of them being held as suspects in sanctions violations, 14 of them criminals with international warrants out for their arrest. In return, Iran released five American hostages who hadn’t committed any crimes! Even still, the swap excluded former fbi agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran nearly nine years ago.

American officials claimed that the Iranians had initially demanded the U.S. release even more of their people, so the eventual agreement represented a victory for diplomacy. Think about that: America is saying, This deal could have been even more unfair, if not for diplomatic talks! How can anyone in his right mind believe this? Iran parlayed several kidnappings into the release of criminals! When America responds to aggression this way, what is stopping Iran from continuing to exploit such weakness?

One U.S. official called the prisoner swap a humanitarian gesture on Iran’s part. Iran is the number one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the world! Its leaders will never negotiate unless they get everything they want! How can you reason with a mind that considers Iran’s actions humanitarian?

Of course, having American hostages returning home is a cause for celebration. But this could have taken place for a much lower price. Just like Iran’s embarrassment of the U.S. Navy, the prisoner swap is a distraction away from the real issue: the nuclear deal.

The Dangerous Iranian Mind-set

Good afternoon. I am pleased that the United States and _______ yesterday reached agreement on the text of a framework document on _______’s nuclear program. … This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world.

Under the agreement, _______ has agreed to freeze its existing nuclear program and to accept international inspection of all existing facilities. This agreement represents the first step on the road to a nuclear-free _______. It does not rely on trust. Compliance will be certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Trumpet writer Jeremiah Jacques quoted a U.S. president who made the above statement about a certain country’s nuclear program. Though these words may apply to President Obama and Iran, they are actually the words of then President Bill Clinton—about North Korea! Despite the president’s assurances, North Korea got the bomb and is now helping Iran with its nuclear development.

Because of Iran’s extremist mind-set, the deal with Iran is far worse than the one with North Korea! An Iranian 11th-grade schoolbook quotes the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini:

I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world devourers wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all of them! Either we all become free or we will go to the greater freedom, which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another’s hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours.

Khomeini referred to the West as “world devourers”! Eighty-five percent of 81 million Shiites in Iran believe in Twelver Shiism, which Khomeini espoused. Death means nothing to them!

Former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold said that a nuclear Iran can’t be deterred like the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. The Iranians have a much more radical belief system. They think their savior—the 12th imam, or mahdi—will return sooner if they cause more apocalyptic chaos and violence.

As Dore Gold pointed out: “[A]nyone who says with confidence that the West can get used to nuclear Iran and rely on classic deterrence models has absolutely no idea what he is up against.”

One Final Push

“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40). The king of the south is led by Iran. It has a pushy foreign policy.

The king of the north is led by Germany. America may let Iran get away with acts of war because of a broken will (Leviticus 26:19), but your Bible says that Germany will attack and destroy the king of the south! Germany already has Iran surrounded. (Download our free e-book Germany’s Secret Strategy to Destroy Iran for proof.)

What could enable Iran to push at Germany more than an arsenal of nuclear weapons? Iran relishes the thought of starting World War iii! As these two powers build toward confrontation, America, Britain and Judah are nowhere to be found in the Daniel 11 prophecy. The nations of Israel aren’t even in the picture. They will be helpless victims, not aggressors, in the coming war.

As world troubles escalate, God protects His Church from Satan’s vicious attacks (Revelation 12:13-14). The loyal remnant has an incredible future. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

Worldwide nuclear conflagration is alarming, but it is also a sign of Jesus Christ’s return and the realization of our incredible human potential!

America’s Nuclear Agreement With Iran

The devastating impact from the United States’ diplomacy with Iran will hasten the return of Jesus Christ.

Week in Review: Iran’s Windfall, Stalin’s Revival, the Pope’s Apology, Gender Fluidity Curriculum, and More

Week in Review: Iran’s Windfall, Stalin’s Revival, the Pope’s Apology, Gender Fluidity Curriculum, and More

OLGA MALTSEVA/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Franco Origlia/Getty Images/©iStock.com/iamyayha

All you need to know about everything in the news this week.

Get all the important news from January 23-29 by downloading the Trumpet Weekly.Click here to receive it by e-mail every week.


Global embrace of Iran

  • Iran in enjoying quite a windfall since sanctions have been lifted—countries around the world are rolling out the red carpet and doing business with the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Commentary says Iranian extortion is paying off and that the sudden embrace of Iran bodes ill for Israel and for the whole world.
  • The relevance of this is explained in Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker’s article “Iran’s Implementation Day: A Landmark for the Middle East.”
  • Putin presides over rehabilitation of Stalin

  • “Fearful of unrest, Russia’s president is using the memory of Stalin to exhort his people to sacrifice,” wrote Foreign Policy this week.
  • The memory of Stalin is being sanitized. No longer is he viewed as the tyrant responsible for the darkest chapter in Russian history, or as the man responsible for the torture and death of millions of his own people. Today, he is seen as the heroic figure who defeated Nazi Germany.
  • Why? Because Putin is alarmed by the economic decay Russia is experiencing. He’s afraid that the Russians will reach a breaking point and blame him for their suffering. So he has turned to the ghost of Stalin to help rally the people and prepare them for more hardships on the horizon.
  • Pope Francis is sorry for erstwhile Catholic persecution of Protestants

  • Pope Francis is apologizing to Protestants for past Catholic persecution.
  • He asked “forgiveness for the un-gospel-like behavior by Catholics towards Christians of other churches,” according to Reuters.
  • This is paving the way for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and its “daughter” churches.
  • Is there such a thing as male and female?

  • The UK is teaching school-aged children about gender on a sliding scale of gender fluidity, specifically, how the biological reality of male and female doesn’t matter—it’s all about what gender you want to be.
  • This is another result of the feminist revolution of the 1960s. Feminists argued that gender is not a biological fact, but a social construct—and one that needed to be dismantled.
  • But gender is not fluid or imagined. And teaching children that it is creates victims. The Spectator says, “It’s dangerous and wrong to tell children they’re ‘gender fluid.’
  • Other news:

  • Does Europe need a Leviathan government?
  • The Oregon militia standoff has come to an end.
  • U.S. colleges are teaching The Communist Manifesto.
  • Chinese cyberattacks can disrupt U.S. utilities.
  • Get more details on these stories and more by subscribing to the Trumpet Weekly!

    Will Christ Return to a Nonexistent Throne?


    Christ said He will return to sit on the throne of David. That throne exists today!

    Listen to the Trumpet Daily each day at 7:00 am (CST) on KPCG.fm.

    Jesus Christ will return to this earth to rule as king. In Luke chapter 1, it says that Christ was born to be king! At his return, it says in verse 33, He shall reign forever and ever—and of his kingdom there shall be no end. That passage also says God will give to Christ the throne of His father David.

    But if the throne of David ceased with King Zedekiah—the last king of Judah—then does that mean Jesus Christ is returning to sit upon a throne that doesn’t exist? In 2 Samuel 7, God promised David that his throne would be established for ever, and that he would never lack a man to sit upon that throne.

    Where is this throne today? Did God fail to fulfill His promise to David?

    The throne of David does exist today, and you must be able to prove it! On this episode of the Trumpet Daily we dig into the exciting history of David’s throne and look to the incredible future that awaits it.

    Make Iran Great Again

    Make Iran Great Again

    TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images

    America firmly believes this will make it harder for Iran to engage in war operations.

    Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on January 29.

    The world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism is back in business. The year 2015 will go down as a year of great progress for Iran. It increased its global influence, it boosted its reputation with Western powers, managed a deal which saw the lifting of sanctions and the opening up of billions of dollars, and received a free pathway to building a nuclear weapon. This so-called “progress” should be deeply alarming to the world. Is this the sort of “progress” that will keep Iran from increasing its terrorist actions? United States President Barack Obama seems to think so. On today’s program, Stephen Flurry looks back at President Obama’s determined efforts to bring Iran out from its four-decade-long status as a global pariah.

    Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on: