US Military to conduct “Walking Dead” Zombie Apocalypse psy-op

What is the intelligence community working on?

By JULIE WATSON | AP | OCTOBER 30, 2012

Move over vampires, goblins and haunted houses, this kind of Halloween terror aims to shake up even the toughest warriors: An untold number of so-called zombies are coming to a counterterrorism summit attended by hundreds of Marines, Navy special ops, soldiers, police, firefighters and others to prepare them for their worst nightmares.

“This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the Oct. 31 training demonstration during the summit at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island on a San Diego bay. “Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.”

Hundreds of military, law enforcement and medical personnel will observe the Hollywood-style production of a zombie attack as part of their emergency response training.

In the scenario, a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes. The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies. At one point, some members of the team are bit by zombies and must be taken to a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment.

“No one knows what the zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do,” Barker said. “If a law enforcement officer sees a zombie and says, `Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.”

The keynote speaker beforehand will be a retired top spook former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

“No doubt when a zombie apocalypse occurs, it’s going to be a federal incident, so we’re making it happen,” Barker said. Since word got out about the exercise, they’ve had calls from “every whack job in the world” about whether the U.S. government is really preparing for a zombie event.

Called “Zombie Apocalypse,” the exercise follows the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s campaign launched last year that urged Americans to get ready for a zombie apocalypse, as part of a catchy, public health message about the importance of emergency preparedness.

The Homeland Security Department jumped on board last month, telling citizens if they’re prepared for a zombie attack, they’ll be ready for real-life disasters like a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack. A few suggestions were similar to a few of the 33 rules for dealing with zombies popularized in the 2009 movie “Zombieland,” which included “always carry a change of underwear” and “when in doubt, know your way out.”

San Diego-based Halo Corp. founded by former military special ops and intelligence personnel has been hosting the annual counterterrorism summit since 2006.

The five-day Halo counterterrorism summit is an approved training event by the Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which provide funds to pay for the coursework on everything from the battleground tactics to combat wounds to cybersecurity. The summit has a $1,000 registration fee and runs Oct. 29-Nov 2.

Conferences attended by government officials have come under heightened scrutiny following an inspector general’s report on waste and abuse at a lavish 2010 Las Vegas conference that led to the resignation of General Services Administrator Martha Johnson. The Las Vegas conference featured a clown, a mind-reader and a rap video by an employee who made fun of the spending.

Joe Newman, spokesman of the watchdog organization Project on Government Oversight, said he does not see the zombie exercise as frivolous.

“We obviously are concerned about any expenditure that might seem frivolous or a waste of money but if they tie things together, there is a lesson there,” Newman said. “Obviously we’re not expecting a zombie apocalypse in the near future, but the effects of what might happen in a zombie apocalypse are probably similar to the type of things that happen in natural disasters and manmade disasters. They’re just having fun with it. We don’t have any problems with it as a teaching point.”

Defense analyst Loren Thompson agreed.

“The defining characteristics of zombies are that they’re unpredictable and resilient. That may be a good way to prepare for what the Pentagon calls asymmetric warfare,” Thompson said.

Organizers can also avoid the pitfalls of using a mock enemy who could be identified by nationality, race or culture _ something that could potentially be seen as offensive.

“I can think of a couple of countries where the local leaders are somewhat zombie-like,” he joked. “But nobody is going to take this personally.”

9/11 Responders Screened as Terrorists

by Mike Mculiff
HoffPost.com

WASHINGTON — A provision in the new 9/11 health bill may be adding insult to injury for people who fell sick after their service in the aftermath of the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks, The Huffington Post has learned.

The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost.

Any of the responders who are not compared to the database of suspected terrorists would be barred from getting treatment for the numerous, worsening ailments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law was passed to address.

It’s a requirement that was tacked onto the law during the bitter debates over it last year.

The letter from Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, informs medical providers and administrators that they should begin letting patients know before the new program kicks in this July.

“This is absurd,” said Glen Kline, a former NYPD emergency services officer. “It’s silly. It’s stupid. It’s asinine.”

“It’s comical at best, and I think it’s an insult to everyone who worked on The Pile and is sick and suffering from 9/11,” said John Feal, a former construction worker who lost half a foot at Ground Zero and runs the advocacy group Fealgood Foundation.

The provision was added in an amendment by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) during the heated debate over the bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee last May.

Sept. 11 responders in the committee room at the time mostly shook their heads at the move, which Democrats accepted on a voice vote after battling to bar other amendments on abortion and immigration that might have killed the bill.

But suddenly the point is no longer just a strategic concession to get a law passed.

As doctors and administrators begin acting on the federal instructions, participants in the 9/11 treatment and monitoring programs will soon be told that their names, places of birth, addresses, government ID numbers and other personal data will be provided to the FBI to ensure they are not terrorists.

Howard’s instructions include a sample letter to responders designed to minimize alarm.

“Although neither we nor [the Centers for Disease Control]/NIOSH anticipate the name of any individual in the current Programs will be on the list, CDC/NIOSH is expressly required by law to implement this particular requirement of the Act,” it says.

“Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to working with you and ensuring that you continue to receive uninterrupted services under the new WTC Health Program,” it concludes.

Feal, who counts hundreds of first responders in his foundation’s membership, predicted the letters would not go over well.

“When cops and firefighters get this at home, they’re going to hit the roof,” he said.

Kline, who sits on the Fealgood Foundation’s board, said he personally wasn’t offended, but couldn’t think of a good reason for cops and firefighters to be screened by the FBI in order to keep getting treatment.

“I mean, who are we even talking about — the undocumented workers who cleaned the office buildings?” wondered Kline Thursday. “We know who all the cops, firefighters and construction workers were. They’re all documented.

“Is the idea that a terrorist stayed to help clean up? And then stayed all these years to try and get benefits?” he asked. “In all the things I’ve seen out of Washington, this probably takes the cake.”

Some are more understanding.

“Do we want terrorists getting money? No,” said Anthony Flammia, a former NYPD Highway Patrol officer and Sept. 11 responder. “How do you know if there were any terrorists there? Were they there as observers, watching? Probably.”

But he noted that his perspective likely would not be shared, especially if people whose names are similar to actual terror suspects get flagged, as happens with air travelers.

“I’ve got nothing to hide, so it’s no big deal for me, but there’s got to be safeguards in place to protect the people who are innocent,” Flammia said. “It’s going to be controversial,” he added. “It’s probably going to create an uproar, but I think it will dissipate. I hope they’re ready to answer people’s questions.”

Congressman Stearns said in a statement that his intent was to answer exactly the questions raised by Flammia.

“This amendment was adopted in the full Energy and Commerce Committee without opposition and it merely requires that the names of those receiving health benefits be cross-checked with the terrorist watch list to ensure that no terrorists get these benefits,” Stearns said.

“These benefits are not just for our first responders; nearly anyone who was in the vicinity or worked on a cleanup crew afterward is eligible,” he noted.

The prohibition is included in two parts of the bill. One specifically covers responders, while the other deals with all survivors, including office workers, bystanders and residents.

Feal acknowledged that the terrorist screening has to be done because it is the law, and that the letters have to go out.

But he holds Stearns responsible, as well as several other Republicans who were hostile to the 9/11 bill, and tried to tack all manner of amendments onto it.

“I think Congressman Stearns is stabbing at pettiness. He’s a buffoon,” Feal said. “We get sicker and die, and they’re going to disseminate a letter wondering whether we’re terrorists or not. … I think everybody needs to start showing a little more compassion.”