Obama’s Weird New Movie… Does He Know Something We Don’t?
From Brandon Smith
There has been a lot of buzz lately about a new film released by Netflix and funded by the Obama family titled Leave the World Behind. Spoiler alert: The plot revolves around a catastrophic collapse triggered by a cyber-attack (and mass drone attack) organized by a secret cabal that shuts down the internet and disrupts the global economy. The resulting chaos triggers extreme civil disruption and pushes the U.S. to the brink of civil war within 48 hours.
The fact that the Obamas were executive producers and advisors, so deeply involved in the making of the film, has led many people to suggest the movie is an example predictive programming – propaganda designed to acclimate the masses to the idea of an event that is planned for the near future.
Similar concerns were raised back in 2021 when the World Economic Forum oversaw a “war game” called Cyberpolygon, an event meant to simulate a massive cyber-attack on the vulnerable functions of the world-wide web. The reason Cyberpolygon raised so many eyebrows was perfectly understandable; the World Economic Forum (WEF) had also hosted another simulation at the end of 2019 called Event 201. The game focused on the outbreak of a global coronavirus pandemic, and it was held only a couple months before the real thing happened.
Coincidence? Or did the WEF somehow know that Covid was coming?
While Hollywood interpretations of cyber-attacks are usually exaggerated in terms of the true effects, there is a very real and considerable threat associated with such a disaster. So-called “experts” in the tech field often dismiss the wider dangers to the internet itself because they have been indoctrinated into believing that the design of the web has too many redundancies. In other words, they act as if it is invincible.
This is not really the case. Though data loss can be prevented through cloud storage, the internet as a mechanism can still be shut down or taken down deliberately for long periods of time.
The internet’s Achilles heel
In the past I have written about a very interesting event that was barely covered by the corporate media called the Fastly Outage. In June of 2021 there was an internet outage that led to large swaths of the web going completely dark, including a number of mainstream news sites, Amazon, eBay, Twitch, Reddit and a host of government websites went down. All this happened when content delivery network (CDN) company Fastly experienced a bug.
A CDN is a decentralized, geographically distributed network of servers and data centers that connect users to the closest, and theoretically the fastest, host for the website they’re accessing.
Virtually every website you’re familiar with relies on a CDN. The promise of decentralized hosting like this is both speed and redundancy. If one of a CDN’s data centers goes down, eBay and Amazon and Spotify are still accessible.
The Fastly Outage took Amazon’s website down nationwide. Although Amazon’s engineers got the website back online inside 20 minutes, the brief outage cost the company over $5.5 million in sales.
In this case, Fastly identified and fixed the problem within two hours. From the beginning, they claimed the outage had nothing to do with a cyber attack. Presumably, Fastly’s PR team believes “just bad luck” is a more palatable explanation for the outage than “North Korean hackers.”
Regardless of its true cause, the Fastly Outage revealed a huge vulnerability (what von Clausewitz would call a schwerpunkt) to the public.
The majority of the web is dependent on only a handful of CDN companies, including Fastly.
Through collusion with these companies, governments are able to implement an “internet kill switch” in the face of possible civil unrest. Sound far-fetched? We’ve already seen it happen, multiple times, around the world: “196 documented incidents in 2018, 213 incidents in 2019, and 155 in 2020. The first five months of 2021 recorded fifty shutdown incidents.”
A cyber-attack simply removes the government as the bad actor (or act as a false flag scapegoat so the government can avoid blame).
Modern communication has become dependent on internet connectivity.
What’s at stake
But what would really happen if we lost the internet for a week, or a month or a year? In the US the result would be calamity because our economy has become far too dependent on digitization.
Around 10% of U.S. GDP is directly tied to online commerce. This doesn’t seem like much, but a loss of that GDP would send the U.S. into immediate and steep recession. Around 17 million jobs in the U.S. are generated by commercial internet enterprises, and around 38% of these workers are employed by small businesses. According to surveys 70% of American workers say they cannot do their jobs effectively without internet access.
Keep in mind, if the trend of “work from home” during the Covid lockdowns had become permanent, an even bigger piece of the economy would be dependent on the health of the web.
The five industries considered most vulnerable to cyber-attack are public administration, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, finance and insurance, education and retail. That is to say, these are the industries that are attacked most often. Attacks on vital utilities are usually the favorite targets for disasters portrayed in fiction and film, but these are actually far less worrisome. The real danger is the potential for an attack on the internet as a system. All it would take is for a couple CDNs or more to be hit simultaneously to cause vast online blackouts.
Most important of all are the ways in which international banking and finance utilize online networks to maintain the flow of money.
Without the web, trade velocity dies immediately and building it back from implosion could take years.
The internet has become an integral pillar of western economies to the point that a majority of people would not know how to live without it should it disappear. This is the disturbing reality we face in the midst of a growing series of geopolitical conflicts and more oppressive governments. It would seem it’s only a matter of time before there’s a(nother) major disruption.
The solution is pretty straightforward… Unfortunately, because it requires individuals to take responsibility for their own security, it’s also extremely unlikely to be adopted nationwide.
Hardening your household against cyber-attack
Localization of trade and production is the way to prevent full spectrum collapse. There is no reason why Americans should have to become subservient to the whims of globalization, the interdependent supply chain or digitization; they can and should create their own backup plan.
Getting people to realize this and implement basic local measures is where we run into difficulties.
Sadly, a lot of first-world citizens assume that the system will always be there for them when they need it, and they don’t actively seek out solutions until disaster is at their doorstep. Simply imagining a world where same-day Amazon deliveries, Instacart grocery shopping and online banking don’t work is too much for them. Their emergency plan is to hope for a rapid rescue from FEMA (or to beg food from neighbors).
It’s always easier to stick your head in the sand and hope for the best than to take responsibility for your own wellbeing. I doubt many of the former types would read this article anyway – it’s too upsetting. Without even a single trigger warning! Let them go back to grooming their Spotify playlists. Here’s my advice for everyone else:
At a minimum, you must have 72 hours’ worth of consumables on-hand, set aside for emergencies. “Consumables” includes food, water, medication, personal care products etc. For those who’ve never considered this, the official “Build a kit” section of the Ready.gov website is a good starting point.
Redundancy – remember the adage Two is one, and one is none. Make sure you have a backup for everything from food and water to transportation and shelter.
Cut the cord – remove the internet from your planning completely. No news, no email, no online banking or just-in-time grocery deliveries…
Consider the long-term economic consequences of such an event. I think it’s impossible to overstate the financial havoc that would result from a prolonged, nationwide internet outage. It’s smart to diversify your savings with tangible assets like physical precious metals – they’re inflation-resistant, unhackable and tend to do best in times of crisis.
They’re also the last truly free and independent form of wealth.
Brandon Smith has been an alternative economic and geopolitical analyst since 2006 and is the founder of Alt-Market.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Birch Gold Group.
2024, Featured, financial crisis, obama, us economy