Note: Barrett Moore has founded a half dozen companies in the technology, training, security and preparation fields including Triple Canopy, one of the nations leading security firms providing high threat protection services to various federal and state agencies. He has been involved in the site selection, design, construction, staffing and provisioning of havens for 30 years and is currently focused on raising awareness of the vulnerability of the supply chain and the need for everyone to have their own Life Continuity solution. He can be reached at [email protected].
The pejorative slang term "gook" was widely used by GIs during the Vietnam War to describe their Communist combatants, who would often wind up "dead in the wire" as they attacked American fire bases. Now, "gook" can be re-purposed to mean you and me, or any unwashed commoner who might desperately seek entry to the apocalyptic survival bunker for billionaires Forbes Magazine recently profiled online. Such a bunker will house an elite few in five-star luxury and will presumably be defended to the death against the outside world. I cannot begin to tell you how wrong this approach is. Survival of apocalyptic events is not about isolation, but about community. Criminal elements aside, man's best resource is his neighbor, and alienation is not an option. Let me back up and explain.
According to a recent report by McKinsey & Co., the public and private debt of our Western democracies is in excess of $200 trillion dollars. Repayment of this debt is a mathematical impossibility. At some point, therefore, it is inescapable that a black swan event will precipitate massive financial defaults across the world, just as we are experiencing in Greece today. Such a collapse will fracture social services, public and private pensions and the just-in-time supply chains on which hundreds of millions of people depend. The result will be chaos, then war, which could result in the loss of tens of millions or possibly hundreds of millions of lives. Great Britain's MI5 security service holds to the maxim that, "[s]ociety is only four meals away from anarchy," i.e., disrupt the supply chain such that food runs short for over 36 hours – whether through a natural disaster, fuel shortage, terrorist act or other geopolitical shock – and panic would ensue, triggering the breakdown of social order.
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Many people foresee this calamity and are talking about it. Few, however, know what to do. Even the Bilderbergers, who met last week in Austria, are, along with the world's various central banks (including the U.S. Federal Reserve), pursuing desperate solutions. They have even begun advocating for the elimination of all paper currency in a last-ditch effort to manipulate the out-of-balance financial system they created, profit from and wish to maintain.
With this backdrop of impending financial chaos, the founder and CEO of Vivos announced his latest project, Vivos Europa One, a refurbished-Soviet-built-Cold-War-era-munitions-and-equipment-fortress-turned-invitation-only-survival-bunker located under 76 acres in what was formerly East Germany. It is intended to protect the world's elite, and only them, when war and disaster strike.
What is wrong with this picture? A lot. It is selfish, elitist, short-sighted, self-defeating, invites violence and, in a nutshell, won't work.
Selfish. The concept of a man protecting only himself is just wrong. Given the stakes, entire communities could be involved and accommodated at a one, two or three-star level, rather than a scant few at a five-star level. For example, everyone living in a particular radius of the Europa One complex, everyone who has worked at it, transported people and goods in or out, or who services its equipment knows its purpose, location and capabilities. These and many others will desire entry at some point. Are they to be included in the project, or refused, or worse? Can wealthy private citizens rise above the amoral decision-making of, say, U.S. federal government officials who have allowed America's civil defense programs to lapse while funding their own lavish secret bunkers? These same decision-makers are, by the way, simultaneously preparing internment camps and training law enforcement and military personnel for the possible declaration of martial law, if required.
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Elitist. Membership at Europa One is by invitation only. So tell me, what if your family is invited, but not your pilot's family, or your doctor's or housekeeper's families? In a true crisis, will the pilot of the billionaire Europa members fly them in and then … depart? Will private military contractors defend the bunker if their own loved ones are not inside? Police and rescue workers took care of their own families first during Hurricane Katrina, abandoning their posts. What have we learned from that disaster, and others like it?
Short-sighted. Bunker living is a short-term solution. Sooner or later the food, water, air, or maybe tolerance, goodwill and patience, will give out. After a time (a year? two?), emerging bunker-billionaires will face … what? Alienated, malnourished, sick and desperate people, primitive forms of transportation and energy generation, barren fields, contaminated water supplies, damaged infrastructure and wandering animals – unless a longer-term above-ground solution is pursued.
Invites violence. Combine the now-common knowledge of the Europa bunker's assets with potential animosity toward its elitist occupants, failure to provide for a larger community and war-time desperation-driven innovation, and the impenetrable could become vulnerable, from within or without. Where there is a will there will be a way, or at least a way that will be tried. Will these Europa members actually sanction their security force to kill non-member "gooks" that approach the facility? Alternatively, widening the net of protection and assistance would strengthen relationships and dissipate ill-will instead of feeding it.
Self-defeating. Consider the plethora of skill sets needed to reconstitute the "bunker" community in a post-EMP or post-nuclear blast post-bunker environment, a year later. Are there proverbial butchers, bakers and candlestick makers among the saved? Is there livestock for food? Vacqueros to work the cattle and sheep? Horses for transportation and farm work? People who are comfortable and familiar with 18th and 19th century farming and ranching equipment and practices? Blacksmithing, carpentry, weaving, sewing, soap and cheese-making – you name it, the neighbors are needed. Excluding them from the very beginning of things defeats the purpose of a haven, which should be defined broadly as protection from supply-chain disruptions, including preservation of a farming and ranching culture, with the goal of reconstituting a working community and society.
The Vivos Group cannot really be faulted for modeling its sites after the best-known bunker model, which is, after all, the government's. Indeed our government leaders have spent billions on over 100 classified facilities designed to protect their own in a similar manner. (Read more in my previous column.) But, as someone who has been involved in most aspects of the haven business throughout its evolution these past 30 years, I would say we need to take a long hard look at this strategy, recognize its shortcoming, and, here in this country at least, enter into a national dialog about civil defense for everyone – not just government and not just billionaires. The Mormons have taken a wonderful lead in this regard.
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In essence, the "lone man on top of the mountain" model fails because it is impossible to do it all alone. Building a haven is a breathtakingly complex and arduous undertaking, usually better done in relative secrecy. Vivos is to be applauded for "going public" and opening up debate on the topic of what a haven could or should be. While the need for havens and bunkers is real, my experience with them suggests that a key element of their design and hoped-for success is the ability to provide for a more extended local community, and for a longer term. These community elements are so important that our organization will not help a client who is unwilling to fund a certain amount of provisioning for his neighbors. This is reasonable and practical but it is also just and moral. As co-authors Jason Jones and John Zmirak noted in their 2014 book, "The Race to Save our Century," "The wholesome and healthy impulse of self-preservation can be perverted, of course, if it is not tempered by solidarity and a keen sense of the intrinsic moral worth of strangers."
If further public dialog reveals a truly divided view of what a haven should be, I predict it will stem from our increasingly divided view of anthropology, i.e., who man is. If we are, as I believe us to be, God's children – who must account for our choices in the hereafter – we acknowledge solidarity with our brothers and sisters and know our moral duty is to assist them. If we are but an accident of nature in a godless time and space, then it is every man for himself, and we are indeed only gooks in the wire.