Monday, April 20, 2015

What’s the best Passport and why should you have One (or two)

I have often explained that having a passport is mandatory documentation for anyone interested in survival and preparedness. The reasons why you should have a passport are many. Even if you don’t plan on traveling, it’s the best form of ID world wide and an excellent additional ID if you lose your driver’s license. Many times, potential employers will ask you to have one for business travel. You may end up losing a great job opportunity if you don’t have one. Even in your existing line of work you may need to travel unexpectedly for closing a deal, talking with a potential client or going to seminars, all of which you may lose if you can’t travel at short notice. Maybe it’s not even yourself that is traveling. Maybe you’re retired or just don’t like traveling abroad, but your children do. What if they suffer an accident or get sick while abroad and you can’t travel to help them?

Two is one and one is none
If having one passport is a great idea, having two is even better. Having two passports opens up a world of opportunities. In my case it allowed me to emigrate to Europe and enjoy the advantages of doing so as an European citizen.
One way in which the power of a passport is measured is by how many countries you can travel to without a visa. In this aspect, the United States of America and United Kingdom passports are the best ones to have, giving you access to 147 countries. This is followed by France, South Korea and Germany with 145, then Sweden and Italy with 144.
Of course, access to a country without a visa is just one aspect. The South Korean passport may have four more countries than the one from Portugal, but clearly the Portuguese Passport has the advantage of allowing you to reside anywhere in the European Union as any other citizen, making it a far more desirable passport.
The country of origin of the issued passport is also important. Powerful countries don’t always provide the most benefits, especially in this time and age. For example, opening a foreign bank account with an American passport is very difficult given how much information the American government ends up demanding from the bank if doing so. It’s just not worth the trouble in the eyes of most banks, at least not for ordinary American citizens. Then you have to take into account the reputation and foreign policy of the country. Currently, in many parts of the world, there’s an anti-American sentiment that may work against you. During terrorist attacks, Americans and British citizens may be killed immediately while others are allowed to live. This happened during the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. Since the American and British government “does not negotiate with terrorists”, there’s a good chance you’ll end up killed immediately, or end up brutally executed. On the other hand, countries such as Spain and Italy, they will pay for your release and have stated so publicly on several occasions. In 2012, Mariasandra Mariani tried to explain her al-Qaeda captors that held her in the north of Mali that her family didn’t have money to pay. Her kidnapers told her to relax, that Italy “always pays”.
Italian Citizen Sergio Cicala and his wife Philomene Kabore, kidnapped in 2009 in Mauritania. They were held captive for five months before being released.
Some will argue that paying only makes things worse because it finances terrorism or it even makes you more likely to be kidnapped. So far evidence shows that foreigners are equally targeted, and it’s only after the actual kidnap takes place that their faith is decided. As for what’s morally right… guess being in an orange jumpsuit with your head about to be detached from your body puts things into perspective.
Spanish Citizena Albert Vilalta, Alicia Gámez and Roque Pascual kidnapped in Mauritania in 2010. They were released 268 days later.
France has more of an “unofficial” stance, but they are known to pay as well. Depending on the passport, you may not even be taken captive. This will of course depend on the country’s foreign policy stance in regards to the group that has taken you captive or the country where you happen to find yourself in trouble.
Some of the more humble countries that aren’t seen neither as a world power nor as a threat may be even more advantageous. In 1995, and while detained by Croatia special police, a group of Argentine and French UN delegates noticed a sudden, friendly change by their captors once they noticed the Argentine flag worn by one of the men. “Argentino!” he cried out one of the Croatian fighters, while at the same time pointing at the markings on the Argentine made FM FAL rifle he carried.

Getting a second passport
Getting a second passport may not be as hard as you may think. In some cases, it may cost very little money if you have the right paperwork and enough patience. In my book “Bugging Out and Relocating” I explain several ways in which you can get one. In general, having money makes things easier as many countries either sell passports directly in exchange for donations or provide one after a significant investment is made in the country. If you don’t have several hundred thousand dollars sitting around though, one of the best ways to get a second citizenship is by taking a closer look at your family tree. If you have grandparents that came from certain European countries, such as Italy, Poland, Germany and Ireland, you have a good chance of getting a EU passport.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

When you no longer have a place to call "Home".

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Top Five Best EDC Flashlights for 2015

With so many great options available, choosing the best everyday carry flashlight is not an easy task. For the flashlight collectors or “flashaholics”, things have never been better. There’s hundreds of great lights out there, but which one should you carry? The flashlight industry is constantly evolving along with LED technology. Every year lights are brighter and use less battery power. A +100 lumen single AAA keychain light was unthinkable just a few years ago but today a 162 lumen 1xAAA light lives in my keychain (Thrunite Ti).
A survival-minded approach will help us narrow down our options considerably in spite of how overwhelming the offer out there can be. We want dependable, reliable flashlights. We want a brand that we can trust, enough lumen output for whenever we need it but also low modes for saving power when going without electricity for an extended period of time. Ideally, the light will take readily available AA and AAA batteries although CR123A are becoming more common and they do provide the most power for tactical lights. Strobe for disorienting attackers, beacon and SOS modes for signaling, these may be literal life savers during emergencies.
For the modern survivalist, the EDC flashlight (and most gear in general) is chosen keeping in mind a two-tier application: On one level the item, in this case the flashlight, must be useful and viable on a general purpose, every day use level. You’ll use it for looking into boxes, checking for things dropped under furniture, walking across a garage without turning the lights on, or walking across the parking lot at night without stepping on mud and getting your feet dirty. On another level, the flashlight should perform on a worst case emergency scenario. It should allow you to find people when someone gets lost while hiking along a trail. It should allow you to signal for traffic to stop if there’s an accident. It should run for several hours, maybe even days if power goes down after a disaster. It should be capable of temporary disorienting an attacker. It should take common batteries you may be able to scrounge. It should be capable of signaling for help when wounded, lost or otherwise stranded off the beaten track.
As you can see, we are asking a lot from this flashlight. Although there’s no one flashlight that is perfect in every way, these are some of the ones that fill all these niche applications the best:
Zebralight H52w AA
Zebralight H52w AA Headlamp Neutral White
The H52W is one of the most powerful 1XAA lights in the market today with an output of 280 lumens on high. It can also take 14500 li-ion batteries, which brings the maximum lumen output up to 500 lumens on high for one minute before dropping back to 280 lumens. The H52W has programmable brightness levels as well as beacon and strobe modes, making it easy to suit personal preferences. The H52W is a 90 angle light which combined with the strap turns the Zebralight into a headlamp, freeing one hand for use compared to normal hand-held lights. It also has a Low battery alert function. With great construction and design the Zebralight is as of right now one of the most capable flashlights in the market. For those that like these functions but prefer a normal straight reflector configuration, there’s the Zebralight SC52.
Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II

If you could only have one flashlight for the end of the world the Streamlight Sidewinder II would be it. It can be used as a headlamp or hand-held light. It’s a true mil-spec torch, tough as nails. It has various output modes and LEDs to choose from, including red, IR and blue (green in some versions). The included head strap turns it into a useful headlamp. Maybe its most impressive capability, the Sidewinder Compact II can digest most small batteries you come across: CR123A, AA, AAA, 14500, 10440, 16340. The downside is that the high mode is not as bright as in other models and the shape makes it less comfortable to carry than smaller, cylindrical tube format lights. Other than that, the Sidewinder Compact II is THE survivalist’s flashlight.
Eagletac D25C

The Eagletac D25C is a simple, no-nonsense 1XCR123A flashlight. In spite of the compact size, which is one of its strengths, it has a lot to offer: Tough and well made. Cree XM-L2 U2 LED. Maximum output is 453 Lumens (with 16340 li-ion) . You won’t bash anyone’s head in with this light but tightening the head it goes into “tactical” mode, high and strobe, while loosening the head allows you to access the different brightness levels, moonlight, beacon, strobe and SOS for general purpose and emergency signaling use. The D25C is one of the most compact CR123A clickly flashlights in the market. The Tintanium D25C looks fantastic.
Fenix PD22 Ultimate Edition

Featuring a Cree XP-L LED, the latest edition of the PD22UE uses a CR123A battery for a maximum output of 400 Lumens but also officially supports the use of 16340 batteries for an output of 510 Lumens which will run for 45 minutes. Modes include turbo, high, medium, low, strobe and SOS which can be accessed using the side switch.
The P22 is a classic EDC torch made by a reputable manufacturer. It is clearly intended as a tactical/utility light and should serve you well on both roles. The P22UE is also one of the few lights that officially approves the use of 16340 li-ion batteries.
SureFire E1D Defender

The E1D is as close as it gets to a pure breed tactical light in an EDC pocket format. This is a light flashlight collectors have wanted for some time, often modifying the larger E2D so as to make it a shorter single battery light. At 300 lumens the E1D may not sound very impressive but Surefire tends to underestimate its own lumen output. Surefire quality is legendary, its built like a tank and the strike Bezel makes for a nice compact defensive tool. There’s not a lot of output modes to choose from, its either the 300 lumen high or 5 lumen low. 5 lumen is a good amount of light for low battery drain yet enough light for most close range utility tasks. A strobe mode would have been a nice addition, although 300 lumens should be enough to disorient an attacker when dark.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Man fights three armed robbers with a Katana (GRAPHIC CONTENT)

Covered in blood: In the panic, the thieves only managed to steal the equivalent of £278 and fled in a Peugeot 206 car which was parked outside
When it comes to crime, some of the weirdest, craziest incidents happen in Argentina. Before you continue reading, some of the images below are very gory.
49 year old Dias Costa suffered a home invasion in his house in Cordoba, Argentina. Once inside the house, the three criminals armed with two handguns, started hitting Mr. Costa and his wife. When they tried to enter his son’s bedroom, Mr. Costa grabbed a katana sword he had hanging on a wall and attacked the criminals, cutting them in their hands, arms and face. The fleeing criminals left in a vehicle along with an accomplice that was waiting outside but the driver crashed shortly after due to blood loss. The four criminals continued their escape on foot, but the blood trail was so big cops only had to follow it to a nearby house to capture the attackers.
Dias Costa and his family have since received threats from the attacker’s family, forcing them to relocate elsewhere for their own safety.

Stitched up: The man has been left with a huge scar from where surgeons stitched his face back together
Lessons learned today:
1) Make sure your house is hardened. Good doors, locks and alarm.
2) Make sure you have a firearm for self-defense.
3) Even if you win the fight, that’s not the end of it. The bad guys’ family and accomplices may force you to bug out and relocate elsewhere so as to avoid retaliation. This is very common in Argentina and other countries where crime is particularly bad. You just don’t know what may force you to bug out one day.
4) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In very close quarters and in the hands of a person that knows how to use it, a combat blade will do more damage than a handgun.
5) Oh yes, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, but if you do, make sure it’s a big one and know how to use it!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Monsanto is Killing us with GMO and Pesticides

25 years after being denied by the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization has declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, “probably” causes cancer in people. This is done using the same mouse study that was supposedly used to deny such allegations.
Roundup is the most used pesticide in the world, so its no surprise that where Monsanto rules, cancer does so as well. The only reason why we don’t hear more about this is because Monsanto pretty much owns the food industry by producing both the patented genetically modified Roundup Ready crops seeds used to grow food and the Roundup pesticide used along with it.
Here’s an interesting video explaining how Monsanto cherrypicks data to fit its own agenda. If you have more time, watch this longer documentary on Monsanto. The World According to Monsanto

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.