Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
A lot has happened since last week. The passing of the infamous Fidel Castro… more cabinet picks by our president-elect… growing accusations of hacking by the Russian government… and Thanksgiving celebrations and sales galore.
I’m back in the full swing of things after a delicious holiday with my family. Although you’re probably still stuffed (I know I am), here’s some more food for thought: the top five articles I recommend reading this week.
A Western Washington couple has many things to be thankful for after surviving freezing temperatures for over 48 hours with their two young children. There were several things the McAlisters did that helped them make it out alive, but there were also a few actions they did not take (but should have) that might have given their story a different ending.
Now that everyone is safe and sound, let’s take a look at some steps you should take in case you ever find yourself in a similar predicament. First, although Jason McAlister was smart enough to build a shelter to protect his family from the elements — and had the know-how to do so — leaving their vehicle could have been a fatal mistake. If you don’t have the skills to build a suitable structure to keep you warm, stay in your vehicle, because staying warm and dry is key.
Second, it was a good thing this family had leftover Halloween candy in their car, but if you don’t want to be stuck eating old Snickers bars, make sure you have a 72-hour kit in your car for each member of your family. This kit should have food, water, warm clothes and several ways to start a fire.
For many retirees, dwindling Social Security benefits are a major concern. According to the Social Security Administration, 21% of married beneficiaries and almost half of unmarried beneficiaries rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income. Many people’s livelihoods will be severely compromised if this aid is slashed any further.
But what can you do?
Actually, I’m here to tell you about a little-known and often overlooked state-run income strategy that isn’t in danger of going bankrupt. In fact, I can confidently say that it will never run out. And it could pay you up to 28 times more than Social Security. The best part? You don’t have to wait to retire to take advantage of this program. That’s right, there are no age restrictions on the collection of payouts. And you can still participate even if you are collecting Social Security — it will have absolutely no bearing on your existing benefits. For more information and to find out how to enroll, click here.
Unfortunately, this news shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone. Remember a few months ago when the Obama administration airlifted $400 million to Iran and the transaction just happened to coincide with the release of several American hostages?
It’s amazing that this administration continues to insist that they’re serious about enforcing the sanctions against Iran when they’re willing to give Western airline manufacturers clearance to sell planes to Iran — knowing that Iran is potentially using them to smuggle weapons to terrorists. Clearly, the American public isn’t getting the full story here.
As a fellow CIA cohort wrote in the December issue of my Spy & Survival Briefing, “A few years ago, I was working with a terrorist I was using as a double agent. He frequently commented that… Americans truly don’t know how good they have it and that we should take more direct action to protect our homeland and the homelands of our allies.” It will be interesting over the next four years to see what steps the Trump administration takes to do just that.
Reactions to Fidel Castro’s death last Friday have ranged from overt joy to the deepest sorrow. One distraught mourner is Marita Lorenz — former mistress to the Cuban dictator and mother to his love child, Andre Vasquez. Marita was also recruited by the CIA to assassinate her lover.
This is a classic example of a trap referred to in spy circles as a honey trap. A honey trap is when an agent (dubbed the honey pot) uses seduction to get close to a mark or extract information from an enemy agent.
Vanity Fair ran a profile on Marita in their November 1993 issue after exhaustive research and extensive interviews in an attempt to unravel her mysterious past. It’s an absolutely fascinating read.
Another interesting fact: Frank Sturgis, who was also part of the assassination plot, later became famous as one of the Watergate burglars.
The importance of situational awareness can’t be understated. It’s a skill anyone can cultivate. Being mindful of your surroundings will help you avoid dangerous situations altogether, and it may very well save your life if you suddenly find yourself in an emergency situation.
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world we live in. Stay alert, folks.
Until next time…
The post Must-Read Articles: Love, Loss and Situational Awareness appeared first on Laissez Faire.