What is this page? ...and what is a 'weblog'?
I got tired of listening to the same major news bits over and over on TV -- and the repeated footage they kept re-running, so I surfed the web and started finding a lot more news and information, mostly of smaller details that are (IMO) newsworthy but mostly not quite big enough for TV stations to cover often, if at all. So I add snippets here.

Updated 09/29/2001 1:43am

The Onion has extensive news coverage of recent events, in its usual hysterical sort of way. Even if you're not a South Park fan, you'll probably enjoy these.

God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule

Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell
'We Expected Eternal Paradise For This' Say Suicide Bombers

Bush Sr. Apologizes To Son For Funding Bin Laden In '80s
MIDLAND, TX— Former president George Bush issued an apology to his son Monday for advocating the CIA's mid-'80s funding of Osama bin Laden, who at the time was resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. "I'm sorry, son," Bush told President George W. Bush. "We thought it was a good idea at the time because he was part of a group fighting communism in Central Asia. We called them 'freedom fighters' back then. I know it sounds weird. You sort of had to be there." Bush is still deliberating over whether to tell his son about the whole supporting-Saddam Hussein-against-Iran thing.


"I used to think Reagan was a simplistic, vengeful, jingoistic cowboy. Now, I'm starting to think he was just ahead of his time."

Updated 09/23/2001 2:21pm

From
Robert X. Cringely's column this week
"Of course, the FBI would rather monitor ALL our mail, not just a sample, which brings us to wiretaps. There are an average of fewer than 2,000 federal wiretaps authorized each year, yet the FBI long had on the table a request to increase that number to 10 million. Sorry, but in the interest of fighting terrorism (or communism, or racism, or white collar crime, etc.) we don't need a 5,000-fold increase in the number of wiretaps. Yet that's exactly what Congress will likely authorize in the next few weeks."
Towers' Basement Holds an Engineering Nightmare
Talks about cleanup/construction engineering issues such as the 7-level basement and the Hudson Bay. Think 'retaining wall'.

Updated 09/23/2001 9:40am

Bin Laden Missing, Taliban Quoted as Saying
Bush rewards Pakistan, India anti-terror efforts
"Afghan opposition forces had launched new attacks in three northern provinces and had taken at least one district from the Taliban in an intensified campaign timed to coincide with the threats of a U.S. military strike.

The opposition Northern Alliance and forces loyal to independent Gen. Rashid Dostum have said they are advancing toward the strategic town of Mazar-i-Sharif and hope to capture it from the Taliban in the next few days.

The Taliban were increasingly isolated diplomatically after the United Arab Emirates, one of just three states to have recognized their hold on power, severed ties."


"In Tokyo, Jiji news agency quoted Japanese government sources as saying Washington had warned its allies of a possible second wave of attacks by the end of this week using means that would be ``more cruel and shocking'' than the Sept. 11 carnage."
"The Guardian in London reported Friday, citing a cable from the US Embassy in London, that the US was trying to rally an international campaign to remove the Taliban. Having removed them, we would then sponsor a UN-run temporary government in the nation.

Indeed, reports abound that within the administration there is a battle going on. The Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice camp wants a full-scale, no holds bar invasion of Afghanistan -AND- Iraq. The Powell camp wants to take a one-bite-at-a-time approach to the whole thing.

A report in TIME 2 weeks ago on featuring Powell spoke to the fact that Powell has been sidelined in the Bush administration. While everyone thought Powell would be Bush's point man on Defense and Foreign affairs, it has turned out that Powell does not have Bush's ear. On the contrary, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rice (Who by all accounts is treated like a daughter by Bush) are running Defense and Foreign Policy. Bush has stacked his cabinet with SCARY FUCKERS, hard-liners who are hell bent on national isolation and missile defense.

The US now has three battlegroups in the region or on the way. Another deployment is expected to be signed by Rumsfeld later today or tomorrow. 35,000 reservists have been called up. More maybe called up later. Make no mistake about it, the US /IS/ going to, attempt at least, to remove the Taliban from power. Despite whether or not you or I believe it to be the prudent thing to do, it is the course of action that has been set in motion by the US government. Get ready for a long drawn out war"


"...look to the SAS's exploits in Iraq in '91 and the Desert Rats in '40-'41 for examples of what a small cadre of highly trained and motivated fighters can do againt increadable odds. Or even look at Blackhawk Down for an indication of what Rangers and Delta Force can accomplish in a poorly planned mission. I'm sure that all the lessons learned in Afghanistan in the 80s by Delta Force and CIA as well as those lessons learned in Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and Sierra Leone by the Rangers, Delta, SAS, Force Recon and SEALs will be taken to heart."
"I'd guess you're looking at a report slanted to support the late-Clinton- early-Bush-administration policy of providing the Taliban with millions ($43,000,000 just several months ago, from Bush) in exchange for poppy eradication (which is part of why so many impoverished farm families have starved to death while the Taliban has rearmed)."
Guardian article on combat in Afghanistan from ex-SAS operative
"It is one of the wildest places on earth. High in the mountain passes vehicles are useless and in winter the snow is neck deep. Then there are the Afghans, devastatingly effective guerrilla fighters, says ex-SAS man Tom Carew. And he should know - he fought alongside them against the Soviet army. Welcome to Afghanistan, a land not conquered since Alexander the Great..."

Lays out very clearly why Afghanistan is possibly the worst place on Earth for a war -- at least, for the invader...

Recommended read.


Revealed: British plan for Afghan onslaught
"America yesterday faced its most serious difficulty in building a coalition to date: envoys from Saudi Arabia - a crucial ally in the Gulf War of 10 years ago - told the State Department that the kingdom would resist granting the US use of its crucial Prince Sultan air base, which the Pentagon was planning to use as a command centre."

If it wasn't for oil, we'd tell the Saudis to f*ck off. Politics makes for strange bedfellows.


"In Iraq and the Balkans, ground troops were the last weapon to be deployed, in order to keep US casualties to a minimum.

This time it will be different. Special forces will be at the core of the operation. US Rangers and Green Berets are on the way from Fort Bragg in North Carolina. An SAS squadron of some 50 troops was already in Oman taking part in exercises."


"...Uzbekistan is probably too far from the Hindu Kush mountains, where Bin Laden is based. For internal political reasons, Pakistan is off-limits to troops. The preferred option may be to set up a base in Afghanistan itself.

"Afghanistan has got about a dozen airfields, so you pick one and parachute in. Intelligence is fleeting and you want your force to be located near the target," John Pike, a Washington-based military analyst said.

The force most likely to be used to establish a foothold is the US 82nd Airborne, a rapid deployment assault unit. Special forces teams, like the Rangers and the SAS, would then be based there for sorties into the surrounding mountains."


"The CIA has been supplying the opposition with non-lethal aid like communications equipment, for the past three years. That assistance will almost certainly be upgraded to include munitions. But direct military involvement in the Northern Alliance's battle with the Taliban would be huge undertaking.

Anti-Taliban forces hold less than 10% of the national territory, but its Panjsher valley stronghold extends to Bagram just north of Kabul, where a large Soviet-built airbase is situated. It is out of use because the Taliban are on the hills overlooking it.

Northern Alliance sources say it could immediately field 15,000 men for an assault on the capital. With "close air support" from US warplanes, the Taliban could be forced off the hills over Bagram, and the air base could be used. The opposition leaders say they could then advance on Kabul from the Shomali plain nearby.

A separate opposition-held pocket in the north is already attacking the Taliban stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif, near the Uzbek border where US forces could be concentrated, leaving it locked in a pincer movement."

Updated 09/22/2001 4:30pm

"The biggest question is this: is the freedom for safety trade even a real one? Before we discuss the value of buying safety with freedom, shouldn't we at least have some assurance that we're getting what we pay for? But historically, I can't find many examples (Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus is the only possible one I can think of, and it's a maybe) where these sorts of legislative changes have done any real good. Here are some examples of things that clearly haven't: Now they want things like a national ID card. The idea is that--even though the federal government let these guys in despite their presence on watch lists, even though it issued some of them pilots' licenses, even though they got air tickets.that despite all this, the same government will be sufficiently vigilant not to issue a national ID to dangerous people. I don't believe it."

Updated 09/22/2001 2:57pm

MS Sex Hailstorm To Play Nice With Others
Key reasons why Microsoft as the sole gatekeeper/overseer of Hailstorm is a horrible idea:
"There's a big difference between Microsoft (and whatever johnny-come-lately fabricated trustee companies that spring up) and banks. Banks have a culture wholly different from companies like Microsoft. I'm not saying they're divine or infallible, but simply that the way they look at the world and their responsibilities for information are shaped by years and years of living within a complex web of federal and state regulations, and of sitting on the "capital" of essentially unlimited public trust. They don't "think out of the box" about ways to use information they control. The comparison to ATM networks is therefore (in my opinion) structurally accurate but misleading."
and
There's another difference: Banks are LIABLE if they lose your information, which translates usually to you losing money.

Microsoft has never been accountable for anything being lost in the past, by hiding behind their EULA (ie: we are not responsible for any direct or indirect losses as a result of using this product. You agree not to sue us no matter what). Well, until Microsoft guarantees unconditionally that my information is SAFE, like the banks do, I will not ever, ever trust them.


Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists by by by Binyamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu
(Yes, the prior Prime Minister of Israel, but written before the assassination of Yitzahk Rabin and Netanyahu's subsequent election as his successor)

Not surprisingly, one of the reviewers say "On top of all this, his advice to the United States on fighting terrorism is to curb civil rights."


Some more interesting books I haven't read (yet) in the 'Top 25' list at Amazon

Robert Young Pelton's the World's Most Dangerous Places (World's Most Dangerous Places)
by Robert Young Pelton (published May'2000)

The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism
by Simon Reeve (published Oct'1999)

Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center
by Angus Kress Gillespie (published Nov'1999)

If anyone's read any of these I'd appreciated hearing what you thought.


Explanation for the name "Taliban": "A talib is an Islamic student, one who seeks knowledge compared to the mullah who is one who gives knowledge. By choosing such a name the "Taliban" (plural of Talib) distanced themselves from the party politics of the Mujaheddin and signaled that they were a movement for cleansing society rather than a party trying to grab power."

Updated 09/21/2001 12:35am

"As usual, the media offered much rhetoric, few details."
"...a defender has a 20:1 or 10:1 advantage if he knows the terrain and the opponent is vaguely unfamiliar with it. A few people can hold off battalions, when placed right, we'll be lucky to move 2 miles in a day.

And cruise missiles are economically ineffective - JATO-assisted dumb bombs have a 98 percent kill rate, while a cruise missile there has at best an 80 percent kill rate, and you just need a dug-in position and nothing short of a nuke will affect you (and even those have to get the angle right)."


"Disclaimer: I am not Israeli, nor Jewish, but I did spend about a month in Israel in spring of 2000. I invite any Israelis in the readership to comment.

While in Israel, my first experience with liberty in that country was in passing through customs. It was actually quite easy to get into the country, compared to leaving. I was asked the purpose of my visit (a standard question) and asked to give a list of places I would be visiting. Since I didn't really know where I would be going yet, I said so. I was greeted with suspicious looks and incredulity, but allowed to pass through. I fit the profile of "single male, travelling alone."

Upon entering the country I immediately took a bus to Ashdod where my girlfriend lived. There were several soldiers on the bus. This seemed odd, but my girlfriend assured me they were there merely as travelers, not guardians. I still felt safer knowing there were several people with assault rifles on the bus.

Over the course of my visit, I was in many busy public places, including restaurants, night clubs, transit centers, malls, etc. In the malls and transit centers I was asked to show the contents of my bag upon entering. I didn't feel violated by this. I felt safer knowing these checks were being made. The people were friendly and expeditious.

Everywhere I went in Israel I saw soldiers. All had rifles; some had rifles with grenade launchers. You actually get used to this after a while. I was only there a month, but by the end of my visit I hardly noticed anymore.

But the most important thing I noticed in Israel was the degree of freedom I had. I didn't have to pass through checkpoints (except when I went to Bethlehem, which is a Palestinian area, and even then we weren't even stopped, just looked at as we drove through) and was never asked what I was doing or where I was going.

Look people. America has been changed, and not by choice. Security must be enhanced, or we will continue to be blown to small pieces on a whim. I ask people to look at Israel as an example of how to conduct security without impinging unduly on people's liberties. There are necessary steps which must be taken. There is simply no option. But it needn't be an end to liberty. If Israel (a country that clearly has its own governmental problems) can do it, so surely can the United States."


"As a number of people have commented, war is a bad metaphor for what we need to do here. This is not, however, simply a police action, as some people have suggested."
"...the best analogy for what we need to do is treat this like the Italian struggle against the Mafia. The crucial step is a cultural change, from the situation where the CD party treated the Mafia as a necessary evil that was just part of the political landscape, to where all of Italian society turned against the Mafia, and magistrates and judges were willing to risk their lives to rid Italy of Mafia control. The Mafia still exists, no doubt, but it no longer has the same insidious grip on the political system.

Here, the crucial step is getting the Arab and Muslim countries to stop treating their radical Islamists as necessary evils who, since they can mobilize the poor, and can kill dissenters, must be tolerated and accepted. Many countries, such as Iran and Syria, have used these groups to fight proxy wars for political control over the Middle East. The best thing that can come out of this tragedy is an alignment of Arab and Muslim contries against their radical elements, and a change in the culture there to stop accepting bloody attacks against civilians as acceptable political tactics."


"The Russians already bombed Afghanistan back to the stone age. and the Taliban are not the Afghans. The Taliban are a bunch of psychopathic nuts, hated by the majority population."
"Another idea is based on historic precident...based on the idea that we must use cultural factors as well as force to fight the war..."
"Tactic #1 Has a Historical basis. During the pacification of the Philippine Islands 1900-1914 the majority of the bloodiest attacks were carried out by Moros... An Islamic confederation of tribes who did not want their lifestyle of Dacoitery, Piracy and Slavery changed. They had MOKERS... People who would work themselves into a religious fever with dreams of ISLAMIC Paradise, and Literally Run AMOK, killing everyone within reach. So inspired were they that you not only had to kill him, you had to push him over. It was MOKERS that forced the U.S. Army to adopt the .45 Colts Automatic Pistol M-1911. What stopped them was the tactic of Wrapping one of these MOKERS (After you capture him and yes it was possible) in the skin of a freshly killed pig and hanging him in Public view. The touch of the Pig Pollutes a believer so badly that he/She must spend 5 days in a Mosque cleansing and praying... To die in such a state gives a direct path to the deepest part of Islamic Hell."
...
"You didn't relate ALL the history of what you call the Philippine "pacification", but what was really an invasion. The US bought the Philippines, along with the accompanying Philippinos, from the Spanish government after the hokey Spanish American War. The Philippinos did not appreciate being gought and sold, and so transferred their revolution against the Spanish.to the USians. The US had promised the Philippinos their freedom if they assissted the US against the Spanish. Due to 'American Interests' (Dole Pineapple) they broke their word and shouldered the 'White Man's Burden'. The Bonifacio brothers who led the peasant revolution were captured and murdered by the US shill General Aguinaldo.

In the recalcitrant eastern province of Samar, the US imported one of its old Indian fighting Generals whose name escapes me now. The General ordered all males over the age of ten to be shot, and said he wanted "Samar turned into a howling wilderness." Much, I suppose, like 'ground zero' in New York. The Philippines just recently threw the US out on its ass and turned the bases into duty free resorts...

The vast majority of ordinary Muslims consider bin Laden a hero, and many consider him a holy man. Kill him and you will have to fight over a billion enraged Muslims and I really don't know where you're gonna get the oil to do it. They own most of it. They're already rioting in the streets of Pakistan at the thought of their government letting one US soldier onto their soil.

The US has supported corrupt governments in most of the middle east states, not to mention the rest of the world, and they are all on pretty shaky foundations. The populace is gonna revolt and the Mullahs will take over. They think the US is just peachy.


"Your comment about "And if I was a doctor and was required to do it by the state i would rather do it than die." doesn't ring true for any stanch Roman Catholic, who would believe that would be an Express Ticket to Hell.

Lots of people, throughout the history of this country, have decided for themselves that "living free" was more important than "living at all". Those men and women bled and died on battlefields from Saratoga forward...

For someone to say that "living" is worth more than "living free" disgraces the memory of those many who died specifically to prove otherwise."


"What constantly stuns me about the American public is how much it seems that few remember their lessons from civics class on why and how the US was formed.

The founders of the US framed the constitution based around the fact that the natural tendency of government is to oppress its people and for this reason there are a number of safeguards in the US constitution (Bill of Rights, Seperation of powers, etc) that are there for the express purpose of preventing the government from oppressing the people. The current trend of assuming that the government knows best and won't abuse its powers runs counter to spirit that originally founded the United States and would have the framers of the constitution rolling in their graves."


The Dalai Lama's letter to the President of the United States of America
"Disclaimer, I do not live in the United States. I live in a third-world backwater country which has a severe domestic terrorism problem, at least in the southern provinces...

Military action and curtailment of civil liberties as "solutions" to the terrorism problem are all ultimately temporary fixes, designed to treat the symptoms, not the disease. If the United States and its allies in the First World don't attempt to go beyond short-sighted military retaliation, they're going to lose this war even more badly than they lost Vietnam. Military response is a good thing here in the interim, but it must be combined with a wholistic strategy which addresses one of the main roots of the problem:

GLOBAL POVERTY

This is the biggest single reason why terror groups exist. The rest of the world feels disenfranchised and oppressed by what it perceives to be a big bully ramming policies down their throats which are designed to enrich him at their expense. Those of us who live in the third world, know that this accusation is not without basis. I am not justifying their approach to terror; I am giving what I see is the fundamental reason why these groups turn to violence. They feel unempowered, unable to control their own destinies; September 11 was the greatest blow they struck in this mad attempt of theirs to take the power back.

Terrorism has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, and has everything to do with power. Terror groups hide behind the mask of religious fundamentalism, but no major religion in the world countenances the acts of September 11.

Capture Osama bin Laden and they will have chopped one head off the Hydra. Two more will grow back in his place. The only way to defeat the hydra will be to attempt to change US foreign and financial policy to truly attempt to aid the nations of the developing world instead of screwing us over and enriching themselves over us. If the United States and the developed nations can truly be seen to be making a positive difference to the destinies of the developing world, then it will be much harder to motivate people to perpetrate acts of terror.

Attempting to restrict civil liberties within the developed world is another particularly short-sighted response to acts of terror. Such restrictions on civil liberties are probably going to increase not decrease, the incidence of terror, as it will also increase the ranks of the disenfranchised and oppressed within your country as well , and domestic terrorism will probably become all the more serious. But of course, this is exactly what the control freaks in your government want, as it will give them more excuses to further perpetrate their reign of terror.

A real long-term solution to the problem of terrorism will be to revise and rethink your foreign policy. If your foreign policy were not so baldly corporatist, so baldly and arrogantly benefiting the few at the expense of the many, international terrorism would begin to decrease. Naturally, military and police action would be a good thing, but it is ultimately a short-term solution only. That only sows fear, and ultimately all fear can be overcome, as the terrorists who crashed their planes into the WTC proved to us in the most graphic way possible.

The world is still big enough for all of us to live peacefully. But if some nations insist on grabbing the lion's share at the expense of those who have none, then there will be conflict, there will be violence, there will be monstrous acts of terror. They know they can't take on the United States head-on, Iraq proved that, so they will attempt to wage a world-wide guerrila war. World War III is here, but it looks like no other war in all of history. The only way to win it will be to change the rules.

Updated 09/20/2001 11:15pm

'Infinite Justice' May Not Stand, Pentagon Says
"The initial code name for the Pentagon's response to attacks on the United States, Operation Infinite Justice, likely will be changed to avoid offending Muslims, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday.

The issue arose at a Pentagon briefing when a reporter told Rumsfeld that several Islamic scholars objected to the name on the ground that only God, or Allah, can mete out infinite justice in their view."

Another win for the Bush team.
First his 'crusade' reference, now this...

Also, some idea where the name came from:
"William Arkin, an expert on the military who has studied code names and operations, said the choice was constrained by Pentagon naming conventions tied to the units and commands involved."


Bush Creates High Office of Homeland Security
"President Bush announced on Thursday the creation of a Cabinet-level position with a sweeping mandate to oversee a ``homeland defense'' protecting Americans from attack."
Rescue airlines, but attach some strings by Dan Gillmor
I pretty much entirely agree.
At least it's the first solution I've heard that's workable and makes sense.
On a seemingly offtangent note...New Microsoft Internet Worm
"This is not an "Internet worm" -- and the headline writers and reporters covering the story need to get it straight. This is a Microsoft worm, and it once again gets spread through the opening of Outlook e-mail attachments."

I wonder at what point people so concerned about airport security will start to think about the electronic lifelines of this country (and many others). Microsoft's almost blatant disregard for basic computer science techniques and priorities, for the sake of eye candy, apparent simplicity and a nearly insatiable appetite for profits...

It doesn't have to be this way.

One reason I refuse to use Outlook for personal use (required at the job, unfortunately -- and yes, we got hammered with the Nimba virus).

For those tired of the email madness, take a crack at PocoMail. I've been using it for the last few months and I'm pretty impressed. If you want an email client that's small, fast, efficient, but extremely functional -- and you run Windows (9x or NT/W2K/XP) -- you should take a closer look.

The "junkmail filter" feature alone justifies it -- haven't quite figured out entirely how it does its magic, but it's been dead on to date; shunts all "spam" to a junkmail folder and so far it hasn't falsely junked a valid email and only a couple have slipped past its filter, but you can "teach it" to be more discriminating. Very impressive.

Updated 09/20/2001 12:27pm

Another informative note I received from a friend:
I went to Best Buy and got a Sprint PCS phone. I encourage you to do the same...

Other than that, I am fine. Please watch the President when he addresses the nation tomorrow night. I am hoping he will share the classified information I have already seen. It is very important. I will ask you to take a day or two off work in the near future as well. Might be a good time to take a trip to the mountains to do some shopping or something.

I am not being deployed yet, but I did have to send a good friend of mine last night. The two other Captains I'm now working with got tapped to go last night as well. If called, I will go. Yes I am frightened (it would be insane not to be), but I am well trained and ready. I can think of no greater calling than to defend my country. Don't worry about me. All will be well. It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. I once had a professor pose the question as to whether or not it would be worth living a life where nothing was important enough to die for. Of course that is no longer an academic question. Thanks to my great teachers, I have long appreciated that this freedom we enjoy as Americans is sacred and is worth defending. No one wants to fight, and certainally no one wants to die. If I or those I serve with are called to make the ultimate sacrifice I can think of nothing more noble than giving ones life to preserve this great nation and all it stands for.


Does anyone else think the 'code names' are incredibly stupid?

'Operation Noble Eagle'
'Operation Infinite Justice'

How about just 'Operation Eagle' or 'Operation Justice'? (Let alone something better)

Did President Bush himself, a well known oratorical giant, name these operations?

Footnote: Yes, he's the President. Of course I respect him, because I respect the office. And I've heard he's supposed to be very charming in a small, more personal conversation. But anyone who's heard him speak -- or seen transcripts -- knows he's a weak public speaker. Amazing he's gone so far in his field given his obvious weakness in a key skill for the job.

Updated 09/20/2001 11:16am

"It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

Updated 09/17/2001 1:16am

Taliban Officials Fleeing Afghan Capital
"Actually, if you want to get technical, this started with Kennedy's decision to remove the missles from Afghanistan during the bay of pigs crisis. He left the "freedom fighters" high and dry against the Russian troops."

Updated 09/16/2001 1:14pm

Insightful comment from a friend:
Don't you find it interesting that a government who cries foul (seperation of church and state) anytime religion is mentioned suddenly becomes extremely religious when something like this happens?? And worse yet all the religious groups who complain about nativity scenes at Christmas (because they are Christian) don't mind --- "God Bless America" which one? Or is it in a time of need it really doesn't matter as long as One of um comes through for the suddenly religious???"
Actually, I find the whole surge in the "God Bless America" song rather repugnant. We have a national anthem ("The Star Spangled Banner", for the short-minded) which, IMO, is far more appropriate.

Think about it.


One question I have right now:
In the past 20+ years, the US has denounced Israel whenever they made "pre-emptive" strikes on terrorist bases (esp. in other nations).
Will the US continue to condemn these actions?
And will we commit them as well?

Notice the key word -- pre-emptive.
The US has done so on a few occasions, but they're exceptions, not the norm. Will this policy change?
Is this a good thing or not?

Jerry Pournelle's web site has thoughts on America as Republic or Empire. There is is difference. What will we become?

At this point, Empire looks likely.
Will we embrace it, or become an Empire that tries to act like a Republic?

If you think this doesn't matter, you're a fool.
In simpler terms -- are we going to do a half-a** job, neither accepting nor embracing our goals, methods and actions, and the consequences thereof?

"The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'."

Updated 09/16/2001 12:10am

If a commercial plane is in the air, why should it be possible to trun off the transponder?

"Transponders are made to be turned off so that they don't generate a signal while the plane is on the ground. They generally have 4 positions for the power knob: Off, Standby (receive only - allow you to see when a radar signal hits you), On (replies when a radar signal hits you with your 4 digit code - Octal code, btw), and Mode C (which replies with your code and altitude). Regs call for transponders to be off or standby until as late as possible in your takeoff roll, and to be turned as soon as possible after you land. The code that is input is assigned by ATC if you are on an instrument flight plan. Some codes and blocks of codes are reserved - 1200 is for Visual Flight Rules planes such as small Cessnas and the like, 7500 is "I'm being hijacked", a block is for military use, a block is for air ambulance and lifesaving use, etc.

You have to be able to turn it off when on the ground to keep from overwhelming the system with returns from a bunch of signals in a small area. Yes, you might be able to design a system that tries to figure out if the plane is in the air, but that adds complexity and gives more to go wrong - what if it thinks it is on the ground while in the air? Remember, better is the enemy of good enough."


From Jerry Pournelle's web site:

Prior to US actions against them, the Taliban were seen as a bunch of fundamentalist cranks, enemies of civilization inside the areas they controlled, but tribal in nature and not much interested in the rest of the world. They had reason to despise the United States as symbolic of most they stood for, but then they had that view of Riyadh and the Gulf oil kingdoms in general; of soft Muslims everywhere. They had no reason to hate us more than anyone else not one with them.

US Intelligence intercepts found cell phone traffic indicating a meeting in rugged territory in Afghanistan. Some open remarks indicated that this was a training camp of terrorists, and that bin Laden would be there. Senior intelligence officers said this was most likely deception; bin Laden is a great deal more careful, and has and uses codes, and locating him is never easy. This is probably a plant.

We attacked anyway. Under any definition of International Law the President of the United States fired munitions at a country with whom we are not at war, with no warning, no declaration of war, and no resolution of Congress. Now over the years there have been precedents, but this was pretty stark.

What we hit was not a training camp of terrorists. It was not generally reported in the US media, but what we hit was a religious retreat of Moslem Pakistani physicians. Several of the survivors were interviewed on US television for a day or so after: then nothing, and you will find little about this or who was at that camp no matter how hard you search. But the effects were many.

First, it was then known we did listen to cell phone conversations (and used other intercepts of other channels; this may in part have been a deception operation intended to see just how much we could learn and just what we did listen to). Those channels will not be useful again.

Second, the Taliban went from disgust to hatred: the United States was not merely a cultural threat, but an active enemy. Do not forget that we conducted an act of war against them. Their memories are long.

Finally, the timing of the attacks is a matter of public record. There was a need to keep certain matters out of the headlines. The strikes did that. Having done it there was no follow up action. We delivered our bee stings, "surgical strikes" which did little harm and which certainly did not raise a sense of dread: which did not give those who harbor our enemies any reason to be vigorous in disarming them or dissuading them from attacking us. Our response to the destruction of our Embassies in a coordinated and well planned attack was -- not much.


The following was sent by Tamim Ansary. Tamim is an Afghani-American writer:
I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.

But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.

And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?


Posted on rec.org.sca: an evacuation test of the WTC following the 1993 bombing attempt cleared HALF the people there in THREE HOURS.
"Powder and artillery are the most efficacious, sure and infallible conciliatory measures we can adopt." - John Adams
From an article on the architect of the WTC:
"The structural system, deriving from the I.B.M. Building in Seattle, is impressively simple. The 208-foot wide facade is, in effect, a prefabricated steel lattice, with columns on 39-inch centers acting as wind bracing to resist all overturning forces; the central core takes only the gravity loads of the building. A very light, economical structure results by keeping the wind bracing in the most efficient place, the outside surface of the building, thus not transferring the forces through the floor membrane to the core, as in most curtain-wall structures. Office spaces will have no interior columns. In the upper floors there is as much as 40,000 square feet of office space per floor. The floor construction is of prefabricated trussed steel, only 33 inches in depth, that spans the full 60 feet to the core, and also acts as a diaphragm to stiffen the outside wall against lateral buckling forces from wind-load pressures."
There were any number of firefighters and rescue workers at the WTC when the first tower collapsed.

There were still rescuers there when the second tower collapsed.

Rescuers who had seen the first tower go.

Remember them.

Updated 09/15/2001 11:24pm

Congress looks to shield economy
F*cking morons. I think the Republicans are in the lead, but only just. One idea is cutting the capital gains tax -- 'cause, you know, that'll really give a huge boost to the economy -- and some democrats are talking about maybe sending larger tax rebate checks -- which is all well and good, but a totally b*llshit solution. Give me $1000 check -- then what? Companies are folding -- businesses were already having a bad time *last* week (NASDAQ hits 2.5yr low, blah blah). Midway folded. Continental? United? just announced laying off 20% of their workforce (12,000 people). Even if Congress writes the airline industry a blank check, besides Amtrak and Greyhound, what about the rest of the travel and tourism industries? Marriot? Hertz? How about restaurants? And let's not even talk about retail. Insurance firms. Telecom businesses that sell equipment and services to these shrinking businesses. And on and on...

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day.
Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

Congress wants to hand out fish, when they should be making fishing poles.

At least, as much they can do anything worthwhile.
At this point, the damage is like an iceberg -- you only see a fraction of the problem, and by then it's way too late.

Face it, we're f*cked.

Updated 09/15/2001 7:33pm

NATO's Article 5
"The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all, and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective selfdefence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually, and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security."

The full text of the North Atlantic Treaty is here


Last Friday (September 7th) the U.S. Department of State issued the following "Worldwide Caution" travel bulletin for the benefit of US travelers:

"Over the last several months, the U.S. Government has learned that U.S. citizens and interests abroad may be at increased risk of a terrorist action from extremist groups. In addition, we have received unconfirmed information that terrorist actions may be taken against U.S. military facilities and/or establishments frequented by U.S. military personnel in Korea and Japan. We are also concerned about information we received in May 2001 that American citizens may be the target of a terrorist threat from extremist groups with links to Usama Bin Ladin's Al-Qaida organization. In the past, such individuals have not distinguished between official and civilian targets. As always, we take this information seriously. U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert."

[From: http://travel.state.gov/wwc1.html [state.gov]]


FedEx had a hijacking in 1994 [airlinepilots.com], by a disgruntled employee who had just been fired. His objective was to crash the plane in to FedEx HQ in Memphis. The pilot and copilot fought him off, suffering serious injuries. The plane (a DC-10) plunged into a vertical dive.

The two pilots struggled to subdue the hijacker. They were able to hold him down enough that one pilot was able to take back the aircraft controls and pull the plane out of the dive. The plane exceeded Mach I during the dive, the pull-out stresses warped parts of the aircraft, and counterbalance weights in the tail were torn off. But the plane held together.

The plane was landed intact at Memphis, the hijacker was arrested, convicted, and is in prison, and one of the pilots was too injured to fly again. The plane itself was repaired and returned to service.


Your tax dollars at work -- bin Laden biography on PBS

FYI, PBS broadcast a Frontline episode on bin Laden on Wed @ 8pm (bio, from parents to current events). This was a 2yr old broadcast, with a few minutes added mentioning current events. Strongly recommended viewing if you can find out if/when it'll be broadcast again. The only thing I've seen rivaling the broadcast is this link.


"Lastly, bin Laden activities are not very dependent on money. His followers are not mercenaries. Training does not cost a lot of money. Explosives and weapons are very cheap in some parts of the world. In Somalia TNT for example is cheaper than sugar. In Yemen you can buy an RPG for less than TV set. The role of money here is over exaggerated by many writers."

Updated 09/15/2001 6:31pm

"This disaster may spark re-interest in fuel additives for jet fuel that would immediately put out fires upon impact.

The faa and nasa ran some very extensive tests including the purposeful crashing of a large boeing jet (B720) in december of 1984. the tests were not encouraging. details are available. figure 1-1 shows the jet crashing."


"But you did not protect freedom or democracy [in the Gulf War]. Kuwait is a monarchist dictatorship. It is legal to hold foreig slaves in Kuwait. There Philipinos servants held in virtual bondage by their employers, with the consent of the Kuwaiti government.

The woman who went to the UN to talk to the Assembly about her rape at the hands of Iraqi soldiers was in fact an ambassador's daughter who was not in Kuwait during the invasion.

Note that the US has also, at other times in history, bankrolled and supported Iraq. And Iran. And Afghanistan. Every time it suited a justifiable foreign policy decision."


"How are we making anyone in the Middle East 'not free'?"

"A good, if not somewhat naive, question. The US has interfered in Middle East politics for decades.
The US supported the corrupt regime of the Shah in Iran (so did the Brits).
The US supported the Afghan militias during the Soviet invasion. Osama bin Laden was trained under this support. The same people the US equipped, now rule Afghanistan.
The US has alternately supported and destabilized Iran and Iraq at various times.
The US has propped up the corrupt monarchies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
...and more

I am not claiming that any of these acts were "wrong" - people need to get over the notion that nations act for "right" or "wrong" - these are simplistic notions for children. Nations act in their own interests, as the US did.


"...a lot of those "angelic acts" had alterior motives. They helped rebuild japan to ensure a military staging point close to the western european front. For every legitimate gov't they helped support there are 3 more coups they engineered or illegitimate leaders they propped up."
"The same time we were propping up the French government we were preparing to overthrow the prime minister of Iran. After we "pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries" should we be surprised that "newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war mongering Americans" when you realize how much of that American money went into the pockets of brutal totalitarian regimes? Suharto, Saddam Hussein, Noriega, etc, etc... While we forgiving international debts we were arming and indebting various middle eastern factions against the Soviet Union. Many of the same factions that now hate the US for abandoning or manipulating them. Hell, we trained many of them. It's not like these people just started hating us for no reason whatsoever. We're reaping the rewards of about 60 years of a really nasty foreign policy in the Middle-East."
Arm Pilots
"Do you have any idea how Bad a thing it is to puncture a thin-skinned pressure vessel? Let alone one containing hundreds of people at altitude potentially over an inhabited area?"

"As it happens the Israelies have solved this one.
They have a gun (special bullet i believe) tht has a large bullet and low muzzle velocity. Will put down a human, wont go through steel."


"I didn't know that McViegh was a suicide bomber."

"He's dead, ain't he?"


During the crusades the Islamic communities of Asia Minor and the Middle East supported and harbored Jewish and Christians from the barbarian Europeans.

For thirteen hundred years the Islamic faith has been one of peace, civilization and high culture. The Quran condemns the killing of the innocent. It condemns suicide in any form. It condemns the degredation of women.

Every faith has its extremist bigots who use religion as nothing more than an excuse for their acts of evil.


"Are the people who bomb abortion clinics fair representitives of Christianity?"
"Having said that, perhaps the U.S. should think twice about supporting and funding Israel's occupation and methodical elimination of the Palestinian homeland."

"I don't know if you're aware of this but the fundamental problem in that area is that since the founding of Israel, the Arab countries have continuously devoted themselves to its destruction. I think you also have some major misconceptions regarding the nature of a "Palestinian homeland" which could be more accurately described as "whatever area happens to be under Israeli control at the moment".


"Just recently the UN discussions used some 'heated' words to describe Israel's policies (racist, etc) and both Israel and the US walked out of the talks. Why is condemnation of Israeli policy an insult to the US?"

"The use of the word "racist" is a non-event. The issue was conference ostensibly intended to fight racism that turned into a wildly anti-semitic assault depicting Israel (one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world) as the sole locus of evil. Yes, it's appropriate that the US government didn't lend legitimacy to it, and European countries should be ashamed of their compliance."


"I'm not going to relentlessly cheerlead Israel -- their settlement policy in the West Bank was a mistake and it's come back to haunt them. But it's worth keeping in mind that the only country in that region in which Arabs can vote is Israel. In the rest of the area, the best they can hope for is a reasonably benign king (Morocco, Jordan) or despot (Egypt). And also that the current hostility isn't because Israel denied the Palestinians a homeland but because it offered them one."
"So twenty odd thousand people are killed, and your first thought is, "hey, lets see what goat.secx has to say about this"

Or maybe you just have it set as your homepage..."

"Well, it is a "portal" site of sorts..."

Updated 09/15/2001 1:27pm

Added a title to the page (and learned a little more CSS).

Starting to get a little large (58K). Will probably split it if it grows (and that's likely). Haven't decided how yet -- daily? weekly? whenever it hits N bytes?

I've got DSL so the "size" doesn't phase me, but most people aren't so fortunate. What do you prefer for page size/chunking?

The Mrs. is home -- time for bagels...

Updated 09/15/2001 12:37pm

In a note from a friend who works and lives in Manhattan:
...until 2 months ago my office was on 106th floor of 2 WTC and I know of people who worked just below me who did not make it out...I met one of the workers in Central Park yesterday...said that the death toll should be around 30,000 but no one is allowed to mention that...[people] left NYC yesterday for LI since there were bomb threats all over the city...I was actually evacuated from [work] when a bomb threat came in at the ABC building next to the park...the city has been so surreal since the attack...

"The late-Herbert Levine's company, Asbestospray, was familiar with the World Trade Center construction, but failed to get the contract for spraying insulation in the World Trade Center. Levine frequently would say that "if a fire breaks out above the 64th floor, that building will fall down."
In yet-another-repulsive-example why some Americans are too stupid to be allowed to breed:
Anne Coulter, National Review: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."
Anyone remember the Crusades? The Inquisition? How about the Catholic Church and the Holocaust?

Anyone else as repulsed by this "Final Solution" as I?

And German citizens were actively supporting their nation's military operations and political leaders. Terrorism don't work that way -- this is a 'war' against individuals and organizations, not nations. It's like declaring war on IBM, or UPS. This is going to be far more like Vietnam than WWII -- except this time the enemy leaders are going to be more diverse and harder to pin down.

I heard some idiot on the radio Wed talking about "concentration camps" -- round up anyone of Middle Eastern descent, send them to "camps" while we do background checks.

Why do I waste my f*cking breath.

I've said for a long time, "All fanatics must die."
If you fail to see the irony inherent in that statement then you just don't get it.

Updated 09/15/2001 12:20pm

Just finished watching CSPAN, 11am to noon-ish had Lee Evey, the Program Manager(?) who runs the Pentagon -- the physical building itself -- talk about the damage, the renovation plan previously in place and other interesting factoids. Absolutely fascinating.

Renovation started 3 years ago. The most amazing thing (I thought), look closely at the damage -- big whole, on the left side where the building's still standing, floors 2-5 are suspended over mid-air -- plane plowed into/thru floor 1 but left floors above it.

2 of Evey's people were on the 5th floor at the time, about 50-75 away from the crash, and they felt a shake but were unhurt. They proceeded to crawl to every office on the 5th floor making sure people got out, then crawled thru the 4th floor, 3rd floor and 2nd floor, and were unable to get into the 1st floor, at which point the left the building.

The renovation added (among other things) 3 major structural improvements:
6"x6" steel beams running floor to ceiling and crosswise, bolted together to form a solid superstructure
blastproof windows on the outer wall, each weighing a little over a ton!
kevlar sheeting below the windows
Thus...
...the 2nd-5th floors suspended over the missing piece of the first floor haven't fallen due to the interlocking steel beams
...you can see the windows in photos (huge black rectangles) -- blown out of their frame but almost all in a single solid piece.
...the kevlar sheeting absorbed some of the impact, helping to slow the plane to reduce the extent it penetrated the building and reduce the number, speed and distance of fragments (aka "fragmentation grenade").

BTW, the kevlar's primary purpose is to reduce sound and EMF emissions and help prevent casual eavesdropping. It helped reduce the extent of damage and penetration by the plane, but that's not its primary purpose.

On a side note, I couldn't get over the fact Lee Evey looks very much like Cliff from "Cheers".

Fascinating briefing. Lots of history of the renovation program, the composition of the building, their contracting process and more. This was a press briefing, so hopefully the press will provide some good articles on the subject.

Updated 09/15/2001 2:16am

How Slashdot.org served a new record load on Tuesday
If you're into web server design and operations, scalability and such, this is for you.

Also has some good tips if you use Apache or MySQL.


"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'" --Jerry Falwell, 14-Sep-2001

More here


The government of the United States of America has been bullying and harassing nations for a very long time, flaunting themselves as a superpower which is untouchable. They've stuck their noses in other nations' business too many times and someone had decided to cut it off.

"I barely know where to begin when I read crap like this. The simple truth is that people hate us because we're the biggest kid on the block.

Yes, they care about individual policy decisions, but there isn't a nation on earth that doesn't make the exact same decisions every day. WE're criticized for butting our noses into foreign affairs, then criticized for being isolationist if we DON'T get involved in foreign affairs.

We're criticized for supporting side A against B, but if we switch sides, we're criticized for supporting B against A.

There is no policy we could possibly have that would make other nations happy with us. If we withdraw, we're "ignoring our responsibilities" but if we get involved we're "flaunting our power".

Well fuck you all very much, planet earth. We didn't ask to be the only superpower. We're not itching to feed your hungry or shelter your homeless or finance your economic devastations, but we're the ones you call on first when you need those things done.

You complain because american hegemony is destroying your cultures, then you go out and buy coca-cola and watch Friends on TV. You complain about our imperialism while ignoring the fact that Germany and Japan are our biggest competitors exactly BECAUSE we rebuilt them at OUR EXPENSE after we could have conquered them.

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't, so don't give me any shit that we had it coming because of our policies. NO FUCKING POLICY WILL MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY!

We're like the prettiest girl at a party -- all the women want to be her, all the men want to fuck her. There is not a country on earth that wouldn't trade places with us in a second, and on days like today i'd almost be happy to do it."


"CNN's main problem was that they had canceled their contract with Akamai a month or two ago to save money. Akamai works by having servers at or near most major ISPs so that the majority of traffic is served locally.

While the load was heavy, it wasn't anything Akamai wasn't prepared to handle."


"...to those who are getting down on CNN and MSNBC... From what I've heard, those [web] sites are already tuned--and regularly do--serve around 45 pages per second...even with loads of media."

Updated 09/15/2001 1:03am

Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter occupied roughly 10% of the WTC, with some 3500 employees.
Manhattan island has been almost completely shut down from 14th Street south. That's about 1/6th of the island.
"Buildings are built to a certain fire code, in that the building won't completely catch on fire and collapse for a certain length of time (usu 1hr?). The escape routes are located generally in the four corners."
Duh of the day: Jet fuel burns with a much higher temperature than normal fuel.
"Steel expands and crystalizes under extreme heat. Since the plane(s) hit at a "centre"-ish spot, the steel tried to expand up and down, but since the steel in the "up" and "down" weren't hot and wouldn't move, the steel in the "centre" buckled."
"Who would have thought that you needed to plan for hundreds or thousands of gallons of aircraft fuel when sizing fire supression gear in a tower?"
More analysis by a structural engineer
The building was also an effectively great billows. Given altitude and the proximity to the ocean, there is a lot of wind that was going through there, increasing the heat to an enormous degree.

Another thing this high heat caused was the destruction of concrete. When concrete gets very hot the water is evaporated out of it, turning it to dust.


"Will our War on Terrorism in include the IRA?"

??? "the FTO (Foreign Terrorist List) hasn't been updated since 1999 via FAS anyhow. As of then the IRA wasn't included on the list"


Superman Apologizes for Month-Long Vacation
NYC To Bin Laden: "That All Ya Got?"
"Sticks and stones may break our bones, but our ICBMs will be over your house in 15 minutes."
Off-topic, but too amusing to pass up:
In an effort to "simplify" its corporate license offerings, Microsoft announced that it plans to bend its corporate customers over a small wooden barrel and bugger them. However, in their mercy, they have decided to delay the public buggering for several months to allow IT managers to prepare themselves for the event.
An architect on CNN suggested that the towers survived the impacts almost intact, and that the fires inside resulted in the steel necessary to hold up a concrete structure of that size melted. Without reinforcement, what you have is 110 stories of compacted gravel and cement dust. The architect was saying that he was amazed and impressed the structures survived as long as they did.
CNN reporter's interview with Afghanistan People...Muhammad Anwar remembered something he had learned in his madrassa, or religious school. "It is un-Islamic to kill innocent people".
'If you asked me the question, "Can you design a building which can withstand a fully fueled 767 crashing into it?" I would say, "Yes, but you can't afford to build it."'
Why did the WTC towers have narrow stairwells (2 people wide)?

"Stairs don't pay rent. Leasable space is what really matters when owners direct the architect. Everybody wants more useful square footage. Stairs don't count. You wanna make the building appealing? Fine. Big, fast elevators, do. Tall ceilings do. Walls of glass do. Stairs in a 110 story building don't. Expensive fire suppression systems don't. Extra pounds of steel and concrete don't."


Article in the New Scientist about the WTC towers' architecture and why they didn't collapse immediately.

"The collapse of the WTC towers mirrored the strategy used by demolition experts. In controlled demolitions, explosives are placed not just on the lowest three floors but also on several consecutive floors about a third of the way up the building.

The explosions at the higher floors enable the collapse to gain downward momentum as gravity pulls the full weight of unsupported higher floors down into lower floors in a snowballing effect.

The lack of collapse in higher stories was one reason why the 454 kilogram bomb detonated in the underground garage of the World Trade Center in 1993 failed to destroy the building"

Only one innacuracy (that I noticed): "On Tuesday, the impacts of aeroplanes on the higher floors replaced the explosives..." Nope, the problem was the fire, not the intial collision.


First hand account from someone at Lehman Brothers (1 World Trade Center) when the first plane hit and his evacuation.
"A small band of essentially unarmed men captured 4 airplanes by playing to passengers & pilots fears. They then drove these planes into tall buildings, killing several thousand. Their total cost was rudimentary flight training, plane tickets (did they buy in advance?), and room & board while planning. They brought no advanced weapons, hacked no computer systems. Once again, it has been shown that the unaided human mind is the most dangerous weapon in the known universe.

There was, save the existence of airplanes, no technology whatsoever in Tuesday's attacks. Just victims' fear and the terrorists' willingness to die. These are social problems, and all the techno-fear 'solutions' that have been bandered about over the last few days both here and in the mainstream media, are completely ineffective to affect these social problems."


Smoke plume from the WTC as seen by the International Space Station

Er, holy f*ck.

Updated 09/15/2001 12:28am

HTML games -- added a random audio file to the page and a "low bandwidth" option.
Uses a server-side-includes (for the random factor), client-side Javascript (for the low bandwidth option) and the browser's DOM.
Don't get too excited. That's about as much "muhl-tie-mee-dee-ah" as you'll see on this page.

And yes, obviously I'm a night person.

Updated 09/14/2001 10:34pm

Heat brought the towers down
Explanation why the WTC towers came down, and in such an orderly fashion (vs. toppling over).

Also contains a link to more info:

"It is possible the buildings were targeted because of their distinctive construction. The buildings were very well known in architectural and engineering circles and were heavily publicized during design and construction. Construction drawings are readily availble to the public.

Modern terrorists are reported to study target buildings very carefuly, and they are known to have highly educated and skilled members, some of whom were educated in the US.

...Yes, if the fires were suppressed it likely the structure could have survived the impact except for localized damage. However, conventional architectural fire-suppression systems are not designed to suppress the types of fires caused by plane crashes and cascading fuel.


"When the WTC towers were built there was extensive controversy over their safety in emergencies. The NYC Fire Department protested, as did a host of other agencies and professional associations. The buildings were constructed in bulk and height far in excess of what municipal constuction and zoning codes allowed. However, the Port Authority, a quasi-governmental agency with exceptional powers inherited from the regime of Robert Moses, was specifically exempt from compliance with municipal codes. The real estate, construction and finance industries were powerful supporters of the project."

"I add that in 30 some years of examining buildings in New York, I have found none, zero, which are fully compliant with municipal building codes. It is a terrible, little reported scandal of the city in which it is considered to be bad business to fully comply with codes."

Updated 09/14/2001 9:44pm

Dan Gillmor's Weblog talking about BBC coverage:
"...And in the BBC's coverage, something has been coming through that should make the murderers of Sept. 11 very, very worried about their cause, not just their lives. The dead and missing in New York were from many nations, which stands to reason -- New York has become a global mix of humanity, and the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.

More British citizens died there, I gather, than in any terrorist outrages in the U.K. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of non-U.S. citizens will be in the final toll, from nations around the world.

Governments do not like having their nationals slaughtered. They get angry, and that's one reason why there's an unprecedented degree of unity among governments this week."


"I've noticed the the past several days that CNN has stopped its repeated showing of the Trade Center destruction. The incessant replaying of the plane exploding through the tower was, in almost the purest sense of the word, pornographic. I don't know if the other networks are exercising restraint in the U.S. I hope they are."

One of the reasons I find it difficult to watch any single TV channel for any length of time -- too much sensationalism, not enough news.


"Is America's cargo-airline fleet any less a potential weapon? Fedex flies big jets, too. What's being done to secure them?"

Updated 09/14/2001 4:57pm

Congressional sources tell CNN that Republican and Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have agreed in principle to a $2.5 billion emergency bailout package for the U.S. airline industry, which was hard hit by this week's terrorist attacks.
Bush gives the Defense Department the go-ahead to call up to 50,000 reservists for "homeland defense." Governors in 31 states have already called up 10,000 National Guard troops.
The Senate also passed a resolution authorizing the president to use force to retaliate against the terrorist attacks. The vote was 98-0.
The Pentagon on Friday was expected to hold several multireligious services honoring the memory of the attack victims of the Pentagon plane crash. Prayer services are scheduled as well as those for Christians, Protestants and Jews.
WTC rebuilding planned
Lease owner committed to project, though not exact replicas

...The developer who led the group that purchased the World Trade Center's 99-year lease in July 1999 for $3.2 billion from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said he is committed to help rebuilding the center...

...adding that the 99-year lease is insured against terrorism.


A concise Osama bin Laden biography

Updated 09/14/2001 1:31am

The "America's fault" brigade are wrong

Dissects the argument "US encourages Israeli expansion and suppression of Palestinians; thus US partly to blame for WTC attacks" and points out why it's utter bullsh*t.

Also covers evolution of Islam and Islamic societies (did you know "algebra" and "chemistry" are Arab words?), from the Dark Ages to modern days, Russian colonialism, and more.

Strongly recommended reading.


"Sometimes freedom is worth dying for.
Sometimes there is no alternative."
FBI 10 most wanted poster for Osama Bin Laden
The London Guardian: British retailers are sweeping the Microsoft Flight Simulator computer game off their shelves after worries emerged that the U.S. terrorists could have honed their flying skills using the game.
1-meter resolution satellite image of Manhattan (pre-attack)
More on the "America: The Good Neighbor" e-mail currently in circulation: "The text is (more or less) a transcript of a broadcast by a Canadian commentator named Gordon Sinclair. He lived from 1900-1984. Although this commentary may have been given news coverage recently, it was originally broadcast in June, 1973, apparently in reference to the Vietnam War. The text has been altered a bit (some sections removed, and some wordings changed - for instance, "so far this spring" was changed to "this spring." If you'd like to hear an audio recording of the original broadcast, you'll find it here
Professor Donna Hoffman: "While the network TV stations blather, the Internet carries the news and connects the masses in a true interactive sob."
Salon: "But it wasn't President Bush calming Americans all day Tuesday. It was New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who emerged as the leader the nation yearned for, while Bush spent the day in the blue skies over the U.S., being shuttled from Florida to Louisiana to Omaha before finally returning to Washington, almost 12 hours after the terrifying attack."
Hyman Brown, the Trade Center's construction manager: "This building would have stood had a plane or a force caused by a plane smashed into it. But steel melts, and 24,000 gallons of aviation fluid melted the steel. Nothing is designed or will be designed to withstand that fire. If they did it lower in the building the fire department could have gotten to it sooner. In its simplicity, it was brilliant."
"Browsing through some of my New York pictures, I was struck, even after watching them on TV all day, by how damn big the WTC towers were—even by NYC standards. Because of the zoomed-in or odd-angled perspectives most of the pictures and videos today have been from, many non-New Yorkers may not have a feel for how prominent these buildings were. Here is a picture I took from atop the Empire State Building a year ago. It could have been a day ago. Now they're gone. Astonishing."
Osama bin Laden FAQ
The Economist: "Ironically, New York was a city with one of the best anti-terrorist contingency plans in the country. But those plans were aimed at a biological or chemical attack. And the situation room where the response was to be coordinated was in the World Trade Center, of all places."
"An airliner controlled by a person intent on suicide is itself like a cruise missile. The only thing possible is to shoot it down before it hits its target. Indeed the American air force announced that it had scrambled fighters over Washington. But in preparing the extraordinarily high security used for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, American planners were told that, in such a situation, they would have no legal right to shoot a plane, laden with passengers, out of the sky. It would be impossible to know the true intent of the terrorist in control until it was too late."
Eric S. Raymond: "Perhaps it is too much to hope that we will respond to this shattering tragedy as well as the Israelis, who have a long history of preventing similar atrocities by encouraging their civilians to carry concealed weapons and to shoot back at criminals and terrorists. But it is in that policy of a distributed response to a distributed threat, with every single citizen taking personal responsibility for the defense of life and freedom, that our best hope for preventing recurrences of today's mass murders almost certainly lies."
"Nostradamus did not write the quatrain now being attributed to him. (One wonders how a guy who died in 1566 could have written an item identified as being penned in 1654 anyway.) It originated with a student at Brock University in Canada in the 1990s, appearing on a web page essay on Nostradamus. That particular quatrain was offered by the page's author, Neil Marshall, as a fabricated example to illustrate how easily an important-sounding prophecy can be crafted through the use of abstract imagery. He pointed out how the terms he used were so deliberately vague they could be interpreted to fit any number of cataclysmic events."

Updated 09/14/2001 12:19am

Person1: "Holy f*ck!"

Person2: "Wish I had a dollar for every time someone said that in the last 48 hours."


Morgan Stanley says miraculous number of staff alive
"Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., which occupied 25 floors in the complex, was only missing 15 employees, a high-ranking official said. The firm, which had 3,700 employees in the complex, had earlier said between 30 and 40 workers were unaccounted for."
Three Dog Bakery's Gracie Foundaton is sending food to the search and rescue dogs at the World Trade Center and booties to protect their feet while the dogs search through the rubble.
Air Security International Statement via World Watch Monitor: "The attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were conducted by terrorists who took control of hijacked commercial aircraft. Increased security precautions instituted as a result of these tragedies will make them difficult to repeat. Air Security International is concerned that a terrorist organization seeking to attack the United States in a manner similar to the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon may use air charter aircraft instead. For this reason, we strongly urge all air charter companies to conduct thorough background checks on all clients prior to accepting a flight. In making this warning, we wish to point out that we are not in receipt of any special intelligence warning of an impending attack; rather, we are simply identifying a possible threat and recommending a countermeasure."
Leonard Pitts Jr. writing in The Miami Herald: "I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn."


Hindustan Times: The similarity in the attire of Sikhs and Osama Bin Laden is making them the target of assault from Americans eager to avenge Tuesday's attacks.
Virginia, Fire and Rescue official Scott McKay: "We haven't actually located the black box. We've gotten it narrowed down."
Reuters: Nearly 12 tons of gold appears to be buried under mountains of debris from New York City's destroyed twin towers, where experts said it was securely out of reach of treasure hunters, looters and, for now, even the bullion trading community.

Updated 09/13/2001 12:25am

Dennis Miller's thoughts on McVeigh's execution
"Some anti-death penalty advocates say that McVeigh's execution won't bring closure to the survivors of the bombing. Maybe not, but it will bring closure to McVeigh's eyes, and frankly, that's all I need right now."

Updated 09/12/2001 6:13pm

A list of tenants of the buildings destroyed in the World Trade Center read like a ``Who's Who'' of international finance, underlining Manhattan's key role in global markets
"The first clues began to emerge about the identities of the perpetrators, pointing toward a possible Middle Eastern and Islamic connection.

Boston newspapers reported authorities there had identified five Arab men as suspects and had seized a rental car containing Arabic-language flight training manuals at the city's Logan International Airport, where two of the hijacked planes originated.

Investigators found a copy of the Koran, a videotape on how to fly commercial jets and a fuel consumption calculator in a pair of bags meant for American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center, the Boston Globe said."


Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said the U.S. response would far surpass a single reprisal raid.

"Let's not think that one single counterattack will rid the world of terrorism of the kind we saw yesterday," Powell said on the NBC "Today" program."

"This is going to take a multifaceted attack on many dimensions -- diplomatic, military, intelligence, law enforcement. All sorts of things have to be done to bring this scourge under control."


Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. was the [WTC's] largest tenant, with about 3,500 employees occupying 25 floors in the towers.
Brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald had offices on four of the top 10 floors of 1 World Trade Center.

They cannot yet account for about 1,000 employees who worked on the top floors of one of the WTC towers.

Cantor, one of the biggest bond trading houses on Wall Street, on Tuesday said its technical systems were redundant enough to ultimately come out intact.


The New York Board of Trade, which trades agricultural commodity futures and is based in the World Trade Center complex, was buried under the rubble and did not expect to reopen trading until Monday at its back-up facility in Long Island City, New York.

"You can see shots of it with significant damage," said Chairman Charles Falk. "If so, it's probably history. God knows how long it will be to restore it."


OppenheimerFunds, which manages about $125 billion in assets, is ready to handle all shareholder transactions as soon as stock market trading resumes and has moved its operations for now to an office in New Jersey.
Shares of insurance companies were spurned in Europe and Asia after deadly attacks on U.S. targets, and analysts said it could be a year before the impact on Canada's largest reinsurer, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., is known.

"I think all insurance companies are going to be getting whacked here almost regardless of their line of business," said Richard Rooney, president of Burgundy Asset Management, a small institution with a stake in Fairfax.

"They are going to take big hits so, as you know, when they take hits, they raise prices and that just flows right through the whole system."

Exchange data indicated there was no large block trading in Fairfax, showing that small sellers, not institutions, drove down the Fairfax price. Other Canadian insurers, including Manulife Financial and Clarica, also came under pressure, as did their overseas peers.

"Insurance companies are possibly going to claim that terrorism is an act of war, so there could be lots of litigation"


Tuesday's attack on New York's financial district destroyed a wealth of important data and documents, but many companies expect to be up and running soon thanks to back-up files in other locations.

Some World Trade Center tenants have lost data that may be impossible to retrieve. Philadelphia-based law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, which occupied the 89th floor of the North Tower, lost paper documents related to the securities industry that were not stored elsewhere.

"We are going to have a problem re-creating hard files," James Sweet, the firm's chairman, told Reuters. ``We back up all our electronic data every night but you can't replace hard files.'' He said Drinker plans to replace the lost files by using duplicates held at courts and other firms.


Amtrak Travel Swells to New York, Washington and Elsewhere As Airports Remain Closed
Amtrak is honoring airline tickets for travel to the cities it serves during the disruption.

"Amtrak ridership to New York City and Washington D.C. has been building throughout the day," said Stan Bagley, Amtrak's Vice President of Operations. "In addition to Amtrak's regular weekday service, the railroad is prepared to add capacity to trains to meet the needs of guests as may be necessary."


EBay Bans Trade Center, Pentagon Items The massive Internet auction site eBay is banning the sale of any items relating to the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, out of sensitivity to Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

Managers of the site took down several listings offering debris or other items purportedly from the buildings.

As the day went on, the company decided that it would not be appropriate to allow even legitimate items related to the World Trade Center or the Pentagon

The ban will last until Oct. 1

Updated 09/12/2001 3:49pm

Canadian newspaper editorial "The Good Neighbor", by Gordon Sinclair
[If you can't get one of the links to load, try Google's "Cached" copy]

A touch too pure -- doesn't mention how the U.S. is sometimes not so white-hat -- but still a good reminder how one-sided the world community can be.


Airline industry leaders yesterday informed Congress, regardless how fast the airports re-open, they expect a) a HUGE drop in revenues, b) 50% less traffic than normal in the next 3 months and c) given the major drop in revenue, doubt they'll have the cash to continue functioning [in the black] to year's end.

In short, no matter what anyone does now, it's a foregone conclusion the [U.S.] airline industry is f*cked.


Looks like we have our first airline casualty:
"Midway Airlines announced Wednesday that it has suspended all flight operations indefinitely and laid off 1,700 employees effective immediately."
All Middle Eastern nations, save one, denounced yesterday's terrorist attack.
Iraq being the notable exception.

Under the headline "America burns," the official newspaper Al-Iraq said that "what happened in the United States yesterday is a lesson for all tyrants, oppressors and criminals."

Other countries usually considered anti-American condemned the terrorists -- including traditionally anti-American ruler Moammar Gadhafi, Afghanistan's Taliban and Iran.

IOW, not counting Iraq, everyone else is denouncing yesterday's events because they're so horrified at the acts, or so deathly afraid of the coming sh*tstorm if they're even thought to be connected to yesterday. Or both.


"As Palestinians celebrated in one West Bank town and in Lebanese refugee camps on Tuesday, their leader Yasser Arafat offered his sympathy to Americans and said the Palestinian authority was "completely shocked" by the string of attacks.

Arafat said: "We are completely shocked. It's unbelievable. We completely condemn this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people."

...Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Authority Cabinet member, said the apparent celebrations in Ramallah in the West Bank were a minority reaction and focusing on them would be misleading, as far as Arab reaction to the attacks is concerned.

...King Abdullah of Jordan, who spoke to CNN from the Royal Palace in Amman, agreed that the celebrations in the West Bank were isolated events and said "we were just as shocked as you are."

"It's a small group of people; it's no way a reflection of the Palestinian people or other peoples of the Middle East," said Abdullah, who added that Jordan shares the sorrow and grief suffered by Americans.

Methinks someone isn't quite fully in touch with "his people"...
Of course, what's new...

More remarks from Middle Eastern nations here and here.


Taliban appeals to U.S. not to attack Afghanistan
http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/09/12/afghan.denial/

"There are good indications that persons linked to Osama bin Laden may be responsible for these attacks," an intelligence official told CNN, echoing the sentiments of some U.S. politicians.

The United Nations have already began evacuating staff from Afghanistan.

Translation: Even the UN thinks action in Afghanistan is likely...


Terrorism analyst Magnu Ranstorp told CNN that bin Laden is was in charge of a terrorism organization that is "truly a multinational enterprise" with followers from many different nationalities.
...bin Laden is being viewed as a possible suspect behind the terrorism attacks.

"Most of the attention is focused on bin Laden, perhaps not on him personally but on many of his lieutenants his followers all over the world," Ranstorp said.

Ranstorp said there has been a massive international effort since 1996 when bin Laden declared a holy war against the U.S. to tack bin Laden, his financial assets and his followers down.

He added that U.S. and other intelligence agencies have had a great difficulty in gathering information on the Al Quaida group because of the de-centralized nature of the organization and their experience is understanding how western intelligence operates.


...on Wednesday, helicopter gunships operated by the Northern Alliance attacked Kabul's airport, firing missiles at targets.

The Northern Alliance have been involved in a long running civil war with the Taliban control about five percent of the country.

The Taliban says two airplanes and a workshop were damaged in the attacks.


"Travelers will indeed see increased security measures at our airports, train stations, and other key sights," said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta at a press conference Tuesday. "There will be higher levels of surveillance, more stringent searches. Airport curbside luggage check-in will no longer be allowed. There will be more security officers and random identification checks."

"I expect ... a whole set of standards (last) used during the Gulf War," says David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association.


"FAA says that U.S. airspace will be open Wednesday in a limited manner to allow stranded passengers to continue their journeys: only those airports that meet strict security measures will be opened."

"The Federal Aviation Administration has given clearance for flights diverted after Tuesday's terrorist attacks to continue on to their final destination Wednesday, but ordered all other commercial air traffic to remain grounded."

"Only passengers on the original flights will be allowed to re-board, and only after airports and airlines have implemented strict screening measures."

More details here


Pentagon announces: Military jets will be seen in skies over New York and Washington for the next several days.
New York City is closed to the public south of 14th Street.

Updated 09/12/2001 12:29pm

At least one hijacker on some (all?) of the planes used cell phones to communicate with each other; (some?) of these calls were intercepted; known associates of Osama bin Laden.

Supposedly Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) disclosed this information to the press (last night?).

Colin Powell said the Director(?) of the NSC(?) is p*ssed.
This kind of information is supposed to be kept secret for national security reasons.
This is how authorities figured out bin Laden was behind the 1998 bombings in Africa.


The U.S. used to have a "Sky Marshall" policy -- an armed U.S. Marshall on (every?) flight.
This program ended years ago; one reason was money (I forget the other two reasons mentioned).
If this program was in place, it's possible it would have prevented some if not all of the hijackings.
In a phone interview last night, Tom Clancy said he never would have written a book of yesterday's events, as it would have been just too unbelievable.
Several high profile members of technology, entertainment and political fields were on hijacked planes
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/notable.victims/index.html
"When Air Force One arrived in Washington on Tuesday evening, it was escorted by two F-15 fighters and one F-16."

I thought Air Force One always had a fighter escort, but apprently this was not always (or even common) for domestic flights.
Before.


NATO news:

"For the first time in the military alliance's history, the 19 member states are considering sending support of any kind to the U.S. in response to Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

The draft proposal would look to invoke NATO's self-defence charter, diplomatic sources and State Department officials told CNN.

The proposal, put forward by NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, would call for support of Article Five of the alliance's charter, which is the basic reason for NATO's existence.

It spells out the requirement that if one of NATO's members is attacked, all its allies would defend it.

One official put it this way: "A hit for one is a hit for all."

...officials say invoking Article Five would provide on an "expedited basis" use of air space by the allies and make other kinds of assistance available.

Updated 09/11/2001 11:43pm

Jerry Pournelle's prediction ("Tuesday") on America heading towards Empire
http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/currentview.html
"For good or ill, today's events have determined that: we will be an empire. Don't make of that more than I said: it's an easy prediction, and at the moment isn't intended to imply either approval or lack of approval. It's merely inevitable now. The nation has been shut down from coast to coast. When it reopens it will not be the same country."

A worthy read.

Also note the comment about botulin and anthrax.
Scr*w explosives.
You want a truly devastating attack, drop a vial of smallpox or one of its friends in the middle of a crowded city.

Get off the subway.
Walk up the stairs to the street.
Start walking.
Casually slip the bottle out of your pocket and drop it in front of you.
Step on it, cracking the glass.
Keep walking.

That is what should really give you screaming nightmares...


"It is not over. Authorities have arrested 2 people with a truckload of explosives at the George Washington Bridge."

Updated 09/11/2001 8:28pm

Info about the Pentagon plane crash
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/pentagon.olson/
"...Ted Olson told CNN that his wife [Barbara, on board the plane] said all passengers and flight personnel, including the pilots, were herded to the back of the plane by armed hijackers. The only weapons she mentioned were knives and cardboard cutters..."

Updated 09/11/2001 7:54pm

Terrorists (plural) onboard flights were armed with knives
"The prime time Emmy's are postponed indefinitely"

Updated 09/11/2001 6:41pm

CNN just reported Bush denies air strike on Kabul, Afghanistan a US action.
Description of THREATCONs (see "THREATCON DELTA" -- current level)
http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/app-J_THRE
Ambassadors of the world's most powerful military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, scheduled an emergency meeting for 5 p.m. ET to discuss the crisis at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
From MSNBC:

THE SCALE of the attacks and the loss of life - mostly in New York City's World Trade Center, but also in Pittsburgh and Washington - ensured that "no option has been taken off the table," senior U.S. officials said. Asked if that included nuclear weapons, one senior official said: "I said no option is out of the question. That's precisely what I mean."


"...report regarding the escorted landing of two 747's at Whitehorse International Airport:

11:42am A Korean Airlines cargo 747-400 landed using every inch of available runway
11:50am We spotted another inbound jet
11:52am A Korea Airlines passenger 747 landed coming down just 15 feet above the fence....an awesome and scary sight from only 100 feet away. 3 F-18's (hard to say, they were pretty high up) escorted them in and continued to circle Whitehorse's airspace.

Luckily Whitehorse's runway had just been extended to facilitate 747's last year.

Emergency vehicles kept their distance from both planes, the passenger plane having taxied back to the north end of the runway, as far away from the terminal as possible.

A gray truck approached the passenger plane, dispersing ground personnel to chalk the wheels, then fell in behind an officer wielding a long barreled weapon and backed up behind the officer to the truck and departed the scene

A ramp was brought to the aircraft but no one left for about 20 minutes (at 12:36pm) when a single male came down and walked towards the police vehicles (we could hear the occasional word from a police loudspeaker) he made it about half way when he was obviously ordered to lift his shirt up, turn around, lift his pant legs, then he removed the shirt completely, holding it over his head while continuing to walk towards the vehicles. People with binoculars were able to see several FBI jackets amongst the police. There was a lear jet nearby which was probably used to get the FBI here from Alaska (since as far as I know we don't have any resident FBI in Yukon).

At 12:43pm we were ordered away from the area by the RCMP. Apparently for `our own safety' - we were on crown land, outside the airport's perimeter fence.

Updated 09/11/2001 6:19pm

The plane downed near Pittsburgh is reported not to have been shot down.
A fifth plane which had been feared hijacked, this one a Korean Air jetliner, was forced down by Canadian Air Force planes over the Yukon. However, this plane is reported not to have been hijacked -- instead, its emergency beacon was triggered by a low-fuel indicator.
"CTO of Akamai was on the fateful plane that hit the trade center"

Caryn Brownell
Media Relations
Akamai Technologies
617-444-4661
cbrownell@akamai.com

AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES MOURNS THE LOSS OF CO-FOUNDER AND CTO DANIEL LEWIN

Cambridge, MA, September 11, 2001 - With great sadness, Akamai Technologies, Inc. today announced the passing of Daniel C. Lewin, co-founder, chief technology officer and board member of the Company. American Airlines confirmed that he was on board the Boston to Los Angeles flight that crashed in New York City today. Danny was 31 years old and is survived by his wife and two sons.

George H. Conrades, chairman and chief executive officer of Akamai said, "Danny was a wonderful human being. He will be deeply missed by his many friends at Akamai. Our thoughts and prayers are with Danny's family, friends and colleagues during this time of national tragedy and personal loss."


"The CFO of my company, Netegrity was on United Airlines Flight 175, which has been confirmed to us by United Airlines to have hit tower two of the WTC."
A woman who was on the 92nd floor of the first WTC building when the plane hit it. She was able to escape and so was everyone "in her company" so it is assumed that virtually everyone from the 92nd floor down was evacuated successfully - an estimated 20,000 people of the 25,000 in the building.
The plane that went down in PA had a woman onboard who locked herself in the bathroom with her cellular phone - she was telling authorities about the hijacking when the plane crashed and killed her - that is the only way the authorities knew for sure what plane went down in PA so quickly, she gave her flight number
When the first WTC building crashed (which was the 2nd one to be hit), 125 firemen were down below fighting the fire on the first building to be hit... none of them have been heard from yet - 10,000 emergency personnel in NYC responded to the first WTC getting hit... it is unknown how many of those were crushed in the two collapsed buildings.
Building 7 (part of the WTC complex) collapsed, but it was expected and officials were waiting for about a half hour. "Injuries from this collapse are minimal."
"The Mexican border is completely closed and the Canadian border is still open - all International flights have been redirected to Northern Canada"

"Actually, that statement above is exactly the opposite of correct. ABC is reporting the Canadian border crossings are closed (remember the guy they nabbed on the runup to Y2K in Washington State). Mexican border crossings are open, except for San Ysidro (near San Diego)."

"The Mexican border was closed first. The Canadian border was not CLOSED entirely, however the stations from New York to Canada were."

"I live in Vancouver...
The Canadian border is open, it was closed briefly. Don't bother trying to get through, you need a specific reason and every car is being searched. A CBC reporter was let through, but they put spikes down in front of the car before searching it just so he couldn't get through.
Planes are being diverted to whatever Canadian airport can handle them, not just northern ones. I can see the Vancouver airport from where I am, and it's just a sea of planes. I don't see how anymore could possibly get in, but I still hear more circling overhead. They've obviously opened a runway they don't normally use, because the planes are coming down on a line they don't normally take.

"Reports that came earlier in the day point towards the Canadian border crossing to be closed. This is not the case. The borders are open but long lines as extensive searches may have lead to the rumour that they were closed. Truck and car traffic is being allowed to cross. Some crossings are ghost towns because of the rumours."

Updated 09/11/2001 5:37pm

Anniversaries
Today is International Peace Day
Today is the anniversary of the start of the 1978 Camp David Peace Accord talks
Tomorrow was to be the sentencing for one of the original WTC bombers from 1993
"I have heard, at this point unconfirmed rumors, that the plane that went down in PA was headed for Camp David"

"We also had a report from someone who lives 3 miles away from the PA crash. Evidently the plane veered several times, and then smashed into an abandoned strip mine."


A list of the buisnesses at the WTC -> http://www.onisland.com/wtc/bizdir/
24K ZIP file (recommended)
   
http://janitor61.home.mindspring.com/list/bdir.zip
"In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apprt by Chaos, while the fotress undures, the great leader will succumb" "The third big war will begin when the big City is burning" --Nostradamus, 1654 n. C.
"You know what, this Pearl Harbor ][ stuff is bull. This is Hiroshima ][, both in terms of bombing innocents and the death toll. The scary part, Dubyas ill conceived Star Wars sequal wouldn't have made a bit of difference in this case. *That's* why the military has all their brass out there talking about Pearl Harbor. Don't let them distract you, this is Hiroshima ][ and it shows what a waste of $60B Star Wars ][ is."
Why did Bush go from Florida to Louisiana?
"It is the closest military base to Florida with complete military communications which provide links to all aspects of the US military (including nuclear weaponry)."
If you're without a radio or TV in your office, try #CNN_Newsfeed on chat.cnn.com. It shows the closed captions for what's currently on-screen on CNN.
"While the US President commits huge sums of money, and breaches solemn international treaty obligations, to develop missile defence, the perpetrators were able to use fifty tons of aviation fuel that they didn't even have to pay for. Who needs a suitcase bomb, when you've got domestic aircraft?"

"This was a superbly well organised and executed operation on the part of the perpetrators, whoever they were, but it was also an incredibly cheap one. I should be surprised if the whole budget for the operation exceeded $100,000."


More Pentagon info:
"Plane crashed by the helliport, on the Southwest side. Most reports are that it hit between the E and D rings (outermost ring is E). There are confirmed dead adults in the building. None of the children in the daycare center were harmed. All of the children are accounted for and safe."
Timeline of events
http://mail1.ats.rochester.edu/~mp003k/terrorism.html
[Also links to various news sites, pictures and more info]
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