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Further Updates On Terrorist Attack 1093

Posted by timothy
from the if-you're-type-o-you're-everybody's-type dept.
Further news of the events going on around the world following the attacks earlier today on New York and Washington. To follow things even more closely, you are encouraged to join realtime CNN coverage in channel #cnn_newsfeed on irc.idlenet.org. (Doubtless there are other similar IRC and IM feeds going on -- please post them in comments.) In addition to the news below, note that CNN has reported that multiple suspects were arrested with a van loaded with explosives in the vicinity of New York's George Washington Bridge. Update: 09/12 04:29 AM GMT by T : Many readers have reported that the van in question was found not to contain explosives, though its occupants were held for questioning. And Giacomo DiGrigoli, international product manager at PayPal.com, wrote with word of a donation fund on the PayPal website where folks can make donations to the American Red Cross.

Contradicting earlier reports, reader Adam Brookman writes: "I can guarantee that no car bomb went off in front of the State Dept. in DC. My father is part of the critical personel at State dept. When I read that I called him. He said he heard the same thing and he also heard that the building was hit by a plane, but neither were true."

Worth reading is this analysis of the motives and some possible suspects in today's violence, at Jane's International Security News. They've picked three plausible attackers. Motive aside, Jack Bryar has a convincing take on who is really most hurt by the attacks today.

babyruth writes: "amazon.com has a Red Cross Relief fund set up on their homepage, where you can contribute online. Only several hundred have contributed so far, let the power of /. help!" Iridium provides a link straight to the donations page, noting that "All standard fees are waived -- all proceeds go directly to the Red Cross." Of course, the Red Cross is -still- in desperate need of blood. If you can donate, please call 1-800-HELP-NOW to find the donation center nearest to you.

iggyflashbulb writes: "CNN reports some oddball group not associated with bin Laden is attacking Kabul at night. Are they taking advantage of the NY situation or did they create it?"

An anonymous reader writes: "Following the sad (and outrageous) mess of these terrorist attacks, results are already starting to impact the country. When a RSM failed on one of our 5500 Ciscos, we recieved the following notice

'Due to a national emergency completion of your case, delivery of your parts or engineer will be delayed until further notice. Several areas of the country have restricted transportation and currently no air traffic is available. Cisco will notify you as soon a we are able to dispatch your order.'

There doesn't seem to any information on Cisco's site."

CERT is in action as well: SilentTone writes: "Ween Hall at Carnegie-Mellon University was evacuated today so the the Computer Emergency Response Team could go into action."

Many readers have been assembling mirrors for the overloaded news sites of the world. Jon Anhold writes: "I've compiled more photos and what not, mirrored many of the sites around to help the load. They're available here: http://ziggy.dreamland.net/wtc/"

Owen Bossola writes: "This is a simple webpage I put up with shots I took all day of the World Trade Center. I go to school across the river at Stevens Institute of Technology and I watched the whole thing from campus. It is absolutely nuts, I'm looking out my window and for the first time, downtown NYC is dark, and there aren't two large buildings gleaming back at me."

rhyder writes: "I was last in the World Trade Center and the attached World Financial Center on Saturday evening. Many people I know work in those buildings, even more live and work in the shadow of those 2 towers.

From the Port Authority of NY and NJ:

  1. The Port Authority
  2. Trade Center Concourse Level Map
  3. Trade Center Plaza Level Map
  4. Trade Center Complex Overview
  5. Area Map showing southern tip of Manhattan and the Trade Center location."
An Anonymous Coward seeks more information about an interview that Washington area readers may be able to provide: He writes: "Fox News channel 5 (local around 6:30ish E.S.T) this evening had an interview with a witness about what he saw at the Pentagon the moment of impact. His interview was the basic 'I was in my car looked to my side..blah blah' but then he said something totally unexpected. He observed a second airplane immediately swing behind the first in a follow like manner and swoop down on the Pentagon only to pull up at the last second, out of the smoke cloud, and fly away. His description of the plane was pretty detailed, saying it was propeller-driven ... He stated everyone around him who were also outside their cars saw the SECOND Airplane following the first and it was also going in."

Anyone else able to confirm this rumor?

Jon Bishop asks: "Why Today? Why did this attack happen on September 11, 2001. Here is a guess. I played with the date commonly used for programming. YYYYMMDD returns 20010911. 911...in 2001. Is this play on numbers intentional or coincidence?" It may be significant that the anniversary of a Congressional resolution "favoring a Jewish homeland in Palestine" falls on this date. Then again, if you go back a century or two, you may find a lot of anniversaries that seem just as significant.

Carl Merritt writes: "Since many sites seem to be creaking under the load today I've dumped every relevant picture and video I can find onto my server, please feel free to suck up some of my unused bandwidth with downloads or links: http://www.binaryvista.com/WTC/ I'll probably leave it up for a couple weeks, or until CNN asks me to remove their pictures ;-)."

An Anonymous Coward writes "I just want to remind everyone that there is still active air cover over at least Chicago. A tanker is orbiting O'Hare and at least what appear to be two F-15s are making the rounds. If you would like more information including frequencies I suggest subscribing to the CARMA mailing list at QTH.net for up to date monitoring information."

Disheartening news from Egypt: soulflakes points to this story of some Egyptians celebrating the attacks today. Here's a BBC piece which indicates the feeling is shared in some other African countries. This doesn't mean that all or most people in any country feel the same way.

yoda389 writes: "I'm getting reports from friends that gas prices are jumping to as much as $5.00 a gallon. There are huge lines at all gas stations here in my hometown someplace in Wisconsin." And ikohl1 writes: "A friend just informed me of how gas prices were raised to $3.50 in a town near where i live. I didn't believe him at first but I found this article on Yahoo."

Gas prices may fluctuate in the short term, but in the long haul, effects on exports of goods physical and abstract may be affected just as drastically: elliotj writes: "MSNBC has a Steven Levy opinion piece on the possible implications of today's attack on America and governmental policy on encryption export restrictions. Personally, I think we need to determine exactly what happened before blaming physical or electronic security measures for a role in the tragedy. I heard the planes were hi-jacked with knives ... that doesn't sound very high-tech or a sign of significant security failings to me. It is the act itself that is so shocking and sickening."

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Further Updates On Terrorist Attack

Comments Filter:
  • The van (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ottffssent (18387) on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:47PM (#2284107)
    The van contained no explosives, but the three people involved have been detained for questioning.
    • Re:The van (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NewtonsLaw (409638)
      This report has been dismissed by some other sources.

      An up-to-the-minute running report on the whole story can be found on
      7amNews.com [7amnews.com] -- it's been going since 9am this morning and is pretty concise for those with limited time.


      Another suggestion worth a look is that offered part way down
      this page [aardvark.co.nz] which suggests that Microsoft's Flight Simulator might be the new terrorist training tool.

      • Re:The van (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mashiara (5631) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @01:23AM (#2284614) Homepage
        Another suggestion worth a look is that offered part way down
        this page [aardvark.co.nz] which suggests that Microsoft's Flight Simulator might be the new terrorist training tool.

        ----
        Bullshit, while it might not require specific type training for the model of the jet it would take experience in flying a large jet to fly one into a building (according to aviation experts back here in europe).

        Fact is that the original pilots did not crash the planes, they would not do it when they are going to die anyways they will rather dump the fuel and crash to the water, then at least some of the passengers would have a chance of surviving and the casualities in WTC would be avoided.

        As for hijacking a plane, it is and will always be doable (the surity measures required to stop determined and smart hijacker would be a commercial disaster, there would not be enough passengers), normally the hijackers just have less drastic agendas and when the plane lands into a western airstrip it can be owned quickly (Germans have special force that can secure 747 in less than 17 seconds [minor hostage casualities allowed, the plane however will propably not fly again])
    • by beefdart (520839) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @02:32AM (#2284834) Homepage
      We here at school have begun collecting images and video to help out with the bandwidth problem the news sites are having... Here [rit.edu] Also feel free to send anything in...
  • by jallen02 (124384) on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:47PM (#2284112) Homepage Journal
    The CNN news feed will be open again at 8AM ET. It just shut off a few minutes ago.

    Jeremy
  • by Therin (22398) <slashtherinNO@SPAMbjmoose.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:48PM (#2284117) Homepage
    From

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,34190,00.htm l

    September Anniversary of Several Past Attacks, Events
    Tuesday, September 11, 2001

    September marks the anniversary of several noted political events and terrorist attacks.

    On Sept. 11, 1922, a British mandate was proclaimed in Palestine, despite Arab protests. It lasted until 1948, after the United Nations authorized a partition of the territory and the state of Israel was established.

    On Sept. 6, 1970, three planes from TWA, Swissair and BOAC carrying more than 400 hostages were hijacked and ordered to the Jordanian airport by the PFLP, in what is known as "Skyjack Sunday." Another terrorist team tried to hijack an El Al Boeing over London but security staff foiled the attempt and captured one of the hijackers, Leila Khalid, alive. The German, Swiss and British Governments all agreed to the PFLP's demands and released a number of terrorists, including Khalid, held in their jails.

    On Sept. 11, 1972, the troubled Munich Summer Olympics, also remembered as "the Olympics of Terror," ended. For 21 hours under live television cameras,hooded gunmen of the Palestinian faction "Black September" held Israeli athletes hostage, killing 11 of them duringa botched getaway and airport firefight with German antiterrorism squads.

    On Sept. 28, 2000, the eve of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Ariel Sharon, then- leader of the opposition right-wing Likud party, visited the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Sharon, accompanied by an entourage of security officers, claimed he was exercising his right to visit the Mount, but his visit angered many Arabs, both Israeli and Palestinian. The day after the visit saw the beginning of what is known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • No Explosives (Score:2, Redundant)

    by matthewg (6374)
    There were no explosives in the van.
  • thoughts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yellowjacket03 (470997) on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:52PM (#2284140)
    I was on top of that building two weeks ago. I got the pictures that I took there yesterday. I can't really bring myself to open the package again. I don't think it has really sunk in for me yet. It all seemed so big, larger than life when I was standing there looking up at it and then when I was at the top staring down. I can't believe that the place is gone. I'm thinking of the French kid that took my picture in front of the rest of the Manhattan skyline. I'm angry, but I think I'm too shaken up to be as angry as I will be later.

    I'm not a religous person, but God be with the victims and protect the rescue workers as they do their best. I don't think I will ever forget the images of those people jumping from the top floors. I won't sleep well tonight.

    God bless you all.
  • by PenguinRadio (69089) on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:54PM (#2284153) Homepage
    1) DC Special Operations Police Channel is streamed at http://www.penguinradio.com/

    2) This is a posting from the DC Police Scanner mailing list (qth.net). Very interesting on air cover over DC.
    ---
    FW:------
    --
    All,

    These are my own observations based only on my hand notes taken at the time.

    I started listening to the events around 1030 EDT. The Trade Towers and the
    Pentagon had already been attacked. By that time there was not a peep of
    civil air traffic in the area. One of the first things I heard was Andrews
    tower announcing on their VHF & UHF freqs that their airspace was closed and
    that all intruders would be shot down. That certainly put an exclamation
    point on what I was to hear for the rest of the day.

    Throughout the day the Regan National controller (125.65) was the overall
    controlling authority for the DC area. He authorized all departures and
    entries into the Class B airspace. That role still remains as of 2200 EDT.

    As of 2100 EDT Andrews is starting to return to normal with Airevacs and some
    helos and VIP jets starting to fly in.

    Fighters:

    By 1030 there were two flights of DC ANG F-16s (Wild & Caps) up in Combat
    Air Patrol (CAP). At that time there were news reports of another, missing
    airliner, so I assume the F-16s were up protecting the DC area from that
    possibility. Soon these F-16s were joined by three more F-16s from Langley,
    North Dakota ANG aircraft normally deployed to Langley in an air defense
    mode. The DC ANG flight leader assumed the role as CAP commander trying to
    keep all the aircraft straight. DC ANG F-16s assumed control the airspace
    below 23,000 ft and the Langley F-16s and alter, F-15s took the airspace
    above that.

    After about an hour, two Langley F-15s (First) joined the CAP and took up
    position high above the area. They were also joined by some F-18s up from
    Oceana. This caused some problems as far as refueling was concerned. The
    KC-10s, who had the drogue capability, were ready to RTB and were out of
    fuel. One of the KC-10s (Team 23) took it upon himself to set up to refuel
    his aircraft from the available KC-135 (Tazz) so that he would be in a
    position to refuel both the boom aircraft (F-16s & F-15s) and the drogue guys
    (F-18s).

    In the early afternoon, a flight of two VA ANG F-16s (Fury) came up to the DC
    area to join the CAP group. The CAP commander later sent them back to the
    Richmond area because there were too many aircraft in the DC area. After
    about 30 minutes the VA ANG guys decided to end their CAP around Richmond and
    RTB'ed to Harry Byrd International.

    Tankers:

    By 1030 there were two McGuire KC-10s (Team 23 & 24) up in the area. I'm not
    sure if they were already in the general area when the events unfolded or
    they were scrambled from McGuire. They started refueling the DC & Langley
    F-16s so they could stay in the area. For awhile, in the morning, Team 23
    also assumed the role of an AWACS giving target and vectoring information to
    the CAP fighters. Team 23 eventually recovered at Andrews and refueled and
    went back up in the late PM (1740). What a crew. They deserve a medal.
    They've been up there since at least 1030 this morning.

    Around the same time as the McGuire tankers were noted, two KC-135s from the
    Maine ANG (Maine 85 & 86) were also in the area working with the McGuire
    tankers. I believe that these guys had been up off the East Coast and were
    diverted to the area to support operations.

    Later in the morning and in the early afternoon two OH ANG KC-135s (Tazz &
    Flop) and two PA ANG KC-135s (Steel) also joined the support crowd.

    AWACS:

    About an hour after I started listening, an AWACS (Bandsaw Kilo) was noted
    off the MD/VA coast and started taking control of the airspace. However, the
    DC ANG CAP commander continued to control the immediate airspace around
    downtown DC. Later in the afternoon he was joined by another AWACS
    (Chalice). I'm assuming that these aircraft were deployed from Langley or
    possibly Seymour-Johnson. Bandsaw and Chalice were both in the area until
    quite late in the evening.

    Helos:

    They were so many medevac helos trying to get into the Pentagon area to
    extricate the wounded that I couldn't keep track of all of them.
    Interspersed among the medevacs were several 1st Helo Sqdn (Mussels) getting
    into the Pentagon area to take out some of the military VIPs (JCS).

    There were also a couple of US Navy helos (HU-720) and another ) that came up
    to Andrews from Norfolk. I'm assuming that these were carrying VIPs from
    CincLant. News reports said that the area of the Pentagon that was struck by
    the plane housed mostly USN & Marine offices.

    Late in the PM there were several Nighthawk helos operating back & forth
    between MCAF Quantico and Andrews. I'm assuming that they were shuttling
    military VIPs.

    NCS:

    Huntress assumed NCS role sometime in the late morning and set up on 255.8,
    228.9 & 234.6. Huntress assumed responsibility for designating targets and
    releasing fighters to prosecute these targets.

    The DC ANG F-16s and Langley F-15s as well as the AWACS and tankers have
    been up continuously, -all day. They are still up and it's 2200 EDT. They
    must be bushed.

    These crews certainly have shown a very high level of professionalism and
    devotion to duty. I for one am glad they are up there looking over us. Those
    of you who support our military you can be VERY PROUD of their actions on
    this day.
  • by KenDown (88958) on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:55PM (#2284156)
    Wasn't there a story on \. the other day about the Govt. raiding an ISP that mostly served Islamic sites? I have searched for it here, but cannot find it now. I was wondering now if they did that because they had some idea that something big was about to go down??
    • Not only this but the state department issued warnings about terrorist attacks more than a week ago. Bin Laden was making threats as well, but I put no stock in the Bin Laden thing. The Media is taking Bin Laden and running with him as a thing for most people to focus their anger on (At this point) IMO. He may have done it. You and I cant know yet. Check out this leek. Dated Sep 7th from the state department talking about terrorist activities from extremist groups almost a WEEK ago. Terrorist Warning [state.gov] It even has his name (Osama Bin Laden) in it :(

      Jeremy
    • Yes that story did happen. This sounds very likely as I have read other stories in the past week or so about Bin Laden communicating through websites.
    • by an ominous cow ward (443574) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @01:09AM (#2284557)
      Yes. This happened in the city I live in, Richardson, TX. The FBI raided an Internet company that was apparantly a front for Osama fundraising. There were also allegations that a temple accross the street was involved. My local news reported that millions of dollars had been funneled to Osama through this operation. It's really screwed up that almost all of the money used to fund the Taliban comes from the US.

      I don't think the raid had any thing to do with these attacks. It came after weeks of investigation, and there was no mention of planned activities. However, I have read that there were interviews in recent weeks where a major attack was referered to by the Taliban and tacitly confirmed by Bin Ladin.
  • 2nd plane (Score:2, Informative)

    by gusman (21351)
    I can confirm that a second plane was reported on the local DC television stations, and it was described as detailed above.
  • My feelings. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spicy Bisquit (100885)
    i could easily say something about palestinian squirrels or Osama Bin Koala, but i just am not in the mood. this type of event depresses hell out of me. i know one can easily consider the loss of life and death toll and think "this is horrible". but it is when i think about the small things that really bother me. imagine, everyone on their way to work, listening to the stereo, just rocking out, never expecting that today was the day they die. or the little kid who kisses his mommy goodbye when he leaves for school. it was the last time. and to even begin to consider how the families and friends of those who have died and are missing feel. there are people going to sleep tonight not knowing if they will ever see their spouse, kid, or best friend ever again. so i will try to get my mind off all of this.
  • This was coming (Score:3, Informative)

    by maniacdavid (157804) on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:58PM (#2284186)
    According to USA Today [usatoday.com], this attack was all in the making if Bin Laden is the case. The article is only about 3 months old, but it details on how Osama Bin Laden used encryption inside of pictures most likely to hide possible attacks. They say this is Bin Laden's latest encryption scheme to convey terrorist information. So when the CIA says did not know this was going to happen, really maybe they are covering up the fact that they sort of knew this but didn't think it would amount to anything.
  • by matthewg (6374) <matthewg@zevils.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:59PM (#2284194) Homepage
    A group known as the Northern Alliance, an Afghan group opposed to the Taliban and associated with Shah Massooda, has taken credit for the explosions in Afghanistan.
  • by klrnsdme (241702) on Tuesday September 11, 2001 @11:59PM (#2284199) Homepage
    From skyscraper.org [skyscraper.org]

    World Trade Center History and Stats

    The World Trade Center
    Height: 1,368 and 1,362 feet (417 and 415 meters)
    Owners: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
    Architect: Minoru Yamasaki, Emery Roth and Sons consulting

    Engineer: John Skilling and Leslie Robertson of Worthington, Skilling, Helle and Jackson
    Ground Breaking: August 5, 1966
    Opened: 1970-73; April 4, 1973 ribbon cutting
    The World Trade Center is more than its signature twin towers: it is a complex of seven buildings on 16-acres, constructed and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The towers, One and Two World Trade Center, rise at the heart of the complex, each climbing more than 100 feet higher than the silver mast of the Empire State Building.

    Construction of a world trade facility had been under consideration since the end of WWII. In the late 1950s the Port Authority took interest in the project and in 1962 fixed its site on the west side of Lower Manhattan on a superblock bounded by Vesey, Liberty, Church and West Streets. Architect Minoru Yamasaki was selected to design the project; architects Emery Roth & Sons handled production work, and, at the request of Yamasaki, the firm of Worthington, Skilling, Helle and Jackson served as engineers.

    The Port Authority envisioned a project with a total of 10 million square feet of office space. To achieve this, Yamasaki considered more than a hundred different building configurations before settling on the concept of twin towers and three lower-rise structures. Designed to be very tall to maximize the area of the plaza, the towers were initially to rise to only 80-90 stories. Only later was it decided to construct them as the world's tallest buildings, following a suggestion said to have originated with the Port Authority's public relations staff.

    Yamasaki and engineers John Skilling and Les Robertson worked closely, and the relationship between the towers' design and structure is clear. Faced with the difficulties of building to unprecedented heights, the engineers employed an innovative structural model: a rigid "hollow tube" of closely spaced steel columns with floor trusses extending across to a central core. The columns, finished with a silver-colored aluminum alloy, were 18 3/4" wide and set only 22" apart, making the towers appear from afar to have no windows at all.

    Also unique to the engineering design were its core and elevator system. The twin towers were the first supertall buildings designed without any masonry. Worried that the intense air pressure created by the buildings' high speed elevators might buckle conventional shafts, engineers designed a solution using a drywall system fixed to the reinforced steel core. For the elevators, to serve 110 stories with a traditional configuration would have required half the area of the lower stories be used for shaftways. Otis Elevators developed an express and local system, whereby passengers would change at "sky lobbies" on the 44th and 78th floors, halving the number of shaftways.

    Construction began in 1966 and cost an estimated $1.5 billion. One World Trade Center was ready for its first tenants in late 1970, though the upper stories were not completed until 1972; Two World Trade Center was finished in 1973. Excavation to bedrock 70 feet below produced the material for the Battery Park City landfill project in the Hudson River. When complete, the Center met with mixed reviews, but at 1,368 and 1,362 feet and 110 stories each, the twin towers were the world's tallest, and largest, buildings until the Sears Tower surpassed them both in 1974.

  • The submission queues of S6 have recently been opened to the public. If you have a firsthand account, you can go there to share it with others.

    I'm sorry the code is a little rough around the edges (be sure you fill out the forms completely), but I wasn't expecting to go public with it so soon.

    Please don't mod this down. I'm really not trying to spam; Just giving a place for those without their own websites to publish their accounts without getting lost in the thousands of Slashdot posts. Thanks.

  • The Sky Fell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mercuria (145621) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:04AM (#2284237) Journal
    Did anybody look up today? Here in the Midwest, while this tragedy can seem so close on the TV it almost vanishes into the background when you step outside and see everything and everyone going about their business normally. Until you look up. When the FAA shut down all domestic air travel, they almost turned off the sky. It was a pure blue here in Iowa today, interrupted only by the occaisional cirrus cloud. Right now, the stars wink alone. The contrails, the glints of silver in the sunset, all gone. Routes out of DSM, STL, Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis crisscross the sky daily, but not today. It felt very strange to look up at that barren sky. It's a sight that hasn't been seen in many decades, and I don't expect to see it again.
  • by sometwo (53041) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:04AM (#2284240)
    My condolences go out to the friends and family of the victims of this horrific crime. Attending an east coast college, I have talked with many people who are from the areas where the attacks occured. This has hit close to home. I really have no words to describe what I am feeling.

    With that said, I refer you to the excellent salon.com [salon.com]. Their coverage of this event has been extraordinary. I especially hope you read the first-person accounts of the terror. [salon.com] A number: that is difficult to identify with. A person, however, is much different. Remember each one of those thousands was a person, with his/her own life and nothing should be taken for granted.
  • by Mr. Neutron (3115) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:05AM (#2284245) Homepage Journal
    The WTC is (was) a symbol of corporatism and globalism. The Pentagon is a symbol of the military-industrial complex. Are there Eco-Terrorists and other extreme-left-wing types that are sick enough to do something like this?

    Everyone just assumes this came from the Middle-East. That's what we thought when OKC happened, and it turned out to be something entirely different.

    • by fobbman (131816) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:27AM (#2284379) Homepage
      Sorry, don't buy it. How many extreme greenies know how to fly jumbo jets? I doubt that the American pilots would be able to be convinced to crash their planes into those buildings. We'll likely find out that the pilots were killed before they crashed and that the hijackers were at the controls.
      • You'd be surprised.

        Taking off and landing comprises 99% of the difficult of flying a modern plane.

        On MSNBC they had flight trackings of the path of the planes. One diverted directly after intersecting the Hudson river. They followed that track directly into NYC. The towers are very visible from the sky/area. They arent exactly (werent, i suppose) small targets.

        More or less, once in flight, flying a jumbo jet is like a really really good video game. Chances are the pilots had the plane all trimmed out and flying straight/level after reaching altitude. After that its a matter of adjusting the yoke and maybe some occasional rudder/elevator adjustments. Or you could just get a Nav chart and "dial-in" you're track and approach corridor.

        Either way, someone with a few hours in a good simulator (commerical grade) or an hour or two of stick time in any type of jet craft (very common commerically, again) could pull this off. I've flown Cessna style 172 models, and its very easy to pickup basic flight dynamics.
        • by nanojath (265940) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @11:54AM (#2286253) Homepage Journal
          You're wrong. Your minimal flight experience doesn't stack up to the 30+ year veteran commercial pilots who are saying the hijacker pilots had to be highly trained. And although they were not small targets they were hit with amazing precision and resolve. No ordinary flake was responsible for this.


          Non-experts like you talking out of their asses are just further confusing this issue. Note I'm not claiming to be any kid of expert - I'm just quoting the people who have some kind of relevant experience. Go to f-in CNN if you wan the details.


          I wish to hell all you armchair commandos would stop blowing smoke about how easy this was. This was a very sophisticated military action and the sooner we abandon the isolated terrorist cell theory as the most viable option and start looking at the military reality (hint - only one nation has basically condemned the US and fully supported the action. Ends with a Q? anyone? Anyone?)

    • What about Mossad? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Robber Baron (112304)
      How about Mossad? An effective way to eliminate your enemy is to get another nation pissed-off at them...
  • Business As Usual! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drake42 (4074) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:05AM (#2284247) Homepage
    It is very important that we all get back to 'business as usual' as quickly and calmly as possible. If we give in to terrified speculation, hording gas, selling our stock or other panic moves that will fsck our country then we may as well throw up our hands and say, "Terrorists Win!"

    If we get back to business and focus on providing support for families and blood for the wounded we will come out of this OK.

    God Bless,

    Jason Henriksen

  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:06AM (#2284254)
    It is more likely that old fashioned counterintelligent-style phone tricks were used rather than fancy encryption.

    After all, if the NSA can probably defeat any encryption if they have reason to suspect they need to. It's nearly impossible to screen the entire Muslim/Islamic community for suspicious rug orders that may or not be instructions.

    - JoeShmoe
  • by Baldrson (78598) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:10AM (#2284280) Homepage Journal
    Believe it or not, The John Birch Society has one of the more rational responses too the stituation [thenewamerican.com]:

    ... 'Fears about the military's role in domestic affairs are unfounded,' Cohen soothingly wrote. 'There need be no fear or foreboding by the American people of the preparations of their government. On the contrary, the greater threat to our civil liberties stems from the chaos and carnage that might result from an attack for which we had failed to prepare and the demands for action that would follow.'

    The approach recommended by Cohen, ironically, complements very well the classic strategy pursued by terrorists. Marxist militant Carlos Marighella, whose tactical blueprint has been followed by terrorists worldwide, explained that terrorists attack innocent people in order to provoke governments "to intensify repression. The police roundups, house searches, arrests of innocent people, make life unbearable.... Rejecting the 'so-called political solution,' the urban guerrilla must become more aggressive and violent, resorting without letup to sabotage, terrorism, expropriations, assaults, kidnappings, and executions, heightening the disastrous situation in which the government must act." Marighella went on to explain how this cycle continues until the existing political order is completely subverted, and a revolutionary regime takes power.

    The gravest danger presented by today's terrorist attacks is that the effort to find and punish perpetrators will become a war upon the liberties of the American people. Yes, those responsible for the attacks must be found and punished with pitiless severity. But at the same time Americans must demand an immediate end to our interventionist foreign policy, which exacted such a tragic price in American blood on this terrible day.

  • My family has a business drilling and blasting rock when new roads or buildings are put in. They can't do any blasting for 48 hours due to a lock-down on all explosive materials.
  • by chronos2266 (514349) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:12AM (#2284291)
    Over at yahoo news there is a story that states that the terrorists on the flight rosters were names of members of Bin Ladin's terrorist group...check it out for yourself:
    http://us.news2.yimg.com/f/42/31/7m/dailynews.yaho o.com/h/nm/20010911/wl/crash_binladen_dc_4.html [yimg.com]

    • All I saw was "bin laden is linked...bin ladin is linked...." and never a "linked by" or "linked because of". Is speculation passed through yahoo now considered almost concrete proof? Scary...
    • When I worked at American Express I wrote a filter to check credit card applications against the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) database. The database has names (real names) of terrorists and drug dealers who have had their assets seized by the courts to compensate their victims. The joke at the time was "what terrorist is going to use their real name?" The filter I was required to write checked against the real names of the terrorists.

      So, perhaps you are another person who thinks that terrorists are too dumb to not give a real name. A bastard like Bin Ladin has more enemies than just the US, believe me.

  • I'm certain that I am not the only one receiving frantic phone calls from friends and relatives around the country about $5-8/gallon gasoline prices. Usually these alerts are retold third- or fourth-hand accounts.

    I drove around town just for kicks, and all the stations had the same prices that were posted Tuesday morning.

    This reminds me of a real-world version of an email hoax, only this one has the potential to be self-fufilling: At each station there were lines of cars waiting to fill up on $1.75 gas.

    Like alot of stories today, this one is getting out of control. Do your part: do not spread these rumors, and challenge the information of those who do.

  • by farrellj (563) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:15AM (#2284314) Homepage Journal

    What freaked me out was the collapse of the twin towers...I know a bit about structural engineering, and knew that these buildings were designed to withstand a passenger jet hitting them. But what really got to me is how they collapsed, like a controlled explosion where the fold the building in on itself.

    One Declan McCullagh's mailing list, someone posted a much better analysis of the collapse than what has been seen in the media...most of the media engineers were mostly wrong. Take a gander at this url: http://www.pfarrell.com/rants/archtower.html [pfarrell.com].

    This article talks about how the outside latticework of the WTC was actually a load-bearing member, and there were no internal support columns...and this explains why it collapsed the way that it did.

    We can only theorize that the extreme heat of the jet fuel weaking the steel coupled with the fact that these jets were going fast enough to destroy the lattice work on almost all four sides of the structure where they hit caused the eventual collapse of the structures.We can only that what dieties you pray to that they fell in the manner the did...if they had fallen sidewas, in different directions...the death toll would have gone up by possibly an order of magnitutde!

    ttyl, Farrell J. McGovern (No relation)

    • No internal support?

      Interesting, because the architect that designed the building was on ABC news earlier stating that the buildings actually had a solid steel core running in the center of the building.

      Jet fuel (Jet-A) burns at a very high temperature, and it was eventually enough to melt the steel core of the building, which is most likely what caused the collapse.

      Again, this is just what I heard on ABC news today....

      (I know a few structural engineers and they confirm this as well)
    • Another analysis (Score:3, Informative)

      by FunkyChild (99051)
      The civil engineering faculty at Sydney University has another (quite informative) analysis here:

      http://www.civil.usyd.edu.au/wtc.htm [usyd.edu.au]
  • by anlprb (130123) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:16AM (#2284317)
    The Towers did exactly what they were supposed to do. They were engineered to fold in on themselves so that they do not take our multiple blocks in the City. The amount of fuel that was expended burned a typical 4 hour fire in about 10 min. That fatigued the girders enough that the floors that were affected started falling in on themselves. Each floor is designed to hold two floors worth of debris before they buckle. The floors that eventually gave way were holding much more than that. The buildings did exactly what was needed. They did not take out more than was minimal in a horrible situation. BTW, I am 10 min outside of the city, and the New Jersey Turnpike was shutdown, including all bridges in the area. All ways in and out were shutdown for a while. They are still not letting anyone into the City. It is 12:30AM now.
  • Something for us all to note that many many families lost parents tonight - and we should not forget the firemen and police - over 300 estimated in various media outlets - attempting to rescue people - these are tru non combatants whose only thought was for the injured and dying.

    There is a n NY time story here - but i have copied the text into this post to attempt to cope with the massively overloaded servers they have today

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/12/nyregion/12RES C. html

    Firefighters Dash Into Towers; Many Do Not Return
    By JANE FRITSCH

    New York firefighters, impelled by instinct and training, rushed to the World Trade Center yesterday to evacuate victims. Then the buildings fell down. The firefighters never came out.

    More than 100 were unaccounted for, possibly making this the worst disaster in the New York Fire Department's history, explosions having collapsed the two main towers onto the first wave of rescuers as they snaked through stairwells and hallways. In the tumult, the temporary command center set up on a nearby street to deal with the calamity was buried in a rolling wave of concrete chunks.

    Among those who died there were Chief of Department Peter J. Ganci, and First Deputy Fire Commissioner William M. Feehan. Also killed was one of the department's Roman Catholic chaplains, Michael F. Judge, who had rushed to the scene to comfort victims.

    There was no trace of three of the fire department's most elite units, Rescues 1, 2 and 4, officials said last night.

    A police official said last night that some officers at the scene were also unaccounted for, but "we don't have numbers." The official denied reports of 60 missing officers from the department's Emergency Services Unit, and 18 from the Brooklyn North Task Force.

    Police officials said that as the day unfolded, several officers who had been presumed lost had surfaced. "The numbers are not that extravagant," said Assistant Chief Thomas P. Fahey. As night deepened, officials were able to bring in cranes and heavy shovels to begin moving rubble in hopes of finding survivors. At the same time, they had to contend with several fires that were still burning in adjacent buildings, officials said.

    But hours earlier, the notion of a rescue effort seemed remote.

    "We will be lucky if we don't lose 200 or 300 guys," said Michael Carter, the vice president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, who was on the scene. "There are entire companies we can't find. At this point, it's less of a firefighting operation and more like a war."

    Like dazed and bloodied soldiers, thousands of firefighters and police officers wandered helplessly throughout the afternoon and evening on the West Side Highway, blocked by the danger of further catastrophe from attempting to enter the scene. Officials feared the collapse of 7 World Trade Center, another high-rise burning in the complex. It finally fell in the early evening.

    By 9 a.m., about 200 firefighters had already arrived at the scene, many of them racing up stairways to reach people trapped on the upper floors, fire officials said. Many of the rescuers were from six-person units that specialize in building collapses, and many are now missing, presumed to have died when the buildings collapsed.

    Marite Anez, who was working in an office on the 87th floor of 1 World Trade Center, said that as she and hundreds of others scrambled down stairways, she passed many firefighters climbing up.

    When she reached the first floor, she said, the building collapsed. "You couldn't see anything," she said. "That's when everyone panicked. Everyone was pushing. The fire people gave us light, showed us the way out. The ones who were going up, I'm sure they died."

    Edward Fahey, among the first firefighters to arrive, said he had to dodge bodies that were being propelled from windows on the upper floors.

    Robert Byrne, from a fire company on Houston Street, said he was on the 30th floor when the second plane hit. "We were trying to evacuate civilians," he said. "The hallways were filled with dust and smoke. The whole building was shaking. We feared it would collapse, and the chief said to get the hell out of there."

    Like many survivors, Mr. Byrne seemed oblivious to the soot and dust that covered his body. He stared blankly and spoke haltingly.

    "I managed to get out of the building just a few seconds before it collapsed," he said. "I hugged the wall with a couple of people. We got very lucky. I don't know what happened to the company. Just me and the lieutenant got out."

    From the beginning, the city's emergency response was hampered. Soon after the first plane hit, the command center for the Office of Emergency Management at 7 World Trade Center was evacuated.

    Fire officials set up a mobile unit outside the complex, on Vesey Street, but that was destroyed when the buildings came down. After that, fire officials moved their command post to a firehouse in Greenwich Village, at Houston Street and Avenue of the Americas.

    There were conflicting reports about whether people in the second building were told to evacuate after the first tower was hit. Several people said they heard an annoucement over the building's public address system saying they should stay put, and that the building was secure. Others said they did not hear any announcements.

    One former Port Authority official said that according to procedures drawn up with the Fire Department, evacuations would only be conducted on the floors immediately above and below the fire. With a capacity of 50,000 workers, simultaneous evacuation could lead to chaos, the former official said.

    For many, the only help had to come from colleagues and others who were fleeing.

    A woman who worked for Morgan Stanley on the 64th floor of Tower 2 -- able to walk only with crutches -- was carried down by fellow employees. "It was incredibly difficult," said the woman, who asked that her name not be used. "They had me over their shoulder for 5 or 10 flights and just couldn't do it."

    Another co-worker she knew only as Louis came upon the struggling group, lifted the woman to his shoulder and carried her by himself, she said, adding that the temperature in the stairwell was at least 90 degrees.

    At about the 15th or 20th floor, the woman recalled, a security guard said they were out of danger, and urged Louis to leave the woman and continue on his own. Louis refused.

    "He carried me down all 54 flights, and then out of the building," she said, "all the way to the E.M.T. guys, and he stuck with me until we got one who said I could go in an ambulance."

    After the first building collapsed, people began looking everywhere for survivors amid the rubble. Flames popped out of an ambulance; taxis slammed into buildings. One man walked around calling out, "Is anyone there? Show me an arm. Show me an arm." He got no response.
    Someone asked a firefighter, "Is there anything I can do?"

    "There's nothing anybody can do," the firefighter replied. "There's nothing anybody can do."

    Firefighters appeared utterly dejected and dumbfounded, standing around with their hands on their hips.

    Mike Fitzpatrick, 38, said he and seven other firefighters were in the lobby of the first building to collapse when one became trapped. They had begun trying to cut him out when the second building collapsed, and they couldn't get hear him anymore. Then they had to leave.

    "We stayed because one of our officers was trapped," he said. "We were trying to dig him out -- we were trying to dig him out. He was alive. It collapsed on him."

    By 11 a.m., hundreds of dazed firefighters were on the scene. Many were on their knees; some were crying, their heads in their hands, sitting on piles of debris.

    No one raced toward the wreckage, afraid that more would fall. Some called their families on borrowed cell phones.

    "I love you too," one said. "I'll come home safe -- don't worry."

    A sea of firefighters and police officers slumped against building or sat dejectedly on the West Side Highway for most of the afternoon. Many refused to talk. Many were in tears.

    Lines of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles sat covered with a thick coating of dust and office papers that had floated out of the sky. They had come from Passaic, N.J., Hicksville, N.Y., all over the region, but mostly they had to sit and wait.

    Frank Carino, 36, a New York firefighter, said he had tried to rescue men on the seventh and eighth floors of one building but the ladder of his aerial truck did not reach high enough. "They had broken the windows and they were yelling out at us the stairways were on fire," he said. "One of the men was using a megaphone." He added that he believed the two were rescued by firefighters within the building.

    Another firefighter, who declined to give his name, knelt on the asphalt, a towel over his shoulder and his eyes bloodshot.

    "I saw at least 10 people jump," he said. "I heard even more than that land and crash through the glass ceiling in the atrium. We could hear them crash. We thought the roof was crashing down but then we looked up and saw that people were falling through the glass. Some people fell right onto the pavement." He stopped, unable to continue talking.

    He said he entered the lobby of 2 World Trade Center with his company, but was immediately blown across the lobby. "We did our best to crawl out," he said. "My company is still missing two guys. They went back in to help people."

    By early evening, hundreds of firefighters stood and watched as ladder trucks poured water onto sections of the towers still belching black smoke. The sense of shock and urgency of earlier in the day was gone. As daylight faded, a handful of firefighters, constructions workers and police officers still scrambled over the rubble with flashlights, but found the same thing as teams earlier in the day -- no sounds, no voices, little sign of life.

    The three blocks of Church Street that border the World Trade Center were lined with the burnt hulks of ambulances, fire trucks and police cars left where their drivers had abandoned them.

    At the corner of Liberty and Church Streets, a five-story section of the top of a building loomed over the road, causing firefighters to stare anxiously above them as they walked below. A New York State flag still flew in front of 7 World Trade Center but the building was a blackened mass. Six inches of ash and office paper covered the graves at the St. James Cathedral, across the street from the towers.

    The chaplain who died, Father Judge, 68, was found by firefighters on the street along with his driver. They recognized him and took him to St. Peter's Church on Barclay Street, where they laid his body at the altar. "The church was there and they figured it was a safe place to put him," said Brother Thomas Cole of the St. Francis Friary on 31st Street, where Father Judge lived.

    His body, wrapped in sheets, was later moved to the empty firehouse across the street from the friary. Later, two dozen friars and firefighters, some weeping, held an impromptu service for him there, reciting the blessing of St. Francis: "May the Lord bless you and keep you and show his face to you, and have mercy on you."

    Brother Cole said that Father Judge's morning prayer had been for "peace and joy in our city."

    Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, also a Fire Department chaplain, recalled that Father Judge gave a sermon recently, "a homily about how you have to enjoy each day with your friends and family. He was a remarkable human being."

    *********
    Lets not forget those people who help us when we need them - these guys are truly heroes

  • If we remove the Taliban from Afghanistan this will all be worth it. They have caused far more suffering on their own people than this attack has caused, or any of Bin Laden's (other?) attacks.

    I tried to give blood, but they don't want it because I am diabetic. I wish I could do something, but I'm persona non grata in this situation.
  • by tcc (140386) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:25AM (#2284373) Homepage Journal
    This might be off-topic but In my book it's not, since its about the information covered.

    Slashdot has been my primary source of information, just about all the biggest news feed were jammed, didn't have any tv to watch, and the progress at which people posted here and all the links given, plus the overall stability of the site, I mean, I'm impressed.... I was sure at some point when the server started being overloaded that it would be down for hours, instead, it was just for minutes or simple slowdown but nothing critical like the big feeds which were totaly busted.

    Unfortunately. this is not the kind of event you'd want to happen to test the overall stability of a server and the quality of it's content, but at least it hanged in there, where others that have way more financial power and supposely professionnal staff to do the job, failed.

    Thanks to all the Slashdot team, and us, readers/contributors.
  • Let's Speculate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dragons_flight (515217) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:31AM (#2284404) Homepage
    Let me be very clear, everything that follows is speculation. It will probably be days if not weeks before we have a good idea what has happened today. We may never really know all that has led up to this tragedy, but what is the likely scenario?

    We know that 4 planes were hijacked and 3 slammed into buildings.

    Almost certainly all the hijackers on the planes are now dead as well as many many victims. By targeting the WTC and Pentagon they have attacked buildings with both actual and symbolic value to the American way of life. These are places presumably intended to produce as many casualties as possible and demonstrate the vulnerabilities of even our greatest organizations.

    Clearly these people hate America and Americans and are perfectly happy to give their lives to hurt us and create terror. Multiple people prepared to give their lives in the assault suggest a religious group with beliefs that their souls will be honored after their death. Essentially all major religions (e.g. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism) share a fundamental respect for life, but at many times and places their teachings have been corrupted to justify killing in God's name. In the current case Islam seems the most likely, not because they are especially vulnerable, but because people in Islamic regions seem the most likely to hate Americans at this point in history.

    We must bear partial responsibility for the hate they feel towards us. At some point there was a failure to connect with these people and address their concerns in a reasonable way. Now the world has stepped down a path that will almost certainly lead to even greater destruction. Of course, our unseen attackers bear the greatest responsibility and will hopefully be called to account, but we must wonder if there was anything society could do to redress their grievances before they grew to the point that they perceived violence as their only option.

    What does it take to do this? Most likely you need pilots trained on these planes or one's like them. This ensures that the pilot will in fact fly directly into the target, and minimized the chance of the original pilot conveying that something is wrong. Probably it would be easier to find suicide bombers and send them to flight school than to recruit pilots to be bombers.

    Terrorists would also need weapons. This means either being able to conceal them through security or being able to go around security. If you have money it is probably easier to get weapons that can be walked through a metal detector than to research ways to breach security. This is especially true if you plan to go through more than one airport. Hard plastics and ceramics can be made into some nasty things if cost is not a concern. Alternatively, a sharp obsidian or glass knife with wooden handle could probably be made for a bargain.

    Once on the plane you want to be able to take control and get into the locked cockpit. Threatening passengers might get one to open the cockpit but it's not totally reliable and they would certainly send distress signals first. More preferably one would want to practice breaking into cockpits and have a tool or ram that could do it quickly. A slightly modified piece of luggage might serve as a ram. (I don't know what the locking mechanisms are like but someone taking the time to train as a pilot certainly would have access to them and perhaps figure out how to quickly defeat them.)

    A single terrorist is somewhat likely to be overpowered in the tight quarters of an airliner, and is at greater risk if he has to pilot the plane himself while in a cockpit that can no longer be secured properly. This suggests that you need multiple suicidal terrorists per plane. Two might be enough, but three would be safer because that still gives them a backup even after your pilot takes the controls.

    To continue speculating, we are talking about 8-12 hijackers, at least 4 of which pilots. They would probably want some financial backers and other organizers. It would make sense to have associates to recruit the next generation of terrorists. If they're foreign nationals you need an identity and papers, or some other way to get into the country. Of course securing entrance into the country wouldn't require telling the person you get the false papers from what you intend to do. While they do want some people in support positions, they wouldn't want too many as it increases the opportunities of leaks that would kill the whole project. I'm guessing that somewhere between 10 and 30 people knew about this attack in advance.

    The main cost is in preparation time and finding the right people to go through with it. The point is that you don't actually need an army, expensive weaponry, or lots of financial backing to accomplish this. Of course, having financial backing and encouragement is perhaps rather likely and would make things easier, especially if they come from third world nations where the relative income is quite low.

    Obviously we will have to wait until the facts are known to see how accurate my speculations are, and truth is often stranger than imagination.
  • If you have The Learning Channel on your television sets you will be able to view coverage of the tragedy from the BBC as of 21:34 Pacific Time. Interesting to see what information comes out over there, along with their opinions.
  • http://russnelson.com/wtc.html has pics off the wallstreetitalia.com webcam, on the 73rd floor of the Empire State Building. One of them was just moments before the first tower collapsed.
    -russ
  • I find it interesting that just this past 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] ]

  • "The Americans have forgotten that God exists. They have us by the throat and now they find themselves in a science fiction film scenario, but this time Rambo's not there to save the White House."

    I don't understand the people watching the bombings and celebrating, how can they have such a skewed view of Americans? Is it just because they see us as rich?

    • Re:Out of touch (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BeBoxer (14448)
      I believe it is you who is out of touch with American foreign policy. You see, we provide weapons to Israel. Israel then uses those weapons to attack Palestine. In some recent cases, being so bold as to launch air-to-surface missles at cars in order to kill the drivers or attack houses in inhabited areas. If you really think that Palestinians who watch their people being attacked and killed by American-made helicopters and jets hate us because we are rich, you need to pay more attention. Not that any of this justifies todays events. But, Palestinians have quite valid reasons for disliking the US. And, as a democrocy, we do bear responsibility for the actions of our leaders. So perhaps you should pay more attention to what our leaders are doing in our name and vote accordingly.
  • I don't know if anyone is interested in this, but maybe. When my dad died about a year ago, one of the mementos I got was this army knife that my Grandpa used in World War 2 (It's a Kabar knife - I think they're still standard issue in the armed forces). These things are pretty big, maybe 2/3 my arm length, and if you look at them you can see that they're designed to kill someone.

    So, when I flew home, I threw this in my bag and didn't really remember that I shouldn't bring this on the plane. But it went right through all the security checks, and none of the security people noticed it in my bag. I was kind of surprised that I got it through so easy.

    Anyway, I thought I'd mention it since people are saying that the hijackers used knifes to take over the plane. It can't have been too hard to get them on.
  • It may be significant that the anniversary of a Congressional resolution "favoring a Jewish homeland in Palestine" falls on this date. Then again, if you go back a century or two, you may find a lot of anniversaries that seem just as significant.

    Yeah, approximately 1 out of every 365 events that has ever happened happened on this day.

  • People are comparing this disaster to the bombing of Peal Harbor by the Japanese. That was a bad time to be a Japanese American. I understand they were sent to interrment camps. It's just as well becuase if they had been outside the camps they might have been lynched.

    Now is not a good time to be of Arabian descent. I haven't heard anything yet, but I predict there will be murder.

    Also, politicians are debating on television how to balance the principles of the bill of rights with the threat that is facing us today. What are they calling for, if not interrment camps.

    I am certain it will be bad. I know that foriegners are about to suffer, but will it become to bad that I will be forced to withold my liberal views for fear of violent retaliation?
  • According to theregister.com some one put the WTC on Ebay. It was pulled quickly.

    Little 5" copper statues of the WTC can be found on Ebay for $130.

    Tomarrow you will see parts of the WTC listed on Ebay.

    Next week you will be able to buy commemoritive $5 coins minted by The American Mint which will be leagal tender in Libiria.

    21 days from now you will be able to get a 11" x 17" coffie table book detailing the history of the World Trade Center in living color.

    Within a month the insurance policies and wills of those killed will put money in the hands of people not mentaly equiped to handle the responsablitiy of the new money.

    Within the month Pres Bush will sound like an idiot by saying that we need his Missel Defence Shield more than ever.

    Within the year our constitutional rights will be slightly limited in the name of freedom.

    30 years from now no one will have as of yet taken credit for this attack and we will see our freedomes striped down to fight a nonvisable enamy. Any one ever see the movie Brazil?

    I will spare you the darker side of what I see, but I think that these things should hold you over for a while.
  • A Survivor Story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pmbuko (162438) <pmbuko AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:47AM (#2284469) Homepage
    I just got off the phone with my friend whose girlfriend has a nearly miraculous survival story.

    She arrived at work on the 81st floor of the north tower at 8:45am EDT today. The first plane crashed into this tower at about 8:55am EDT about 5 floors above her. After the initial confusion and chaos, everybody on her floor headed towards the exits and began the slow evacuation down the stairs.

    While the first building was being evacuated, the second plane hit the south tower at about 9:05am. An hour later while still making her way down the stairs of the north tower, the south tower collapses at 10:07am. 20 minutes after that at 10:27am, and nearly an hour and a half after the first plane crashed into her building, she makes it to the bottom floor as the north tower begins to collapse down onto her. (Sadly, I assume everybody in floors any higher than 81 probably didn't make it out of the building.)

    She was one of the last people to make it out of the building, but she did not make it far before a door fell on top of her and pinned her to the ground. In retrospect, she was very lucky because the door shielded her from glass and other falling objects.

    After the dust settled somewhat, she was discovered by police and taken to the hospital. She is in stable condition and is being treated for bruises, cuts, and broken bones.

    I can only imagine how she must feel to have been at ground zero and still be alive to tell about it.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:58AM (#2284513) Homepage
    The Afghanistan entry in the CIA World Factbook [cia.gov] is worth reading. Foreign policy towards Afghanistan was botched by both the US and the USSR. The country has been in wars, both external and internal, for the last 22 years. The USSR invaded in 1979, the US sponsored anti-USSR groups who kicked the USSR out around 1989, and the result was a mess of armed factions, not a country. There's no real central government left; the Taliban is just the biggest armed faction.

    So there's no country to go to war with. It's another mess like Bosnia. There are 25 million people in an area the size of Texas, some of whom hate the US and some who don't. Now what?

  • by Combuchan (123208) <sean@emvis. n e t> on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @12:59AM (#2284520) Homepage
    Ironically, the question posed by the April Fool's story Slashdot During War? [slashdot.org] may be answered shortly given the sentiment on Capitol Hil.. We are at the verge of great change in America, and Slashdot may serve as a powerful catalyst of opinion in this Brave New World by culminating the most innovative and intelligent users of the Internet for development of United States 2.0.

    Formally submitting my first diff patch, I fired this letter off to the Federal Aviation Administration [faa.gov], the overbearing bureaucracy whose oversights led to four plane crashes and thousands killed. The trip I took was to Defcon 9.

    I took a trip to Las Vegas in July. My flight from Phoenix went normally except for one serious, disturbing mistake made by Phoenix security checkpoint staff. I thought it was funny at first that such as a glaring lapse of policy occured, but after the tragic events in New York and Washington, I revistited this story and I wonder whether four lapses in "Airport Security" caused the deaths of so many people today.

    Suitcasenuke is the name of a computer I jerryrigged in an old Samsonite suitcase for portability. I have edited this account for clarity, the original is at http://telconnect.net/~sean/suitcasenuke/ [telconnect.net]

    Transporting:
    The finished product is rather heavy and bulky--65 pounds give or take. It barely fit as a carryon. I took America West flight 113 from Phoenix Sky Harbor International to Las Vegas McCarran on a busy Thursday afternoon.

    Approaching "SECURITY CHECKPOINT A," I cut in line by 10 people hollering out to the security staff that I could nto have suitcase nuke X-rayed as the machine is a very sensitive piece of electronic equipment.
    Preparing for this, I had all the fixins to prove to them this frightening apparatus wasn't a bomb. Packed in there were my keyboard, mouse, power cord, vga cable so I could plug it into one of their terminals if need be. The screener blatantly ignores my request to pass it through and I'm eventually in front of the walk-through metal detector. This staffer does not understand English very will and I do not understand his natiove Swahili. Thankfully my brother had already gone through and was also trying to get through to the screener. Five minutes of this, and there are easily sixty people behind me in line.

    Pressed with the queue, he grabbed the suitcase and fit it through the little gap between the metal detector and the X-ray machine and flailed his hand behind him, motioning me to 'go over there.'

    I found myself staring at an unstaffed table with a plane to Vegas to catch, not blow out of the sky. My impatient brother didn't feel like further embattling the screeners and rigamorol. Off we went.

    They didn't plug it in. They didn't swab it for explosive residue. They didn't even open it.

    I smuggled--if that's the right word--a 70 pound suitcase right passed "Airport Security."

    Makes me wish it were a suitcase nuke.

    Now before you go out and arrest me, I beg of you to reconsider airport security policies. For example, arresting people who make bomb jokes at the gate is the embodiment of stupidity and maligned priorities. If I was really going to blow up the plane, would I be talking about it at the security checkpoint?

    How hard would it be to smuggle an 18" polycarbonate machete onto a plane by maybe taping it to your thigh or sandwiching it in your suitcase between a lead plate? Even if I obviously brought contraband aboard, what's the chance the underpayed, undereducated, understaffed, and overly apathetic security screener overlook it or not know what it is? Or would he be too lazy and not even get up and make a fuss about it if he did recognize it? Don't say it's not possible. It happened to me. I did it at an airport with one of the best records in the industry. Phoenix Sky Harbor had two violations last year. Is this one Number 3? Which other violations do you not know about?

    The FAA failed in its security measures four times the morning of 11th Septembenr and as a result, our nation mourns. Could that 18" polycarbonate machete worn by a survivalist or a law-abiding american concerned only with the defense of his legitimate fellow passengers ultimately ensure their safety? Barbara Olson's plane was taken down by two hijackers armed with cardboard cutters. Could a right to self-defense have saved United Flights 99 and 175 and American Airlines Flights 11 and 77 and prevented this atrocity?

    Does the FAA honestly think it will stop a suicidal hijacker on a mission for Allah by having a ticket clerk ask "Have any unknown persons been in the possession of your baggage?"

    Don't cast this off. Please. THe Administration's policies have failed America. I want to see them changed.

    • by MosesJones (55544)
      So you are suggesting a nutter with a knife could have taken on the other nutter with a knife. So the solution is that there are no security checks and arm all the passengers.

      The solutions is to monitor internal flights in the same way that they are required to monitor international flights. US internal security sucks, plain and simple. This disaster was created by the US consumer and the airlines desire for cheap hassle free flights. Prices must rise to pay for the security required.
  • the killing of the opposition leader against the Taliban. [cnn.com] He is said to have secretly helped the U.S. get spies into Afghanistan to watch Bin Laden. So the bombing 3 days ago would have been a nice way to prepare for today's events, and the rockets tonight are thought to be the work of opposition supporters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @02:08AM (#2284786)
    Is it just me or does this article suddenly take on new meaning?

    Hosting Provider Shut Down By FBI [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/09/07/0048 21 5

    My hopes and prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragic event.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @02:35AM (#2284839)

    The following is from an email I once received. I think it is appropriate to post it at this time.

    This, from a Canadian newspaper, is worth sharing.

    America: The Good Neighbor. Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television Commentator.

    What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

    "This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

    When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

    When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 5 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.

    The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering America.

    I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?

    Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japan technology, and you get radios. You talk about German technology, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technology, and you find men on the moon--not once, but several times--and safely home again.

    You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here. When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

    I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

    Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.

    I hope Canada is not one of those."

    Stand proud, America! Wear it proudly!!

    This is one of the best editorials that I have ever read regarding the United States. It is nice that one man realizes it. I only wish that the rest of the world would realize it. We are always blamed for everything, and never even get a thank you for the things we do.

    I would hope that each of you would send this to as many people as you can and emphasize that they should send it to as many of their friends until this letter is sent to every person on the web. I am just a single American that has read this, I SURE HOPE THAT A LOT MORE READ IT SOON.

  • IRC coverage (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wizard of OS (111213) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @02:42AM (#2284857)
    In #coverage on irc.slashnet.org our operators are posting the latest news on the events. The channel is +m, so please message opers with your (validated) news sources.
  • by KidSock (150684) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @03:49AM (#2284895)
    The Boston Globe is reporting that a car was found at Boston airport (name?) with Arabic flight manuals. Apparently they got into an altercation with someone in the parking lot. That person notified authorities about the incedent after hearing of the tragedy when he landed at his destination leading them to this car. They are fairly certain that passports, the flight training manuals, and possibly other information in the car link these people to Bin Laden's "base". One of the suspects was a trained pilot and a member of the Arabic something Leage (?).
  • by magi (91730) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @03:58AM (#2284908) Homepage Journal
    No shit?

    Americans probably won't find this very comforting right now, but I'll give a short newsbreak: Unless you haven't noticed, you are in war, have been for a long time!

    Look, for the last 50 years, Americans have been bombing cities here and there all over the world, leaving hundreds of thousands if not millions people dead, charred, mothers and brothers wailing over their graves. Sure, Americans were always the good guys, and sure, American bombs only killed soldiers. But hey, even innocent people do die in wars. America just got it first civilian casualties in 50 years!

    So, we can now wait to see how the American reaction will be different from the reaction of those rag-head mad-dog arabs, who cry for eternal revenge after their relatives have been killed and homes bombed to ground.

    Really, get over it.
  • by gotan (60103) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @04:07AM (#2284928) Homepage
    I heard, there where still some people surviving but locked in by debris. Some of them even used mobiles. I wonder if it might be possible to get easier access through some subway or sewer tunnels, especially since i read, that one subway tunnel passed very close and even had to be considered when building the WTC.
  • by korpiq (8532) <-.@korpiq.OPENBSDiki.fi minus bsd> on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @04:44AM (#2285010) Homepage
    I may hurt your feelings, though I try just speak my mind up. I know I'm touchy now, so try to take the following casually. I trust on the moderators to view this as a foreigner's honest, differing viewpoint.

    1. US Citizens have not had war in their own continent/country for a few, what, hundred years. It shows somewhat in the shockedness of the commentary. Of course this is awful. It does not happen only to someone else somewhere else, neither is what happens to you unique in this day and age. A few surprise attacks and -strikes from last century come to mind. Some of them out of scale, some changing our world for ever.

    2. JFK: one mad US citizen. OKC: a few mad US citizen. Yet every time the foreigners get blamed before the attackers are found.

    I am shocked and afraid of the future now. I live on the other side of the world from there. Most of us do. Live in fear of the US reaction and what that will do for the world. The world we all have to live in. There is no escape from this planet just yet, not even for chosen few US citizens. We must get along. Focus on anything else, and the nature will take care of us for good.

    Sorry if I hurt your feelings; this is just critique that comes to mind while trying to work over the shock by absorbing as much information and commentary about the situation as possible.
  • by uebernewby (149493) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @07:11AM (#2285261) Homepage
    Hannan Ashrawi (sp???), former Palestinian spokeswoman back when it seemed the peace talks were going somewhere, but since not seen as often in public anymore because she disagrees with the way Arafat is running the Palestinian Authority, just spoke on CNN about the "Palestinians dancing in the street" footage we've all seen.

    She claimed the people shown celebrating and dancing are a *very* small minority group and do not in any way represent Palestinians as a whole. Moreover, though small groups of people may have been celebrating when they heard America was hit, celebrations soon subsided when it became clear that possibly thousands had been killed. The general attitude in the West Bank and Gaza is one of horror, disgust and sympathy with American victims.

    Bear in mind that Ashrawi (I really should've looked this up, sorry) is one of the most moderate Palestinians around and that she's also one of very few Palestinians with some authority who's got any idea about pr Western style (as in, she knows it's not a good idea to scream "I will sacrifice *all* of my sons for Allah to make Israel suffer the way we suffer" when a suicide bomber's just blown up a kiddie disco in Tel Aviv - it doesn't do the Palestinian cause any good in the Western eye) so she's bound to say something like this.

    However, if you think about it, she may, partly, be right. I myself have only seen that footage with the guy handing out free food to passersby (you know which footage I mean). Consider that in the 22 hrs since it happened, there hasn't been any new footage of Palestinians dancing in the street. It's always the same clip. If this celebration was going on on any substantial scale, I should think we would've seen more footage of it.

    Disclaimer: I'm not Palestinian, nor am I Israeli, nor am I sympathetic to either cause (in the sense that I don't believe either people should be destroyed to give the other Lebensraum)
  • by NetJunkie (56134) <jason.nash@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @09:06AM (#2285582)
    It's that simple. As a general rule, we don't care. The average American has no idea how much aid we send to Israel. They have NO idea why there is a "war" going on in the Middle East. They don't understand why they are fighting for the same land or how long it has been going on. Ask people on the street about the Jews and Palastinians and at least 90% of the time you'll get a blank stare.

    What they do understand is people killing innocent citizens. If people in the Middle East want to change our policy they picked the WRONG WAY TO DO IT. Sure, this is a great way to get news coverage, but you'll get bombed, bad. We're now backed in a corner and the American public DEMANDS a military response. Nothing else will do.
  • by ClarkEvans (102211) on Wednesday September 12, 2001 @09:09AM (#2285597) Homepage
    This was posted [jerrypournelle.com] to Jerry Pournelle's site.

    ...

    Dear Jerry,

    Following is a message which my one of my best friends passed along with permission to distribute to those who might be interested. It fills in the details that I missed in my original conversation with him and attempted to relate to you.

    Tom has given me permission to distribute the message - please feel free to post it if you deem it appropriate.

    Sincerely,

    Art Russell Major, US Army (Retired)

    Message Follows:

    Today was a tragedy for all of America and to my family, a very personal one. Lynn and my Niece Liz's husband, Jeremy Glick was on United flight 93 this morning. When the Hijackers took control of flight 93. Jeremy called my niece who in-turn conferenced him to 911. Jeremy relayed to the police what was happening as the hijacking unfolded. As our niece Liz listened, Jeremy told the police there were three Arab terrorists with knives and a large red box that they claimed contained a bomb. Jeremy tracked the second by second details and relayed them to the police by phone. After several minutes of describing the scene, Jeremy and several other passengers decided there was nothing to lose by rushing the hijackers. Although United Flight 93 crashed outside of Pittsburgh, with the loss of all souls. Jeremy and the other patriotic heroes saved the lives of many people on the ground that would have died if the Arab terrorists had been able to complete their heinous mission.

    Please offer your prayers for all of those who perished or were injured in this tragic of all days and to our niece Liz Glick and her 2-month-old child, Emerson, who are left without their loving Husband and Father.

    May we remember Jeremy and the other brave souls as heroes, soldiers and Americans' on United flight 93 whom so gallantry gave their lives to save many others.

    Lynn, our four adult children and I are headed to New York to be with our family during this time of great sadness

    All of my best,

    Tom

    We find

  • I sent this to my friends:
    _________________

    Everyone,

    As is often the case, the Economist seems to have the best story: America under Attack [economist.co.uk]

    Also see The Economist front page [economist.co.uk]

    Stratfor [stratfor.com] provides interesting and more complete analysis.

    Lax Security One of the important points made in the article is that security in U.S. airports and on U.S. airplanes before the bombing was lax compared to the security in Europe.

    George Bush had Increased Support for Israel. The Economist article does not mention that the Bush Administration in the U.S. had recently increased its support for the Israeli government and therefore also Israeli violence. The Clinton administration, in contrast, was more careful not to do things which could be interpreted as an incitement to violence.

    Once again, intelligence agencies were useless. It is amazing to me that "intelligence" authorities claim that they did not have any idea that there would be an attack like this. Below is a link to an album cover from a band called "The Coup". It is black American "Party Music". The album was sold long before today's bombing. The album cover shows both towers of the World Trade Center in New York in flames:

    The Coup -- Party Music, album cover shows the World Trade Center towers burning. [girlieaction.com]

    If black rap artists can have this idea, why didn't the intelligence agencies have it? The idea was not particularly innovative, since the World Trade Center had already been bombed once. Did the intelligence agencies think that those who did it would just stop trying?

    From one of the Stratfor articles: "Reuters is reporting that Arabic satellite television channel MBC warned Sept. 8 that followers of suspected Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden were planning a major attack on U.S. and Israeli interests in the next two weeks."

    Violence is Assumed. Commentators on three of the largest U.S. TV networks, NBC, CBS, and ABC, have made comments that assume without debate that the U.S. will engage in military action in retaliation. One U.S. senator said on TV that the U.S. response should be comparable to the U.S. response to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. One of the U.S. responses at the time of Pearl Harbor was to be the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons. Is the senator suggesting that?

    This is my reply to the many people who are recommending violence as an answer to violence:

    Do you have any thought that violence in retaliation might be a mistake, and might just invite further violence? Those who say no may change their minds after they consider the following issues:

    The U.S. government (not necessarily the U.S. people) has a history of thinking that violence is the answer. The U.S. government killed 2,100,000 people in Vietnam and maybe 150,000 people in Iraq. The U.S. has bombed 14 countries in 30 years, killing a roughly estimated 3,000,000 people. None of the people who were killed were in any way directly threatening the U.S. These people had mothers and fathers, friends and families and wives.

    Most of the citizens of the U.S. had, and have, no idea of the beliefs of the people that their government killed. Most people in the U.S. cannot even locate the countries the U.S. government bombed on a map of the world. People cannot be thought to have chosen violence when they do not come close to understanding the issues. It is often the government that chooses violence, not the people.

    No matter how violent a country is, or how many people a violent country kills, there is still an inexhaustible supply of people in other countries who also want to engage in violence. Violence can be unending. Do you want that?

    No matter how angry you are, there are thousands of people who are more angry than you. Do you want them to attack you?

    As was mentioned above, the Bush administration recently increased U.S. support for the violence of the Israelis. This was sure to make the people being killed by the Israelis unhappy. Do you find it surprising that some of them are motivated to violence also?

    There are many countries where people are severely distressed by Israeli violence. Recently there was a TV news story about street violence in which Israelis were killed. The Israeli counter-attack was shown on TV: A helicopter fired rockets at a building, causing huge explosions. It is not important in this instance whether the Israelis are the aggressors. What is important is that a significant number of people in the world think they are the aggressors.

    The problems between the Jews and the Arabs have existed for 3,300 years. The Jews say that they are the "chosen people" of God. The Jews say that Arabs are descended from an illegitimate child of their tribal founder, Abraham, and a slave girl.

    It is not difficult to understand the thoughts of the Arabs. It is not difficult to understand that it is annoying to live next to a group of people who claim that they are superior, and that Arabs are inferior. It is not difficult to understand that it is annoying to live near people who claim that you are a descendent of a bastard and that God doesn't like you as much.

    It is also not difficult to understand that the constant claims of the Jews of superiority over everyone else (including people of European descent like me) are mentally de-centering to Arabs who happen to be psychologically conflicted.

    Violence is caused by mentally de-centered people. Mentally de-centered people engage in violence. It's that simple. Being violent toward them makes mentally de-centered people even more mentally de-centered. That's why violence is not a good answer to violence.

    The U.S., and all those who hate violence, should take very strong action. But the action must be designed to cure the problem of highly-conflicted, mentally de-centered people. Whatever that response is, it must be more sophisticated than violence.

    The terrorists are extreme examples of mentally disturbed people. Remember that those who crashed airplanes into the buildings cannot possibly benefit from their own actions. They are dead. Someone who is willing to commit suicide is about as mentally de-centered as it is possible to be.

    Does the U.S. really have a place in a dispute that began 3,100 years before the founding of the country? How many people here really understand this dispute? What percentage of the citizens of the U.S. can even find Israel on a map of the world? I think the percentage is low.

    I find the arrogance of my Jewish friends annoying, too. However, there are many differences between myself and the terrorists. I am less conflicted. I am better educated. It doesn't matter to me what other people have been saying for thousands of years; I don't believe Jews actually are superior. I don't live in an area where I am at risk of being killed by Israelis. I am not Arab, so I am not the target of the strongest claims of Jews that they are superior.

    I can also understand why Jews would find Arabs annoying. There is an element of the Arab culture that allows Arabs to think that lies are sometimes acceptable. My Arab friends have sometimes lied to me over trivial issues. To someone who values careful thought, lies are extremely repugnant.

    Should we be giving Israel money when that will be seen as us a choosing to enter a 3,300 year-old conflict? The U.S. government gives billions of dollars every year to Israel. If anything, this money seems to have made Israel weaker. The Israelis have spent money they didn't earn; this is always a corrupting influence; they have had problems with inflation. It can hardly be said that the people of the U.S. give the money; most have no idea that money is going to Israel. So, the people pay the money, but the government gives it away. Rightly or wrongly, sensibly or crazily, the Arabs see this money as encouragement of Israel's violence toward them.

    On this particular issue both cultures are crazy! They've been killing each other since the time of the Pharaohs! What does this have to do with the U.S.? Do we walk into bars and take part in any fight that is happening there?

    The U.S. has a history of secret interference with the governments of other countries. We often hear about secret activities of the U.S. government after it is too late to object. The U.S. supported the killing of president Mossadegh of Iran, and then supported an extremely weak man, the Shah of Iran. (See Iran 1953: Making it safe for the King of Kings) [thirdworldtraveler.com] [thirdworldtraveler.com], for example.) This provoked a revolution in Iran that was hostile to the United States. Citizens of the U.S. were kept hostage.

    The U.S. secret agencies' secret answer to the anti-U.S. sentiment was to support Saddam Hussein of Iraq against Iran. We supported Saddam Hussein's violent war against Iran. However, when Saddam Hussein became violent toward another country in the region, we spent billions of dollars to kill an estimated 150,000 Iraqis and destroy their property.

    When executives do things openly they make lots of mistakes, and are sometimes held accountable, usually in a very peaceful way, and usually by their own staffs. When executives do things in secret, there is little accountability, and the mistakes can become huge.

    Anyone interested in the activities of secret U.S. agencies may have been interested in a segment of the CBS show "60 Minutes" about the secret involvement of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the killing of Chilean General Rene Schneider. The show aired on Sunday, September 9, 2001. General Schneider was a strong supporter of democracy. Here are links to information about U.S. interference with democracy in Chile:

    National Security Archive Chile Documentation Project [gwu.edu] [gwu.edu]

    PBS News Hour: "... evidence of a policy to undermine democracy in Chile and to support dictatorship there" [pbs.org] [pbs.org]

    Hinchey Report, CIA Activities in Chile [state.gov] [state.gov]

    Iran, Iraq, and Chile are just three of the countries that have suffered from secret U.S. involvement. There is some discussion of U.S. government interference in Saudi Arabia below. Also, don't forget Nicaragua. I asked someone who went to Nicaragua during U.S. involvement there whether it was possible to see the wealth that the U.S. government was pouring into that small country. The amount was said to be about $1,000,000 per day. I was told, no, there was no evidence of the money that was spent.

    There is a cycle: 1) The U.S. government influences other governments in hidden ways, including arranging the killing of foreign leaders. 2) Some members of the countries with whom the U.S. has interfered want to retaliate violently to the violence of the U.S. 3) The U.S. uses the violent retaliation as a justification for more hidden activity.

    Invading countries and killing the residents and destroying their property is not a way of relating I consider socially skilled. Why do the citizens of one country think they can kill the citizens of another? If killing is the answer, can't the U.S. ask a better question?

    The interference in the affairs of other countries by the secret U.S. agencies has prompted some people to retaliate. These people who retaliate are called "terrorists" in the U.S. The terrorists make everyone in the U.S. less safe. So, U.S. citizens have, in some ways, gotten less security for the money they spent on secret activities.

    The violent attitude toward people outside the U.S. has, predictably, spread to the internal police forces in the U.S. When some religious fanatics decided to do stupid things in Waco, Texas, the U.S. government responded by bringing in very violent-minded people. The result was that people were killed.

    There were people who didn't like the activities of the U.S. police forces in Waco. There were people who were psychologically de-centered by these activities. One of them, Timothy McVeigh, bombed a U.S. government building in Oklahoma. So then the U.S. government killed him.

    Secrecy encourages people not to trust. Violence encourages violence.

    We tend to hear about the activities of secret U.S. government agencies about 30 years after they occur. What are they doing now?

    It is 10:00 o'clock. Do you know what the U.S. government is doing? No, it is a fact that you don't. You don't know any other time, either. You cannot even know how much of your money is spent on secret activities, because the budget for secret U.S. government agencies is hidden in other appropriations.

    Definition of a terrorist: The other country's CIA.

    There is in the U.S. very little attempt at understanding other cultures. Arab friends of mine have described situations in Saudi Arabia that are extremely volatile. Apparently Osama bin Laden, and many average Saudis who live in the U.S., feel very unhappy with U.S. influence in Saudi Arabia. They think that there should be political parties and democracy in Saudi Arabia. However, the U.S. government strongly supports the dictatorial regime of the house of Al Saud. Residents of Saudi Arabia, for example, are not allowed to leave the country without an exit visa. They are potentially prisoners of their own country.

    Why not ask ourselves why Osama bin Laden is willing to go to so much trouble to promote terrorism? Maybe we would learn something. I am NOT saying Osama bin Laden is right about anything, and definitely his violence is reprehensible. Nevertheless it may help to understand him. According to Arabs to whom I've talked, there is considerable good reason to be dissatisfied with the secret actions of the U.S. government.

    As other people have said in the past, the U.S. government has a history of supporting corrupt dictatorships. The U.S. government supported Pakistan against India! India is the world's most populous democracy. It has been suggested that the preference for supporting dictatorships is due to U.S. government corruption. A dictator is almost certain to be willing to support embezzlement of U.S. government money, and to keep it secret. Trying to arrange embezzlement would be very dangerous in a democracy because of the danger of being discovered.

    Under the stress of conflict, people show how they truly think. It has always annoyed me that people who call themselves Christian often reveal that they don't really believe in the important messages of Christianity, and that they don't even understand those messages.

    Basically, Jesus Christ's idea of not returning violence with violence means that we can vigorously protect ourselves, but that any response must be the true minimum necessary to achieve security. This is a theory that can be recommended even to the majority of people in the world who are not Christian. The theory seems to fit the facts. The facts seem to be that violence always has severely negative side-effects that overwhelm any effect that might be seen as positive.

    Answers? Prevention is an answer. Better understanding is an answer. Being charitable long before any problems begin occurring is a good answer. And maybe there are times when we just don't know the answer.

    There is often considerable misunderstanding about non-violent methods. One reason to suggest non-violent methods is that they can be extremely powerful. For example, suppose that representatives from the U.S. knew Osama bin Laden's family. Or suppose that you understood how money is transferred to bin Laden. Or suppose the U.S. was so well-liked in the region that bin Laden had difficulty finding supporters. One of the values of non-violent methods is that literally hundreds of them are available, and many of them are far, far cheaper than violence.

    The desire for non-violence is a desire to be extremely powerful. Those who are really powerful can have a strong influence just by voicing disapproval.

    There are many people who support violence because they want to act out their own personal anger, while at the same time hiding their internal conflict from themselves. It is a fact that such people would be FAR more comfortable if they could be helped to understand and take responsibility for their anger. Acting out anger is like a drug. It provides only temporary relief, and it makes the person who does it more angry. Having un-recognized anger is like carrying a 100-pound sack of cement on your back wherever you go. Un-recognized anger drags you down 24 hours per day.

    Violence is not a good answer to violence.

    Regards,

    Michael Jennings

    Michael Jennings
    P.O. Box 14491
    Portland, OR 97293-0491
    U.S.A.

    E-Mail: M_Jennings@USA.com

    This letter maybe sent to anyone by email without permission from the author, provided that no changes are made. If you print this article with no changes, you may give it to anyone you know. Other use requires permission. Copyright 2001.

    Please mention errors and shortcomings to the author.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.

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