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More Links And Updates On Terrorist Attacks 971

The attacks last Tuesday on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have brought a flood of submissions about the continuing news and events, including ways you can help the continuing rescue efforts. Below are some of the ones we've received lately.

psytek writes: "We have been collecting names of people that would like to volunteer and help set up computer systems and networks for the WTC companies. Go to and sign up to help."

And rp44 writes: "There is a site collating offers of geek help in NYC and DC at It's mainly focused on network infrastructure (came from seeing all the posts of assistance on the nanog list getting lost in the noise), but areas covered include telco circuits, space, geek help, and hardware. Last time I looked there were 50+ assistance offers there, if you can offer facilities, services or hardware, just register and enter them into the database. It's pretty functional in that you can maintain your own help offers in real time, come back later and modify/delete them etc."

caledon, volunteering in New York for the Red Cross, writes with word that "it looks from here as if the two items most desired here right now are: 1) Cash 2) Socks.

They have been swamped, but the Red Cross seems to want money more than the in-kind help. That way they can buy EXACTLY what they might need at the site or for other purposes. A lot of bandages might not help if what they need are asbestos masks. That's probably true of the tech stuff too here in the city.

About the socks, apparently these guys downtown like to change their socks as often as possible. It is wet, always wet, and they need their feet dry. Some of my socks (and, oh no, Linux T-shirts) were disposed of last night by my loving family while I was wiring together our little effort."

Drake42 writes: "This is an excellent analysis of why the terrrorists attacked the WTC." An anonymous reader pointed out this thought-provoking commentary on War and the Internet, which points out how certain hopes for the role of the Internet in promoting peace seem to have failed, at least for now.

Along with other moves to restrict freedom and privacy that many believe will follow last weeks events, darrellsilver writes: "The New York Times is running an article about the proposed, and probably little-opposed, security changes to the Manhattan area, Times Square and SoHo specifically. As the article quotes, 'A week ago, certain things would have been unheard of as safety options. But now you reassess, you reconsider.' What once stirred controversy now seems to be discussed as inevitable and welcome, such as face recognition software."

guygee also writes "Andrew Cohen , CBS legal analyst who correctly predicted key aspects of the recent ruling of the U.S. Appellate Court in the Microsoft case, has issued a warning of the coming government crackdown on civil liberties."

Rescue and recovery teams in New York are using some interesting technology: GPSguy writes: "This is still embryonic, but a friend in the broadcast RF business just had his stock of spares cleaned out. Seems that the latest approach to sub-rubble searching is to look for the security access cards all WTC employees had been issued. Excited by a low-power VLF source, they emit a response. Apparently, not the idea is to hit the pile with a much higher signal level and try to get a number of the responses and try to triangulate onto some of them. No URLs available, yet, and scant real information."

And DeathBunny writes: "According to a pair of articles at, a group of researchers from the University of South Florida are using six "shape shifting" robots to help locate survivors of the World Trade Center tragedy in NY. " They're running Linux, too.

MrDelSarto writes: "From this zdnet article and this updated article author Steve Kirsch suggests a number of techniques for putting a plane in "safe mode" that auto-lands it's self in case of emergency ... hijacking or even the Payne Stuart situation. I'm sure /. readers will have a myriad of other ideas." As rackrent explains, "The article basically discusses locking out manual control of aircraft and forcing the autopilot to land them without any human control. Interesting idea, but certainly could have its problems, I say."

Liberal writes: "This article by a leading Iranian filmmaker is absolutely the deepest, most insightful thing I've ever read about that country. It was written before recent events; now that everyone is thinking about bombing Afghanistan, I think this should be required reading, to understand what the problems there really are, and to try and figure out what sort of long term solution may be possible (why it won't do just to massacre the Taliban)."

Finally, many readers submitted word of this photo album at Ars showing reactions around the world to the attacks. Sad though these pictures are, it may be one of the most encouraging things I've seen since Tuesday.

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More Links And Updates On Terrorist Attacks

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  • "The article basically discusses locking out manual control of aircraft and forcing the autopilot to land them without any human control. Interesting idea, but certainly could have its problems, I say."

    Big problem. If this is coupled with autopilot, all it takes is a single flick of a switch to disable the autopilot.
    Not to mention all electrical equipment has circuit breakers of some kind onboard. They can always pull a breaker.

    • I thought about something like this-- like a special ID number each pilot has to type into a security pad every 20 minutes to maintain control of the aircraft; typing the wrong code signals the control tower that something is wrong and would give control to the tower...

      Then I realized that if the control towers can take control of the plane, the terrorists will just go for the control towers....

      Not to mention-- maybe someone with more flight experience can help here-- I'd imagine it'd be pretty damn hard/expensive to build an auto-landing system into an airplane-- one that isn't controlled at all by a person... I remember reading the military had some spy planes that could take off, fly, and land without a pilot... anyone know anything more about this?

    • What's necessary is a "suicide switch", which sends out a signal to the authorities, and flies the plane in the direction of the nearest ocean. No override without a command from the military. When the plane runs out of fuel, it will crash into the ocean. Awful for the people on-board, but it will remove planes as a weapon.

      Circuit breakers being pulled should be made irrelevant. Just put it in the baggage compartment, not in the cockpit, or bury it in a place which can't be accessed while the plane is in-flight.


    • Yes, some modern autopilots can land the plane, but I prefer a much simpler soultion. Whats wrong with a wall? Just put a bulletproof bulkhead betweeen cabin and cockpit. Give the pilots their own entrance, bathroom and coffeepot.

      Not revolutionary at all. Apparently El Al has two sets of doors to the flight deck on all of its planes.

      Of course we can expect them to do something very different in the next attack. If nothing else, passengers and crew will not sit quietly should someone take control of the plane.

      • by Telek ( 410366 )
        If nothing else, passengers and crew will not sit quietly should someone take control of the plane.

        Right, because they will all have been knocked out by sleeping gas before the hijackers move the next time.

        There is one way, and one way only, to stop terrorism. People don't just blow up things and crash planes into buildings for no reason. People are obviously angry at the US. If you can figure out why and try to solve it, you will have a much better chance of having this not happen again than if you just "bomb" some place back to the stoneage, you can't kill'em all, and what doesn't kill them just makes them stronger and more devious.
  • Another advantage of sending money is that it helps get the lower Manhattan commercial infrastructure going again.
  • view from the UK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2001 @11:22PM (#2307638)
    I think US citizens should watch this week's (Real Video) [] edition of Question Time [] on the BBC (should be there until the 20th).

    Although not truly representative of British public opinion, I found it a fascinating insight into how blinkered most of the USA are to world opinion. The look of shock on Phil Lader (ex American Ambassador at US Embassy) at some of the feelings expressed and views on US foreign policy will be an eye opener to many.

    Yes, bring justice to the perpatrators, but also think about what else the US can do to change the views of a large number of the world's citizens that have intense loathing of the US.


    "Islam is not the enemy, war is not the answer"

    • Although not truly representative of British public opinion, I found it a fascinating insight into how blinkered most of the USA are to world opinion.

      As a Brit who as worked, lived and travelled extensively in the United States, I was shocked and disgusted by what I saw on Question Time. The BBC is widely known to be left-wing biased in its view, even known as the "Ministry of Propaganda" by some. The audience was chosen with this in mind, to support the prejudices of the producer, it was clear that the host (David Dimbleby, IIRC) was unable to control the crowd.

      I would like to apologise on behalf of the country, but you must understand that the freedom of speech defended by the UK and the US does grant freedom even to those who show no gratitude for it. There are people even here in London who genuinely rejoiced at the news, altho' why they are living here and not in one of the world's many Islamic states seems to have escaped question. Probably because the media are terrified of being accused of racism, but race is nothing to do with it, it's about belief.

      Public sentiment, to the extent that I am able to judge it, it wholly different. The British people tend to know about terrorism, we once had the IRA attempt to blow up Canary Wharf (the nearest thing we have to the WTC). We support the US without hesitation in your time of need, just as we did in the Gulf, and just as you have supported us in the Falklands and elsewhere in the world.

      But, if I may, perhaps US citizens will think twice now before supporting NORAID.
  • Canadian Red Cross (Score:3, Informative)

    by rakerman ( 409507 ) on Sunday September 16, 2001 @11:23PM (#2307643) Homepage Journal
    In Canada you can donate to the Canadian Red Cross online at Canada Helps [].
  • Why they did it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gloth ( 180149 )
    I believe that any explanation of the "why" behind the terrorist attacks that does not include the conflicts in the middle east just doesn't cut it.

    IMHO, this was not an attack on freedom or democracy, and also not simply an attack on the American way of life. It was retaliation by fanatic Arab terrorists who feel that the US involvement in the middle east, and in Palestine in particular, discriminates the arabs.

    The situation in the middle east in unfortunately a dilemma that doesn't seem to have a good and just solution, and things are far from black-and-white. But whatever one thinks about it, it seems evident that the reasons for the terrorist attacks are to be found there too.
    • by TWR ( 16835 )
      As Benjamin Netanyahu has said, "The Arabs do not hate the West because of Israel, they hate Israel because of the West."

      Bin Laden and his band of sheep-fuckers hate Israel because Israel is further proof that the best way to have a prosperous country is to embrace the Western values of freedom, democracy, capitalism, and pluralism. (Yes, pluralism. Israel is arguably the best place in the Middle East to be a Muslim. Being a Sufi or Suni or Shi'ite or just not too religious in the wrong Middle Eastern country is a death sentence. Not so in Israel. All Muslim citizens have the right to vote and to worship however they choose. Remember, after Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock in 1967, they turned its administration back over to the Muslim authorities. When Jordan and Egypt captured Jewish holy sites in 1948, they destroyed them, as the Palestinians did to Joseph's Tomb in 2000.)

      It's only fools who think that Israel is the problem. Israel is the solution, not the problem. If only there was a single Arab country which embraced the same values as Israel, the Middle East would be a far saner place.


      • Israel is arguably the best place in the Middle East to be a Muslim.

        Not according to this article []

        And not according to the UN Racism conference. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2001 @11:26PM (#2307660)

    What a pile of rubbish. Do we want to keep pretending that we were attacked because of some cultural hatred? Let's face reality for a minute. For the past decade, our government has been sticking it's nose all over the middle east. We have bombed and killed innocent civilians in Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, among other countries. We have supported corrupt governments, we have trained terrorists, we have starved innocent civilians through blockades. The reason we were attacked is simple, our foreign policy has been one of government sponsored terrorism. We have made enemies in the middle east, it is ridiculous to think we could do this without one day paying for it.

    I am in no way supporting what was done, it was a horrible horrible act and those responsible should be found and punished. But to pretend that this was a total surprise, an unprovoked incident, and that we are someone morally justified for all out government's actions is ignorant. Our government has refused to learn from it's past actions, and I would hope that this incident would finally sink home the point. However, it looks like they have again completely missed the point and will continue to spread the cycle of terrorism and violence.

    Colin Powell condemed whoever did this, denouncing anyone who thought that they could prove a political point through bombs and the killing of innocent civilians. He seems to have completely missed the irony of this, that this is exactly what our government has been doing for decades.

    It's time to wake up america.
    • by FFFish ( 7567 )
      I don't know that it's so much whether you get to decide whether to keep pretending...

      ...the news media gets to decide whether you keep pretending.

      And, in all likelihood, the government has a very large influence on what the media gets to report.

      Between media deception and government deception, it's time for everyone to become extremely cautious about accepting the pablum that's pumped through that glass tube.

      And, perhaps, it's time to demand something better from both of 'em.
  • ...(last link) were amazing.

    Small comfort to the victims, I'm sure, but the world shares in their grief.

    Every time I think I'm getting numb to this tragedy, I run across something that drives it home in a new way. Thank god... I don't want to be numb right now.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Sunday September 16, 2001 @11:26PM (#2307667) Homepage
    "safe mode"?? Can we please stop fighting last Tuesday's war today? Nobody ever thought that they'd ever fly an airplane into a building using knives to hijack the airplane. Okay, we now know they will. There's a dozen ways we can stop them from doing *that*.

    The question is "What are they going to do *next*"?
    • by Ghoser777 ( 113623 ) <fahrenba AT mac DOT com> on Monday September 17, 2001 @12:59AM (#2307947) Homepage
      They could easily pull the same type of attack ina week or so. We won't have air marshalls on planes for a while, and I'm sure they're not going to have steel bolted cockpit doors for quite some time, so terrorists could use theur same old strategy again. Why reinvent the wheel when you already have something that works.

      If this is a well thought out terrorist plan, they'll proabably attack something relatively soon. Probably not this week, but next week. Make us feel a little safe agai, and then stuff it right back into our faces.

      The sad thing is there is ultimately nothing that can be done to stop terrorism in general. We can stop simple cases (aka terrorists with box cutters), but it's nearly impossible to block off terrorism at every turn without substantially limiting everyones individual freedom. It'll take something like a Matrix world, where government or some machine locks us away and/or watches our every move, possibly being able to immediately "deactive" us for "inappropraite" behavior. We can never have complete security without complete loss of freedom... but then, is it really worth it.

      I remember the scene from Star Trek: Generation, when James T. Kirk is loving the Nexus, the ability to go back and do everything he wanted to in the past. But then it hits him, after he jumps over a stream with his horse, that life isn't meanignful if it can't be lost, or you can't fail. That's why watching sporting activities is so much fun, because the outcome is never for sure.

      • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Monday September 17, 2001 @01:25AM (#2308019) Homepage
        No, the same thing will never work again. Everybody except flight 93 expected to be held for ransom. From now on, you can expect passengers to fight for their lives. You can bet your bottom dollar that there are armed plainclothes police on every flight, with orders to shoot to kill.
        • you can expect passengers to fight for their lives. You can bet your bottom dollar that there are armed plainclothes police on every flight,

          You'd lose that bet about the cops, but your first point is dead on. Mid-air hijacking is no longer a feasible option in America. From now on, the moment an attempt is made, every able-bodied passenger on the plane would bum rush. You'd see feats of heroism verging on suicidal -- and why not? Unless they stop the hijackers, they know they're dead anyways.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here is the just released design for the new World Trade Center []. We will rebuild.
  • by idonotexist ( 450877 ) on Sunday September 16, 2001 @11:30PM (#2307685)
    I have recently been struck, no --- my attitude towards Iran has been completely changed as a result of these unfortunate events. I have read the Iranian response to the tragedy, seen Iran close its borders, read suprisingly pro-US archived articles/speeches of the Iranian government, understood the current and popular Iranian president is very western and democratic, and saw year old photos on CNN's site of young Iranians who admire US culture. In addition, in the linked opinion piece by an Iranian journalist, the Iranian states:
    "I keep asking people that when the U.S. found it necessary, it retook Kuwait from Iraq in three days. Why, however, with all its touting of modernism, does it not initiate an action to save the 10 million women who have no schools or social presence and are trapped under the burqa? Why doesn't it stop this primitiveness that has emerged in modern times? Does it not have the power or does it lack the incentive? I have already found the answer....Afghanistan has no precious resources such as oil and it does not have a surplus oil income like Kuwait. I hear another answer too. If the United States supports the Taliban for a few more years, the ugly image that will be portrayed to the world of an eastern ideology, will make everyone immune to it like modernism in Afghanistan. If the revolutionary and reformative interpretations of Islam are equated with Taliban's regressive interpretation, then the world will become forever immune to the expansion of Islam."
    Certainly Iran is no white knight. Certainly Iran is no black knight. Even Iranians have appealed for the US to help and have warned of the Taliban. I will not be surprised, no --- I will expect, given the track record of the US and other nations in Bosnia and Kosovo, the world will aid the Afghan people. The world will provide food, medicine, water and shelter. Establish, and some will argue a puppet, legitimate and more peaceful Afghan government. I think this will be as much as a humanitarian mission as it will be a hunting expedition.
    • Why, however, with all its touting of modernism, does it not initiate an action to save the 10 million women who have no schools or social presence and are trapped under the burqa?

      Because, as powerful as the US is, we can't save the world. We can't just dump money on every country. What about all the poor african countries? What about all the poor South American countries?

      He is right about one thing: We help countries that are part of our National Interest. We do that for obvious reasons.

      But there are other countries that we help, and no one should forget it: countries that are struggling toward freedom. If Afghanistan wanted our help, all they have to do institute freedom and democracy. Money would come flowing down as if from heaven. We would help build their economy and launch them on the road to prosperity.

      Don't believe it? That's exactly what we did for Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Talk about forgiveness. [p.s. not that Russia still doesn't have huge problems...]

      • by jflynn ( 61543 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @04:25AM (#2308246)
        "all they have to do institute freedom and democracy."

        Yup, that's so easy we're busily undoing it here. And Russia is far from being out of the woods yet.

        Of course the $40M we gave the Taleban this year [] may not be helping the insurrection.

        After the Afghani-Russian war that we armed and funded them for they begged us to stay and help set up a democratic government, but they no longer held any strategic interest for us, I'm afraid. So we left them to the Taleban, which we have helped prop up, just like the military government in neighboring Pakistan.

        No, I'm afraid that who we support has little to do with whether they are democratic and everything to do with their short term realpolitik strategic value. Russia's stability was quite critical to us for what I hope are obvious reasons. About 20,000 of them.

        If you would like some more examples think on Pinochet, Noreiga, the Shah, and Hussein. None of those ran even mildly democratic governments, yet they all received stong support at one time. And we've had to clean up after a few as well. The list is far longer of course. Our country has become known for it's puppet dictators. But we live back here where it's safe and free. Or was.

    • On an interesting note, there's an article up at my site called "Remember Qaddafi?" (link in my sig) that shows that the now-forgotten leader of Libya has, despite all the American antagonism in the past, given some remarkable comments. Well worth reading.
    • Well of course the other reason Iran opposes the Taliban is that they belong to a different ethnic group. The majority of Iranians belong to the same ethnic group as the deposed previous government of Afghanistan, who now constitute the "Northern Alliance" anti-Taliban fighters, while the ethnic group of the Taliban is a minority in Iran.
    • Why, however, with all its touting of modernism, does it not initiate an action to save the 10 million women who have no schools or social presence and are trapped under the burqa? Why doesn't it stop this primitiveness that has emerged in modern times?

      Because, realistically, the only way to do that would be to invade Afghanistan, utterly destroy the clerics who are ruling the country, and install a puppet government, backed by the full force of the NATO armies. This simply isn't feasible, even if it were the "right" thing to do. We all remember the American officer in Vietnam saying "we had to destroy the village in order to save it". Getting involved in the internal politics of Afghanistan would be another Vietnam.

      The West simply cannot be expected to tour the world cleaning up after everyone elses mistakes. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's true. We have a whole bunch of our own problems to deal with - and there is no one that we can ask for help from. In some cases, like the Gulf War, the interests of the West happened to align with the interests of moderate Islamic states like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In other cases, the West finds that other Islamic states, for example Libya, are opposed to its objectives. Either way, the Western taxpayer spends billions every year on aid to less-developed countries.

      If the Afghans were to overthrow the Taleban and install a genuinely democratic government, with liberal social policies and a broadly capitalist economy, they would find that the Western nations would welcome them as one of our own.
  • The author comments that an openable steel door in the aircraft would not be enough to stop hijaakers, as the pilots would be induced to open the door by threats from the cabin. Last week I would have agreed; after this Tuesday, however, I think most pilots would just disable the intercom system (so they don't/can't hear the hijackers' demands anymore) and land the plane. Even if the hijackers threatened to kill every passenger on board, that's still better than giving them control of the plane.
    • Sorry to say this, but... Your perception is clearly blurred by the recent events.

      How many of the last 50 hijackings have ended in a suicide mission accomplished by the hijacker?

      I would have to say roughly 4. Unless the hijackers are clearly prepared to die and have no other intentions than mass destruction of notable targets the chances of resolving the crisis in a manner that results in the least amount of loss of life are great. You follow their demands to a reasonable extent and perhaps land the plane and refuel etc.. Special forces come in and zap the hijackers and end of story..

      Suppose you didn't comply and the hijackers killed few passengers. Would you want to live with that if the other (very likely) option would have been a peaceful resolution? And wouldn't that require all of the airline passengers to agree that their life is expendable upon hijacking and that the airline is released of all responsibility? I doubt that that will ever happen..

      Out of all the hijackings in my recent memory (aside last 4) there has been a happy ending and most of the people survived. 90% of the time people performing these stunts are complete amatuers put in a desperate situation. A lot of times these people don't even harm anyone. It seems that only the extreme islamic militant groups are the ones that might be inclined to perform activites such as last weeks.

      It is more than likely that there will be new security regulations in airline industry and that possibly these will involve pilots willingness to co-operate with hijackers(which has previously been 100% co-operation to prevent any unnecessary loss of life). However, out of recent memory it is certainly assertable that most hijackings have a peacefull ending and that changing the current way of dealing with hijackings will likely result in less secure flying enviroment(from passengers point of view). Changing the current code of conduct should be done with extreme caution and fully informing the passengers.

      p.s. I personally take roughly a dozen intercontinental flights a year. Next one in two weeks(unless us airports close again, I'm flying from east coast).

      • Sorry to say this, but... Your perception is clearly blurred by the recent events.

        Blurred? I'd say FOCUSED!

        These people have forever changed the way we deal with hijackers of large vessels. We must now treat them all as if they wish to use the vessel as a guided missile. This means exactly what the original poster said -- seal of the pilots no matter what, perhaps give them a way to disable everyone outside the cockpit, etc.

        Trust me, once non-suicidal hijackers realize that this is going to become the normal course of action, they will soon give up the hijacking of large vessels. What would be the point?
  • I found this to be of some help in understanding people's reactions. Not a fan of pop psych and glib oversimlification, but it seems accurate to me. I experienced the "window" he mentions, Tuesday and Wednesday in particular, with heightened perception... more recently I'm simply grateful to be alive. And incredibly sad. What a terrible terrible waste. Anyway I wanted to share this for those that haven't seen it.

    The dazed look on the faces of those surviving the blasts in New York is the face of psychic numbing. This numbing is the normal reaction we experience when we are suddenly and deeply overwhelmed with events that are more than we can handle. We begin to "space out," and at the same time, shut down outer stimulation because we have taken in more than we can possibly manage. It's like the governor on an appliance that shuts down or turns off when it is in danger of falling apart.

    The effects of psychic numbing will be like a rock thrown into a pond and the ensuing ripples. The closer you are to the epicenter of the tragedy, the worse your numbing may be.

    Here's what to expect: "spacing out," losing your train of thought, as you find yourself dazed, unable to focus attention; having to have things repeated to you because you are lost in thoughts; sensations of tingling or numbness in the extremities; nervous habits; poor sleep and bad dreams; catastrophic images being replayed in the mind; fear and an unwillingness to stray too far from places of safety and security; , outrage; guilt an shame that one is not reacting like one should; and for some, morbid fascination with the gory details of the events.

    Even while numbness sets in, something else happens. A mental "window" opens for a period of time that shocks us into an appreciation of our existence in a more poignant way than our everyday awareness allows for. We become more sensitized to the simple beauty of our being alive and the importance of those who matter to us. Suddenly the important things in our lives jump forward in bold relief. The window tends not to stay open for too long, as we slowly drift back into our common mentality.

    Here's what you can do: Allow your feelings to be experienced and expressed. Be gentle with yourself and those around you. Make room for others to have different reactions than you do, understanding everybody copes a bit differently. Do not expect to be functioning at your normal level for a while and take on only responsibilities that you can handle. And use the "window" to let in the deeper truths of your existence. 01043.html

    Shrink Rap: The Psychic Aftermath of the WTC Disaster

    By Steven Hendlin, Ph.D.
    Special to
    09/13/2001 08:33 AM EDT

  • I really believe we are going to use a nuke before this is all over to show everybody thet they mess with the USA on our own soil at their peril. Check out this from today's "talking heads" on TV (from


    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this morning refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in America's coming battle with terrorists.

    Appearing on ABC's THIS WEEK, Rumsfeld was asked if a possible tactical nuclear strike would be used.

    "Can we rule out the use of nuclear weapons?" questioned ABC's Sam Donaldson.

    RUMSFELD: You know, that subject--we have an amazing accomplishment that's been achieved on the part of human beings. We've had this unbelievably powerful weapon, nuclear weapons, since what 55 years now plus, and it's not been fired in anger since 1945. That's an amazing accomplishment. I think it reflects a sensitivity on the part of successive presidents that they ought to find as many other ways to deal with problems as is possible.

    DONALDSON: I'll have to think about your answer. I don't think the answer was no.

    RUMSFELD: The answer was that that we ought to be very proud of the record of humanity that we have not used those weapons for 55 years. And we have to find as many ways possible to deal with this serious problem of terrorism.

    And if, Sam, you think of the loss of human life on Tuesday and then put in your head the reality that a number of countries today have other so-called asymmetrical threat capabilities--ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, cyber warfare--these are the kinds of things that are used in this era the 21st century. And a germ warfare attack anywhere in the world would bring about losses of lives not in the thousands but in the millions.


    I've got to admit that I actually think in this case a single nuke should be used precisely for deterrent effect on future terrorist attacks. Certainly the current state of affairs is supportive of nuke use - obvious reason, probable support of US citizens, no threat of immediate nuclear retaliation, isolated target with limited collateral (fallout) damage, profound psychological impact on everybody everywhere. They have an anti-litter slogan in Bush's home state that says "Don't mess with Texas". Dubya's already re-wrote that in his head to be "Don't mess with US".

    The problems I've got is that frankly, there isn't a target in Afghanistan that's worth a nuke. These people have endured so much war over the past twenty years that it's gonna be hard to find a before and after picture site where you will be able to tell that much happened. PLUS, the real problem with Afghanistan is that there are already 2 million or more people in refugee camps located in Pakistan and Iran who don't like the Taliban any better than we do - how is nuking their enemy supposed to give them land or food or shelter? This dislocation of massive numbers of Muslim people - Palastinians or Afganis or whoever - is the root problem in this whole mess in the first place. What we really need to do is spend some of this $40 billion in the war chest to help the mind-numbing poverty that is creating a pool of suicide bombers in the first place - but that would look like capitulation, so don't look for the Peace Corps to be on the fromt lines just yet. That's a damn shame, because somehow it IS the key to solving this mess once and for all....

    Having said all of that, my money is on Kandahar as Ground Zero. My only question is whether they will allow an evac time prior to the flash. You heard it here first....

    • I really believe we are going to use a nuke before this is all over to show everybody thet they mess with the USA on our own soil at their peril. Check out this from today's "talking heads" on TV (from

      And with all the countries out there that have their own nukes -- especially Middle Eastern countries -- that will be an open invitation to start a worldwide nuclear war.
    • I've got to admit that I actually think in this case a single nuke should be used precisely for deterrent effect on future terrorist attacks... The problems I've got is that frankly, there isn't a target in Afghanistan that's worth a nuke.

      Just to elaborate on this, as a resident of what is probably the most nuke-vulnerable city in the US. A couple of points:

      1. There are very few tactical uses for a nuclear weapon that cannot be accomplished with a large number of conventional weapons. Especially in a country like Afghanistan. Tactical nukes might make sense as a last-ditch army-vaporizing defense, but that's a different war.

      2. Even somebody like Bin Laden should realize that there is little to be gained from a nuclear attack on the US (fingers crossed.) I can only assume that Bin Laden's goal is to instigate a broad-scale American military campaign that will strengthen his following in the middle east. Incidents such as the embassy bombings, and even the horrible attack on Tuesday, can be explained to angry people who have been the victims of American bombing. A nuclear attack is a different story. For all that Bin Laden can say about American behavior in the Middle East, he can't say that we've ever engaged in genocide (though he might love it if he could say this.) It would seriously undermine his support, probably drive every sane person in the area to truly revile him... I can only assume that this wouldn't benefit him in any way.

      Also, Bin Laden probably realizes that the one thing that could truly destroy him and his cause is broad-scale nuclear retaliation from the US. While a conventional campaign might kill thousands, it's likely that Bin Laden's people will see this as a recruiting bonanza, not a serious military loss. But a full scale nuclear response by the US could throw a serious wrench into his plans, even wipe him out. If he chose to escalate from that point, he could find his war rendered moot. I would assume that Bin Laden wants to needle us enough to bring on a retaliation, not complete inhilation.

      3. Which brings me to my final point: why we shouldn't initiate a nuclear confrontation. It's not in Bin Laden's interest (I hope) to start a nuclear war. He may be crazy and willing to shed blood, but he wants there to be a middle east left when the jihad is over. But if we do go nuclear, it'll only be a matter of time before we can count on response in kind. Or put it this way... If we want to go nuclear, we'd better be prepared to go all the way. Otherwise, we're guaranteed to lose at least one city in the next few years-- somebody, maybe not even Bin Laden, will find a way to do it. Whatever you may feel about the US, nobody believes that we're going to initiate a decisive nuclear attack against the region (which contains many countries that are currently on our side, but might not continue to be.)

      Going nuclear first is madness. Tactical nukes are unnecessary. I can only assume that the people in charge realize this as well.

    • by Alpha State ( 89105 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @01:49AM (#2308053) Homepage

      I trust the US government will not even consider using a nuclear device. That would make them far worse than the terrorists thay are after.

      Even if your hatred and anger have gone this far, I hope you can see that such an act in an already war-torn area of the world, near countries which are nuclear armed themselves, would be a supreme act of stupidity.

      I only hope there are at least a few people in the US who will actually consider trying to find out who is responsible before breaking out the BFGs.

    • The nuclear bomb, purely from the perspective of weaponry, is a agent of mass destruction. It is meant for conventional war theaters, with large army divisions concentrated in few places, or it can also obliterate whole cities and make entire countries unlivable for years.

      From a more intelligent standpoint however, the nuclear arsenal is really only a dissuasive force that keep large ennemy countries (read USSR) from making rash military decisions. Moreover, it is quite proven that the atomic fire has a very pronounced psychological impact that conventional bombing doesn't have, but in fact conventional bombing is deadlier than nuclear bombing : many more people died in Germany in a matter of days due to conventional bombing at the end of WWII than in Japan due to the two atomic bombs.

      So, I fail to see where nukes apply to combat terrorism : do you know a single place the size of a large city that is populated only by terrorists, with the added advantage of being free of innocent civilians in a 20 mile radius around it ?

      Using a nuclear arm on even a small terrorist training camp (which is the largest concentration of terrorists you'll ever see) is very dumb indeed.

  • by goingware ( 85213 ) on Sunday September 16, 2001 @11:48PM (#2307740) Homepage
    This is one of the most hopeful things I've read in some time:

    This is a voice of reason that needs to be listened to:

    This Op-Ed piece at Yahoo is one of the most frightening things I've come across, the fact that someone like this can get published on such a major site shows that something is wrong with America:

    A Sikh gas station owner was murdered. It was not known if this was motivated by hatred of Muslims but it is suspected (the victim had received threats). Sikhs are not Muslims, but Sikh men wear turbans and beards and are mistaken as Muslims:

    Curiously, Sikhs in India are calling for the U.S. government to educated Americans on how to distinguish Sikhs and Muslims. Why? So the racists can know who to shoot? How about toning down the hateful hysteria?

    In general The Times of India [] has been giving much better coverage of the events than I've seen in American media.

  • The K9 rescue dogs also need socks, as they walk over glass and stuff, so the socks and 'high-top shoes' are appreciated too.

  • The current space shuttle at NASA has an 'auto-land' system, which can be activated by the crew(mission specialists) if the pilot and shuttle commander are somehow incapicated.

    However, it has not actually been used, only simulated, that I know of. I believe NASA tried to improve all the contingency plans around the time of the Challenger accident.

    Could the airlines do better? Sure, maybe a ground flight controller using live telemetry could take over the plane, but it wouldn't be too hard for a pilot to disable it, I imagine the hijacker could cut a circuit breaker or otherwise override the controls.

  • by beanerspace ( 443710 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @12:10AM (#2307789) Homepage
    Here are yet more links, regarding the terrorist attack. Only, these links are in response to a question I have ... are we actually dealing with a radical sucide cult here ?

    Yeah, I know, sounds wacky. However, considering the planning and fanaticism behind last tuesday's acts ... and considering that the Teliban has about as much in common with Islam, as Heaven's Gate did with Christianity. Are we actually up against a group that preaches taking their lives, along with others, is a path to paradise ?

    Here are some links on the subject. Decide for yourself.

    Chronology of Suicide Cults []
    Doomsday, Destructive Religious Cults []
    Suicide Makes Ten Deaths Among Guru's Followers []
    More Than 200 Die in Uganda Cult Mass Suicide []
    Aum and Terrorism []
    Suicide Cults The End Of The Century []
    A party, prayers, then mass suicide []
    Lessons to be Learned: Heaven's Gate Tragedy []
    Cults []
    • are we actually dealing with a radical sucide cult here? ... Are we actually up against a group that preaches taking their lives, along with others, is a path to paradise?

      No, we're not.

      In the mentioned cults that I know anything of, the idea is, you kill yourself, but you don't really die, you go to another place, or something. Closer to God, who cares.

      With these suicide bombers, it's true they are fighting for their religion against people that they think are impure or however you wish to call it (I don't feel like being politically correct). The difference is, they are not killing themselves to kill themselves. For that matter, they are not killing themselves; they are killing other people, and if they die in the process, then that is the way it must be.

      Consider the Crusades. Hundreds, thousands, of Christian soldiers go off to spread the word of God. Anyone who didn't convert gets whacked. They go, they fight battles. Some die. They knew that they might die, but are they a suicide cult? No, they're fighting the good fight, and some may die, but that's the way it is.

      In this case, the other side (the Islamic militant fundimentalist right-wing conservative nutcase whackjob...) has a few differences in its definition of warfare.

      First, they do not restrict themselves to military targets. This is the first rule of civilized warfare. Secondly, they conduct all of their warfare behind enemy lines, in 'clandestine operations'. All of their 'soldiers' are 'operatives', they are all infiltrators, they all wish to get past the 'front line' defence and then attack from within, as happened on Tuesday.

      Finally, they engage in suicide attacks for two reasons. First, if they know they are going to die, it makes it easier. You can prepare yourself for it, you know it's going to happen, you can make your peace with Allah, or however it is they make their peace (I'm totally ignorant of Islam at this moment).

      Most importantly, though, and I have discussed this with Israelis who understand this all too well, a suicide bomber is almost impossible to stop.

      Imagine someone who has strapped themselves with explosives and wishes to get into a mall to set himself off. If he gets into the mall, he kills lots of people, and himself. If he gets stopped by police/security/mall guards/door guards and is going to be caught, he sets himself off and kills a couple of people and himself. He has nothing to lose, so even one death is a victory.

      To summarize, they do not kill themselves to kill themselves, they kill themselves because they know, as do the Palestinians and Israelis, that through killing themselves, they can not only kill more of the enemy more reliably, but they can also strike terror further into the hearts of their enemy - because you never know - none of us can know, anymore - when you'll be standing beside someone at the marketplace and they'll turn to you, look into your eyes for the last time anyone ever will, and then fill your sight with flames for the last second of your life.

      This is why they kill themselves. No other reason.

  • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @12:15AM (#2307804) Homepage Journal
    Somthing interesting: []


    NBC News has learned that investigators in Europe and the United States are examining whether Islamic fanatic Osama bin Laden may have financed Tuesday's terror assault on America by stock trades in European exchanges in the days before the attacks.

    • But... I told you so. [] (this additional fluff added to dodge the postercomment compression filter).

    • Does anybody else think this is more and more resembling the "Die Hard" series?

      Die Hard (1): skyscraper in LA
      Die Hard (2): airport in Washington
      Die Hard (3): "terrorism" for a profit motive (... and a Cameo appearance of bombs in a school [])

      For all we know, this might not even be Bin Laden behind all this, but just a very cunning and ruthless businessman, who somehow managed to convince a couple of Islamist fundamentalists to work for him...

  • A friend pointed me at this []. Very basically: they're looking at the use of nukes. Dear God I hope you people are talking to your congressmen and senators.
  • This is an excellent analysis of why the terrrorists attacked the WTC."

    That New York Times "analysis" fails to mention Israel even once. One needn't be a "virulent antisemite" to wonder at such a glaring omission.

  • You may not all be fans of Will Smith (I am), but the movie "Enemy of the State" should be seen by every American. They should ask themselves, "Do I really want to live like that?" I used to think that movie was based on an extreme imagination. Now I pray it stays as such.
  • This whole thing has been crazy. So far Jerry Falwell has said we deserve this because gays and pagans exist, Pat Robertson has said we deserve it because porn exists, poeple right here on Slashdot are blaming the whole thing on Capitalism, France and Germany are saying that somehow our Military Headquarters being bombed is NOT an act of war. There's been a large outcry of support from people and leaders all over the place, but it still amazes me how lowlifes can use a disaster like this to further their own agendas. There were three year olds on those planes. They were neither gay, pagan, or porn stars and in my not so humble opinion any God that will kill an innocent 3 year old (and thousands more innocents) because somewhere someone is having sex with a member of the same gender does not deserve to be worshipped.
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @01:52AM (#2308060) Homepage
    Or whatever Batman-like thing ol' Dubya said. Nice sentiment, cheezy words. :-)

    Anyway, I got to thinking: if (most of) the world governments are going to seek and destroy terrorist cells, those that lead terrorist cells, and those that fund them, are they going to do a comprehensive job of it?

    I'm figuring that part of the reason ol' Tony Blair is mounting his war steed is that he wants to eliminate the IRA. One hopes he'll be equally vicious with the Orange Volunteers and other Protestant creeps.

    The Spanish have the Basque freedom fighters. Chile has a guerilla group that's nothing but trouble, too. Japan had those freaks that Sarin-gassed the subway system, although I think they got rid of 'em. And the mainland Asian triads: they're a real fucking problem over here on the west coast.

    This is a helluva opportunity. If it got out of control, it'd be downright scary: anyone with a dissenting opinion might end up labelled as a terrorist and shot.

    I'm also fairly keen to see what is going to happen with regards those that fund terrorists. For instance, there could be a lot of imprisoned, if not executed, Irish Americans who keep sending money to the goddamn IRA and Orangemen. I won't even talk about those who donate to Israeli and Islamic radical/terrorist groups.

    Not sure where the line gets drawn, though. Is the Mafia gonna be toasted? It's a borderline terrorist organization, ain't it? And the Drug Enforcement Agency simply must be considered a terrorist group, along with the CIA...

    Interesting times. Very interesting times. I'm not sure how much more interesting I really want them to get, though...
    • Americans have usually yawned at the terrible plight of people in far off countries with evil regimes or in deeply rooted cycles of violence and conflict. Then Tuesday happened. What happens in Israel and Afghanistan doesn't seem so far away anymore, does it?

      If anything, the horrible event Tuesday (I worked at 5 World Trade until Tuesday) is an incredible opportunity to export American concepts of freedom and liberty.

      What I mean is that it is clear today that the plight of everyday Afghanis is something we should have paid closer attention to while the British, and then the Russians, and then various warlords, tore that poor place to pieces. Kuwait had oil to export, so boy did we care. And now it seems Afghanistan has something export after all now to, doesn't it? Its own suffering.

      We can't go there and tell a Muslim country "alright, you will now all behave as Americans do." Yeah right! American decadence is a symbol of moral decay to a large part of the Islamic world. But we do say to them: "You will treat your people- your women, your minorities, other religions, with respect." And if they don't? Well, maybe last week that was disturbing but forgettable. This week? Time to land the troops!

      We changed the German and Japanese constitutions after World War II didn't we? So they were not involved in megalomaniacal Imperialism or building ovens to incinerate millions of Jews, right? Why can't we insist: Every country in the world must respect basic human rights and freedoms or suffer OUR consequences!

      It is clear civilization is under attack wherever in the world it is in decay. If we don't recognize that, the rot grows, the decay grows... insane suicide cults of Islamic fundamentalists seem more appealing to a youth because he can't get a job because his country's economy sucks. Maybe last week we were like "oh, it's so complex, whatever we are to do?" Today the average American is more likely to care about that disgruntled youth, that ancient greivance, that cycle of violence.

      We either let areas of rot and decay in the world export terror to us, or we export freedom and liberty to them.

      And touchy issues and grey areas- the plight of women under Sharia law, for example, suddenly seems more black and white. Intolerance is intolerance, pure and simple, whatever the form. I don't think it is a "cultural difference" to treat women worse than in the West. Where is that said in the Koran? Sharia law is not Islam.

      Maybe the people of the World Trade Center towers gave their lives so that others in the world could live better lives. They better have died for that reason. Because if we don't make sure that lesson goes into effect, more innocents will die.

      Wake up people. This is a war. Kudos to Rage Against the Machine, Bulls on Parade: "the frontline is everywhere." Civilization versus rot and decay. And you either fight it now like a crazed motherfucker, or sit around watching rental movies and playing video games and watch the World Trade Center happen again.

      Plain and simple. War comes to middle America. We must remember why this country is great. Not because we can drive around in SUVs. But because of some pieces of paper a bunch of dudes wrote about 225 years ago that guaranteed our basic rights. We are not perfect, by any means, but we're damn close, closer than many other parts of the world.

      Costa Rica is a wonderfully peaceful country. They have no army. More Costa Ricas, less Afghanistans. It will take many decades to put that in effect, but at least the lesson is clear and the need is urgent to do that.
  • Franklin, that is.

    They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little
    temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
  • Since this is - probably - I hope - the last time we discuss this on Slashdot, I'd like to say how well I think Slashdot's done through this crisis. News on Slashdot has been timely, useful, accessible when many of the 'big' news sources on the web fell over. Furthermore, Slashdot has been mostly right about facts on this one - both in what the editorial team has posted and in what others have contributed.

    It has allowed for the expression of a wide range of views - far wider than we would have seen from any single conventional news site - and many of the views (even ones I don't agree with) have been well expressed.

    It's also interesting to note the drop in the volume of Katz-bashing we've seen. I mostly read and often agree with what Jon writes, and I've often suspected that a lot of the Katz-bashing is ritualistic pack behaviour (k001 dud3z 645h Katz - me b45h Katz, me k3wl). But Katz was there, on the ground, reporting what he was seeing and feeling, and it seems people respected that.

    So, congratulations, guys. I hope that we don't see too many more real world news events so big that they become News for Nerds; but it's great to know that when one does, my favourite news site will handle it well.

  • As sickened and saddened as i am by the whole thing, the murder of innocents i have to stand and look at the USA (im in Australia) with something of an attitude of fear and horror.

    The thing is that yes 'someone' commited a horrific crime on the US, and that means someone should be punsished, but what level of punishment ?

    How many people must die to assauge your grief? 2000, 10000, 50000, 100000, 1 million ? whats enough blood.

    I seen people on here and in interviews in your streets who think and believe that you should use nuclear weapons to 'solve' this ? on who ? who do you blow up first ? Afghanistan will likely be the first target but whos the last - i mean there will still be arabs in palestine, do you kill them, what about the Iraqi's, The Iranians ? Hey there are muslims in India, Indonesia ?

    What are we talking here - Genocide ? the Germans did that but they used ovens didnt they .

    Im not criticising the need for justice but i am condemming the mindless calls for revenge. This sort of action needs to be taken in the cold light of day and soberly considered. There may be legitimate targets - Bin Laden defintely, but these can be dealt with safely and easily (otherwise what are all your vaunted Intelligence ans special forces organisations good for ?)

    Would it not make sense to be humane and show the world that democracy and christianity stands for compassion and control - the massive carpet bombing, invasions and land wars wont solve the problem, innocent deaths will add to them and make a much bigger problem.

    So i urge you all to think before plunging headlong into a war that could kill many many innocent people and maybe plunge the world into another world conflict. The very people you want to kill in Afghanistan have no TV, no freedom, no rights and most have no food or money or any of the things you take for granted - yet you want to kill them for something 1 fanatic did for whatever misguded reasons ?

    Being a beacon of light and hope to the world does not involve the murder of innocent people, the US has set itself up to be the kingdom of hope for many - the only way that the US can be the statesman of the world is to act like it now, show the world they are civilised and intelligent people who can think without revenge and act with restraint.

    if not then god help us all.

  • I've got server space and bandwidth required for those who have archives / personal sites which cover the recent incidents at the WTC / Pentagon. Drop me an email on [mailto] if you want a sub-domain on a site that I've setup a few days ago, primarily to help the hundreds of Indians who were involved in this tragedy.

    In the mean time.. we're still looking for my wife's cousin who works for Instinet and was at the WTC Tower 1/100th floor at the time of the strike. His photo is here []. Please email us if you have more information.

  • by pointwood ( 14018 ) <> on Monday September 17, 2001 @06:48AM (#2308403) Homepage

    Bruce Schneier comments on this and also includes good quotes from others in his latest Crypto-Gram newsletter, which can be found here [].

  • by west ( 39918 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @07:17AM (#2308444)
    The best quote that I heard regarding US military reprisals (don't know the source) was:

    It's about as useful as trying to bomb street gangs in Los Angeles.

    And about as ethical.

  • by JPMH ( 100614 ) on Monday September 17, 2001 @11:06AM (#2309182)
    According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the most famously serious newspapers in Germany, warning singnals about the attck were picked up at least three months ago by the Echelon surveillance network.

    Telecom Paper (Holland) gives this English-language summary []:

    Echelon gave authorities warning of attacks

    Monday September 17, 2001.

    U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies received warning signals at least three months ago that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture, according to a story in Germany's daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). The FAZ, quoting unnamed German intelligence sources, said that the Echelon spy network was being used to collect information about the terrorist threats, and that U.K. intelligence services apparently also had advance warning. Within the American intelligence community, the warnings were taken seriously and surveillance intensified, the FAZ said. However, there was disagreement on how such terrorist attacks could be prevented, the newspaper said. Echelon is said to be a vast information collection system capable of monitoring all the electronic communications in the world. It is thought to be operated by the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. No government agency has ever confirmed or denied its existence. However, an EU committee that investigated Echelon for more than a year just last week reported its belief that the system does exist.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll