Join 3,382 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Terrorists plan July 4th attack in US" - claim
May 13, 2002 5:03 AM   Subscribe

"Terrorists plan July 4th attack in US" - claim
There are claims that terrorists linked to the al-Qaeda network are planning an attack on a US nuclear power plant to coincide with Independence Day celebrations.
posted by tomcosgrave (25 comments total)

 
Wow. That'd be *quite* the fireworks show.
posted by warhol at 5:42 AM on May 13, 2002


ok, they've got attacks planned against nearly everything in the country according to recent news reports. good luck separating the signal from the noise.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 5:46 AM on May 13, 2002


> good luck separating the signal from the noise.

That's the trick. Someone is already spoiling celebrations just by letting this story out.

But a large explosion in a nuclear plant upwind of a city certainly would be an effective piece of terrorism, especially on Independence Day. Many people would do it if they could, but it would be hard to arrange.

I would more expect a sniper, or several snipers in different cities. July 4th would be an excellent day for a simple sniper attack in the US. There are crowds out at night, explosions and smoke and screaming everywhere. A sniper could fire and fire and fire into a crowd before anyone stopped him. And he certainly wouldn't have trouble picking up the right weapon for the job in the US.

Or maybe a bomb that would drift gas over a crowd of people watching fireworks. People might not even run, or, perhaps more likely, they might run towards the explosion to rubberneck what they think is a misfired rocket.
posted by pracowity at 6:14 AM on May 13, 2002


I surely don't doubt that the potential for these attacks is real.....but I wonder just how useful it is when I read that the authorities have quietly warned law enforcement of potential attacks on banks, restaurants, malls, etc. that must be literally 100's of thousands of potential targets in this country, which are impossible to monitor and guard. and if you're the enemy, you've got to believe that the best case scenario for you is a situation where authorities have no real idea where an attack will occur and remains stretched too thin too prevent one. (also helpful: a state where they are spending the bulk of their money trying to prevent what you did last time.)

i'm not really criticizing the authorities here, since they really are damned if they do and damned if they don't on this issue. if they said nothing and there was a big attack at a mall they'd be excoriated; and yet for the life of me i can't really see how much good it does to inform overstrapped local law that they should be on the lookout for soft attacks nearly everywhere in their communities....
posted by zoopraxiscope at 6:27 AM on May 13, 2002


Even more reason why we need a camera on every street corner. And a listening device to every communication device. And more laws to take away our freedom. Etc, etc, etc...

Where the government's concerned, a scared population is a good population.
posted by eas98 at 6:38 AM on May 13, 2002


Like THIS wasn't inevitable (the rumors, not the attacks)....
posted by rushmc at 6:59 AM on May 13, 2002


Where the government's concerned, a scared population is a good population.
Yet another way to get people to volunteer for the Probulator when they go to the airport. I hear they are planning on expanding cavity searches to anyone entering a courthouse to "protect the citizens."
posted by shagoth at 7:16 AM on May 13, 2002


I'm still thinking that any future attacks will be as unconventional as 9-11 was. We've locked down the typical targets for the typical methods. But it's going to be something we didn't think of -- couldn't think of -- that will be unsecured enough to exploit, and surprising enough to be effective.

So I just live my life like I did before, because there's nothing I can do about it. That, and I'm in Minnesota, and we're so not an effective or compelling target. :)
posted by fnirt at 7:16 AM on May 13, 2002


well, i doubt that we've locked down the "typical targets for the typical methods" in any meaningful sense....if you take the subway system in the city that I live in, though there was supposedly money appropriated after september 11 for increased security, near as i can tell this target is every bit as vulnerable as before. the only visible thing that the money was spent on was a bunch of flags to be put in the train stations across the city, and while this might make people feel a little better or slightly more patriotic, it sure as hell doesn't do much to protect the subways.

so there's something we've thought of, but still remains as vulnerable as ever. (though me, i'm well willing to accept said vulnerability as the price of a semi free society). but i'm with you, fnirt. i just carry on with impunity.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 7:32 AM on May 13, 2002


Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:55 AM on May 13, 2002


Where the government's concerned, a scared population is a good population.

September 10 sure was a lovely day, wasn't it?
posted by dhartung at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2002


"Like THIS wasn't inevitable (the rumors, not the attacks)...."

oh, i'd say more attacks are inevitable too. the problem was summed up beautifully in a special on 9/11 on PBS where a firefighter was crying that he honestly just couldn't understand what would drive anyone to do such a thing. the reason for the attacks was totally beyond him. all i could think was "yes, that's exactly the problem."

until US citizens understand enough about the REAL history of the US and why the US government is pretty much globally hated AND actually use that understanding to make serious reforms in foreign and trade policies, the terror will just continue (for everyone involved).

honestly, i don't see any bright spot... only more terror to come.
posted by muppetboy at 10:44 AM on May 13, 2002


REAL history?

Interesting.

Show me any geographic or cultural region where REAL history is taught to the commoner.
posted by linux at 12:27 PM on May 13, 2002


Yes, exactly.

And the bloodshed and madness will continue and grow until the core issues which cannot be addressed are addressed.

Which means Warren Buffett is right... we are uninsurable.

It's a great time to enjoy TODAY!
posted by muppetboy at 12:36 PM on May 13, 2002


In Britain, we've had to live with the threat of the IRA (or these days, the Real IRA) for as long as I've been alive. In the end, it's really not worth worrying about. I'm sure you're far more likely to die in a car accident than you are in a terrorist attack. How many people have died on America's roads since September 11th? (Genuine question: can anybody answer that?) To make any changes to your lifestyle is only giving in to the terrorists. The worst thing you can do is a knee-jerk reaction based on the perceived threat.
posted by salmacis at 3:05 PM on May 13, 2002


According to this, "There were about 3.2 million injuries and 41,821 people were killed in auto accidents in 2000 based on data collected by the Federal Highway Administration." So pro-rated, probably in the 25-30K range over the last eight months.
posted by youhas at 4:17 PM on May 13, 2002


I'm with fnirt. I'm expecting the unexpected which means I'm doing nothing different at all. It would be 100% counter-productive to do this on the 4th. Its not like a major attack is more effective on calendar days. None of the embassy bombings or 9/11 have any special significance, they just happened when the planners thought they could get away with them.

Like a lot of people I'm sick of these warnings, but understand their importance. The feds are going to release any tip, hunch, or guess that can be proven was known to them at one point so people can't say, "They KNEW about the attacks!" That's why all of Ridge's warnings end up with nothing: no attack, no attempted attack, and no thwarted attack. Either they weren't real to begin with or the extra press and security that day made terrorists change their plans.
posted by skallas at 5:03 PM on May 13, 2002


I completely agree with the belief that the next attack will be something again unexpected.

The reason why the first attack worked is that no-one planned for it. The reason why they won't try it again is because everyone is now planning for it.

But who is planning for an attack on a nuke plant? Who is planning for a poisoning of the water system? Or destruction of electrical power (think about the chaos/deaths that might cause). The most successful attack would be against a cities infrastructure - power, gas, water, transport. These are spread everywhere... how can a Government possibly protect it all?
posted by Neale at 11:48 PM on May 13, 2002


If I can't shoot bottle rockets at my elderly neighbors on the Fourth of the July, then the terrorists have already won.

But seriously.

until US citizens understand enough about the REAL history of the US and why the US government is pretty much globally hated AND actually use that understanding to make serious reforms in foreign and trade policies, the terror will just continue (for everyone involved).

OK. I'm an ugly American. I'm going to say it loud and proud: I don't give a good godamn what the rest of the world thinks about us. We must be doing SOMETHING right, or immigrants wouldn't be flocking to our shores. We have our flaws, of course, and some of them are major, and those flaws are magnified by the influence we have worldwide. But I can look out at my neighborhood in redneck backwards Bible-beatin' Birmingham, AL and I see Jews and Arabs and Chinese and Mexicans and black folks and white folks and most of them are quite happy here, thanks much, and have made a pretty good life for themselves and their families thanks to our globally hated society. Sure, we're squandering the world's resources at a prodigious and shameful pace. Sure it bothers me to see ONE PERSON driving around in a vehicle the size of my living room. We're wasteful and profligate and greedy and shallow and rude and sanctimonious. And worst of all, we invented country music (of the Garth Brooks, not the Hank Sr variety). But you know what? We also gave the world jazz and blues and basketball and baseball and Pez dispensers and the Ramones.

I do not think that brooding over our flaws and redressing old wounds is as productive a path as moving forward and inventing ourselves yet again, because that is essentially what Americans are good at.

Sorry for the off-topic rant, but I was wandering around the house draped in the flag and logged onto mefi and.......
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:12 PM on May 14, 2002


"I don't give a good godamn what the rest of the world thinks about us."

I think that about sums it up.
posted by muppetboy at 3:27 PM on May 14, 2002


Within its borders, the United States is a great country. But there's a whole world outside the borders of the United States that this country is involved in, and that it influences, and the U.S. since World War II often has been a less than wonderful neighbor. The questionable things that the U.S. government has done in our name - deposing Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, Mossadegh in Iran, Allende in Chile, and installing repressive dictatorships in all three; giving lists of left-leaning people to the Suharto government so that they could assassinate them by the hundreds of thousands; giving weapons to both sides in the Iran-Iraq War so that they could stay busy killing each other - are not as easily forgotten outside the country as inside. Everyone has their favorite U.S.-funded oppressive regime: Turkey (in their treatment of the Kurds), Israel in the Occupied Territories, Indonesia under Suharto (especially with regard to East Timor). How about the invasion of the Dominican Republic? The war in Viet Nam, and its extension to Laos and Cambodia? Nearly a million dead civilians because America didn't want to admit that it was wrong.

I think that America right now has an attitude much like that of Imperial Rome: Look at our forums! Look at our philosophy! Look at our wondrous cosmopolitan society! But it's what is being done far away in the provinces that makes the barbarians want to burn our civilization to the ground.
posted by skoosh at 9:58 PM on May 14, 2002


china, haiti, the phillipines, korea, guatemala, indonesia, argentina, colombia, libya, cuba, the belgian congo, peru, laos, vietnam, cambodia, grenada, libya, el salvador, nicaragua, panama, iraq, bosnia, sudan, yugoslavia, afghanistan...

and of course, that is just the most direct and savage brutality. when you get down to economics, it really is pretty much the entire world minus europe that has good reason to hate the US.

i think you've got it exactly. the US is very much a modern version of the holy roman empire. of course many things have to be done differently because we live in a modern world, but the intent of those in power is the same and ultimately their effects are just as horrible.
posted by muppetboy at 12:24 AM on May 15, 2002


I have a hard time believing that the people who are piloting planes into buildings (or plotting some similar heinous act) are doing so out of any such cogent sociopolitical analysis as is being offered in this thread.

I also have a hard time believing that the world-wide adoption of American cultural icons and American values such as free-market capitalism are doing so out of a deep-seated loathing for the USA.

Yes, it sucks that the US government is the catspaw for a tiny consortium of multinational corporations. Yes, we have committed atrocities in the past. Yes, we have a limited grasp of our own history. Yes, we have ruthlessly exploited the people and resources of many other nations (Canada: you're next!).

So has every other country who has ever had the opportunity to do so. That doesn't absolve us, of course.

Because we're the biggest, fattest, most complacent target, it's easy for every tinhorn dictator and starry-eyed zealot to point the accusing finger and blame us for all their problems. Take a mass of ignorant, uneducated, undernourished, maltreated people and tell them often enough, "X is our enemy!" and pretty soon you'll have a street full of protesters screaming, "Death to X!" The actual circumstances vis a vis X are pretty much irrelevant, at that point.

Most people believe exactly what they are told. Amercians and otherwise.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:25 AM on May 15, 2002


"I have a hard time believing that the people who are piloting planes into buildings (or plotting some similar heinous act) are doing so out of any such cogent sociopolitical analysis as is being offered in this thread."

of course not. they're doing so out of sheer hatred and anger. the very same kind of hatred and anger which so many americans felt when THEY got hit on september 11.

"I also have a hard time believing that the world-wide adoption of American cultural icons and American values such as free-market capitalism are doing so out of a deep-seated loathing for the USA."

no of course not. they're "adopting" our values and capitalism because if they don't we have a humongous stick that we'll use to bomb them back into the stone ages! it's called "gunboat diplomacy". although, most of the time it isn't necessary these days because the US can get other nations to do the dirty work. there's little difference though outside of the actual mechanics of it between what the US does now and what the British, Dutch, Spanish and Romans did in the past when they were empires.

"So has every other country who has ever had the opportunity to do so. That doesn't absolve us, of course."

ABSOLUTELY!

"Take a mass of ignorant, uneducated, undernourished, maltreated people and tell them often enough, "X is our enemy!" and pretty soon you'll have a street full of protesters screaming, "Death to X!" The actual circumstances vis a vis X are pretty much irrelevant, at that point."

agreed. but this seems to work pretty well on the US population too!

who is a "terrorist" and who is a "freedom fighter?"

if the cambodians took out a major US city and everyone in it, wouldn't that just be an eye for an eye?

shouldn't henry kissinger be in a jail cell right now?
posted by muppetboy at 7:58 AM on May 15, 2002


a clarification... i said:

"there's little difference though outside of the actual mechanics of it between what the US does now and what the British, Dutch, Spanish and Romans did in the past when they were empires."

i don't mean to imply that the SCOPE of US actions is equivalent to what these nations did (the British and Spanish were nearly unbelievable), just that they come from the same motivations (greed, lust, fear, anger) and produce the same results (violence, repression, terror, death, war).
posted by muppetboy at 8:20 AM on May 15, 2002


« Older "Only in the case of war, a recession, or a nation...  |  Vintage Luggage Labels... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments