March 3, 2002 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Time Magazine: OCTOBER BULLETIN SAID TERRORISTS THOUGHT TO HAVE 10 KILOTON NUCLEAR WEAPON TO BE SMUGGLED INTO NEW YORK CITY Six months after Sept. 11, America has taken the fight to al-Qaeda. But behind the scenes, The CIA and FBI have been in a desperate scramble to fix a broken system before another strike comes
posted by Oxydude (28 comments total)
I'm not sure...but I think this may be relevant.
posted by BlueTrain at 4:36 PM on March 3, 2002

The time article concludes the same thing; that the threat was not credible. The amazing part of this story was that the authorities believed that there was a nuclear bomb in NYC. From the article; "(this bomb) detonated in lower Manhattan, a 10-kiloton bomb would kill some 100,000 civilians and irradiate 700,000 more, flattening everything in a half-mile diameter." No wonder the veep was hiding in an undisclosed location.
posted by Oxydude at 4:46 PM on March 3, 2002

Why not just link Drudge Report when you're taking their link anyway?
posted by crog at 4:52 PM on March 3, 2002

I've wondered if the blast radius calculation — 10 KT = structural failure out to .5 mi — is accurate for New York City. All the experimental data are from flat places like New Mexico and various Pacific ex-atolls, and while the Hiroshima and Nagasaki devices were of similar yield those cities were certainly not as built-up as lower Manhattan.

Additionally, those were air bursts, and the feared terrorist deployment would be at ground level; is it possible that the tall buildings would stop the blast wave within a few blocks? And, what effect would they have on updraft and fallout?

I live about a mile from the pile hole so this is of more than academic interest to me — obviously I'd be irradiated but heck my uncle was sterilized in an X-ray accident in WW II (long story) and it didn't slow him down much.
posted by nicwolff at 4:52 PM on March 3, 2002

I don't get it. By your own admission, the stories conclude with "no threat". What's the point: of the thread, the link, the story? I thought we all concluded that super high code red alpha beta decepticon alerts were annoying...
posted by BlueTrain at 5:10 PM on March 3, 2002

still waiting for Drudge to live up to the hype.
posted by tsarfan at 5:12 PM on March 3, 2002

Just as long as New Jersey is okay. God knows what we'd do without that.
posted by dong_resin at 5:12 PM on March 3, 2002

Isn't it relevant that Israel, with an intelligence structure criticized by many as overzealous, is unable to stop routine terrorism in their most prized cities? If Israel has one of the best intelligence organizations in the world, a government far more willing to be restrictive and militaristic, and a far more homogeneous population, and even they can't stop terrorism, who really thinks we can?
posted by Ptrin at 5:28 PM on March 3, 2002

for nicwolf - cant find the site I think was posted here that calculates blast radius for different sized n-bombs detonated in NY. Perhaps someone else remembers it.
posted by Voyageman at 5:37 PM on March 3, 2002

Found it. Blast Mapper
posted by Voyageman at 5:43 PM on March 3, 2002

and the Metafilter discussion. Sorry for not economizing on links.
posted by Voyageman at 5:45 PM on March 3, 2002

No one thinks that we can stop terrorism. We hope that we can reduce it to a tolerable level. We do have some advantages over Israel - most importantly the terrorists in question can't strap a bomb to themselves in their home territory then just walk across the border.
posted by jaek at 5:57 PM on March 3, 2002

I like how now they're trying to scare us with stuff that was discredited months and months ago.
posted by donkeyschlong at 6:14 PM on March 3, 2002

The solution to the problem is not how to prevent the next attack, but how to make any future attack irrelevant. Admittedly, any nuclear attack on New York will kill thousands of people. This isn't genocide however. The terrorists can't rule with terror if those in fear are all dead.

Apparently the enemy's intent was not only to kill Americans (that's collateral damage), but to attempt to shut down the country's economic and government systems. In fact they were successful in shutting down the NYSE for a week. In the minds of the al-Qaeda, the true enemies are not the citizens of any one country, but the people behind the World Trade Organization.

We need to redesign the NYSE and other important elements of the economic system in America. Right now they have two main targets: NYC & Washington DC. If we made those targets five or ten, with redundant backups, taking it down would be more effort than would be worth the trouble: even for any run-of-the-mill insane religious zealot. The US government recently admitted to doing this with a redundant contingency system. The next logical step would be to break the NYSE up. Have installations up on the west coast and elsewhere that would be able to cover the load in less than 24 hours time if something happened to downtown Manhattan again.

If you can't take out the shooter, you make the target harder to hit. It's elementary my dear Watson.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:24 PM on March 3, 2002

Well said.
posted by donkeyschlong at 6:42 PM on March 3, 2002

jaek: but they sure could drive a boat into NY Harbor... or from, say, the Bahamas, into a nice little cove on the Florida coast, and then drive to Washington. Or from Mexico into Texas. Or Newfoundland to Maine. Our marine borders [all several thousand miles of them] are for all intents and purposes completely indefensible from terrorist activity, to a much greater extent than Israel's, which is compararatively short and well-patrolled.
posted by louie at 6:47 PM on March 3, 2002

The BlastMapper site is just the kind of useless crap I'm talking about; it's a minimum 1 MT air blast and disregards surface conditions completely. What I want to know is if anyone has any information at all about what effect a 10 KT surface burst down in the canyons of Wall Street would have on me here in Greenwich Village... since I'm starting to think it's pretty likely to happen eventually.
posted by nicwolff at 7:03 PM on March 3, 2002

just remember kids: capital letters means fearmongering!
posted by clockwork at 7:27 PM on March 3, 2002

what's the scary part about this story? that our government doesn't know what's happening? we should give them more money and more power because they do a bad job? weird logic
posted by rhyax at 7:42 PM on March 3, 2002

Really, Zach. If Osama bin Laden were really going after the World Trade Organization, don't you think he would have bombed Switzerland instead? Or did you just think the similarity of the names was more than coincidental? Please spare us this sophistry.

This is one more example of a really disheartening trend. First there are the reflexive anti-Americans, for whom the idea of a military strike against the Big Old Mean Imperialist Uberstate is just too much jollity to contain themselves. Then there are the Zachs of the world, whose reflexive anti-globalization tempts them to see an affinity where there is none. The leftie laundry listers at the WTO protests certainly can't have any warm affection for the Islamo-fascist police state that the Taliban set up as a model for the future South Asian Islamist Empire. Yet without an organizing philosophy other than a loose alliance between ideologically-adrift Marxists and unreconstructed anarchists, they're unfortunately all too prone to the concept of handing out a papier-mache puppet to anyone who shows up at the protest party. And here you've provided a perfect example. Of course you don't agree with anything Osama bin Laden stands for, but you know, he bloodied the nose of the Empire of Mean, so there must be a good heart buried somewhere behind that exterior that softly giggles at the idea of killing civilians. Yes, perhaps he is even an anti-globalist such as yourself.

Sophistry. Claptrap.

Please engage brain before posting.

As for donkeyscholong and jaek providing the usual retinue of MeFi "we're being manipulated by Cheney's minions" sing-song, it would seem that Richard Hoftstadter was right in that much of the left (he didn't spare the right) engages in conspiracy theories to explain why things go against them again and again.

And the fact that we were not told about a threat until five months after it has been determined to be, knock on wood, baseless -- is shown to be part of Yet Another Conspiracy to keep us all fearful. Right. That's why they waited five months to tell us. Don't you even think before putting this stuff out for others to see?
posted by dhartung at 7:47 PM on March 3, 2002

dhartung - amen. Brilliant comment and excellent article by Radosh. I've said it before, but it seems to be relevant here as well. The tendency to believe in grand conspiracies and hidden connections between disparate groups is actually a search for comfort. The truth is that there are malevolent sects of wildly varying, and often antagonistic groups who mean us harm is too much for some people to take. Drawing "connections" between them, all leading back to some elite group(the Bush cabinet, the Elders of Zion, the oil industry, perhaps even KAOS)stems, I believe from a need to see all of world affairs as neat, tidy and accounted for.Now, obviously, there are intricate cases of cause-and-effect in international politics and any sensible discussion of them is indeed welcome. However, the sad truth is that much of the goings on in this world are absolutely chaotic and directionless, which is more frightening that any conspiracy, IMHO.
posted by jonmc at 8:08 PM on March 3, 2002

Also, johnmc, it's vexing that the people who seem to have so much more power than most of us are not really that much more capable. You want to believe that they, in some twisted way, deserve it.
posted by dong_resin at 8:30 PM on March 3, 2002

dhartung. . .

I've never seen a longer post consisting wholly of putting words in another's mouth quite as unabashedly pulled off before.

Speaking of sophistry. That's why I usually skip your posts.

Why is it that every disparaging, critical comment made of "anti-globalization protesters" must invariably include the har-har Giant Puppet Jab? There's a reason they're used, as inane as any of us think they are, and I bet you can figure out why. Puppets=Groundless Ideology. . .apparently.

Furthermore, heavy on the attitude bombasts such as yourself, may perhaps be exactly why this is looking more and more like a tinderbox.
posted by crasspastor at 10:29 PM on March 3, 2002

Speaking of sophistry. That's why I usually skip your posts.

"You're a liar. You suck. And I don't read anything you have to say. Yet I see no duplicity whatsoever in taking the time to make you read my post, in which I will gladly take the risk of derailing the entire thread just to make it very clear to the entire community that you're a liar and you suck. By the way, I'm still not going to read anything you have to say, so don't bother trying to respond. And don't even try to ask me how I read the post of someone whose posts I skip. Oh, one more thing: Your posts here on MeFi are actually causing the worldwide geopolitical situation to become even more unstable than it already is. Nyah nyah."
posted by aaron at 11:46 PM on March 3, 2002

Oh, please, crasspastor. Let's hear you explain the great Osama strategy, especially the part where he rails against the World Trade Organization. Otherwise, I will assume this is all nonsense. A ... get this ... plausible but fallacious argument, in other words, sophistry.

I, too, chose the puppets for a reason. They are held up as a group, but the individuals holding them up may be there for very different reasons. There's the labor guy ... the anarchist .. . the Marxist ... the environmentalist ... but the only organizing principle is being against the WTO. So if Osama does something that appears to be against the WTO, he's part of the movement? Oh, you protest, nobody condones his actions.

Well, hell, I wasn't the one who suggested the link. If you think I'm off base, you explain it.
posted by dhartung at 1:24 AM on March 4, 2002

The tendency to believe in grand conspiracies and hidden connections between disparate groups is actually a search for comfort.

Does this at all relate to Bush's declaration of an "Axis of Evil"?
posted by donkeymon at 10:24 AM on March 4, 2002

Does this at all relate to Bush's declaration of an "Axis of Evil"?

I can't tell if this post is serious or a parody of conspiracy theorists. If you're serious, you've certainly proven the point of "comfort". If you're joking, well done.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:33 AM on March 4, 2002

Everyone, including George Bush, knows perfectly well that calling Iraq, Iran, and North Korea an Axis of Evil has nothing to do with implying hidden connections or conspiracies. They are simply being branded as outcast states in as forceful language as possible, and not because of hidden conspiracies, but because of actions they have taken and threatened. The goal is to starve them of even passive allies and eventually force regime change on behalf of the people in those nations, that they might experience a flowering of liberty and prosperity.

If it comforts you to believe that it's all just a big conspiracy theory, please, be my guest.
posted by dhartung at 3:57 PM on March 4, 2002

« Older Is it the end of big label/commercial music as we...   |   Everyone's favorite foul-mouthed, philosophical... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments