Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 13, 2013

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on December 13, 2013

On this day in 115 AD the city of Antioch, in modern day Turkey, experienced one of the several earthquakes that struck during its centuries as the leading city of the Eastern Mediterranean.  This particular seismic event was remarkable for its destructiveness and the records of it still available.  It is estimated to have been about 7.5 on the Richter Scale.  Up to 260,000 are thought to have died.  We know more about it than many ancient quakes because the Emperor Trajan and his successor, Hadrian, were both in the city at the time and barely escaped.  Four centuries later another earthquake began a catastrophic cascade from which Antioch did not recover. (A previous post at HLSWatch has addressed the modern implications of the eventual catastrophe at Antioch.)

On this day in 1994 there was a stupendous explosion at an ammonium nitrate plant 16 miles south of Sioux City, Iowa. Four workers at the plant were killed,eighteen were injured. Four nearby electricity generating stations were disabled. A high-voltage line running adjacent to the plant was damaged, disrupting power in the neighboring state of Nebraska. Two 15,000-ton refrigerated ammonia storage tanks were ruptured, releasing liquid ammonia and ammonia vapors which forced the evacuation of 1,700 residents from the surrounding area.

On this day in 2001 the compound housing the Indian Houses of Parliament was successfully penetrated by a team of five. With many MPs and senior government officials in harms-way, eleven security personnel and a gardener were killed before all five of the attackers were killed.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by Christopher Tingus

December 13, 2013 @ 12:50 am

Friday free forum –

Among even the most ardent in their debates as to the most precious issues of homeland security, with budget deficit at 17 trillion and within three years exceeding 20 trillion dollars, if we are to truly address our security from within at a time in history when so many seek our demise, possibly though doubtfully we will be attentive to those who have been responsible to our Constitution and with their hand on the pulse of an ever emerging Democracy:

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities.
Thomas Jefferson

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
John F. Kennedy

A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
John F. Kennedy

God Bless our great nation and pray to God that He shall continue to be watchful over us who seek to protect our most charitable people who hold those they “entrust’ by precious vote to abide by the Constitution and protect such doctrine and enforce the laws adopted to strengthen our resolve against any enemy from within or from far distant shore….

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 13, 2013 @ 8:17 am

Thanks Chris and important words from JFK!

But in the spirit of the GRINCH I thought I would list the countries that I think will have their governance tested and their cultures threatened this century because of poor location decisions for residential and critical infrastructure placement and continuing actual or pretended knowledge of science and engineering.

Rankings are subjective but bases on what is known IMO!
Alternative rankings and points of view welcome as always!

In part this effort is bases on my being interviewed by the NY Times after Hurricane Katrina. The interview was never used to my knowledge partially or whatever.

I was asked the question the NOLA area was unique in its vulnerability? I discussed in passing FEMA’s lawsuit [filed by DoJ] against Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes in 1981. The lawsuit was bases in part on the gross negligence of these two Parishes in their floodplain management, NOLA also referred but DoJ declined to sue because of USACOE. Largely because of statutory immunity USACOE escaped accoutability for their NOLA operations. I suggested over 200 American communities as vulnerable as NOLA!
Staten Island was one.

So here is my list!

1. USA;
2. Japan;
3. China;
4. Turkey;
5. Iran;
6. Mexico;
7. Phillipines;
8. Indonesia;
9. Bangladesh;
10. Chile.

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 13, 2013 @ 8:28 am

I just wanted to note that IMO the science of vulcanology and its significant impact on the science of geology may well be passing. Knowledge of magma increases daily due to deep earth sensings, and its underground movement is really part of the science of fluid mechanics in turn part of physics.

Statistical analysis of volcanos has largely failed due to the short period of record to capture data.

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 13, 2013 @ 10:52 am

Seismometers are really not adequate to analyze magma flows!

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 13, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

In reviewing CRS reports published this fall I discovered that the Administrator of the USFA located in FEMA is no longer Senate confirmed. For many reasons the Fire Service has not been a heavyweight on policy issues in Washington because a fractured lobbying effort inside and outside the government has resulted in the Fire Service not being respected by OMB and others. The Congressional Fire Caucus is ineffective. IMO of course.

A Senate confirmed position of Deputy Administrator [Fire Service] FEMA should be established and the occupant of that position should administer USFA and the National Fire Academy! That latter institution should be renamed the NATIONAL FIRE UNIVERSITY!

Did you know that DoD has 55,000 civilian firefighters?

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