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December 26, 2004: US Did Not Warn Asian Nations of Quake and Danger of Tsunami

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From flickr.com/photos/23792686@N08/3284958044/: Tsunami 2004: Thailand
by RNW.org
Tsunami 2004: Thailand by RNW.org
(Image by RNW.org)
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On December 26, 2004, shortly after 0.58 UTC, scientists of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had been made aware that a deadly tidal wave could be building up in the Indian Ocean from an earthquake of 8.1 magnitude, yet did not warn any of the many nations that might be about to be hit.

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In this day of instant communications, controlled in a large part by the U.S., it is possible to communicate within minutes to every part of the globe. It is beyond belief that the officials at the U.S. scientists working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could not find any method to directly and immediately contact civilian authorities in the area that might be hit shortly or within hours." The inhabitants of Asian nations about to be struck weren't given warning.

A year later, January 1, 2005, the Toronto Star ran an article entitled: Tsunami - Anatomy of a Disaster that seemed to absolve the US government of fault."

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"Less than 16 minutes after the quake struck off the northwest coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra - experts at the National Oceanic and "Atmospheric Administration in Honolulu issued their first bulletin informing of a 8.1 earthquake in the ocean depths near Sumatra. The bulletin concluded with:

Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide "tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii. "Repeat. A destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and "there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii." "The message concluded with a dry, bureaucratic afterthought: ""This will be the only bulletin issued for this event unless "additional data are received."

At about 90 minutes after the quake, "officials at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center "first tried to contact the Australia Meteorological Service to "find out if anyone in Oz had news of what had happened. "For some reason, they couldn't get through. "Shortly thereafter, PTWC officials did manage to contact people "at Australia Emergency Management, who said they were already "aware of the earthquake off western Indonesia, as they "understandably would be. Indonesia is Australia's nearest "neighbouring state. ""

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We tried to do what we could, Charles McCreery, "director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric "Administration's centre in Honolulu, told Reuters news "agency. "We don't have contacts in our address book for "anybody in that part of the world."""

Three days after the quake, the German magazine Der Spiegel gave a time line as follows:""

By 3:32 a.m. UTC: Geophysicists and meteorologists from Jakarta confirm that the quake had triggered the five-meter-high tsunami waves that hit land on the coastal region of Aceh in Sumatra.""

3:43 a.m. UTC: The first reports of deaths from the tourist resort island of Phuket in Thailand come in. Exact numbers are not given."As a result of Americans failure to telephone, television and radio alerts were not issued in Thailand until nearly an hour after the waves had hit and taken thousands of lives," [nearly three full hours after Americans in Hawaii knew a 8.1 earthquake and had notified US military base in the Pacific that it mostly likely was safe from a possible tsunami.] ""

3:58 a.m. UTC: At exactly three hours after the earthquake registered at the US station in Hawaii Sri Lanka reported the first one hundred and fifty dead.""

4:37 a.m. UTC: In Sri Lanka, 3,000 people are missing and six villages are reported completely destroyed. The southern part of the country is hit especially hard. The damage in both the southern Indian city of Chennai and on the tourist island of Phuket is much worse than originally reported.""

6:31 a.m. UTC: On the Maldives, an island group southwest of India, three-quarters of the capital city is under water, and island is even normally just one meter above sea level.""

Let readers consider, "the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had immediately warned the U.S. Naval Station at Diego Garcia, which suffered very little damage from the tsunami. "It is telling that the NOAA was able to get the warning to the US Navy base in the area, but wouldn't pick up the phone and call the civil authorities in the region to warn them. They made sure that a US military base was notified and did almost nothing to issue a warning to the civilian inhabitants who were in the direct path of the a possible tsunami --a warning that might [read surely would] have saved thousands of lives. "

"The failure to make any real effort to warn the people of the region, knowing that tens of thousands of lives could come to be at stake, is part of a pattern of imperial contempt and racism that has become the cornerstone of U.S. policies worldwide." Tim Walsh, geologic-hazards program manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, said, "Fifty feet of elevation would be enough to escape the worst of the waves. In most places, 25 feet would be sufficient. If you go uphill or inland, the effect of the tsunami will be diminished." [Tsunami - 134,000 muertos: El papel de la Negligencia criminal de EEUU a escala global *] Statement from the International Action Center (founded in 1992 by former United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark), 12/30/2004

""Micheal Chossudovsky, of McGill Univeristy, in Discrepancies in the Tsunami Warning System, Global Research, 1/14/2005, wrote,"""It is worth noting, in this regard, that three days prior to the M-9.0 earthquake, a M-7.9 earthquake was recorded with an epicenter off the South Pacific MacQuarie islands on the 23d of December. The PTWC issued the following routine advisory: ""THIS EARTHQUAKE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GENERATE A WIDELY DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI IN THE SEA NEAR THE EARTHQUAKE. AUTHORITIES IN THAT REGION SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS POSSIBILITY."

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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of (more...)

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