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September 11th 2001: 9/11 Terror Attacks

On this day in 2001, thirteen years ago today, two hijacked planes were crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and another into the Pentagon building in Virginia. The Twin Towers collapsed and part of the Pentagon was badly damaged. A fourth plane was intended to strike the US Capitol Building in Washington DC but its passengers seized control from the hijackers and crashed the plane into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people died on this terrible day and thousands more injured in the attacks which sent shockwaves around the world. The attacks were planned and carried out by members of the terrorist group al-Qaeda, and masterminded by Osama bin Laden, who was since been found and killed by US forces. The aftermath of the tragedy prompted greater focus on national security both in the US and abroad and contributed to the invasions of, and subsequent wars in, Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, thirteen years on, we remember the thousands of people who lost their lives on 9/11.

"America is under attack"
- White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card telling President Bush about the attacks

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The geometry of DNA: a structural revision

This proposed structure for DNA is wholly founded upon mathematical
principles. Although the geometrical modification to the base pairings is
relatively minor, the resulting double helix manifests a clarity altogether
distinct from that offered by Crick and Watson and it would appear to
shed light upon a number of areas of continuing uncertainty.

• Geometric equations predict the dimensions of DNA’s structure. Not
only does the pentagonal geometry predict the helical dimensions but
it would also demonstrate ‘principle causation’.
• The pentagonal geometry provides the dynamics required to build a
consistent, stable and uniform helical structure and also establishes
why there should be consistently ten bases contained within a single
turn of the helix. Incidentally, when converted to the molecular
dimension I would certainly predict degrees of variation, certainly
between 9.5 and 10.5 bases per turn, but perhaps even more.
• Both the hollow centre and side-by-side structural formation ensure
instant access at any point within the helix. This would permit the
DNA (even circular) to open and close during its replication functions
without entangling itself.
• The modification to the base pairing would appear to be able to exist
in either the enol or keto formations.
• While the sugar-phosphate backbones will undoubtedly prove integral
to the stability of the helical structure, it is the geometry of the basepair
molecules themselves

© Mark E. Curtis

The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police

[PHOTO: Campus police at Ohio University. Wikimedia.]

The Pentagon’s 1033 program, which allows the Defense Department to unload its excess military equipment onto local police forces, has quietly overflowed onto college campuses. According to documents obtained by the website Muckrock, more than 100 campus police forces have received military materials from the Pentagon. Schools that participate in the program range from liberal arts to community colleges to the entire University of Texas system.

A few weeks ago, activist and journalist Mariame Kaba asked on Twitter: “How can we build a movement to divest from police? Is there a way for us to do this? Can we go after local police budgets?”

One place to start is with those college campuses whose police forces receive 1033 and Homeland Security funding. The time is ripe for student journalists and activists to use the information furnished by Muckrock and to do their own digging to take on police divestment campaigns with the tenacity, political savvy, and exuberance that’s pushed universities nationwide to divest from fossil fuels, private prisons, and Israeli occupation.

Young people in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and the families who have lost sons and daughters at the hands of militant police are poised to illuminate these connections between education, state surveillance, and state violence in a uniquely powerful way.

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At the western entrance to Jerusalem, among the forests of the Ramot neighborhood in Arazim Park, rises a 30-foot-high American flag made of bronze. Dedicated in November, 2009, this memorial to the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks is the first memorial outside of New York to list the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed on that day, along with their countries of origin. There are nearly 100 countries represented among the victims, including five Israeli citizens.

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List of Victims at the Pentagon (Not Including Flight 77) #NeverForget #Sept11 #Pentagon

SPC Craig S. Amundson, USA
YN3 Melissa Rose Barnes, USN
MSG Max J. Beilke, Retired
IT2 Kris Romeo Bishundat, USN
Carrie R. Blagburn
COL Canfield D. Boone, ARNG
Donna M. Bowen
Allen P. Boyle
ET3 Christopher L. Burford, USN
ET3 Daniel M. Caballero, USN
SFC Jose O. Calderon-Olmedo, USA
Angelene C. Carter
Sharon A. Carver
SFC John J. Chada, USA, Retired
Rosa Maria Chapa
Julian T. Cooper
LCDR Eric A. Cranford, USN
Ada M. Davis
CAPT Gerald F. DeConto, USN
LTC Jerry D. Dickerson, USA
IT1 Johnnie Doctor, Jr., USN
CAPT Robert E. Dolan, Jr., USN
CDR William H. Donovan, USN
CDR Patrick Dunn, USN
AG1 Edward T. Earhart, USN
LCDR Robert R. Elseth, USNR
SK3 Jamie L. Fallon, USN
Amelia V. Fields
Gerald P. Fisher
AG2 Matthew M. Flocco, USN
Sandra N. Foster
CAPT Lawrence D. Getzfred, USN
Cortez Ghee
Brenda C. Gibson
COL Ronald F. Golinski, USA, Retired
Diane Hale-McKinzy
Carolyn B. Halmon
Sheila M.S. Hein
ET1 Ronald J. Hemenway, USN
MAJ Wallace Cole Hogan, Jr., USA
SSG Jimmie I. Holley, USA, Retired
Angela M. Houtz
Brady Kay Howell
Peggie M. Hurt
LTC Stephen N. Hyland, Jr., USA
Lt Col Robert J. Hymel, USAF, Retired
SGM Lacey B. Ivory, USA
LTC Dennis M. Johnson, USA
Judith L. Jones
Brenda Kegler
LT Michael S. Lamana, USN
David W. Laychak
Samantha L. Lightbourn-Allen
MAJ Stephen V. Long, USA
James T. Lynch, Jr.
Terence M. Lynch
OS2 Nehamon Lyons IV, USN
Shelley A. Marshall
Teresa M. Martin
Ada L. Mason-Acker
LTC Dean E. Mattson, USA
LTG Timothy J. Maude, USA
Robert J. Maxwell
Molly L. McKenzie
Patricia E. Mickley
MAJ Ronald D. Milam, USA
Gerard P. Moran, Jr.
Odessa V. Morris
ET1 Brian A. Moss, USN
Teddington H. Moy
LCDR Patrick J. Murphy, USNR
Khang Ngoc Nguyen
DM2 Michael A. Noeth, USN
Ruben S. Ornedo
Diana B. Padro
LT Jonas M. Panik, USNR
MAJ Clifford L. Patterson, Jr., USA
LT Darin H. Pontell, USNR
Scott Powell
CAPT Jack D. Punches, USN, Retired
AW1 Joseph J. Pycior, Jr., USN
Deborah A. Ramsaur
Rhonda Sue Rasmussen
IT1 Marsha D. Ratchford, USN
Martha M. Reszke
Cecelia E. (Lawson) Richard
Edward V. Rowenhorst
Judy Rowlett
SGM Robert E. Russell, USA, Retired
CW4 William R. Ruth, ARNG
Charles E. Sabin, Sr.
Marjorie C. Salamone
COL David M. Scales, USA
CDR Robert A. Schlegel, USN
Janice M. Scott
LTC Michael L. Selves, USA, Retired
Marian H. Serva
CDR Dan F. Shanower, USN
Antionette M. Sherman
Diane M. Simmons
Cheryle D. Sincock
ITC Gregg H. Smallwood, USN
LTC Gary F. Smith, USA, Retired
Patricia J. Statz
Edna L. Stephens
SGM Larry L. Strickland, USA
LTC Kip P. Taylor, USA
Sandra C. Taylor
LTC Karl W. Teepe, USA, Retired
SGT Tamara C. Thurman, USA
LCDR Otis V. Tolbert, USN
SSG Willie Q. Troy, USA, Retired
LCDR Ronald J. Vauk, USNR
LTC Karen J. Wagner, USA
Meta L. (Fuller) Waller
SPC Chin Sun Pak Wells, USA
SSG Maudlyn A. White, USA
Sandra L. White
Ernest M. Willcher
LCDR David L. Williams, USN
MAJ Dwayne Williams, USA
RMC Marvin Roger Woods, USN, Retired
IT2 Kevin W. Yokum, USN
ITC Donald M. Young, USN
Edmond G. Young, Jr.
Lisa L. Young

**Note: USA: USArmy. USN: USNavy

(Above) Top 10 U.S. Counties, guns acquired through 1033 program

Breaking down the number of guns acquired through the Pentagon’s 1033 program by total count and guns per 1,000 people shows the prevalence of state capitals in the program. These weapons may have gone to state police and other state-level agencies.

MRAPs And Bayonets: What We Know About The Pentagon’s 1033 Program

Amid widespread criticism of the deployment of military-grade weapons and vehicles by police officers in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama recently ordered a review of federal efforts supplying equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country.

So, we decided to take a look at what the president might find.

NPR obtained data from the Pentagon on every military item sent to local, state and federal agencies through the Pentagon’s Law Enforcement Support Office — known as the 1033 program — from 2006 through April 23, 2014. The Department of Defense does not publicly report which agencies receive each piece of equipment, but they have identified the counties that the items were shipped to, a description of each, and the amount the Pentagon initially paid for them.

We took the raw data, analyzed it and have organized it to make it more accessible. We are making that data set available to the public today.

Graphics credit: David Eads and Tyler Fisher/NPR

Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry render honors as fire fighters and rescue workers unfurl a huge American flag over the side of the Pentagon as rescue and recovery efforts continued following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

The flag, a garrison flag, sent from the US Army Band at nearby Fort Myer, Virginia, is the largest authorized (20 x 38) flag for the military.

National Archives Identifier: 6527847.

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9/11 commemoration in Washington DC

Americans on Thursday marked the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, as President Barack Obama vowed that the nation would never “give in to fear.”

Somber ceremonies of remembrance were held in New York and Washington, against the backdrop of Obama’s pledge to “destroy” Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria — a new front in the war on radical Islam begun in earnest 13 years ago.

"As Americans, we draw strength from you, for your love is the ultimate rebuke to the hatred of those who attacked us that bright, blue morning," Obama said to relatives of victims at the Pentagon — scene of one of the 9/11 strikes. (AFP)

Find more news related pictures on our photo galleries page and follow us on Tumblr.

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US begins air strikes in Iraq, Pentagon says
August 8, 2014

American warplanes began bombing Islamic militant targets outside the Kurdish city of Irbil on Friday, in the first offensive action by the US in Iraq since it withdrew ground troops in 2011.

Following authority granted by Barack Obama on Thursday, the Pentagon said two FA-18 jets dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on fighters with the Islamic State, also known as Isis or Isil.

The US claimed the militants were using artillery to shell peshmerga forces defending Irbil and threatening US personnel in the city.

“As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against Isil when they threaten our personnel and facilities,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Obama’s orders to his military commanders were widely drafted and included permission to take action against Isis forces threatening either the thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar, or the cities of Irbil and Baghdad, where US “military advisers” are based.

The US portrayed its initial action on Friday as a necessary step to protect its joint operation centre in Irbil, which is being used to co-ordinate defences with Peshmerga fighters. “The fact of the matter is we have people in Irbil and if Irbil is allow to fall, they will be at risk,” said national security adviser Ben Rhodes on Friday.

But US jets have been operating over Kurdish areas for some time and the Pentagon believes the Islamic militants advancing toward Irbil pose a significant threat to the city.

Since Obama spoke from the White House on Thursday night, there has been relatively little criticism of his return to Iraqi military interventions in Congress. However there is thought to be deep unease within the White House about the risk of being sucked back into a prolonged campaign against Isis.

Read More

From me at The Week today:

Protesters of the police killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri this week have been met with a heavily militarized police response, which the Pentagon has now confirmed was made possible in part by its donation of two tactical vehicles, a trailer, and a generator to the Ferguson police.

The equipment — which may represent one of several such transfers — was assigned via a federal program through which hundreds of millions of dollars of military equipment is given annually to local police departments. This equipment includes everything from side arms to armored vehicles resembling tanks which are more typically used in war zones.

Civil libertarian critics have suggested that bulking up police equipment can itself lead to increased police brutality. “Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he’ll reasonably think that his job isn’t simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger,” writes Greg Howard for The Concourse. “Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying.”

 - - Bonnie Kristian

We Remember: When 9/11 Forged a Genuinely United States of America

image

Today, we remember.

We remember where we were when we heard about the first plane hitting the tower.  We remember what we thought as the news just began to trickle in.  We remember our horror as we watched the second plane hit the other tower.  We remember the evacuations — people running out of our monuments, our centers of government and finance, and spilling out on to the streets of our nation’s capital.  We remember the dust and debris chasing thousands of New Yorkers through the streets of our most iconic city.  We remember the smoke rising from the Pentagon.  We remember that impact site in Pennsylvania.  We remember watching the towers fall.

We remember the fear, the chaos, the sadness, and the feeling of not knowing what was happening or when it would end.  We remember a feeling that Americans were not used to experiencing up to September 11, 2001: helplessness — the feeling of being attacked.  We remember that the weather was perfect throughout almost the entire country that morning.  We remember that we don’t remember what it felt like on September 10th.

Do you remember pointing fingers?  Do you remember placing blame?  Do you remember partisanship?  I remember patriotism.  I remember flags and candles and donating water and giving blood and having a new appreciation for police officers and firefighters.  I remember that I wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican.  I remember that I was an American.  I remember that we were all Americans.  I remember that we cared a little bit more about each other for at least a couple of weeks.

When Democrat Lyndon Johnson was the Senate Majority Leader and Republican Dwight Eisenhower was President of the United States, LBJ — one of the most intense, passionate political animals in our history — never attacked President Eisenhower.  It wasn’t because LBJ agreed with Eisenhower’s policies.  It wasn’t because LBJ was scared.  It was because, as LBJ explained in 1953 in a comment that has an unfortunately haunting connection to 9/11, “If you’re in an airplane, and you’re flying somewhere, you don’t run up to the cockpit and attack the pilot.  Mr. Eisenhower is the only President we’ve got.”

The only President we’ve got

We all want to head in the same direction.  We all want to move forward.  We all want to progress and be happy and healthy and taken care of.  Why does partisan politics trump nationalism?  As World War I and World War II approached and the world realized that we are clearly connected on a global level, the people who seemed the most out-of-touch — the people who were wrong — were the isolationists.  In both of those great wars, the isolationists were proven wrong.  Yet, in the span of our grandparents’ lives, we have regressed to the point where most Americans have become individual isolationists — not isolationism on a national level, but on a personal level.  We’ve tried to disconnect from the people in our own country.  Don’t you remember how powerful it felt after 9/11 to be united?  Don’t you remember how we helped each other in so many different ways?

I guess I could try to be cynical.  It’s my natural state anyway.  I guess I could remember the look on President George W. Bush’s face when his Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, whispered news of the attacks in the President’s ear as he sat in a Florida classroom.  I guess I could remember My Pet Goat, and the fact that Bush didn’t get up, sprint from the room, and change out of his Clark Kent clothes into the Superman suit.  I guess I could remember Air Force One zig-zagging across the country, the only flight in the air besides military escorts and combat air patrols over our major cities.  I guess I could remember the surveillance videos of the well-dressed hijackers walking through the airport terminals that morning before they turned our planes into weapons.  I guess I could remember that the passengers of Flight 93 didn’t actually get through the cockpit door and force the plane to crash into Pennsylvania.  I guess I could remember our government’s alphabet agencies — the FBI, CIA, NSA, and everyone else listening in on our world — being unable to work together and stop this attack from happening in the first place.  I guess I could choose to remember those things, but that doesn’t make me feel better.  It doesn’t make 9/11 anything but a success to those who tried to frighten and frustrate and intimidate us through terrorism.

This is what I choose to remember:

I remember that the passengers of Flight 93 tried.  I remember that their plane didn’t make it to Washington, and even if they didn’t get into the cockpit and crash the plane into that meadow in Pennsylvania themselves, they certainly fought back and forced the hijackers to abort the mission that they had planned.  That plane didn’t crash into the White House or the Capitol, and that’s not because the hijackers got lost.

I remember driving to the wedding rehearsal for two of my best friends on the Friday after the attacks, feeling bad that they were getting married in the shadow of 9/11.  I remember being amazed at thousands of people in the streets of Sacramento — thousands of miles away from any of the attack sites — holding a candlelight vigil.  I remember that I drove through the silence of these peaceful vigils, with flags and flames and tears all around me, and I thought, “We’re going to be okay.” 

I remember George W. Bush — a President I never voted for.  I remember his unsteady first comments to the press after the attacks.  I remember how he found his footing quickly.  I remember him returning to Washington, D.C. that night, against the wishes of his government and his Secret Service.  I remember how this President — a President I didn’t agree with, a President I never cast a supportive ballot for or whose campaign I ever donated a cent to, a President whose beliefs were diametrically opposed to almost everything that I believe in — went to Ground Zero and met with the families of those who were dead or missing, and gave them all the time they needed with him. 

I remember how that President visited the rescue workers at Ground Zero.  I remember, more than anything else, how President Bush climbed on to some of the rubble of the fallen towers, grabbed a bullhorn and began to speak, but was interrupted by the workers yelling, “We can’t hear you!”

I remember that the President — the only President we had at the time — shouted to these exhausted, weary, heroic rescuers, “Well, I can hear you!  And the people who knocked these buildings down are gonna hear from all of us soon!”.  I remember that it was genuine, that there was nothing manufactured about that moment, and that, despite all of his faults and deficiencies, George W. Bush said exactly what those people — our people — needed to hear.  As the workers chanted, “USA! USA! USA!”, I remember thinking — I didn’t vote for him and I won’t vote for him in 2004, but that’s my President and I am proud of him.

As we look back, we can’t help but think about everything else that has come out of 9/11 — the interminable war in Afghanistan, the ridiculous war in Iraq, the humiliating and annoying experience that flying in an airplane has become in this country — but I think about that stuff pretty much every day, and I feel like this should always be a day where we think differently.

So, I’m going to think about those flags and candles and President Bush on top of the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn.  I’m going to think about being an American — just like I was in the weeks following 9/11 — rather than being a Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, Believer or Non-Believer, Straight or Gay, White or Black or Hispanic or Asian, or any other label that we place on ourselves to show that we’re different or more than just human. 

I’m going to remember thinking, “That’s my President”, as he spoke to the rescue workers, just as I did a few weeks later when President Bush went to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the World Series, strapped on a bulky bulletproof vest under his FDNY sweatshirt, walked to the pitcher’s mound, and with millions of Americans watching on television, with thousands of rabid New Yorkers watching in the stands, and with Derek Jeter’s words (“Don’t bounce it or they’ll boo you.”) rattling around in his head, threw a perfect strike.

I’ll remember thinking, “That’s my President”, about a guy I never voted for and didn’t agree with, and I’ll hope that you do that when the guy you didn’t vote for and didn’t agree with says the right words, does the right things, and throws a strike — not because you’re a Democrat or a Republican, but because you’re an American and that’s the only President we’ve got.

What do you remember?

[Originally published in AND Magazine on September 11, 2011.]

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