Chossudovsky: US Had Advance Warning of Tsunami


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2005 09:39:14 -0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
From: "ecopilgrim" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Chossudovsky Says US Had Advance Warning of Tsunami 

US had advance warning of tsunami: Canadian professor
Monday, January 03, 2005
Chossudovsky Says US Had Advance Warning of Tsunami
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: A Canadian expert has claimed that the US Military
and the State Department were given advance tsunami warning
and America's Navy base on the island of Diego Garcia in the
Indian Ocean was notified but the information was not passed
on to the countries that bore the brunt of the disaster.

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky of the University of Ottawa asks in
an analysis produced for the Venus Project why fishermen in
India, Sri Lanka and Thailand were not provided with the same
warnings as the US Navy and the US State Department. He wants
to know why the US State Department remained mum on the
existence of an impending catastrophe. With a modern
communications system, why did the information not get out? By
email, telephone, fax, satellite TV, he asks, as it could have
saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Prof Chossudovsky writes that the US authorities had initially
recorded 8.0 on the Richter scale. As confirmed by several
reports, US scientists in Hawaii, had advanced knowledge
regarding an impending catastrophe, but failed to contact
their Asian counterparts. According to him, Charles McCreery
of the Pacific Warning Centre in Hawaii confirmed that his
team tried desperately to get in touch with his counterparts
in Asia. According to McCreery, the director of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's centre in Honolulu,
the team did its utmost to contact the countries.

The team contacted the US State Department, which apparently
contacted the Asian governments. The Indian government has
confirmed that no such warning was received. The Director of
the Hawaii Warning Centre stated that "they did not know" that
the earthquake would generate a deadly tidal wave until it had
hit Sri Lanka, more than one and a half hours later, at 2.30
GMT. Not until the deadly wave hit Sri Lanka and the
scientists in Honolulu saw news reports of the damage there
did they recognise what was happening. Then we knew there was
something moving across the Indian Ocean," McCreery told the
New York Times on 27 December. "This statement is at odds with
the Timeline of the tidal wave disaster. Thailand was hit
almost an hour before Sri Lanka and the news reports were
already out. Surely, these reports out of Thailand were known
to the scientists in Hawaii, not to mention the office of Sec.
Colin Powell, well before the tidal wave reached Sri Lanka,"
argues the Canadian professor.

"We wanted to try to do something, but without a plan in place
then, it was not an effective way to issue a warning, or to
have it acted upon," Dr. McCreery said. "There would have
still been some time - not a lot of time, but some time - if
there was something that could be done in Madagascar, or on
the coast of Africa," he added. The Canadian academic finds
the statement "inconsistent." The tidal wave, he argues,
reached the East African coastline several hours after it
reached The Maldives islands. According to news reports, Male,
the capital of the Maldives was hit three hours after the
earthquake, at approximately 4.00 GMT. By that time everybody
around the world knew.

Prof. Chossudovsky writes, "It is worth noting that the US
Navy was fully aware of the deadly tidal wave, because the
Navy was on the Pacific Warning Centre's list of contacts.
Moreover, America's strategic Naval base on the island of
Diego Garcia had also been notified. Although directly in the
path of the tidal wave, the Diego Garcia military base
reported 'no damage'," All that was needed was for someone to
pick up the phone and call Sri Lanka, he adds. Charles
McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, said
"We don't have contacts in our address book for anybody in
that part of the world." The fact is that only after the first
waves hit Sri Lanka did workers at National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre
and others in Hawaii start making phone calls to US diplomats
in Madagascar and Mauritius in an attempt to head off further
disaster. "We didn't have a contact in place where you could
just pick up the phone," Dolores Clark, spokeswoman for the
International Tsunami Information Centre in Hawaii has said.
"We were starting from scratch."

Prof. Chossudovsky argues that these statements on the surface
are inconsistent, since several Indian Ocean Asian countries
are in fact members of the Tsunami Warning System. There are
26 member countries of the International Coordination Group
for the Tsunami Warning System, including Thailand, Singapore
and Indonesia. All these countries would normally be in the
address book of the PTWC, which works in close coordination
with its sister organisation the ICGTWS, which has its offices
in Honolulu at the headquarters of the National Weather
Service Pacific Region Headquarters in downtown Honolulu. The
mandate of the ICGTWS is to "assist member states in
establishing national warning systems, and makes information
available on current technologies for tsunami warning

Australia and Indonesia were notified. The US Congress is to
investigate why the US government did not notify all the
Indian Ocean nations in the affected area: "Only two countries
in the affected region, Indonesia and Australia, received the
warning" Although Thailand belongs to the international
tsunami-warning network, its west coast does not have the
system's wave sensors mounted on ocean buoys. The northern tip
of the earthquake fault is located near the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands, and tsunamis appear to have rushed eastward
toward the Thai resort of Phuket. They had no tidal gauges and
they had no warning," said Waverly Person, a geophysicist at
the National Earthquake Information Centre in Golden,
Colorado, which monitors seismic activity worldwide. "There
are no buoys in the Indian Ocean and that's where this tsunami

Prof. Chossudovsky has framed the following three questions:
First: Why were the Indian Ocean countries' governments not
informed? Were there "guidelines from the US military or the
State Department regarding the release of an advanced warning?
According to the statement of the Hawaii based PTWC, advanced
warning was released but on a selective basis. Indonesia was
already hit, so the warning was in any event redundant and
Australia was several thousand miles from the epicentre of the
earthquake and was, therefore, under no immediate threat. Two:
Did US authorities monitoring seismographic data have
knowledge of the earthquake prior to its actual occurrence at
00.57 GMT on the 26th of December? The question is whether
there were indications of abnormal seismic activity prior to
01.00 GMT on the 26th of December. The US Geological Survey
confirmed that the earthquake which triggered the tidal wave
measured 9.0 on the Richter scale and was the fourth largest
quake since 1900. In such cases, one would expect evidence of
abnormal seismic activity before the actual occurrence of a
major earthquake Three: Why is the US military Calling the
Shots on Humanitarian Relief? Why in the wake of the disaster,
is the US military (rather than civilian humanitarian/aid
organizations operating under UN auspices) taking a lead role?
The US Pacific Command has been designated to coordinate the
channeling of emergency relief? Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Rusty
Blackman, commander of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force
based in Okinawa, has been designated to lead the emergency
relief programme. Lieutenant General Blackman was previously
Chief of Staff for Coalition Forces Land Component Command,
responsible for leading the Marines into Baghdad during
"Operation Iraqi Freedom." Three "Marine disaster relief
assessment teams" under Blackman's command have been sent to
Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. US military aircraft are
conducting observation missions.

Prof. Chossudovsky writes, "In a bitter irony, part of this
operation is being coordinated out of America's Naval base in
Diego Garcia, which was not struck by the tidal wave.
Meanwhile, USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, which was
in Hong Kong when the earthquake and tsunamis struck, has been
diverted to the Gulf of Thailand to support recovery
operations. Two Aircraft Carriers have been sent to the
region. Why is it necessary for the US to mobilise so much
military equipment? The pattern is unprecedented ... Why has a
senior commander involved in the invasion of Iraq been
assigned to lead the US emergency relief program?"


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

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