Friday, July 21, 2006

Mumbai Thoughts: Is Manila a Sitting Duck?

AUSTRALIA'S Sydney Morning Herald carried a disturbing item recently about the vulnerability of its mass transportation systems to terrorist attacks like the recent deadly coordinated train blasts in Mumbai, India. This article got me to thinking about the City of Manila and its own vulnerability to terrorist attacks, which was already demonstrated in the December 30, 2000 bombing of Manila's LRT-1 line which killed several dozen passengers. There was also the sinking of Super Ferry 14 on February 26, 2004 by an Abu Sayyaf/Rajah Suleiman Movement bomb smuggled on board. Over 120 people died in this worst ever terror attack on the Philippines. Strangely enough, because it occurred at the start of the 2004 election campaign period, the president chose to call the thing "the work of pranksters" -- as TIME Magazine here relates it. The authorities waited until AFTER the elections to admit that Super Ferry 14 was a terrorist attack. But now, take a look at this Google Map (all the Zoom-N-Pan and Option controls work, plus you can grab and drag the map around at any point.) If you'd rather look at volcanoes today go to Google Mogul, my Science website.


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[1] The field of view contains at least three high value terrorist targets in the middle of the City of Manila. Near the center of the Map is Nagtahan Bridge as it crosses the Pasig River, which snakes its oily green way horizontally across the map. Immediately east of the bridge, south of the river, you will observe the PANDACAN OIL DEPOT, with its numerous oil and gasoline storage tanks (each of the round white objects contains tens of thousands of liter of oil or fuel. To get an idea how big each storage tank is, compare the width of each one to the fourlane bridge nearby!). Immediately west of the bridge, on both sides of the river, are the MALACANANG PRESIDENTIAL PALACE grounds. Immediately north of the bridge, you will see the LRT-2 Light Railway Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) which carries thousands of passengers daily. One of the trains is visible after pulling out of a nearby train station. Boarding passengers, usually only the women, have their handbags checked by poking a small wooden stick into them. And of course all around this highly combustible situation are slums, ghettos, businesses, homes and markets. But it isn't like this is some kind of secret. The continued existence of the Pandacan Oil Depot, is a major, tragic disaster waiting to happen. Meanwhile the top officials of the Philippine government and the military top brass, are currently engaged in a political theatre of survival against an opposition that, like a hydra, apparently has heads in the elite Military units, in the Senate, in the House, in the Catholic Bishops Conference, in the Media, in the Academe, in Civil Society, among the NGOs of students, workers, and peasants from the Left, Right and Center, and even former Cabinet officials. So many Enemies the State has now, that on Monday when the President's offers her State of the Nation Address, she will be separated from her people by a planned 20,000 loyal(?) troops.

[2] Earlier this week, Manila Police Chief Vidal N. Querol warned that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's main runways present flight paths that cross heavily populated, and little secured surroundings, including slums and a major North-South Highway, the South Luzon Expressway. He has asked the public to report "suspicious activities by people carrying long, shoulder carried things."

[3] The third map available above shows the Philippine Congress' Batasan Complex area, where the President will deliver her SONA on Monday. The house on Adler Street in Filinvest II, where the six Magdalo escapees were reportedly found and recaptured last week is within the field of view, from my comparison with street maps. This is said to confirm the intelligence gathered from documents captured from the fugitives indicating they were going "to bomb the Batasan complex" this Monday...Or so the story goes as it is being spun through "leaks" and "reports" and "affidavits" through an avid Media led by ABSCBN News.

11 comments:

Karl M. Garcia said...

DJB,

We aee all sitting ducks,because we don't know when and where the duck hunters will fire their shotguns at us.

Let us be reminded that London,with all the closed circuit tv cameras,and the long time experience with the IRA terrorists still got blown up.

Many will say otherwise, but the national I.D. is a start for this government for at least give a semblanbce of control to the situation. At least we will have sitting ducks with IDs.

HILLBLOGGER said...

You've got an anti-terror czar with an ambassador rank in your midst, Dean: General Benjie Defensor (retd).

The man is no dimwit at all. He's presented highly sensible ideas recently.

(He's one of the very rare military species in the Philippines who understand anything about missile technology too.)

He's been to Israel and South Africa on several observation missions re anti-terrorism programs since he was a lt colonel. I believe he is aware of Israeli tactics in this regard.

Problem is you need funds to put a proper program in place even for deterrence purposes.

You should call him and talk to him about it. He's an accomodating and charming fella.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

This Google Earth is simply fascinating.

I love it.

Sent an e-mail to my Mom asking her to go on the roof of her condo at a given time and hoist a Philippine flag (a la Roy Cimatu in Lebanon) and to wave so I can spot her. Hahah!

john marzan said...

this 10 days old Malaya article says that JI has resumed training in Central Mindanao.

http://www.malaya.com.ph/jul12/news6.htm

baycas said...

djb, off-topic,

pardon also my ignorance...but how is it possible that someone was able to use my handle in posting a comment?

over at mlq3's site, a pseudo-baycas posted this comment. i understand mlq3's blog is not as secure as yours but i'd appreciate an expert opinion from you.

thanks in advance.

john marzan said...

bakit, did somebody impersonate you in djb's site, baycas?

Rizalist said...

Baycas,
It must be their registration system. But unless a lot of damage is actually done, I don't normally pay attention to plagiarists. In fact, this website is in the public domain (even the commentary!). Readers of this website can take anything they want, even call it their own or sell it for food, money or sex (they would be soooo lucky!) I don't publish on the Web anything I want others to pay for. Judging by your own writings, I suspect that you are also not in this to get rich! I guess I would merely write to MLQ3 to inform him of the abuse. But I would also chuckle at the FLATTERY of IMITATION.

baycas said...

yes, john...at mlq3's blogpost no. 964, specifically the link i sited above. i'm thinking i earned the ire of someone in that thread.

...got to hang up my keyboard over there at quezon.ph.

baycas said...

thanks djb, you're really great!

postigo luna said...

djb, i started a wiki over at botanteKAMI. I hope you can add a few pages expounding on your modernization suggestions. Thanks, man!

Amadeo said...

Good cautionary point re irresponsible commenting.

Anybody can assume any name/label/tag for making comments, though some would require more such as a valid email address.

But the host should be able to readily verify the real source of the commentary, all the way to the IP addresses used. Unless, the impersonator goes steps further and tries to shield where he is coming from by using certain camouflaging devices; but impersonators typically do not go that far.

Thus, they should be forewarned that typically it is quite easy for the host to retrace sources, regardless of how adeptly one can assume other identities.

Google Glenn Greenwald to learn more about this type of commenting.