The Command Post
Global Recon

August 30, 2003

Protecting Internet Privacy In Iran

This report is very interesting:

A pact between the U.S. government and the electronic privacy company Anonymizer, Inc. is making the Internet a safer place for controversial websites and subversive opinions -- if you're Iranian.

This month Anonymizer began providing Iranians with free access to a Web proxy service designed to circumvent their government's online censorship efforts. In May, government ministers issued a blacklist of 15,000 forbidden "immoral" websites that ISPs in the country must block -- reportedly a mix of adult sites and political news and information outlets. An estimated two million Iranians have Internet access.

Among the banned sites are the website for the U.S.-funded Voice of America broadcast service, and the site for Radio Farda, another U.S. station that beams Iranian youth a mix of pop music and westernized news. Both stations are run by the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), the U.S. government's overseas news and propaganda arm.

The U.S. responded to the filtering this month by paying Anonymizer (neither the IBB nor Anonymizer will disclose how much) to create and maintain a special version of the Anonymizer proxy which only accepts connections from Iran's IP address space, and features instructions in Farsi.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 09:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Europeans Warn Iran To Accept Nuclear Inspections

Here is the story:

A senior European Union official has warned Iran it must accept unannounced snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Speaking during a news conference in Tehran, E.U. foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the issue is not a bargaining matter. He warned that failure to agree to such inspections would mean "bad news" for Iran.

Iran is under mounting international pressure to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty that would allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect nuclear facilities with little advance warning.

Mr. Solana issued the warning after the head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, said Iran has been buying nuclear technology on the international black market. In an interview aired Friday by British television, Mr. ElBaradei also said Iran's nuclear program was much older than the IAEA realized, going back to the mid-1980's.

The United States says Iran has been secretly developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is intended only for peaceful purposes.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 09:32 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 28, 2003

N. Korea to declare it possesses nuclear weapons

USA Today:

A defiant North Korea told the United States and four other nations for the first time that it is ready to declare itself a nuclear weapons power and conduct a nuclear test, administration officials said Thursday.

A U.S. official briefed on six-nation talks in Beijing said the North Korean diplomats made the threats first to Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly and other U.S. diplomats on Wednesday, then repeated them before envoys from China, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

"The Chinese were visibly angry and the others were taken aback," said the official, who asked not to be named. Kelly left the talks two hours before they concluded. There was no word on whether the meetings, which began Wednesday, would continue.


Posted by at 05:25 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

August 26, 2003

More On The Death Of Zahra Kazemi

Via InstaPundit we have this story:

The Iranian Government has rejected the findings of a judicial inquiry into the death in custody of journalist Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian national.

It emerged on Monday that the judge investigating the case had charged two officials from the intelligence ministry with "complicity in semi-intentional murder".

But a government spokesman on Tuesday cast doubt on the legitimacy of the inquiry, describing its findings as having nothing to do with reality.

The BBC's Miranda Eeles in Tehran says the investigation has revealed the bitter nature of the power struggle taking place between reformists under President Khatami and conservatives who dominate the judiciary.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 11:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Enriched Uranium Found in Iran

[Sky News]

UN inspectors are reported to have found traces of highly-enriched uranium at an Iranian nuclear facility.

The find, contained in a report prepared for the agency's board meeting next month, heightened concerns that Tehran may be running a secret nuclear weapons programme.

The find came as Iran indicated it would sign up to a treaty which would allow surprise inspections of its nuclear sites

Full story...

Posted by Michele at 10:18 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 25, 2003

Two Interrogators Charged With The Death Of Zahra Kazemi

Here is the story:

Iran said Monday that two interrogators had been charged with complicity in "semi-intentional" murder over the death of a Canadian photojournalist in July, the official IRNA news agency said.

The death of Zahra Kazemi, 54, who Iranian government officials have said was killed by a blow to the head after her arrest for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison, has sparked a diplomatic row between Canada and Iran.

"The charges leveled against the interrogators, who are said to be members of the Intelligence Ministry, are announced as complicity in semi-intentional murder," IRNA said, quoting a report from the Tehran prosecutor's office.

It said the prosecutor's office had not identified the two.

IRNA said the indictment issued by the investigator in the Tehran prosecutor's office would be sent for approval by a higher-ranking criminal prosecutor, who has five days to issue a decision.

In Ottawa, Canadian Foreign Ministry officials said they would not comment until they had confirmed the IRNA story. Canadian diplomats in Tehran were not immediately available for comment.

Iranian officials initially said Kazemi, a Montreal-based journalist of Iranian descent, died of a stroke. But a government inquiry revealed she had been killed by a brain hemorrhage caused by a severe blow to the skull.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 06:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Liberians Report Fighting in Northeast, but Have No Knowledge of a Massacre


MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - The government reported persistent clashes Monday in diamond-rich northeastern Liberia despite a week-old peace deal, but authorities and residents denied knowledge of an alleged massacre by rebels there.

Tegen Wanti, a Nimba County resident reached by satellite telephone, said people of the town of Bahn had heard nothing about the deaths of 1,000 people that state radio had reported.

Meanwhile, a force of 150 U.S. Marines returned to their warships off Liberia's coast Sunday, insisting shipboard troops would be better positioned to respond to any flare-ups in the country's still-gelling peace accord.


Posted by at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 23, 2003

The Islamic Martin Luther?

This interview with noted Iranian dissident Abdolkarim Soroush is definitely worth your time. Two passages stand out--the first discussing the nature and origin of the protests in Iran:

These protests are coming entirely from within. They are not because of foreign provocation. Iran has had an explosion in its university population since the revolution, when there were just 200,000 students. Today there are 2 million. They and their families want greater freedoms and I believe the end result will be a reduction in the power of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, more power to parliament, and greater academic freedom.

The second discusses Soroush's view of scientific and rational inquiry:

My experience in Iran teaches me that a minimum amount of freedom is necessary for the advancement of science, for the advancement of thought. Research cannot flourish if you cannot communicate with your fellow scientists; if you cannot explain your ideas freely, or have to hide part of them lest you be arrested.

I am communicating with you now. We can freely chat and freely exchange information. Science is a child of these kinds of conditions. If I hide something from you and you hide things from me, and both of us are obliged to read between the lines, these are not ideal conditions for research to progress.

Read the whole thing.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 05:57 AM | Comments (27) | TrackBack

August 21, 2003

Cache Of Weapons Seized Headed to Iran

Here is the story:

Security police and customs officials in the Latvian capital, Riga, have seized what was described as a sizable illegal shipment of weapons reportedly bound for Iran. Experts say the aging gear was likely bound for terrorist groups for the purpose of updating and repairing existing equipment.

Latvian police say the shipment, disguised as farm products, actually contained night vision goggles, spare parts for armored vehicles and anti-aircraft systems.

According to the police, the illegal cargo seized at Riga's airport weighs in at 28 tons and has an estimated value of $315,000. Authorities believe the shipment came from Russia and was destined for Iran.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 07:38 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Arrest Made In Connection With 1994 Bombing

Here is the story:

Iran's former ambassador to Argentina was arrested by British police on Thursday in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center which killed 85 people, Scotland Yard said.

Hadi Soleimanpour, ambassador at the time of the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center, was arrested on an extradition warrant and would appear before London magistrates on Friday, the British police said in a statement.

Last week, a judge in Argentina issued an arrest warrant through Interpol for Soleimanpour, 47, and seven other Iranian officials in connection with the car bomb attack in which about 200 people were also injured.

Israel and Washington -- which has branded Iran part of an "axis of evil" states that sponsor terrorism -- have long said they suspected Iranian-backed Middle Eastern guerrillas were behind the attack. Iran has fiercely denied any involvement.

Police said Soleimanpour was arrested on a warrant alleging that "on or before July 7, 1994, (he) did conspire with other persons to murder persons at the (AMIA Center)."

He is believed to have been living in the northern English city of Durham since February last year, when he entered the country on a student visa to study at Durham University.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 07:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 19, 2003

Corruption in the Iranian Economy

Here is the story:

Two years ago, Hossein Yazdi was looking forward to a quiet retirement. Now he's back at work as one of Tehran's countless unofficial taxi drivers, trying to supplement a monthly pension of $65. "[Two pounds] of meat costs $5 these days; most weeks my wife and I go without," he says. "If things carry on like this, people like us will soon be dying of starvation."

Daily conversation here turns with alarming speed to the daily struggle to make ends meet. But what makes such talk baffling is that most economists consider the country to be relatively well managed.

"Iran has huge resources of oil and gas, and the rise in oil prices since 1999 from $10 a barrel to over $26 today has given the economy an immense boost," says Yves Cadilhon, head of the French economic mission in Tehran.

So what are many Iranians complaining about? A powerful group of clerics and merchants who, critics say, have a stranglehold on the economy.

For Saeed Laylaz, an assistant manager at Iran's largest car manufacturer and a supporter of moderate President Muhammad Khatami, the gripes are an effect of political reforms. "People are no longer afraid to speak out: they're not getting angrier, just more vocal," he says.

Jahangir Amuzegar, who was Iran's finance minister in the 1970s, disagrees. "It's the envy factor," he says. "I doubt anybody is getting poorer, but the trouble is that a tiny minority is getting richer very quickly."

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 07:55 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Coalition Blockade Exercise

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The United States says Australia will join it and nine other allies in planning a series of naval exercises in coming months to train their forces to seize arms, missiles and their components transported on ships.

The first exercise is due to be held next month in the Coral Sea.

The announcement was made in Washington by the State Department.

Spokesman Richard Boucher says the goal is to prevent terrorists and countries supporting them from acquiring missiles, weapons of mass destruction and the material to make them.

He said any country that is proliferating missiles could be affected by this, and he mentioned North Korea and Iran in this context.

Posted by Alan Brain at 05:52 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Hushoor's Korea Briefing: Aug 19/03

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Korea, courtesy of Robert Koehler in Kwangju, South Korea.


Other Topics Today Include: Negotiating with NK; 6-party talks, Military options; Hyundai Chief's suicide, Smuggling radios; SK's Anti-American shenanigans, Zen and the Art of Scatological Humor, and much, much more.

Posted by Winds of Change at 02:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2003

Winds of War (Iran Reports)

Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Here's today's Iran Reports, just part of our overall Winds of War briefing today.

IRAN REPORTS: Aug. 18/03

Other Winds of War Topics Today Include: Distributed defense; American foreign policy 2003-2008; Kurdish sex slaves; Jihadi flypaper; Blue Force Tracker; Multiple blogs from Baghdad; Iraqi infrastructure reports; Rabbi's return to Nineveh; Daniel Pipes' & USIP; An American Hogwart's?; Khaled El-Fadl; BBC perfidity; NK's weapons & SK's weakness; Israel's warning to Syria; Yemen heating up, Pakistan's jihadis not cooling down; Ding, dong, Amin is dead!

Posted by Winds of Change at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2003

Why no looting during the Blackout of 2003?

Comparisons between the blackout this past week and the ones in 1965 and 1977 are inevitable, especially in the New York City area which was an anarchic mess in 1977. This article in Slate by David Greenberg tackles the question of why there was relative calm this time around:

Even if news reports prove to have been overly rosy—this morning Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported just one blackout-related death in New York City overnight—neither Gotham nor Detroit nor Cleveland suffered anything remotely like the anarchy of 1977. "New Yorkers showed that the city that burned in the 1970s when facing similar circumstances," Bloomberg said, "is now a very different place."

...It seems probable, though, that even if this latest blackout had happened before the 2001 attacks, we still wouldn't have seen a replay of 1977. A post-9/11 civic responsibility may have augmented the exemplary behavior, but it didn't create it. The real difference between 1977 and 2003 is the change in the condition of New York and America's Northeastern cities, including in their poorer enclaves.

Greenberg speculates that the differences lie in both the context of the recent blackout and the city and population changes as a whole. The context differences include the timing of this week's outage - late afternoon, so more people had time to get home, and the city had more daylight hours to prepare for nightfall - and the availability of police, who in 1977 were involved in a dispute with the city and did not turn out in force as they did this time. On a larger scale, Greenberg says, the city and its people are generally more prosperous now, and the racial tensions and class differences are not as sharp edged now as then. It's an interesting speculation, and the topic is one that will get a lot of attention in the next while.

For a look at the type of analysis that will be done, take a look at this excellent piece by scholar Kathleen Tierney, about the reaction of NYC city, both officially and unofficially, to the 9/11 attack. For a history of the blackouts in 1965 and 1977, check out this comprehensive website, which is also asking for stories from individuals caught in this past week's blackout as a part of a living history collection.

[Tierney link via Instapundit. Blackout history link via Josh Marshall's Talking Points.]

Cross posted on Cut on the Bias

Posted by susannac at 09:16 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Three Germans Accused Of Selling Nuclear Materiel To North Korea

Prosecutors in Stuttgart, southwest Germany, have accused three German businessmen of attempting to export materiel to North Korea for likely use in the Stalinist country's nuclear program, Der Spiegel reports in its next issue, to be published Monday.

The weekly magazine says the German government intercepted a cargo shipment last April in Hamburg destined for North Korea including 214 aluminum tubes weighing 22 tonnes.

The tubes are a crucial element in the production of enriched uranium.


Posted by Billy Beck at 01:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2003

Blackout 2003

A little light in a dark room is still a great illumination. - Ernest Homes


Image courtesy of EvilPundit

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:24 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 15, 2003

First Power Failures Reported in Cleveland Area, Council Says

From Bloomberg (the news service, not the Mayor):

The first reported power failures in a series that led to the biggest blackout in North American history occurred in the Cleveland area, according to the group charged with investigating the failures.

Five high-voltage power lines in the Cleveland area were tripped off line between 3:06 p.m. and 4:06 p.m. New York time, according to a preliminary analysis by the North American Electric Reliability Council distributed by e-mail.

Large power failures in the U.S. Northeast and Canada weren't reported until 4:11 p.m. New York time, the council said.

FYI, that's the full text of the story.

Posted by Alan at 09:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Third World Laughs at Blackout Woes

From FoxNews:

MANILA, Philippines — A blackout? What's the big deal?

That was the reaction from Southeast Asia to West Africa as people in developing countries wondered how something so common to them could bring a huge swath of the world's superpower to a grinding halt.

"Look at their response there in New York," popular radio commentator Joe Taruc wondered aloud in his Friday morning talk show in Manila. "If it happened here, it would be nothing out of the ordinary."

...Iraqis, who have been enduring 120-degree heat largely without electricity as U.S. administrators struggle to get power back to pre-war levels, saw the North American outage as a bit of poetic justice.

"I hope it lasts for 20 years. Let them feel our suffering," George Ruweid, 27, playing cards with friends on a Baghdad sidewalk, said of the U.S. blackout.

Posted by PoliticaObscura at 05:51 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Watch The Outage In Real Time

power.jpgGenscape is a company that supplies real-time power supply information to the energy industry. Their power monitoring network captured the blackout in real time: you can watch the animation of plants tripping offline here. This is a link worth visiting.

Posted by Alan at 04:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More On "The Loop"

CNN TV is reporting that the investigation continues to focus on the Lake Erie Loop, which transmits power in a circle between the general areas of Toronto, Buffalo, and Detroit. The power typically flows clockwise; according to those involved in the investigation about 300 megawatts was flowing West to East on the loop when something happened and that power began flowing East to West. Possible causes: Some type of "triggering event," or a power company that belongs to the Interconnect could have "violated the rules." Cyber-terrorism has been ruled out. Officials also believe demand was not a factor: temps just were not that high, and there was sufficient supply to meet demand.

Read the CNN story here.

Posted by Alan at 04:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blackout on Grid Recorded Live Online

From Yahoo News:

MIDDLETON, Wis., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The massive blackout on the US electric grid this afternoon was captured in real-time by the I-Grid, a nationwide power grid monitoring system. Near-simultaneous events were recorded in New York and Michigan at approximately 4:10 p.m. EDT. The blackout then spread across the northeastern United States, with the I-Grid recording over 200 events in the first two minutes alone.
To track the areas of the electric grid that are still down and those that are back up, go to , register (for free), and view the I-Grid US map and event log.

Further analysis of I-Grid Data at Command-Post Opinion Page.

Posted by PoliticaObscura at 03:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Report from Toronto

We have power again in Toronto, subject to rolling blackouts at unpredictable times. Unsurprisingly, pleading with people to go easy on consumption and stay home from work wasn't working very well. Saying "prepare for blackouts without notice, at times of our choosing" should be much more effective. Quiet here, but we have reports of serious looting in Ottawa - and this time it wasn't by the politicians.

The Ontario Government has NO information on its home page, and web sites for Ontario Hydro's Hydro One group, incl. Hydro Networks and Ontario Power Generation, are all down or fail to resolve. Deeply unimpressive performances all around. The City of Toronto at least has a "Power Outage" link on its home page, though it should be more prominent.

Fortunately, The Command Post is devoting itself to ongoing coverage, and Michelle C. has a very fine op-ed from her vantage point in New York. Steven Den Beste, meanwhile, explains what's involved in getting everything restarted.

Posted by Winds of Change at 01:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Latest On The Cause: A "9-Second Event"

I will quote CNN TV:

"Investigators are now taking a look at they describe as a 9-second event ... that occurred in what's called the Lake Erie Loop that provides power for the Niagara Mowhawk power grid in the Northeastern part of the United States and Ontario."
No word yet on what this event may be.

Posted by Alan at 12:17 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

24-48 More Hours To Full Restoration In Toronto

So says the Toronto Mayor, just now on CNN TV.

Posted by Alan at 12:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Two Ottawa Fatalities

So says the CNN TV crawl ... no information regarding how or whom.

Posted by Alan at 12:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Blackout News Briefs

Fox News is reporting that Congress will start an inquiry into the cause of the blackout.

A state of emergency has been declared in Michigan.

Meanwhile, there's reports that it may have started in Ohio, which now brings the places-to-blame count up to three (Niagra, Toronto).

Many people are also questioning if this will become an election issue or not.

Wall Street is up and running, but trading is very light.

CNN's state-by-state update.

I'm certainly glad I stopped to get gas on my way to work yesterday.

Posted by Michele at 11:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

FAA Update

The latest, from CNN and from the FAA Ops Center. Cancellations:

- LaGuardia: 130 cancelled flights
- JFK: 90 cancelled flights
- Detroit: 85 cancelled flights
- Cleveland: 70 cancelled flights
That leaves around 65,000 people temporarily stranded. The airlines are allowing travelers to make one modification to their schedule free of penalties. And here's the latest from the FAA ATC Ops Center:
THE GROUND STOP FOR ALL ACA (AIR CANADA) FLIGHTS FROM U.S. DEPARTURE POINTS IS CANCELLED. [Note: It also appears from the details, however, that problems continue for flights trying to get to Toronto.]

DUE TO ONGOING SPECIAL OPERATIONS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, AIRCRAFT MAY BE REROUTED TO AVOID HIGHLY SENSITIVE AREAS. THESE REROUTES CAN BE DYNAMIC WITH LITTLE LEAD TIME DUE TO SECURITY PROCEDURES. USERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THESE CONSTRAINTS AND THE POSSIBILITY OF TRAFFIC BEING REROUTED AIRBORNE. [Note: Without providing all the technical data, it looks from the advisory that reroutes are already in effect for most of the area affected by the outage. While this isn't necessarily causing delays now, it may as volume builds.]

Posted by Alan at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bosnian Serb Guard Commander Surrenders


THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A Bosnian Serb prison guard commander wanted on charges of enslavement, torture and murder at a brutal wartime prison has surrendered to the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, the U.N. court and Serbian officials said Friday.

Mitar Rasevic was the chief of 37 guards at the KP-Dom detention facility in Foca, one of the most brutal wartime prisons during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. Muslim and Croat prisoners were held for months in inhumane conditions and many were killed.

Mentally handicapped, physically disabled and elderly people were among the 1,000 inmates at the camp, where beatings and killings were commonplace, according to the indictment.


Posted by at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pataki Press Conference Live

Blogging as it happens:

National Guard was not needed over the night. 88% of power restored to NYC. Please save power if you have it. Beaches and parks on Long Island have free admission today. Check on the elderly. 600 trains and subway trains evacuated last night, with no injuries.

Posted by Alan at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NYSE Running Smoothly

From CNN TV, who has a reporter on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: As of this writing, the Dow is up about 11 points; everything is running smoothly, and Bloomberg rang the opening bell. Trading is light; many of the floor traders who are at the exchange spent the night. Power on Wall Street itself is up (rather than the entire financial district), and was restored around 6 AM.

Posted by Alan at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US Troops in Monrovia

Sorry to interupt "All Blackout - All the Time", but news is still being made elsewhere in the world. US Marines have entered the Liberian Capital of Monrovia:

MONROVIA, Liberia, Aug. 14 -- U.S. Marines joined Nigerian peacekeepers in reassembling this divided capital today, deploying into what had been rebel territory accompanied by the scream of Harrier jets overhead and the cheers of Liberians all around them.
Full Story at The Washington Post.

Posted by sean at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Toronto Mayor Press Conference

From CNN TV, Real-time blogging; forgive the typos:

"Toronto is a city of heros." Avoid strenuous activity, please do not use candles, if you have power, conserve. 110 elevator rescues, all by 9 PM last night. Residents can call 416- 338-0338 for help. City will open some wading pools for kids this afternoon. 100+ miners still underground, but in no danger.

Posted by Alan at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Media Blackout

While the Internet and television were obviously the most severely effected systems because of the blackout, print media has also suffered. In Toronto, The Globe and Mail managed to publish a morning edition, while The National Post and the Toronto Star did not. Radio remains the only reliable system for getting up to date news in our fair city. (Except, obviously, from the Command Post)

Posted by sean at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Mayor Bloomberg

(Joining it in progress. Here's the first part.)

Gambling: How does our water stay on when Cleveland's is off?

Bloomberg: Our water is gravity fed. If you live on a lower floor, you've got water and probably good water pressure. If you live up in a high-rise, you may not. But I think people on lower floors will open their doors.

Sewer system is pretty much the same thing. The problem is the cleaning facilities that pump cleaned water into the river are electric, so that could be a problem over time.

Gambling: Are you going to look to build more generation plants?

Bloomberg: Here's the issue. There are some people on one extreme, saying put the plants anywhere, I don't care, we need electricity. People on the other extreme say electricity is a great evil, we need to be closer to nature. Most are in the middle - they want the additional electricity, but they don't want the generation facility near them and they don't want to pay for it. There are limited places that fit all the requirements of being near the grid network and being away from the areas people don't want them to be.

A lot of people don't like nuclear plants. Some countries have gone all nuclear, like France, others don't use at all. We haven't been adding them.

The politics of all of this is difficult... There's no easy answer here.

Gambling: From a businessman point of view, has deregulation of energy caused this?

Bloomberg: I think some will say that. We had trouble when it was regulated. There is no one simple answer; some who want to privatize can make a case, sometimes, and those who want the government to run it can make a case, sometimes. There's just no substitute for good management and luck...

A reporter asked me, isn't it a shame that we're so connected to Canada on this. Canada generates an awful lot more electricity than it uses, if we didn't have their electricity we'd be in big trouble.

Gambling: You have to wonder why the electric problems ended without taking out more of the eastern US.

Bloomberg: The systems are extremely complex. We have to have more capacity than we need. I was just saying to someone, we've been very lucky this year, we've had a cold summer, we haven't had any power problems. And then this happens.

Gambling: You shouldn't have jinxed it!

Bloomberg: That's right.

(Commercial break)

Bloomberg: In 1977, it was a disaster for this city... This time, not a problem. We had 10,000 police officers out, answering 80,000 911 calls. We had 3,000 firefighters out... Most of the fires were from candles... One 40 year old man had a heart attack and died, one firefighter was hurt. But it was very different.

Gambling: There was some looting?

Bloomberg: Two small incidents. We arrested them all, and it was attempted looting, they didn't get away with anything... I'm going to do everything I can to get the district attorneys to prosecute as hard as they can.

Gambling: Why in a calmer place today? Are we more settled?

Bloomberg: If people aren't happy, they move... Real estate prices are a good measure of happiness, and they're through the roof... The police are doing a phenomenal job... but also the people won't stand for it, they do want a safe society and they will call and report things... People in NYC do get along better, cooperate better, we worked together after 9/11...

Gambling: Things I saw in newspapers, on TV... people were lining up for the ferries, they were orderly...

Bloomberg: Almost 100% of the people obey the law and get along together... And the city's work force is a good work force, they care and do a good job... EMS responded to 5,000 calls yesterday, which was 500 more than their record...

I'm going to put together a group on Monday to make sure I get some answers... My real concern is, the police did a great job but what could we have done better? What would have happened if it had happened during a snow storm? If so and so was on vacation?... you want to make sure that the next time, when the emergency is different, that we can respond as well.

People have to understand, we can't do everything... We have to learn to live with it.

(Interview over)

Posted by susannac at 11:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Warnings Unheeded?

From Kevin Patrick, of the BushCheney 2004 Weblog:

"The report we issued last month presented more than 100 recommendations covering virtually the entire range of concerns that face the American people. One of the concerns, obviously, is the aging power grid and the growing problem that we have in getting electricity from the power plant to the light switch. It's clear that we must upgrade and expand the power grid. If we put more connections in place, we'll go a long way towards avoiding future blackouts. Another broad aim is to increase energy supplies from diverse sources; from oil and gas, renewables, coal, hydro and nuclear. This is the kind of balanced approach we think is essential if we're going to meet the country's energy needs down the road and take care of many of our other concerns, especially with respect to the environment."

-- Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Energy Association Efficiency Forum Washington, D.C. June 13, 2001

Thanks for the link, Kevin.

Posted by Michele at 10:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Iraqis Give Tips on Power Outages

From The Washington Post:

Here are some tips from the streets of Baghdad:

- SLEEP ON THE ROOF. Without power - and hence without air conditioning - Iraqis have taken to climbing up stairs in the hot nights. Some install metal bed frames on rooftops, while others simply stretch out on thin mattresses. "It's cooler there," said Hadia Zeydan Khalaf, 38.

- SIT IN THE SHADE. Many Iraqis head outside when the power's off. "We sit in the shade," said George Ruweid, 27, playing cards with friends on the sidewalk. Of the U.S. blackout, he said: "I hope it lasts for 20 years. Let them feel our suffering."

- HEAD FOR THE WATER. "We go to the river, just like in the old days," said Saleh Moayet, 53.

- SHOWER FREQUENTLY. "I take showers all day," said Raed Ali, 33.

- BUY BLOCKS OF ICE. Mohammed Abdul Zahara, 24, sells about 20 a day from a roadside table.

- GET A GENERATOR. Abbas Abdul al-Amir, 53, has one of a long row of shops selling generators in Baghdad's Karadah shopping street. When the power goes out, sales go up, he said.

- CALL IN THE IRAQIS. Some suggested the Americans ask the Iraqis how to get the power going again. "Let them take experts from Iraq," said Alaa Hussein, 32, waiting in a long line for gas because there was no electricity for the pumps. "Our experts have a lot of experience in these matters."

Posted by Michele at 10:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Listen to Bloomberg, Pataki

Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki are still talking on WABC radio, on John Gambling's show. You can listen to it on the Internet, streaming from here.

Posted by susannac at 10:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Long Island/NY Update

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has been asked to dump 46 megawatts* of power - meaning approximately 45,000 homes who had electricity stored will go without once more, as rolling blackouts go into effect.

They are trying to conserve energy around here, especially as the temperature and humidity rises. Government businesses are being asked to close down for the day and they are practically begging people to not turn their air conditioners on.

The Long Island Railroad is still down - even if your workplace in the city is open, it's not advised that you try to get there.

*corrected from orignal post, thanks to astute reader tbox

Posted by Michele at 10:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Blackout 2003: The View from Overseas

This is how the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) is reporting the Blackout :

Power starts flowing back to N America

One man died and a firefighter was seriously injured in the massive blackout which hit the north-eastern United States and Ontario, Canada, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

He said a man died of a heart attack during the outage, and the fireman was hurt battling a fire.

Mr Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to take a day off work if possible so as to ease traffic as power began to gradually flow back into the city.

City firefighters responded to more than 5,000 calls to help people stranded or having trouble because of the outage.

In all, the worst blackout in US history left some 50 million people stunned, frustrated and frightened.

But as we could see on the Television, certainly not Terrorised.

Do you know how incredibly impressive that was in the eyes of the rest of the World? No you don't. It's normal. You Yanks, and Canucks too.... you just plain refuse to be Terrorised. And we saw it live. Not just in New York, but 50 million people just calmly walking home. See Op-Ed piece.

Sorry, back to factual reporting hereon. We're just awestruck, that's all.


New York City and much of the north-east were paralysed for hours by the sudden blackout which hit almost simultaneously from New Jersey to Toronto.
Electrically run commuter trains were stilled and urban metros ground to a halt in the darkened and eerie tunnels
Computers crashed, planes were grounded, air conditioners cut out and businesses were left powerless and, soon, in the dark.

In New York and other major cities, traffic lights blinked off, quickly turning the rush-hour traffic to gridlock.

Hoards of homeward-bound commuters tried hoofing it through sweltering heat and steam room-like humidity along the endless north-south avenues which slice Manhattan Island and over the many bridges that link it to three of its four sister boroughs.

The New York Stock Exchange, where trading had closed 11 minutes before the 4:11pm blackout announced it would be business as usual later in the day.

Restoring power

Power company officials said power was filtering back to parts of New York City as well as Westchester County to the north and Long Island to the east.
Chris Olert, a spokesman for Consolidated Edison which serves 3.1 million customers in the five boroughs and Westchester County, said they had begun a careful restoration.

"This has to be done methodically, and we are urging people to turn off their appliances as the power comes back so we don't get a surge in the system," he said.

New York firefighters, heroes of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, were out on non-stop runs late on Thursday trying to free terrified people trapped in darkened elevator cars stuck between floors.

The first thought that came to many minds was another terrorist attack had occurred.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg quickly held a press conference to say there was "no evidence whatsoever of terrorism", and President George W Bush repeated that assurance soon afterward.

Officials said it was purely and simply a technical glitch in the massive, intertwined power grid serving the huge region that caused what technicians called a "rolling blackout".

Ebbs and surges in the normal flow triggered automatic protective cut-outs that darkened the region like a solar eclipse.

In the blackout zone at least 21 power plants shut down affecting Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Newark and Ottawa, power officials said.

From The Australian :

Experts in dark over blackout

A Huge power blackout retreated stubbornly today as power officials struggled to understand why the historic outage spread in minutes through the north-eastern United States and southern Canada.

Lights flickered on and air conditioners restarted for some, but millions of others baked in stuffy rooms.

From New York City, where millions faced a morning rush hour without subway service, to Michigan, where some customers might have to endure a weekend without electricity, officials urged residents, businesses and travellers to cope with the inconvenience.

"This is truly one of the instances where we're all in this together," Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said during a statewide address last night. "So be calm, be supportive of your neighbour."

While terrorism was swiftly ruled out by President George W. Bush and other officials, there was scant indication of what had caused the outage, which began on the cusp of yesterday's afternoon rush hour in eastern cities.

The New York Independent System Operator, which runs the state's wholesale electricity market and monitors power usage, said it had detected a sudden loss of power generation at 4:11 p.m. (0611 AEST).

Kenneth Klapp, an ISO spokesman, said the problem was detected from information on power usage and transmission before, during and after the blackout. The ISO had not determined the exact location of the problem by early today.

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:23 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Pataki interview on WABC

Mayor Mike Bloomberg is on live on WABC radio in NYC, so I'm blogging this as he talks; he's being interviewed by radio host John Gambling. He's later joined by Governor Pataki. This is paraphrased, and there are holes - I can't type as fast as they talk. But I'll get what I can.

Gambling: 10,000 police officers answered 80,000 911 calls.
Bloomberg: It's incredible... most of the time, most of the things work. So last night will go down as a calm night, not an inordinate amount of time... An inconvenience, yes... If you step back and look at it things did work.

What's happening now is that ConEd has brought back all the transmission facilities, and that's good. They're still having problems up state though and we're not getting the electricity we should... We hope in the next few hours that they'll resolve things upstate and we will get more power; we can't turn on more power until we get more power.

To the best of my knowledge, ConEd has done what it should be done, but at this point we have to ask if the people upstate are doing what they can do... We can't be held hostage by the utilities upstate, and if they have to shed load so we get more power, we have to find a way to force that.

(Gov. Pataki joins the two.)

Gambling: Upstate having problems?
Pataki: The whole grid has to be stabilized before things can come up. Upstate they've got power, in Long Island it's 90%, in New York it's 50%. But you can't power up until it's stabilized and can be brought back without risk.
Gambling: Some are saying there's a historic bottleneck of electricity.
Pataki: Part of it's geography, part of it's politics. We had a proposal to have access to more electricity, and it was blocked.

NYC has handled it really well.

Bloomberg: It's good that we can call on the state and federal governments. Right now the problem is upstate so we stopped turning on electricity.

Gambling: So when's that going to be?

Pataki: We have some plants won't be on for 24 hours, as a matter of safety. We're not going to have as much power in the state for 24 hours, so we have to conserve energy. The power is less than it was 24 hours ago. If you use a lot of power you're taking away the power from people waiting to be restored.

Bloomberg: The southernmost borough, Staten Island, got their power early because it came from NJ. How you get your power depends on where it comes from... We get a lot of power from Canada, and maybe the problem started there... what we need to do is get power back to everyone, and starting Monday sit down to see what worked and didn't work. But you don't want to while you're trying to get power on, go beating up on anyone.

Gambling: This exacerbates the discussion about taking Indian Point offline.
Pataki: We had enough power yesterday. But today, don't use power unless it's necessary. We have to solve this. It comes down to just like the city got through last night - helping each other out.
Gambling: What about the subways?
Bloomberg: MTA did a great job yesterday getting the people off the trains... Now the question is, when can we get the subways back. It takes a good deal of time after the electricity comes back to get the trains back. You have to get your employees back, then you have to do testing to make sure it's all working right. You're not going to see the subways back for tonight's rush hour. Hopefully sometime tonight and overnight the subways will come back.

(They stopped for a commercial break; I'm posting this and will type up the rest if they discuss it more.)

Posted by susannac at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

After blackout, Toronto wonders where leaders are

From Reuters:

TORONTO (Reuters) - As Canada's biggest city struggled back to life on Friday following a massive power outage that hit large areas of North America, Toronto residents were looking around for their civic leaders.

There was a noticeable lack of leadership to guide Toronto, the country's financial hub, as subways ground to a halt, the city was pitched into darkness and thousands were milling about downtown streets late into the night.

In contrast to New York City and Ottawa, where mayors quickly appeared at press conferences to calm residents and provided regular updates, Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman was noticeably absent.

The office of Prime Minister Jean Chretien -- who was in his hometown of Shawinigan, Quebec, which was unaffected by the blackout -- initially said the outage was due to a lightning strike at a Niagara Falls, New York, plant.

Then the prime minister's office said it was a fire, not lightening.

That contradicted his Defense Minister, John McCallum, who held a conference call -- carried live on Canadian radio -- to announce it was actually a fire at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. McCallum then said it was not a fire but an outage and urged people not to panic.

On Friday morning, there was still no clear assessment on what exactly caused the outage.
Posted by Willie Galang at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Jersey update - from the front lines

Electricity in northern New Jersey is still spotty. I live right across the Passaic River from Newark, and I had no electricity, even this morning. But my neighbor did, and I listened to the steady thrumming of his window air conditioner all through the long hot night. This morning I drove into Jersey City to take a shower at a friend's house, and it took 45 minutes to do what is normally a 20-30 minute drive. The approach to the Holland Tunnel was tightly packed; only one lane through the tunnel was open.

There's no subway service in Manhattan, although the PATH train from NJ is running into NYC. The commuter trains for the most part are down, and they're still saying they won't be up until 6-9 hours after all electricity is back up. Officials are telling non-essential personnel to stay home, and encouraging everyone to "treat it like a snow day, only much warmer."

In Jersey City, electricity is the same as Kearny - spotty. My friend has electricity but the building next to her does not. There's two blocks without it, but sections flanking that area do have it. A lot of traffic lights are still off. As we walked to the business area from my friend's place, we passed a woman sitting on her stoop putting on makeup - she had no lights inside.

For the most part, the mood is pragmatic to cheerful. The line was long where I stopped to get a bagel for breakfast, but no one complained. Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's and Burger King were open, so no one is starving just yet. People are planning to have DVD parties where the electricity is working; I'd say malls and movie houses that are open will do booming business.

And I overheard this conversation between two men, one with a shopping cart, as a bought my newspaper at a local stand:

1st man: Someone stole my cart!
2nd man: That's awful! What are you going to do?
1st man: (spreading a towel over a store stoop and sitting down) I have another one, but it's the principle! No one should steal from a homeless man who's disabled!

So I guess there are worse things than being without electricity for a couple of days.

(Yes, I laughed. I'm a bad person. But the guy didn't look like he'd missed any meals lately, and if he was disabled it wasn't visible.)

Posted by susannac at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lights Not Out: Morris Escapes Outages' Effects

By Jim Namiotka, Daily Record (NJ)

Power flickered throughout Morris County as New York and other North American cities lost electricity shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, but returned quickly to normal.

Despite scattered local problems related to the afternoon power "blip," the lights in the Morris County region stayed on through the evening, even as our neighbors to the east and north dealt with the darkness -- and a night without TV or air conditioning.

The blackout's most dire impact on Morris County was felt by the thousands of people who commute by highway, rail and bus to and from Manhattan every day.

Posted by joy at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Power returning - slowly

Updates from CBS News:

As darkness gave way to daylight Friday a massive blackout began to ease its grip on a wide swath of the eastern United States. But many areas remained without power and faced serious challenges.

In New York City, power was restored overnight in sections of all five boroughs. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said one person had died in a fire and a firefighter was seriously injured, after a night in which the city's 911 system took in 80,000 calls.

Around the country, the disruptions were as diverse as they were widespread:

  • In Michigan, some customers may have to endure a weekend without electricity. Everywhere officials urged residents, businesses and travelers to cope with the inconvenience. "This is truly one of the instances where we're all in this together," Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said during a statewide address Thursday night. "So be calm, be supportive of your neighbor."
  • Officials in Detroit urged people to stay home during the night; nearby communities declared curfews to keep problems to a minimum.
  • About 540,000 customers in Ohio were without power, mostly in the Cleveland area. Police in Mansfield, Ohio, spread into the streets to keep traffic flowing.
  • In New Jersey, where more than 1 million homes and businesses lost power at the peak of the outage, all but 50,000 had been restored by 5:30 a.m. Friday and full service was expected a few hours later. Northern New Jersey commuter railroads and buses announced limited to full service Friday.
  • In Connecticut, where nearly 310,000 customers served by two power companies lost power, all but about 53,000 had service restored by early Friday.
Posted by Willie Galang at 09:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blackout starting point may be in Ohio?

Update from AP-US via Yahoo:

The largest power blackout in American history prompted new calls Friday for overhauling the nation's electricity system even as investigators searched for clues to what might have triggered power outages from New England to Michigan.

There were indications the blackout may have been triggered not in upstate New York or Canada, as many have speculated, but somewhere along Lake Erie in Ohio, according to the industry-sponsored group that monitors the transmission system.

"That's where the information is starting to point," Ellen Vancko, a spokeswoman for the North American Electric Reliability Council, said in an interview. "It looks like that's where the collapse started."
Posted by Willie Galang at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

blackout news and views: roundup

While I have power here in East Meadow, Long Island, my ex-husband just called to say he is still without power - in East Meadow. My sister in Levittown (about two miles away) still has no power.

Jeff Jarvis brought up something I had written down yesterday (to remember to blog): When Bloomberg gave his first press conference of the day yesterday, he remarked that shelters would open up in the city and you could find a list of those shelters on the city website. Idiot.

Jeff has a great array of links of stories as well.

I'd like to comment my fellow Command-Post contributors on a great job covering the blackout.

LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) is warning of rolling blackouts today and is asking people to keep their air conditoners off.

WOR (Channel 9, New York) and WNYW (Channel 5, New York) are both still off the air.

Mayor Bloomberg is suggesting that non-essential employees take the day off today to cut down on traffic. There is still no transportation into NYC from Long Island.

The NYFD responded to hundreds of fires last night, most caused by careless use of candles.

Of course, the blame game has started and there still is no definitive cause for the blackout that affected most of the North East as well as points west. New York Newsday has a slide show with explanations of the power grid and a chart of past blackouts.

Beaches and courts in New York are closed, There is no subway service for the morning rush and it's not expected for evening either. Metro-North running 1 train each way on all lines. No LIRR service. MTA buses are running and the fare has been waived. There are still many traffic lights out.

I'll have more, power permitting.

Posted by Michele at 09:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sporadic power is restored in Canada

Update from AP-Canada via Yahoo:

TORONTO - Streetcars were stranded, miners were forced to stay underground and some looting was reported as a blackout hitting the United States darkened parts of Canada as well, causing authorities in the most populous province to declare a state of emergency.

The outage at 4:15 p.m. EDT blacked out much of Ontario, but power started to return to some areas Thursday night. In Ottawa, the Canadian capital, a few packs of youths roamed the streets, and at least five incidents of smashed store windows and stolen merchandise were reported, said police Staff Sgt. Pat Flanagan said, adding that at least one person was arrested.

Police also said there was one break-in at an east side beer store in Toronto, the nation's largest city with a population of more than 5 million people.

Blackouts stretched all the way to Windsor, across the border from Detroit. The outage did not extend beyond Lake Superior to northwestern Ontario.
Posted by Willie Galang at 09:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Power returning to U.S. East Coast

Update from The Guardian:

Electricity was today returning to some of the 50 million people across the north eastern United States and eastern Canada who yesterday suffered one of North America's worst ever power cuts.

Authorities in New York have returned power to parts of the Bronx, Westchester County and Long Island. About half of the one million homes and businesses that lost power in New Jersey also have it back.

Officials have said, however, that full restoration of the electricity supply will take much longer.

But as the power in part returned there was still uncertainty over the blackout's cause.

The office of the Canadian prime minister, Jean Chrétien, said that a severe power cut at a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant may have caused it.

US and Canadian officials had earlier said a fire or perhaps lightning had hit a power station near Niagara Falls in New York state.
Posted by Willie Galang at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cleveland Mayor Press Conference

Blogging the Cleveland Mayor's interview:

Water is under a boil alert ... once it begins to flow, you must boil the water for 4 mintues for the first 24 hours after water service is restored. Water will be restored based on geography ... low areas first, high areas last (due to pumping needs). 17 "water buffalos" are on standby in the event there are pockets where water won't be restored soon. More info about those, and if they will be used, at the Noon briefing. Water fountains are included in the boil alert ... do not use water fountains until the boil alert is cancelled.

80% power restoration at this point, but please conserve energy if you have power, especially if you can manage without air conditioning. By noon, First Energy expects all their customers should be restored.

Sprinkling ban in Cleveland until the water system is fully functional. Sewer system is fully operational. There was some leakage of untreated water into the Cuyhoga river last night, so the beaches are closed for at least 24 hours.

Airport is up and running; airlines are reassessing their schedules, they expect to fly some planes by Noon.

City facilities: Garbage pick up is fully operational. Parks and Rec expects to open all pools and rec centers at Noon. West Side market is open.

Posted by Alan at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bloomberg Press Conference

My live blogging; pardon the typos:

10,000 cops on the streets of NYC, who responded to 80,000 (yes, 80,000) 911 calls. 3,000 fire fighters put out 60 fires (most from candles). One fatality in fires; one fire fighter seriously injured.

EMS responded to 5,000 calls; there were over 800 elevator rescues; everyone got out of the subways safely.

All of Staten Island, and parts of the other boroughs are restored. Request that people with power conserve energy. He's asking that essential city personnel, ConEd and Verizon staff to come to work; he's asking non-essential personnel to stay at home. Asks that the rest of NYC exercise their best judgement ... "there are worse things than taking a Summer Friday off from work."

Limited bus and ferry service; summer school is cancelled. Beaches are closed for the day due to the expulsion of raw sewage into the waters around NYC. Pools will be open; parks will have the sprinklers on. There are cooling centers in each borough. They are:

Bronx: Truman High School
Brooklyn: PS 217
Manhattan: PS 89
Queens: Townsan/Harris High School
Staten: Peddrids (?) School

Sanitation dept. is working overtime.

Temps are supposed to reach into the mid-90s; please check on elderly and loved ones. 911 remains operations, but only use it for emergencies. Call 311 during the days to get non-critical updates so 911 stays open. Wear light clothing, keep windows open, drink a lot of water ... NYC water is safe.

Q&A: Subways won't be up until 6-7 hours after restoration due to repositioning. Re: cause: something happened in Canada, and Canada may not have engaged in "load shedding" as they should have. He rates performance of ConEd as as good as anyone could have hoped. Now forecasting restoration by the end of the day.

UPDATE: Says there is no question that this started in Canada, but can't say why. Systems show that New York was called on to send a much greater than expected amount of power to Canada than usual, which suggests that the failure was in Canada first. Can't speculate why, though.

Posted by Alan at 08:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vt. protected; minor outages in the north

The Rutland (VT) Herald Online

As power went off around the Northeast and Canada on Thursday, Vermont was prepared and protected.

"We are tied directly to New York, but our lines that go to New York have safety devices built into them that shut off in events like this," said Stephen Costello, spokesman for Central Vermont Public Service Corp. "They operated exactly as they were supposed to."

Costello said Vermont wasn't completely unaffected, with outages in Franklin County and the Sheldon area.

"They were both where the power lines come in from Canada," he said. "Both were back on quickly and there was very little effect. Most of the state only had a brief ripple, a dimming or brightening of the lights. It appears we are an island."

When the blackout occurred yesterday, all that we experienced was a 2 second power failure which reportedly helped us avoid the blackout.

Posted by joy at 08:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Toronto Update

Toronto press conference on CNN TV; they have had one fatality; not certain why or how. They then switched to French, and unfortunatly, I don't translate. More on this press conference when we can.

Posted by Alan at 08:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Debunking The Lightning Strike Story

A CNN TV correspondent is on-site at the Niagara power plant that was rumored to have been the source of the outage when hit by lightning. The facts she is reporting: The plant never lost power, was never hit by lightning, and in fact provided 60 percent of the power that was available to the grid when the lights were out.

Posted by Alan at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bloomberg Press Conference Shortly

Mayor Bloomberg was due to start his press conference at 8:00 ... CNN TV is still waiting. When it's on; we'll blog it live.

Posted by Alan at 08:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Welcome "Mainstream" Readers

It's come to our attention that the following web-based news services have listed The Command Post as a news source regarding the outage while they work to restore their news sites:
If you're a first-time visitor, welcome. Note that Command Post is not a professional news service ... we are just a group of bloggers from around the world trying to post the latest professional news that we have seen, heard, or read. In doing so we’ll always cite, and where possible provide a link to, the original source, and we encourage you to follow those links and see the original sources yourself as well.

We'll try to keep you in the loop as things develop, and if you have local information about the restoration that would be of interest to others, please email me at alan at command-post dot org.

Posted by Alan at 08:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Detroit Update

Although CNN doesn't seem to appreciate it, this outage was not limited to New York and its environs. WOOD TV, Michigan, has a good update of conditions in SE Michigan here. I liked this line:

"People are afraid," said Joe Petrous, 20, of Lansing. "People act like they don't know what to do without their PDAs and desktops."
Or blogs, I'd add.

Posted by Alan at 08:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New York Stock Exchange to Be Open Friday for Normal Trading

And the markets shall open. From Bloomberg (the news service, not the Mayor):

The New York Stock Exchange will open as usual today after an electrical blackout swept the U.S. Northeast just after the close of yesterday's financial trading.

``The NYSE will open on time today,'' Ray Pellecchia, an exchange spokesman, said in a telephone interview at about 5:20 a.m. New York time.

Trading floor personnel ``should contact their NYSE information line for more details,'' the exchange said on its Web site.

Posted by Alan at 07:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lights On In Time Square

Just now on CNN TV, during their report, the streetlights and neon signs of Times Square came on.

Posted by Alan at 07:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Still Out: Web Sites That Should Offer Information

The website for DTE Energy is still not loading; ConEd, however, is up, and displays this message on loading:

A Message About Current Power Events - posted August 15, 2003 7:15AM

We are continuing to restore power to our customers in New York City and Westchester County. Portions of the southeast Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Westchester County and most of Staten Island have been restored.

It is expected that today’s temperature will climb into the 90s. We urge customers with power to refrain from using major appliances. We ask customers still waiting for power to turn all of their appliances to the "off" position. These steps will help to ensure that power restoration proceeds smoothly for all of our customers.

The company continues to communicate with the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the Westchester County Office of Disaster and Emergency Services.

And as I noted yesterday, Homeland Security is still leading their site with the Blaster worm. is up and running, but the latest update is Bloomberg's press conference from last night.

And how about this: has an interim page up with an AP update, but they also list other sources of information, including the Command Post. Thank you, Cleveland.

Posted by Alan at 07:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FAA Update

The following information comes from the FAA ATC Advisory System:



All else seems normal, except Cleveland, which has a ground stop due to fog.

Posted by Alan at 07:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Still No Cause ... But It Wasn't Terrorism

So is the strenuous claim from every official in North America. The fact, though, is that Canadian and New York officials are still strongly at odds over what caused the outage. There's a very recent update here via the Cape Cod Times / AP:

The worst power failure in U.S. history set off finger pointing on both sides of the border. At one point, Canadian authorities said it appeared lightning had struck a power plant on the U.S. side in the Niagara Falls region, setting off blackouts that spread over 9,300 square miles, but U.S. officials quickly disputed that.

"We all are wondering what caused this," said New York Gov. George Pataki. President Bush ruled out terrorism ...

... "We have been informed that lightning struck a power plant in the Niagara region on the U.S. side," said Jim Munson, speaking for Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

But Brian Warner of the New York Power Authority said its Niagara facilities were not hit by lightning and "at no time during this incident ceased to operate."

Pataki was just on CNN TV, and pitched the same story. CNN, BTW, is broadcasting from the sidewalk in Times Square in shirtsleeves. They also just showed a cool shot: A common New Yorker, in jeans and white t-shirt, standing in the middle of a New York intersection with a whistle, directing traffic.

Posted by Alan at 07:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Canadian Update

50 percent of Ontario is back; much of Toronto's downton core was up at 5:30 this morning. There's only a small mention of looting in Ottawa. Read the latest from

Posted by Alan at 07:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can You Track The Restoration With Blogs?

Probably so ... Michele (Long Island) hasn't posted since 2:44 PM yesterday, Dean (Michigan) not since yesterday as well, Judith (NYC) not since 4:03 yesterday, Ravenwolf (NYC) has posted, Shelia (NYC) has not ... since August 8.

Wow ... Michele pushing 17 hours, in the heat, without a single post, without a single Anime DVD ... God save her and her family; if there's looting going on anywhere, it's likely in her living room.

Posted by Alan at 07:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comparisons To 1965

Reader Doug Payton noted that Drudge found this page from the Central Maine Power Company describing the outage in 1965, which notes this:

The Great Northeast Blackout of November 9, 1965 began at 5:16 p.m., near the end of an otherwise typical work day.

The event started at the Ontario - New York border, near Niagara Falls.

A single transmission line from the Niagara generating station tripped (opened).

Within 2.5 seconds, five other transmission lines became overloaded and tripped, isolating 1,800 MW of generation at Niagara Station.

After their isolation, the generators became unstable and tripped off-line.

The northeast power system became unstable and separated into isolated power systems (islands) within 4 seconds.

Outages and islanding occurred throughout New York, Ontario, most of New England, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Most islands went black within 5 minutes, due to imbalances between generation and load (generator overspeed/underspeed tripping).

The massive blackout left 30 million people without electricity for as long as 13 hours.

Sound familiar?

Posted by Alan at 07:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Situation Summary

A roundup, from various sources:

  • Much of NYC is still without power, but some restoration has started in parts of Manhattan
  • Connecticut still has aroun 100,000 people in the dark, but expects nearly full restoration by Noon today
  • Detroit: Not so good ... it may be late Sunday before people in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and the rest of SE Michigan have power restored. The airport was still shut down early this morning, with 1,500 people stranded there ... one may very well be my business partner, and if so, I'll have a first-hand account
  • Power is starting to come back in the Ohio counties that ring Lake Erie; electric water pumps aren't working in Cleveland, and that's where the National Guard is distributing water from tank-trucks
  • Parts of downtown Toronto have power, including City Hall, but other parts of the city remain dark
  • 3/4 of those who lost power in New Jersey have had power restored; those without included Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic and Union, said Emma Byrne counties
    Posted by Alan at 07:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

... Or Maybe Not

The latest from NPR Radio: Many parts of the blackout area are still without power. The National Guard is helping hand out water in Cleveland; some parts of Ohio have been told to expect days to pass before restoration; still limited to no rail service on AMTRAK or NJT into New York. But by all appearances, it was a quiet night.

Posted by Alan at 06:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2003

ConEd: NYC To Have Power By 1 AM EST

I was away from the TV; reader Doug Payton writes that CNN TV is saying:

CNN is reporting that ConEd is telling them that the 5 New York City boroughs should have power by 1am. ConEd is actually saying "Metro New York", but they aren't being specific as to what "Metro" means.

Posted by Alan at 11:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Some Lights Back On In Syracuse

This comes from reader Doug Payton:

My folks in Ithaca NY have got the battery radio out, and have been picking up Syracuse radio. According to stations there, the lights are starting to come on in parts of Syracuse.

Posted by Alan at 10:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Whole Thing Took 3 Minutes

So says CNN TV: It took three minutes for the system to fail from NYC to Detroit; still no consistent understanding of what was the trigger.

Posted by Alan at 10:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Update: Jersey and NYC

Lights are coming back bits and pieces in New Jersey, apparently faster than in NY. Traffic is not being allowed into Manhattan from New Jersey; Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and GW Bridge are out only.

People are standing on the street corners in Manhattan, some for hours, to get out into the outer boroughs. Buses are on their regular routes, and some are passing passengers empty, causing some anger. You'll probably hear more about that.

NY governor Petaki has declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard, but the NYC officials are saying they don't need them now. The NYC police have been called in, all but midnight shift on duty; midnight shift will come on as normal. As of now, all officers are on 12 on/12 off shifts until the crisis is over.

Several jurisdictions in New Jersey have also called a state of emergency; Orange County is almost in lockdown, with curfew at 8 p.m., only limited traffic allowed on the streets. Essex County (Newark area) is also in crisis mode.

Everyone is reporting that crime has not been a huge problem thus far; one murder has been reported, and there is a lot of price gouging as people try to get necessary things. One person reported someone charging $5 for a bottle of water. No reporting of looting or other attacks.

The trains in the Jersey system are several hours away from full functioning. An official is talking right now, and saying it will take 6-8 hours from the time power comes back before they will be up. They have to do a full check of the system and its switches to make sure they're working correctly. There've been no reports of injuries or illnesses amongest the people who were stranded on the trains.

Posted by susannac at 08:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New York Power Authority DENIES Lightening Strike Story

Hmmm .... CNN TV reports that NYPA is saying that their system was the "rock of the system" during this ... they are "strenuously denying" that this began with a lightning strike on their power system in Niagara.

Posted by Alan at 08:35 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

CNN Can't Bring You The President Live

Due to the blackout, CNN cannot bring you the President's comments at 8:30 EST live.

Also, the CNN chopper shows lots of lights on in New Jersey.

Posted by Alan at 08:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Coming Back, Slowly?

CNN: Their reporters throughout NYC are reporting that some lights are coming on in some places, but with no consistency or pattern. These could, of course, be generators, but it's hard to say. A view across the East river now shows some lights on, but again, can't tell what the power source is.

The only other source of light in New York: automobiles.

Posted by Alan at 08:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CNN Is Now Feeding The Beast

The news is slowing down, and the news we hate - death, riots - is to this point absent. As a result, CNN is now desperately trying to continue feeding their 24-hours streaming-ticker beast.

We don't play that game.

I'll keep posting news as it's relevant, but with any luck, the every-five-minute updates are over.

Still, the streets of NYC, which are still packed with people, are getting awfully dark (as are those of Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto) ...

Posted by Alan at 08:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mass Tran Coming Back, Slowly

CNN TV: NYC's MTA reports some service on AMTRAK and New Jersey Transit is returning westbound, but it is limited service only.

Posted by Alan at 08:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


CNN TV's helicopter just showed the last sliver of sun slipping below the horizon in New York City ... so far, the city remains dark, and the streets remain completely jammed with people and vehicles.

Also, a Canadian official is again confirming the lightening strike cause.

Posted by Alan at 08:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FAA Lifting Ground Stops At Newark And LaGuardia

So says CNN TV; this means they can begin receiving flights. Still ground stops at Cleveland and Toronto, until at least 9 PM EST. Detroit does not have a ground stop, but they do hope to get "six to fifteen" flights out at some time today.

Posted by Alan at 07:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jersey City blackout update

I just walked through Jersey City, downtown, and the power was back in some places. According to my friend, the traffic lights were working and businesses had power at the Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel. The traffic lights worked along Newark Avenue, but one street over on Chris. Columbus they were out. Not many cars, no traffic jams, but people were out on sidewalks talking in the areas without electricity still. It's a patchy pattern - my friend has electricity but the guy two doors down on the same block does not. In one place, a group of people had opened a fire hydrant and were spraying people.

At least no one will go thirsty - in the window of one restaurant, as dark as the rest of the street, was a big hand-lettered poster - THE BAR IS OPEN!

We're going to turn off as much electricity as possible here, so I'm off. Enjoy your air conditioning.

Posted by susannac at 07:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush To Deliver Statement At 8:30 EST

That's the word, just now, from CNN TV. They are also confirming the lightening strike story, posted below.

Posted by Alan at 07:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Toledo Update

Reader John Borell says the power is back on in his house in Toledo, OH (zipcode 43560), although many people there are still without power.

Posted by Alan at 07:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

They've Identified The Cause

From CNN TV: The Canadian Prime Minister's office is stating that officials on both sides of the border say a lightning strike on a power plant in Niagara started the cascading blackout.

Posted by Alan at 07:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The latest in NY

People in the NYC area have been asked not to use water unless they have to, and to turn off air conditioners and other appliances. The police are on full alert but there are no plans to call out the National Guard. The sun will set in less than an hour, so there's some concern about looting, but the police say they've got it covered.

Also, Hannity reports that the power outage may have spread as far as Oklahoma.

I've got to go. I'll update as I can.

Posted by susannac at 07:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cell Phones In NYC

One last post before I go: CBS local to NYC is reporting that cell phones in the city are starting to come back, although nearly everyone in the city is still relying on land lines.

Posted by Alan at 07:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Editorial Note

OK, folks, I'm making the 20-minute trip home for a kiss from the wife and a gin and tonic. I'll be posting again within a half-hour; until then, Suanna will keep things rolling, as will other contributors as they log in or have their power come back on. Readers who have been sending updates: keep it up.

Posted by Alan at 07:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Iran's Hard-Liners Reject Reform Bills Approved by Parliament"

Here is the story:

Iran's hard-line watchdog council rejected three bills approved by Parliament today that could have expanded civil rights. The move is another blow against the reform movement that has been limping along since 1997.

The Guardian Council rejected two bills that required Iran to adopt United Nations conventions on eliminating torture and discrimination against women. The third bill, on elections, was aimed at curbing the Guardian Council's power to bar candidates from running for office.

The council's spokesman, Ibrahim Azizi, said the bills were rejected because they were unconstitutional or against Islamic law.

But the move was widely considered as another blow intended to undercut the reform movement before the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 2004.

The council has already set up offices around the country to identify potential candidates and examine their political records. Reformers say the offices are illegal.

"We had predicted that the council would reject the bills because the current structure of the council is like a book that has been printed a million times and everyone is familiar with its contents," said Jafar Golbaz, a member of Parliament, the Iranian Labor News Agency reported.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 07:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Party atmosphere in NYC?

The lights are off on Broadway tonight, and Times Square will be dark. But the reporter there says there's a party atmosphere, a trumpet player blaring "Frosty the Snowman" at the people trying to get home in 90 degree weather. Street performers are cleaning up entertaining the people.

Posted by susannac at 07:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Are The Universities Up?

Reader Josh Crockett writes:

If you're curious about a specific location's power situation, figure out a college/university that is located there and try to go to their site. Media outlets' sites may not be hosted locally, but most .edu sites ARE, and aren't likely to have heavy-duty backups.
I suppose this could work. If you're curious, he's sent a list of schools:

Visit his blog, BehindTheNet, here.

Posted by Alan at 07:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Outage may last five hours in NYC

The WABC radio news just reported that the electricity in NYC may be out for about five more hours. No more details yet. For those of you wanting your news live from a local station, you can live-stream WABC talk radio here. Sean Hannity is staying on live there until 8 p.m.

Cell phones are still spotty in the NYC metro area, people are lining up at pay phones to try to reach family and friends at home. NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey is scheduled to speak about the outage in a few minutes.

Posted by susannac at 07:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Iran To Build Second Nuclear Reactor

Here is the story:

Iran's second nuclear reactor will have a capacity of 1,000 megawatts and the government is beginning feasibility studies for a 5,000 megawatt reactor, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Thursday.

First Vice President Mohamad Reza Aref authorized Iran's Atomic Energy Organization to sign contracts for the construction of a second reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power site with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, IRNA reported. State television said Wednesday that the plans had been approved, but it did not report the size of the plant.

Iran is building, with Russian assistance, its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr, on the shore of the Persian Gulf. It has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts and should be completed next year.

The United States suspects Iran of developing a clandestine nuclear weapons program and has lobbied for the International Atomic Energy Agency to declare the country in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran denies that it intends to make nuclear weapons and says it seeks nuclear power as an alternative source of energy as its oil reserves diminish.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 07:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Homeland Security ... Not Quite Information Central

Just an observation: the tag line on the Homeland Security web site is "Be Prepared, Stay Informed." The most recent information on that page: Homeland Security Provides Advice on Combating the "Blaster" Internet Worm.

Posted by Alan at 07:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The outage from the Jersey side

I'm sitting right over the river from lower Manhattan, recovering from that little bit of fear from wondering if the outage involved terrorism. Below is my account of what it felt like from here; it's in the extended entry section so as not to use up front page space.

It started with the lights going out – my computer at work stayed on, as did the radio. Then the lights came back up, the surge protectors throughout the office began shrilly protesting, and the radio went silent – but the light showing it was on still showed red. The radio station – WABC in NYC, where Sean Hannity was doing his show live – had gone off the air. For 15 minutes, the lights and computers alternated turning on and off. I ran into other parts of the office, where everyone else had gone home, to turn off the computers. At first I thought, it’s this building. Then I realized, it’s the whole NYC metro area. Finally I heard on the radio that Detroit was affected too, and I thought – terrorism? Did they hit the power grid? I was, for about five minutes, very scared and nearly in tears. I was driving to work on 9/11 and saw the towers burning; I was in this office when they came down. It was just too eerily familiar.

During the first hour I had either the computer, radio or television working at all times, so it wasn’t long before I heard “It’s not terrorism”. Our electricity became stable pretty quickly – I work for a public safety agency, so our backups are secure. It took a while for the surge protectors to quiet, but suddenly I realized they had stopped.

My friend Dory works in Manhattan and lives in Jersey City, with her two dogs. I tried to reach her but her work phone rang and rang, and the cell phone yielded only a friendly voice saying, “All circuits are busy!” I made plans to go care for her dogs if she couldn’t get out of the city. On the radio they were saying people were stuck on elevators, in the subways. I heard the mayor say on the news that some trains were stopped under the river. Those are the trains I take into the city. I could almost feel the moist still darkness, the heat of the people, and the loud complaints from frightened commuters. The tunnels are round, water pools between the tracks, and sometimes rats run across them. I wouldn’t want to be down there in the dark, not knowing what was going on.

Finally Dory called, and she was headed on her way to the ferry, the only public transportation running. I saw on television that the port entries were packed, thousands and thousands of people trying to get into Jersey. She was at the Holland Tunnel and said, Should I hitchhike? I’m right here! It’ll be so much faster! So she stayed on the phone, knocked on the window of a stopped car and asked the couple inside if they minded giving her a ride through the Tunnel. They agreed, she climbed in and I made her tell me their names before we got off the phone. Both were from Russia – what story they’ll have for the home folks. She told them Happy New Year in Russian, and laughed.

It’s 6:50 now, almost three hours since it began. Dory is waiting for me outside on the stoop of my office building; she says traffic at the Holland is heavy but moving well. Jersey City looks like it always does. A few minutes ago, the lights dimmed down again. Just now, the surge protectors went off briefly, but the lights stayed strong. I’m heading off to Dory’s apartment – she may or may not have electricity. But sitting with a friend drinking lemonade on a warm August night, as the lights come up in NYC, is an acceptable way to end an involuntary lights out.

Posted by susannac at 06:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Detroit Update

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is on ABC TV saying all is calm in Detroit. Busses are working; the "People Mover," the Detroit light-rail system, is not.

Posted by Alan at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ohio Restoration Update

Reader Ethan writes:

Talked to my parents in Hinckley, Ohio (zipcode 44233, Medina County) - power was out around 4ish, came back on after 15 minutes.

Posted by Alan at 06:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Financial Update; AMTRAK Update

From CBS News TV: NYSE expects to open tomorrow as usual; no market data lost. AMTRAK has nothing moving in our out of Penn Station.

Posted by Alan at 06:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More On How It Happened

Mike Gent, CEO of the North American Reliability Council, is now with Dan Rather stating this may have started with the Perry nuclear plant "tripping" offline, while others still think this may have began near Niagara Falls. He, too, is forecasting hours, not minute or days, until restoration.

Posted by Alan at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Request For Readers

If you're online (or if you're laptop-enabled and you've got a working phone line) and your power was off and has just come back on send me an email at alan at command-post dot org so I can post the update. Thanks.

Posted by Alan at 06:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Update From US Treasury

From CBS TV: US Treasury says the US financial system is "extremely resiliant"; trading systems and the exchanges were able to shut down in "normal order"; no word from US Treasury regarding whether the markets will open tomorrow as usual.

Posted by Alan at 06:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Outage Began Near Niagara Falls

So says Michael Bloomberg ... and Petaki calls the source "a possible transmission" problem between Canada and the US.

Posted by Alan at 06:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Report From Erie, PA

My local ABC station reports that power is beginning to return in some parts of Erie, PA.

Posted by Alan at 06:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Photos

... from


And this from Yahoo, which has a full slideshow here.

Posted by Alan at 06:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NYC Update: Bloomberg On TV

Mike Bloomberg on TV now; my paraphrasing, forgive the typos:

"For some reason or another there was a power outage in New York or Eastern Canada" ... Gene McGrath, Chariman of ConEd in NYC, reports that power is starting to come back. Nobody to his knowledge has been injured. Power will be back over a matter of hours, not minutes. Downstate Hospital in Brooklyn does not have power; other NYC hospitals do.

Officials report a "very quiet" city ... no criminal activity being reported ... 911 and 311 are working; traffic lights are not. NYPD on-site at major intersections helping with traffic direction. NYPD and NYFD are fully staffed.

Water supply is safe; drink a lot of water. Turn off all electrical appliances, particularly air conditioners, to keep power demand low as power comes back.

Great Bloomberg quote: "At the moment, people are doing what you expect them to do in New York City: they are cooperating."

Bloomberg has spoken with Petaki and Andy Card (Bush Chief of Staff); both have extended an offer for aid, which it sounds like Bloomberg has not needed.

"There was no fire whatsoever" at the ConEd plan that some had thought was on fire ... it was smoke from the internal boilers they activated to generate power.

"There is no need and no plan to call out the National Guard"

No idea yet of the root cause, or why the safeguards to localize the outage did not work.

Posted by Alan at 05:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

4 Nukes Off-Line

CBS TV just reported that four nuclear plants are off-line due to this outage: Both Indian Point reactors (New York City), Perry and Fermi (both in Ohio, Fermi serves DTE Energy customers in Michigan, not sure who Perry serves ... probably Cleveland and surrounding areas).

FYI, the restart procedures after a nuclear plant "trips" offline can take weeks or months, depending on the plants. This won't necessarily affect when power comes back, but it will take a significant number of megawatts out of the NE system for some time. (I say this from personal knowledge, not from any news source.)

Posted by Alan at 05:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

FAA Update

From the FAA ATC website:

Due to OTHER, POWER FAILURE, there is a Traffic Management Program in effect for traffic arriving John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, NY (JFK). To see if you may be affected, select your departure airport and check "Delays by Destination".
Delays by Destination:
Due to POWER FAILURE, ***BTA & COA ONLY***, departure traffic destined to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Cleveland, OH (CLE) will not be allowed to depart until at or after 8:00 pm EDT.

Due to OTHER, POWER FAILURE, departure traffic destined to Newark International Airport, Newark, NJ (EWR) will not be allowed to depart until at or after 8:00 pm EDT.

Due to OTHER, POWER FAILURE, departure traffic destined to La Guardia Airport, New York, NY (LGA) will not be allowed to depart until at or after 8:00 pm EDT.

Due to POWER FAILURE, departure traffic destined to YYZ airport will not be allowed to depart until at or after 00:00 UTC.

Posted by Alan at 05:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Racing Against Time

FYI, sunset on the East coast is at 7:55 PM ... let's hope the authorities have crowd control established by then, should the power remain off.

Posted by Alan at 05:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mid-West Outage Update

Most of SE Michigan is on; Northern Michigan has power. Outage extends south to Toledo, then East to Cleveland. Chicago and O'Hare are OK. Hospitals are running on emergency power throughout the outage area. Syracuse, Albany, Hartford, and most of Eastern Canada are without power.

Posted by Alan at 05:44 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Outage Update From Detroit; Blogged Live From TV

DTE Energy CEO Tony Earley on the phone with Dan Rather. My paraphrasing:

DTE is the Western edge of the outage area. They have at least one of their power plants operating and are using it to bring power back to the system. Needs to be a controlled system; they will bring the power back carefully and slowly.

Regarding cause: "It's hard to speculate on a specific cause ... we can be fairly certain its because of a load on the system ... if the system is working perfectly, it should isolate" and localize areas that are losing power and keep them from affecting the rest of the system.

Unlikely the outage will spread further. Once the systems have isolated themselves, the risk is bringing the system back too fast.

Talking about hours for the power to come back, "could stretch into tomorrow ... in the next couple of hours we'll start to see pockets of power coming back."

When the power comes back will NOT be related to where they are ... the power will come back in parallel, not from West to East.

Progress will depend on whether or not there is serious damage to a system's generators ... they suspect there is no such damage in the DTE Energy system; can't speak for others.

Posted by Alan at 05:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Latest From Bloomberg

Here's the latest update from Boomberg.

Posted by Alan at 05:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NY Port Authority

From Forbes:

"Right now the power outage is affecting all of our operations, We have no buses, no trains, no subways running. The airports have their perimeters secured and I can't say right now if flights are coming in or out," a spokesman for the Port Authority said.

Posted by Alan at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Photo From NYC

This from


Also, Dan Rather is bending over backwards to say nobody has any idea that this has anything to do with terrorism.

Also, WWJ radio is reporting that ALL of SE Michigan, not just Detroit, is without power.

Posted by Alan at 05:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Update From FERC

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the massive outage "was not caused by terrorism." The outage was caused, it is believed, by a problem in a Manhattan power station that ultimately affected the entire NE grid.

Mayor Bloomberg is saying that the smoke coming from a ConEd plant in NYC is due to it's being shut down, NOT due to a fire. Bloomberg also says the ConEd grid is not damaged, but that it will be "a minimum of a few hours" before power can be restored.

NYC Transit spokesman says they are evacuating the transit system.

Posted by Alan at 05:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Power Outage Update

CBS News Washington correspondent just described local officials as "in the dark," if you can believe it. FBI says there is no reason to "think" this is terrorism-related, but nothing is ruled out as of yet.

Affected air traffic control systems are working on diesel generator power.

Posted by Alan at 04:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Power Outage Update

According to CBS News (Dan Rather) the US Government is stating they believe this is NOT the result of terrorism. Instead, a failure at a single New York plant caused this outage with a "cascading" effect.

The pictures from NYC are errily like those of 9/11/01.

Posted by Alan at 04:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Power Outage Update

The latest from my TeeVee: MSNBC is showing a mass of people on 6th avenue in NYC ... the traffic lights are out. The outage runs from New Jersey to Canada.

MSNBC is listing outages in Ottowa, Toronto, Detroit, NYC, Cleveland, and other locations.

MSNBC has a local correspondent saying a Niagara-Mowhawk powerplant has been overloaded and shut down.

Also people trapped in the NYC subway system.

I'm also unable to reach Michele on the phone.

Posted by Alan at 04:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Huge power blackout from New York to Detroit

From the Hartford Courant / AP:

A power outage hit cities spreading from New York to Cleveland and Detroit Thursday afternoon.

"We have no idea how extensive it is," said an official with the Office for Emergency Management in New York City.

City Hall in New York was operating on a backup generator and had power.

A power outtage hit the New York City area Thursday afternoon, affecting certain areas from Long Island to Westchester County.

"We have no idea how extensive it is," said a spokesman for the Office for Emergency Management.

The blackout has affected telephone service, subways, elevators and airports, including John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

FYI, the lights here in suburban Philadelphia are still on.

Posted by Alan at 04:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 13, 2003

Increasing The Number Of Political Parties In Iran

That's the import of this report:

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami called for the formation of political parties to solve Iran's political ambiguities, the students' news agency ISNA reported.

''Individuals get their legitimacy and credit through legal bodies and not vice-versa like it is the case in our country,'' Khatami said yesterday in a meeting with non-governmental organizations in Teheran.

Khatami termed the lack of political parties as a barrier for realizing Islamic democracy in Iran.

''Everybody in the society should clearly know what political stance the president or the parliament deputies are following, and that is only possible through a political party system,'' Khatami said.

Iran has numerous political factions, but there are only two acknowledged political parties in Iran whose political principles are clearly established.

One is the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front headed by Khatami's younger brother, Mohammad-Reza Khatami. The other group is the Labour Party, which is also reform-oriented. Both parties are also represented in parliament.

Other factions have unclear and constantly changing stances, making their political orientations uncertain. These ambiguities have led to a great degree of scepticism in society, especially among the youth, Khatami said.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 06:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pentagon to Send 200 More Troops To Shore In Liberia

So reports the San Fran. Chronicle; the focus will be on "short-term" missions. Quick ... in tomorrow's paper: Quagmire Alert! Quagmire Alert!!

Posted by Alan at 04:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Russia, China Seek to Reassure Pyongyang

What's interesting about this article is that it comes from the Moscow Times. Read their take here. A sample:

Russia believes security guarantees for Pyongyang -- which called Wednesday for a nonaggression treaty with the United States -- could defuse the crisis. "North Korea's wish to have security guarantees looks absolutely logical and there is every indication it will be insisting on them," Losyukov told Itar-Tass. "Russia and China have an identical vision of the situation."

The United States has said it could agree to written security guarantees but not a treaty that would require Senate approval. North Korea said Wednesday it would not give up its "nuclear deterrent force" unless Washington agreed to a nonaggression treaty and diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.

Posted by Alan at 04:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

N. Korea Demands U.S. Commit To Nonaggression Treaty


SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea demanded Wednesday that the United States commit to a nonagression treaty and normalize ties with the communist nation while rejecting any early inspection of its nuclear programs.

The demands came ahead of planned talks in Beijing to deal with North Korea's suspected development of nuclear weapons.

An unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said the United States must change its "hostile policy" toward North Korea "as a precondition for the solution to the nuclear issue."


Posted by at 02:42 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Solomons Warlord Surrenders

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Solomon Islands militant leader Harold Keke has surrendered to the Australian-led intervention force.

The (Australian) Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, says Harold Keke surrendered earlier today on the Weathercoast, after talks with the head of the intervention force, Nick Warner.

Three of his associates were also taken into custody and 40 guns were recovered.

Mr Downer says Keke was arrested on an outstanding warrant for robbery.

"A full investigation of crimes, including murder, allegedly committed by Harold Keke and his group can now proceed," Mr Downer said.

"Keke's activities ... have caused a great deal of anxiety and fear for many Solomon Islanders over recent years."

Alexander Downer says the men are being taken by HMAS Manoora to Honiara, and will be held on remand at a secure location.

Harold Keke's crimes and Australia's probable intervention in the Solomon Islands was first mentioned in a previous post well before the mainstream media reported it. As stated in a later post the knowledge that Aussie SAS where going to hunt him down may have had something to do with his surrender.

Posted by Alan Brain at 08:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2003

A Challenge To Iranian Hardliners

Here is the story:

Iran's reformist interior minister ordered the closure of offices set up by hard-liners to screen candidates for next year's legislative elections. Members of the hard-line Guardian Council have vowed to reject reformist candidates who seek major changes, and having the offices would allow the council to learn the views of would-be candidates.

Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari told provincial governors to shut down the supervisory offices of the Guardian Council throughout the country, the government-run daily Iran reported Sunday. The council has quietly been establishing the candidate review offices in recent months.

``Activities of the supervising offices of the Guardian Council are a violation of the law because they have not been approved by the Supreme Administrative Council nor the Parliament,'' Lari told the paper a day earlier. ``There is no legal basis for such offices.''

Interior Ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, contacted by The Associated Press on Sunday, confirmed the report. The elections are scheduled for February.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 07:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The State Of Reforms In Iran

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has made news with his discussion of the road to reform in his country:

Iran's president admitted Tuesday that his program of democratic reforms has largely failed, but said he will not break his promise to voters to promote democracy and freedoms.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami made the remarks amid continuing attempts by ruling hard-line clerics to undermine his reform agenda and deepening public discontent over the country's slow pace toward democratic change.

"Lately, speaking for me has become difficult because I feel many of the ideas and programs I sincerely offered and the people voted for have not materialized," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Khatami as saying.

Last month, Khatami said he would resign if Iranians dissatisfied over his failure to deliver promised reforms want him to.

"Perhaps part of the population, especially the youth, who want quick realization of their demands, have become disappointed," he was quoted as telling the National Congress of Non-Government Youth Organizations in Tehran.

In June, thousands of Iranians held a week of nightly protests, railing not only against their usual targets Iran's unelected hard-liners who control key institutions but also against Khatami for failing to introduce greater political, social and economic freedoms.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 07:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

AfricaPundit's Regional Briefing: Aug. 12/03

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This monthly Regional Briefing will focus on Africa, courtesy of AfricaPundit.

  • Liberian tyrant-in-chief Charles Taylor is now ex-tyrant-in-chief, having flown to exile in Nigeria on Monday. Taylor leaves his henchman, Moses Blah, in charge as ECOWAS and UN diplomats try to piece together a transitional government which is expected to assume power in the fall.

Other Topics Today Include: More on Liberia; Keeping track of the terrorists indicted in the U.S. Embassy bombings 1998; Zimbabwe news; Kidnapped Europeans in Mali now; more on the coming Christian Schism; LRA in Uganda.

Posted by Winds of Change at 03:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Israel:Suicide Bomb Attack in Store


A terror attack took place in Rosh Ha'ayin in the
Sharon region, next to the Green Line, on Tuesday
morning in an apparent terror attack.


Police estimate that at least
seven people people have been


Police have found what appears to be the body of
the suicide bomber.

Posted by John Moore at 02:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 11, 2003

Taylor flies into exile


MONROVIA, Liberia (CNN) -- A plane carrying former Liberian President Charles Taylor into exile has taken off from the airport in the capital Monrovia.

Earlier on Monday Taylor handed over power to his vice-president Moses Blah as demanded by the United States and West African leaders -- 14 years after leading a rebellion that triggered a bloody civil war.

Hundreds of people surrounding the aircraft cheered when the former warlord, who was accompanied by the Nigerian delegation that attended the handover of power and his immediate family, mounted the steps.


Posted by at 02:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Winds of War Iran Reports, Aug. 11/03

Today's Today's "Winds of War" briefing covering the global War on Terror is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted. Today's feature has a substantial Iran-related section, which we're reporducing here. Thanks are also due to Project: Free Iran, who listed this in their "Blog-Iran Chronicles"


OTHER TOPICS TODAY INCLUDE: Administration prewar spin; WoT, drugs, and failed states; John Boyd & The WoT; More evidence of al Qaeda in Iraq; riots in Basra; Is DHS really helping at home; SAM suspicions; From peace dividend to power projection; Israel & Hezbollah; Women & Islam in France & Afghanistan; Charles Taylor prepares to resign; Russian talks between the Koreas; cooling tensions between India-Pakistan; and an Air France pilot's comedy routine bombs.

Posted by Winds of Change at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 07, 2003

New U.S. Nuclear Strategies?

Geitner Simmons notes that more than 150 policy makers from a wide range of agencies are gathered this week at Offutt Air Force Base just south of Omaha for a very big conference on U.S. nuclear strategy. The conference, at the U.S. Strategic Command, is reported to be re-examining both nuclear testing and the possible development of mini-nukes, including earth-penetrating nuclear "bunker busters."

That ought to give the North Koreans and Iranian mullahs something to think about.

Posted by Winds of Change at 03:14 AM | Comments (40) | TrackBack

August 06, 2003

North Korea Exporting Missiles To Iran

Here is the story:

North Korea is in talks to export its Taepodong 2 long-range ballistic missile to Iran and to jointly develop nuclear warheads with Tehran, a Japanese newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The conservative Sankei Shimbun, quoting military sources familiar with North Korea, said that the communist state planned to export components and Iran would then assemble the Taepodongs at a factory near Tehran.

The paper, known for its hardline stance on Pyongyang, said North Korea would also send experts to provide Iran with assistance on missile technology and the two states -- both included in President Bush's "axis of evil" -- would jointly develop nuclear warheads.

They have been discussing the plans for about a year and are expected to reach an agreement in mid-October, the Sankei added.

Posted by Pejman at 06:52 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

A Setback For Iranian Women?

This story has the details on the struggle for women's rights in Iran:

The head of Iran's parliament yesterday sought to defuse a storm of protest by hardline clerics over a bill to improve women's rights, insisting that it will not be adopted if it contravenes Islamic law.

The reformist-dominated parliament last week voted in favour of Iran joining the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The European Union has insisted Iran sign the convention as as part of a human rights dialogue it has with Tehran.

But parliament's decision angered hardline clerics who staged protest marches in the holy city of Qom on Friday and Saturday.

Leading clerics called the convention "colonialist" and said it contradicted scores of Islamic rulings.

"This is just like other stereotyped Western slogans like support for human rights, democracy, political prisoners and, very recently, the war on terrorism," the Isna students news agency quoted Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani as saying.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 06:13 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Iranian Students Released From Detention

The story can be found here:

Iran's state prosecutor, Saed Mortazavi, has ordered the release of nine student leaders arrested during a wave of pro-democracy demonstrations in June and July.

The order, carried by Iran's official news agency (IRNA) on Wednesday, said the nine were part of an initial group being released in accordance with an order by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

On Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei urged the judiciary to show leniency towards the detained students.

Among the nine ordered freed are Mehdi Shirzad, the son of a reformist member of parliament, and prominent student leaders Abdullah Momeni and Reza Ameri Nassab.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 05:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 05, 2003

Another Khomeini Supporting Revolution, Part II

More on the younger Khomeini's statements, originally posted about here:

THE grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the cleric who launched an anti-American Islamic revolution in Iran that sparked 25 years of unrest in the Muslim world, has condemned his country’s clerical regime and suggested military intervention by the United States as a possible path to liberation.

"In Iran, the people really need freedom and freedom must come about. Freedom is more important than bread," said Hossein Khomeini, 45, a cleric who has taken up temporary residence in Iraq. "But if there’s no way for freedom in Iran other than American intervention, I think the people would accept that. I would accept it, too, because it’s in accord with my faith."

Mr Khomeini - in Iraq on a religious pilgrimage to Shiite holy sites in Najaf, Karbala and Baghdad - also praised the US. takeover of Iraq, saying American forces were seen by Iraqis as liberators rather than occupiers.

"I see day-by-day that the country is on the path to improvement," he said. "I see that there’s security; that the people are happy; that they’ve been released from suffering."

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 06:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 04, 2003

Another Khomeini For Revolution

Here is the story:

The eldest grandson of the late Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (pictured) has called on Iranians to launch an attack on the current regime.

The London-based Arabic language newspaper "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" quoted 46-year-old Hussein Khomeini as saying: "Iran needs a new democratic regime that does not use religion to suppress the people."

The paper said that Khomeini made the remark from his residence in Al-Najaf, Iraq. Hussein Khomeini said his grandfather's successors in power in Tehran have abused the ayatollah's name to legitimize unjust regimes. He predicted Iran would soon face a new revolution.

The paper said that Khomeini, who sympathizes with the reformists and student protestors in Iran, has moved into a house in Al-Najaf once used by his grandfather when he was living in exile.

The Tehran office of the late Ayatollah Khomeini today vehemently denied the press reports, saying that Hussein Khomeini must have been misquoted.

Meanwhile in Tehran, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned today against what he called a danger of Islamic "fascism" in Iran.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 04:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

More On The Death Of Zahra Kazemi

The latest information can be found here.

Posted by Pejman at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iran Won't Hand Over Al Qaeda Members

Here is the story:

Iran said Monday it won't hand over its senior al Qaeda captives to the United States and denied reports it hopes to swap the detainees for U.S.-held Iranian opposition figures.

"We hand over al Qaeda operatives who belong to friendly countries or countries we have signed extradition treaties (with). We don't have an extradition treaty with the United States," government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters.

Iranian officials confirmed for the first time last month that the country is holding "a large number of small and big elements of al Qaeda." Tehran did not identify them.

Ramezanzadeh also refused to name any of the detainees, and rejected reports that Tehran may swap al Qaeda members with leaders of the Iraq-based armed Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen, who are under U.S. control in Iraq.

"We will take members of the hypocrites (Iran's reference to People's Mujahedeen) from America if they offer, but there is no talk of swap. We don't treat the issue of terrorism selectively, nor do we make deals," Ramezanzadeh said.

(Also posted on my blog.)

Posted by Pejman at 04:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Iran Rapidly Pursuing Nuclear Capability

From the Los Angeles Times [Free Registration Required]

After more than a decade of working behind layers of front companies and in hidden laboratories, Iran appears to be in the late stages of developing the capacity to build a nuclear bomb.

But a three-month investigation by The Times — drawing on previously secret reports, international officials, independent experts, Iranian exiles and intelligence sources in Europe and the Middle East — uncovered strong evidence that Iran's commercial program masks a plan to become the world's next nuclear power. The country has been engaged in a pattern of clandestine activity that has concealed weapons work from international inspectors. Technology and scientists from Russia, China, North Korea and Pakistan have propelled Iran's nuclear program much closer to producing a bomb than Iraq ever was.
Posted by John Moore at 01:37 AM | Comments (26) | TrackBack

August 03, 2003

NK Multilateral Talks Confirmed

From The Australian :

North Korea confirmed last night it had agreed to multilateral talks on its suspected development of nuclear weapons, but said it would push for bilateral talks with the US during the proposed six-nation meeting.

A North Korean spokesman said Pyongyang had agreed to multilateral talks involving the two Koreas, the US, Japan, China and Russia after Washington told North Korea the two sides can meet separately during the multilateral talks.

"At the recent DPRK-US talks, the DPRK (North Korea) put forward a new proposal to have six-party talks . . . and to have the DPRK-US bilateral talks there," the North Korean official said.

The US State Department early yesterday revealed that North Korea had dropped its insistence on one-to-one negotiations with the US.

The timing of the talks is yet to be decided, but Beijing is the likely venue.

Posted by Alan Brain at 02:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 01, 2003

N Korea suspends propaganda broadcasts


North Korea has announced that it is to halt propaganda broadcasts to the South and has urged Seoul to reciprocate.

The move appears to reflect concern in Pyongyang about the impact South Korean broadcasts have on its population.


Posted by at 07:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Liberian President Taylor Leaves Monrovia


MONROVIA, Liberia - Top West African officials flew into Liberia's embattled capital Friday to press the country's president to cede power after peacekeepers arrive, but Charles Taylor kept them waiting by reportedly heading to a southern war zone.

The West African mission began as new fighting in Monrovia killed at least 12 civilians, including four children and a pregnant woman. By late Friday afternoon, fighting between Taylor's forces and rebels was reported intense around three bridges leading toward downtown.

Taylor's evasion of the top-level delegation sparked rumors he fled the country, but the military and Taylor's spokesman denied it. The West African leaders were told the warlord-turned-president went to southeastern Buchanan, which would be his first known journey outside Monrovia since a rebel siege began in June.


Posted by at 06:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack