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BANGKOK 23 October 2018 00:01
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Ballistic missile warning sent in error by Hawaii authorities

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Ballistic missile warning sent in error by Hawaii authorities

By Jolyn Rosa

 

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An information related to a false emergency alert is displayed in Oahu, U.S., January 13, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Courtesy of Instagram /@sighpoutshrug /via REUTERS

 

HONOLULU (Reuters) - An emergency alert was sent mistakenly on Saturday to Hawaii's residents warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack when an employee at the state emergency management agency pushed the "wrong button," Hawaii's governor said.

 

State officials and the U.S. military's Pacific Command confirmed that there was no actual threat to the state. The mistaken alert, which triggered panic among many Hawaiians who scrambled to find shelter, stated: "EMERGENCY ALERT BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

 

Governor David Ige, who apologised for the mistake, said in televised remarks that the alert was sent during a employee shift change at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Vern Miyagi, the agency's administrator, called it "human error."

 

"It was a procedure that occurs at the change of shift where they go through to make sure that the system, that it's working. And an employee pushed the wrong button," the Democratic governor said, adding that such shift changes occur three times a day every day of the year.

 

The alert, sent to mobile phones and aired on television and radio, was issued amid high international tensions over North Korea's development of ballistic nuclear weapons.

 

"I was awakened by the alert like everyone else here in the state of Hawaii. It was unfortunate and regrettable. We will be looking at how we can improve the procedures so it doesn't happen again," Ige added.

 

Miyagi said, "It was an inadvertent mistake. The change of shift is about three people. That should have been caught. ... It should not have happened."

 

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which has jurisdiction over the emergency alert system, announced it was initiating a full investigation. Earlier this week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the agency would vote at its January meeting to enhance the effectiveness of wireless emergency alerts, which have been in place since 2012.

 

Stacey Bow, 56, of Honolulu, said she was awakened to the emergency alert on her smart phone. She awakened her 16-year-old daughter with the news. "She became hysterical, crying, you know, just lost it," she said.

 

Bow said of the person responsible for issuing the alert, "I imagine that person is clearing out their desk right now. You don't get a do-over for something like that."

 

CHECK LIST

 

Miyagi, the agency's administrator, said there was a "check list" that should have been followed. He said, "I think we have the process in place. It's an matter of executing the process." He added, "This will not happen again."

 

Media reports said it took 38 minutes for the initial alert to be corrected. The Emergency Management Agency eventually said on Twitter: "NO missile threat to Hawaii."

 

Hawaii, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 1.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is home to Pacific Command, the Navy's Pacific Fleet and other elements of the American military.

 

In November, Hawaii said it would resume monthly statewide testing of Cold War-era nuclear attack warning sirens for the first time in at least a quarter of a century, in preparation for a possible missile strike from North Korea.

 

North Korean President Kim Jong-un has threatened to unleash his country's growing missile weapon capability against the U.S. territory of Guam or U.S. states, prompting President Donald Trump to threaten tough actions against Pyongyang, including "fire and fury."

 

Trump was wrapping up a round of golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida when the incident was unfolding. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Trump was briefed and that it "was purely a state exercise."

 

Hawaii State Representative Matt LoPresti, described his family's reaction upon receiving the alert. "We took shelter immediately ... in the bathtub with my children, saying our prayers," LoPresti told CNN.

 

"I was wondering why we couldn't hear the emergency sirens. I didn't understand that. And that was my first clue that maybe something was wrong, whether a hack or an error. But we took it as seriously as a heart attack," LoPresti added.

 

The false alarm, and the panic that ensued, could add to a growing sense of urgency within the Trump administration about what to do about the advancing nuclear threat from North Korea.

 

There are hawks within the Trump administration who believe the United States cannot live with a perpetual threat from North Korea and that U.S. military force could be necessary. The incident could also give fresh impetus to those who favour a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The U.S. military has warned that any conflict on the Korean peninsula would be devastating.

 

The U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was the target of the surprise attack by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941, that drew the United States into World War Two.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-01-14

 

 

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This Twitter thread is worth of reading. The world has been in brink of a nuclear war before and it will be there again. I mean the world, as the effects to the whole globe are as serious as the effects are for those who are living in bombarded countries.

 

It's absolutely horrifying thought that the lives of 7 billion people are in stake of the actions of few men in power. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, rooster59 said:

Governor David Ige, who apologised for the mistake, said in televised remarks that the alert was sent during a employee shift change at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Vern Miyagi, the agency's administrator, called it "human error."

 

 

Beside corrective action..The human error should be fired.

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2 hours ago, oilinki said:

This Twitter thread is worth of reading. The world has been in brink of a nuclear war before and it will be there again. I mean the world, as the effects to the whole globe are as serious as the effects are for those who are living in bombarded countries.

 

It's absolutely horrifying thought that the lives of 7 billion people are in stake of the actions of few men in power. 

 

 

 

This is the man who, three weeks after the incident, saved the world:

Stanislav Petrov - Wikipedia

 

 

Edited by Enoon

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9 minutes ago, Enoon said:

 

 

The Presidents finger was never anywhere near the button.

 

 

 

 

 

No doubt Melanias memoirs will reveal that to have to been pretty much always the case.

 

He is, after all (by his own admission) a "grabber".

 

 

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A troll post and a reply has been removed

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5 hours ago, oilinki said:

POTUS sees alert on his phone about an incoming toward Hawaii, pulls out the biscuit, turns to his military aide with the football and issues a valid and authentic order to launch nuclear weapons at North Korea. Think it can’t happen?"

 

 

us military would need to confirm missiles prior to any retaliation and or defensive measures

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5 hours ago, khwaibah said:

 

Beside corrective action..The human error should be fired.

 

firing a government worker for incompetence is a dangerous concept in hawaii and could lead to a domino effect

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If there is a next time, and there really *is* a missile inbound to Hawaii, how many people are going to see the SMS, think "Yeah, right.  Here we go again" and just disregard a valid warning?

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8 hours ago, oilinki said:

Hopefully people will wake up to the fact that accidents do happen. With unstable and unintelligent leaders of nuclear states, there is greater possibility to ignite a real nuclear war due misunderstanding.

 

"POTUS sees alert on his phone about an incoming toward Hawaii, pulls out the biscuit, turns to his military aide with the football and issues a valid and authentic order to launch nuclear weapons at North Korea. Think it can’t happen?"

DTcLmQFVoAAhEQ4.jpg.18c35b8746cd80abc116bbc8f1704ede.jpg

 

 

Must be an amazingly poorly designed system that something so serious can be done by accident. No doubt some mere minion will be blamed though.

 

The thing that should be concerning the authorities is that, despite having been told for some time now that NoKo might launch a nuke at them, apparently nothing has been done to tell people what they should do in the event of an alert. Perhaps they think just being able to text the news on people's phones is sufficient.

Hiding in the bath tub with an anticipated nuclear strike is, IMO just barking. As much use as wrapping yourself in tinfoil, or "duck and cover".

Also, it says to me that people are such sheeple now that they take no responsibility for what to do in the event of any disaster, of any cause ( nuclear strike, tsunami, plague, wildfire, volcanic eruption etc ) and expect the government to do everything for them.

If there is any sliver of good news out of this, it is that apparently everyone did not take to their cars, causing immense traffic jams, and blocking emergency vehicles.

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44 minutes ago, wpcoe said:

If there is a next time, and there really *is* a missile inbound to Hawaii, how many people are going to see the SMS, think "Yeah, right.  Here we go again" and just disregard a valid warning?

Exactly. Several deaths in California because people didn't believe warnings about mudslides and evacuate in time.

 

However, as there is NO plan as to what people should actually do in the event of an nuke alert, and no bunkers to hide in, might as well just have a last rumpy to say goodbye to the world.

 

If anyone wants a sure money maker, invest in nuke shelters, as they will be a rapidly expanding business in Hawaii as people realise how exposed they are. If nothing else as a result of the false alert, they should realise that hiding in bathtubs just doesn't do much to keep them safe.

Edited by thaibeachlovers

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