Friday, November 02, 2007

C4 or CR? More on the Glorietta explosion

The 19 October 2007 explosion at the Glorietta II mall owned by listed-company Ayala Land Inc. and located at the Makati Central Business District (CBD), which killed close to a dozen people and injured over 100 others, is begging for more questions. The tacky joke circulating these days is that it wasn't C4 that caused the explosion but C.R.! (CR is an acronym for comfort room, the Filipino term for restroom). Investigative teams from the Philippine government and the United States, Australia, and even Israel suggest that it may be a deadly brew of gases that caused the explosions. See US, Aussie, Israeli teams say Glorietta not bombed. Manila Standard columnists Tony Abaya and Jojo Robles have commented on the contradictory statements and initial findins between the investigative teams and Ayala Land.

My view is that Makati, and particularly the Ayala malls, have multi-layered security systems, which incorporate both formal and informal aspects. Note that nearly each building in the Makati CBD has several guards. Makati does not sleep. There are many people who could have noticed something suspicious. Entry to the Ayala mall basement is subject to rather strict security procedures, even if some say that security guards are generally ill-trained. Worse, traffic is horrendous and would make escape routes very risky. This will make even the most professional of would-be terrorists anxious (there is no such thing as personal space with all that frisking the guards do to you).

By now it should be clear whether it was a real bomb or a stink bomb that caused all that destruction.

An environmental risk assessment (ERA) specialist can easily comment on this. In any case, what did their Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) filed with the DENR state about the placement of cooking fuels tanks and wastewater treatment systems? Was there an ERA study required or done? What can their architects and engineers say about their design? I wonder what sort of environmental remediation is being done? The Ayala Land website doesn't say much.

If indeed it was a gas explosion, the liabilities Ayala faces will be significant, not counting loss of face. It's beginning to look like Ayala is between a rock and a hard place. It will be interesting how they and support groups such as Makati Business Club will act.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anthropological plagiarism in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps new Counterinsurgency Field Manual (No. 3-24)???

I got an email alert on David Price's article in about David Price's expose on possible plagiarism in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps' new Counterinsurgency Field Manual (No. 3-24).

The article is very revealing. On top of the issues of ethics in using anthropological methods in counter-insurgency, war, or violence (however you want to term the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations), who would have thought plagiarism would be an issue?

See: David Price

Pilfered Scholarship Devastates Gen. Petraeus's Counterinsurgency Manual