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Wikileaks Publishes 500,000 9/11 Pager Messages 309

An anonymous reader writes "Wikileaks is preparing to release 500,000 intercepted pager messages from a 24-hour period encompassing the September 11 terrorist attacks. The messages show emergency services springing into action and computer systems sending automated messages as buildings collapse. Wikileaks implies this data came from an organised collection effort."
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Wikileaks Publishes 500,000 9/11 Pager Messages

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  • Re:News to me (Score:3, Informative)

    by rainmaestro ( 996549 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:50AM (#30225852)

    You still see them in the medical community (ER docs, nurses, etc), but that's about the only place I ever seen them nowadays.

  • Re:News to me (Score:3, Informative)

    by DJ Jones ( 997846 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:51AM (#30225866) Homepage
    Most hospital physicians still use them for a few reasons.
    • There are no dead zones
    • They are easier to page than a cell phone (any nurse can pick up the nearest land line, no need to text)
    • They don't interfere with medical equipment (which is becoming less of a concern lately)
  • Lizards? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jDeepbeep ( 913892 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:52AM (#30225880)

    What next 7 foot lizards are real now?

    Yes. []

  • Re:News to me (Score:5, Informative)

    by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:04AM (#30226002)
    Plus they are the only comm devices allowed in classified facilities.
  • Re:So much raw data (Score:5, Informative)

    by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:06AM (#30226026)

    Every conspircay theorist in the world just simultaneously orgasmed. All those messages to pick through; I'm sure they'll be able to prove it was the US Government/Al-Qaeda/Joseph Fritzel/The Cookie Monster/Scientologists all along.

    The NORAD tapes, which were released long ago proved that there was a conspiracy by The Pentagon to lie to the 9/11 Commission and the American people. The 9/11 Commission had a closed meeting deciding whether or not to charge Air Force officials with perjury but chose not to because "it wouldn't be good for the country."

    John Farmer, senior counsel on the 9/11 Commission said, "at some level of the government, at some point in time...there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened [during 9/11]"

    6 of the 10 Commissioners have come out saying that they were lied to and that the report is not accurate. []

    “More than one-quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al Qaeda operatives subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques,” writes former NBC producer Robert Windrem in The Daily Beast. [] “In fact, information derived from the interrogations was central to the 9/11 Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks.”

    We've been lied to about 9/11 from day one. It needs to be investigated further. If 6 out of the 10 Commissioners are distancing themselves from the report by saying they were lied to something isn't right. Burying your head deeper into the sand won't help.

  • Re:News to me (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:07AM (#30226044)

    You must be young. Pagers were very widely used in the UK when mobile phones where the size of car batteries, and emergency staff still use them because they are far more reliable than mobile networks. It's only office lackies that moved to mobile comms, because just about everyone working in an office has one, and companies don't have to pay for pager services, and it's pretty rare for a business communication to truly be an emergency.

  • Pagers were working? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:11AM (#30226092)

    I thought pagers used the cell networks a la text messages; indeed, I thought a pager was essentially a dedicated text message device.

    I was in NYC on Sept 11 and the only thing that *was* working that day was the Internet...phones, both land line and cell were unavailable. We were trying to contact my brother-in-law who lived in Manhattan (we were in Brooklyn) and every phone we tried, including the pay phone down the street (still had 'em back then...) gave us the "fast busy signal", indicating "We didn't even try to make your call..."

    So we spent the rest of the day IM'ing people as that was the only way to verify who was where. Bad times...bad times.

  • Re:Lizards? (Score:3, Informative)

    by amstrad ( 60839 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:35AM (#30226376)
    Woosh! Something just flew over your head.
  • Re:News to me (Score:4, Informative)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:42AM (#30226496) Homepage Journal

        At one place I worked years ago, we used pagers. As cell phones became more popular, we stared switching over to them. Every once in a while, we'd test to see which ones worked better. Text messages emailed to the phones were usually faster than the alphanumeric pagers. In time, we ditched the pagers entirely, since they were slower to receive, and we felt silly carrying around too many devices.

        For completeness of coverage, the messages were sent to 5 different people via two methods each. Usually it was email and phone. If there was an emergency, and no admins checked in, the phone calls started going out. Most events were handled in 5 minutes, even if the primary person was unavailable. That wasn't bad considering not everything happened during normal working hours. Actually, most emergencies didn't happen during normal working hours. That would have made them too easy. :)

  • Re:News to me (Score:3, Informative)

    by Twisted Willie ( 1035374 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:50AM (#30226592)

    SMS is unreliable? Where?

    Unreliable as in you get no guarantees if and when a message will actually be delivered. Try to find a carrier anywhere that offers you a contract with an SLA on SMS delivery. Granted, you won't often run into problems with SMS, but if you are bound by an SLA with a customer, you'd better have your underpinning contracts (yay for ITIL terminology) at the same level as that SLA.

  • Re:News to me (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:09PM (#30226832) Journal

    There are no dead zones

    Not true. They're RF devices and suffer the same limitations as any other radio receiver. With most pagers, they are not bidirectional and so if you are in a dead zone the person sending the message does not get any notification that the delivery failed or was delayed.

  • Re:News to me (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:11PM (#30226860) Journal
    SMS is more reliable in this sense than a pager message. If a receiving mobile is out of radio range then it will be buffered for retransmit. Pagers are receive-only devices and don't send acknowledgements, so if they are out of range when the message is sent the message is permanently lost. My father used to have a pager but his company switched to sending SMS because at least then he'd get messages late, while previously he would sometimes never get them.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:22PM (#30227010) Journal
    Probably 'network failure to server A,' 'network failure to server B,' 'system is down,' 'UPS power offline'. It depends on how the server is sending the data. A lot will use email to SMS relays, which will stop working as soon as the network goes down, but some may be using built-in GSM hardware (GSM transmitters that can send SMS are pretty cheap) so that they can notify the admin if the network goes down. In this case, they will keep sending until the server is disconnected from the UPS or flattened by impact with the ground, whichever happens first.
  • Re:So much raw data (Score:5, Informative)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:26PM (#30227778) Journal
    Stop it. Just stop it. Not only are you a coward by posting anonymously, but the nine mile debris field has been debunked REPEATEDLY, including by police officers on the scene [].

    The nine mile debris field consisted of bits of paper which may or may not have been from the flight when it impacted in the field.

    Further, that nine mile figure is bogus. People used MapQuest to find the distance between the crash site and the supposed debris field. Sure, nine miles if you drive by road, but roughly 2.5 miles in a straight line.

    The debris field WAS NOT composed of engine parts, seats, body parts or anything else heavier than a piece of paper.

    Your friend is also an idiot as there are nearly a dozen eyewitnesses [] to the plane coming down, some of which watched the plane, intact, nose dive into the ground. Had the plane been shot down, it would have displayed some semblance of damage including smoke and/or fire trailing from it. Not one eyewitness described seeing anything of the sort.

    End of story, full stop.
  • Re:08:58:33 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @05:49PM (#30230952)
    Air Traffic Control System Command Center. Not sure what the /bl is. Maybe someone's initials?
  • Re:Diesel fuel fire (Score:3, Informative)

    by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @07:19PM (#30231706)

    WTC 7 was NOT a hardened building. It was constructed in the early 80s as a run of the mill office building. The only thing unique about it was the unusual arrangement of the load-bearing members. This was needed because the thing was constructed on top of a massive utility vault. The Emergency Command Center was shoehorned into the building and not everyone thought the location made any sense for obvious reasons. (It was located there AFTER the '93 bombing)

    As for the collapse, it looks "controlled" because buildings don't usually fall down for any reason other than controlled demolition. That's the only point of reference most people have. That aside, physics ensure that buildings tend to fall straight down, or twist a little and then fall straight down.

    But if you want more in-depth detail about how stresses were distributed and how the building was comprimised, then check out this link [] or or this one. []

  • Re:News to me (Score:3, Informative)

    by vegiVamp ( 518171 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:00AM (#30234716) Homepage
    I'm clueless as to how pagers work, but SMS does not have guaranteed delivery.

    Have a look at

    "Message delivery is best effort, so there are no guarantees that a message will actually be delivered to its recipient and delay or complete loss of a message is not uncommon, particularly when sending between networks."

User hostile.