Does Anyone Remember Benghazi? Does Anyone Care?

what difference does it make Photo courtesy of Google/

We all know the media basically shapes the majority of American‘s views of the world, the nation, the government, and social issues.  We know “the pen is mightier than the sword”.  Words can stir a frenzy or bring a calm.  The Bible tells us they can set an entire forest ablaze!  In other words, words can incite great anger and produce great emotion.

While we have heard much adieu about the IRS and the targeting of conservatives and people who belong to, or are for the Tea Party (my family fits in this bracket and my husband is an IRS agent; ironic isn’t it?), and while we have heard of the Trayvon Martin case, why have we NOT heard anymore about Benghazi?

Is not ALL life precious?  Especially those who put their lives on the line and die to serve our country for our freedom, to maintain allies, and bring about peace if possible?

Whose bodies are in the draped coffins in the picture above?  Those bodies COULD be your child or mine!  Does the death of someone’s beloved child or loved one not matter??  Shouldn’t there be accountability for all murder and injustice?  According to Hillary Clinton  at the Congressional hearing concerning Benghazi and Chris Stevens’ death her reply was , “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?” Clinton asked the Republican Senator who was asking for details about Benghazi. “It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.”  Yet, what measures have been taken to do this?

Hillary-Clinton-AngryPhoto courtesy of Google/

Now we see Hillary Clinton being painted “friendly”, a luncheon being given in her “honor” and, here comes the hypnotic trance government wants to put you in.  Guess who they are grooming for the next President of the United States of America?  The one that says, “What difference does it make?”  as she yells and pounds her fists on the table to questions of an Ambassador and his aides representing our country and our country’s well-being and why they were not given the protection they asked for and why they lie DEAD today!!!

If our children, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers were killed today and someone from OUR government who is meant to serve and protect said, “What difference does it make?” just what would our reaction be?  I do not believe it would be agreeing with the standpoint of “What difference does it make?”

While smoke was being pumped by media as to the IRS scandal, the Trayvon Martin trial, we were being lulled into an amnesia of another set of murders and the very person who could have prevented those murders is now being platformed as a leader that deserves to run the affairs of this country.  Someone who allegedly has the protection and well-being of the citizens of this great country at heart!  Don’t forget, if you are an American, the next President directly effects your future and mine!

According to there are eight Congressman who remember Benghazi.  They remember our Ambassador Chris Stevens, along with another diplomat, Sean Smith and two U.S. security men.  Their article reads as follows:

Eight Republican lawmakers have drafted a letter to new FBI Director James Comey, demanding that he expedite the probe of last September’s terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead.

“It has been more than 10 months since the attacks,” the lawmakers write in a draft letter obtained by CNN.

“We appear to be no closer to knowing who was responsible today than we were in the early weeks following the attack. This is simply unacceptable.”

According to CNN, the draft was produced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Sen.  Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Other signers include Sens. John McCain of  Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. In the  House, Reps. Darrell Issa of California, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, and Jim  Jordan of Ohio, added their names.

Republican sources told CNN the letter  was scheduled to be sent to Comey on Wednesday or Thursday.

“Rumors  continue to swirl about the whereabouts of suspects involved in the attack,” the  draft states. “The FBI continues to add pictures of potential assailants to its  website and asks the Libyan people to assist with identifying the alleged  perpetrators. We struggle to understand why we don’t know more about those who  attacked two U.S. compounds and murdered four brave Americans.”  SOURCE:

In Texas there was a battle where brave men were slaughtered at the Alamo in defense of this great land!  When the Battle of San Jacinto was fought, the army of men who fought it ran forward yelling, “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” and those words are remembered to this day!  Justice came for those dead heroes that day!  I tell you, remember Chris Stevens!  Remember Benghazi!!   Am I to wonder today, the ones who could have offered protection and sustained the life to our ambassador, are the very ones who are being pushed  and promoted to hold the highest and most honorable office this nation knows??

You may say to me, “But no one knows for sure about Benghazi!”  My question to you is, “WHY NOT???”  We should care greatly to know that answer, and demand it!  Please, never forget the principles of freedom, justice, and honor this country is built upon and the honorable men and women who died to secure it…including Chris Stevens!

Yes, Hillary Clinton, to many of us no matter what the party name,  IT DOES MATTER!!


POLITICS/BREAKING NEWS-My Personal Experience with Alleged Obamacare..You Will be SHOCKED!!


When someone is in the hospital from my church, my husband and I will go and visit that person and their family in the hospital.  This week dear friends of ours had to have a stay in the hospital due to unexplained fainting incidences that was happening to the husband.  When our friend fainted one of several times, he hurt his shoulder very badly!  They told the doctor and he said he would have to be discharged and go to his personal doctor AGAIN, because he came in with a head injury primarily, not a shoulder injury primarily.  They can only treat what they came in with primarily!!   I heard from a good source, allegedly  it is an “insurance thing, but it does all tie back into “Obamacare” in some way”. 

Not only is this EXTRA COST to YOU as a patient, it is horrible a patient must suffer when, before allegedly OBAMACARE,  they could be in the hospital, and  everything that was wrong could be treated and taken care of at once!  Does this mean, if you have a heart attack, but you came in PRIMARILY with a broken bone you cannot be saved from the heart attack???  Our so called representatives voted this in and we get to learn from horrible experiences later!!  I was appalled by this!!  No wonder congress elected to not be included in this shameful bill! 

What is sad is the fact we are powerless to stop this!   We sent elected and semi-trusted officials to literally protect us from this type of garbage and they only took care of themselves!  This family I am telling you about have two children and both work and work hard!  They, just like the rest of us, don’t have time or money to burn!  This is waste, waste, waste!!  It a waste of OUR TIME, MONEY, AND LOSS OF PRODUCTIVITY TO OUR EMPLOYERS!!  I ask you, where is the sense in this??

Let us never again stand by and just let things happen!  If all we can do is call, write, or carry a sign that tells how we feel or think then let us do what we can until the message gets through!  Vote every single one of these senseless politicians out and show we ARE THE PEOPLE that put them where they were and we,  through our votes, can take them back out!  I am not impressed with your fake smile, one second handshake, and your baby kissing, and empty promises!!  God help this country!!  May God bless America, once the home of the free and ALWAYS the home of the brave!!  STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN AND KNOW TO BE RIGHT!   Let EVERY voice be heard for justice, and that is yours and mine!!

Hagel says Israel, US see ‘exactly same’ threat from Iran

Source: Associated Press

  • hagelisrael12.jpg

    April 17, 2013: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens prior to testifying on  Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

TEL AVIV, Israel –  U.S. Defense Secretary  Chuck Hagel said Sunday the United States and Israel see “exactly the same”  threat from Iran, but differ on when it may reach the point of requiring U.S. or  Israeli military action.Hagel used his first visit to Israel as Pentagon chief to highlight his view  that Israel must decide for itself whether and when to pre-emptively attack its  neighbor.

“Israel will make the decision that Israel must make to protect itself, to  defend itself,” Hagel told reporters before arriving here on Sunday to begin a  weeklong tour of the Middle East.

Hagel acknowledged that while Israel and the U.S. share a commitment to  ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, there “may well be some  differences” between the two allies on the question of when Iran’s leaders might  decide to go for a bomb.

He said there is “no daylight at all” between Israel and the U.S. on the  central goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.

But he added, “When you back down into the specifics of the timing of when  and if Iran decides to pursue a nuclear weapon, there may well be some  differences.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tends to see more urgency,  reflecting in part the fact that certain Iranian technological advances toward a  nuclear weapon could put the program beyond the ability of the Israeli military  to destroy it with airstrikes. U.S. forces have greater reach.

The first thing Hagel did upon arrival in Jerusalem was take a guided tour of  the Yad Vashem Holocaust history museum, participate in a ceremony at the Hall  of Remembrance and write an inscription in the guest book at a memorial for the  1.5 million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust.

“There is no more poignant, more touching, more effective way to tell the  story than this reality, as painful as it is, but it is a reality,” he said  after completing his visit. “It did happen, and we must prepare our future  generations … for a clear understanding that we must never allow this to  happen again.”

In an interview on an overnight flight from Washington, Hagel repeatedly  emphasized Israel’s right of self-defense and stressed that military force — by  implication, Israeli or American — remains an option of last resort.

“In dealing with Iran, every option must be on the table,” he said.

Hagel, 66, came under intense fire from Republican critics, prior to his  February Senate confirmation hearing, for some of his past statements on Israel.  His critics painted him as insufficiently supportive of the Jewish state.

In choosing to make Israel one of his first overseas stops, Hagel sought to  put that controversy behind him — with serious words and a touch of humor. The  February confirmation hearing, which Republicans used to hammer him on Israel  and other subjects, “was years ago,” he deadpanned.

During his two-day visit to Israel, Hagel is expected to put the final  touches on a U.S. arms deal that would provide Israel with missiles for its  fighter aircraft, plus KC-135 refueling planes that could be used in a  long-range strike on a country like Iran, as well as V-22 Osprey transport  planes. He called the proposed sale a “very clear signal” to Iran.

“The bottom line is, Iran is a threat — a real threat,” he said, not only for  its nuclear ambitions and its stated goal of destroying Israel but also for its  alleged sponsoring of terrorism.

Hagel said U.S. and international economic sanctions are “hurting Iran  significantly,” but he said they do not guarantee that Iranian leaders will be  persuaded to stop what the West sees as their ambition to become a nuclear  power. Iran asserts that its nuclear program is designed entirely for  non-military purposes.

Hagel suggested he holds hope that Iran’s presidential election in June might  change the trajectory of its nuclear drive.

He asserted that there is still time for diplomacy and international  sanctions to resolve the Iran problem.

“These other tracks do have some time to continue to try to influence the  outcome in Iran,” he said.

In the interview en route to Tel Aviv, Hagel was asked whether the Obama  administration has determined whether the Syrian government has used chemical  weapons against opposition rebels. He said intelligences analysts are still  assessing the evidence and have not reached a conclusion.

After his talks in Israel, Hagel is scheduled to visit Jordan, Saudi Arabia,  Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Each of those four is an important American  ally in the Middle East, and each is worried by Syria’s civil war.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are part of a $10 billion proposed US arms sale that  includes Israel. The UAE would get about 26 F-16 fighters and it and Saudi  Arabia would get advanced air-launched missiles.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is also in the region. He is working to  mend the strained relationship between Turkey and Israel and on Sunday he  announced the White House is doubling its non-lethal assistance to the Syrian  opposition to $250 million.

Obama taking executive action on guns after Senate vote

Source: Press

Blocked by Congress from expanding gun sale background checks, President  Obama is turning to actions within his own power to keep people from buying a  gun who are prohibited for mental health reasons.

Federal law bans certain mentally ill people from purchasing firearms, but  not all states are providing data to stop the prohibited sales to the FBI’s  background check system. A federal review last year found 17 states contributed  fewer than 10 mental health records to the database, meaning many deemed by a  judge to be a danger still could have access to guns.

The Obama administration was starting a process Friday aimed at removing  barriers in health privacy laws that prevent some states from reporting  information to the background check system. The action comes two days after the  Senate rejected a measure that would have required buyers of firearms online and  at gun shows to pass a background check. That’s already required for shoppers at  licensed gun dealers.

Stung by the defeat, Obama vowed to keep up the fight for the background  check expansion but also to do what he could through executive action.

“Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can  to protect more of our communities,” Obama said from the Rose Garden shortly  after the Senate voted. “We’re going to address the barriers that prevent states  from participating in the existing background check system.”

Obama also mentioned giving law enforcement more information about lost and  stolen guns and establishing emergency plans for schools. Those measures were  among the 23 executive actions the president signed in January when he announced  his broader push for tighter gun laws in response to a mass shooting of  first-graders and staff at Newtown, Conn.‘s Sandy Hook Elementary  School.

The Health and Human Services Department on Friday was beginning to ask for  public comment on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,  passed by Congress in 1996 and known as HIPAA, is preventing some states from  reporting to the background check system and how to address the problem. Under  HIPAA, health care providers such as hospitals may release limited information  to police, but only in certain circumstances such as when a court is  involved.

Since 1968, federal law has banned the sale of guns to those who have been  deemed a danger to themselves or others, involuntarily committed or judged not  guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial. The background check  system — which is also used to prevent convicted felons from buying guns — was  established under the 1993 Brady Bill.

A few state agencies shared mental health records voluntarily for years, but  the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 spurred passage of legislation that required  states to submit the records or eventually risk losing up to 5 percent of the  federal funding they receive to fight crime.

Last year’s review by the Government Accountability Office found that  although the number of mental health records available to the background check  system increased 800 percent since 2004, some states said they were not sharing  mental health information because of concerns about restrictions under HIPAA  privacy law. Obama is interested in a change that would specifically allow  disclosure of mental health records for the system, and he wants to increase  financial incentives for states to contribute the information.

In the Virginia Tech rampage, student Seung-Hui Cho shot 32 people to death  and committed suicide. He was able to buy two guns even though he had been ruled  a danger to himself during a court hearing in 2005 and was ordered to undergo  outpatient mental health treatment.

Authorities have not described a possible motive or released details of any  mental health condition that might explain why Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza  killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself. The rifle he used was  purchased by his mother, whom he also killed at home before heading to the  school.

The background check system does not give retailers access to mental health  records but simply tells them whether a buyer is approved, denied or needs  additional investigation before a firearm may be purchased. The system doesn’t  tell the seller why a potential buyer was denied.


Full Extent of FBI Role in Boston Bombing Will Never Be Known

SOURCE:  Kurt Nimmo

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, brother of the dead FBI asset Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is now an enemy combatant. Due to this, the role the FBI played in the deadly bombing will never come to light.

“Now that the suspect is in custody, the last thing we should want is for him to remain silent,” said senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured last night in Watertown, Massachusetts. “It is absolutely vital the suspect be questioned for intelligence gathering purposes. We need to know about any possible future attacks which could take additional American lives. The least of our worries is a criminal trial which will likely be held years from now.”

“Our goal at this critical juncture should be to gather intelligence and protect our nation from further attacks. We remain under threat from radical Islam and we hope the Obama Administration will seriously consider the enemy combatant option.”

The Obama administration has decided to follow a 2010 memorandum from the Justice Department. It strikes the customary Miranda warning and allows the government to question suspected terrorists and deny legal representation and Fifth Amendment protection. “The exception allows agents to ask questions reasonably prompted by an immediate concern for the public’s safety,” the Washington Post reports today. “Additionally, it says that in ‘exceptional’ cases, agents may conclude that continued ‘unwarned’ investigation is warranted.”

After Zubeidat K. Tsarnaeva, the mother of Boston bombing suspects Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, said Friday that her eldest son Tamerlan was under the control of the FBI, the agency responded by stating that it had “interviewed” him at the behest of the Russian government. Russia suspected Tsarnaeva of being a Chechen terrorist.

“In response to this 2011 request, the FBI checked U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history,” the FBI said in a statement. “The FBI also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011. The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government.”

Considering the FBI’s track record in setting up and busting would-be terrorists, this explanation is suspect. The case will be handled like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people and injured over a thousand. Recordings released by the New York Times revealed that the FBI cooked the bomb used in the attack, but this key fact is now omitted from the official narrative on the bombing.

“The implications are of course, with the FBI’s current nationwide stable of patsies being trained, directed, and provided material support to carry out attacks the FBI then ‘foils,’ is at any given moment, any one of these operations can be switched ‘live’ just as in 1993,” writes Tony Cartalucci.The resulting carnage can then be used to manipulate public opinion just as it was in 1993, 2001, on 7/7 in London, and in Madrid, Spain in 2004.”

The FBI’s highly suspicious contact with Tsarnaeva will be underplayed in the short term and omitted in the long term as the government’s official narrative takes its final mythological shape and the war on manufactured terror is reinvigorated.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been cosigned the status of enemy combatant as delineated under the Military Commissions Act. Due to this, we will never know the full extent of the FBI’s role in killing three people and injuring 183 in Boston on April 15, 2013

Boston marathon bombs: Tamerlan Tsarnaev ‘interviewed by FBI in 2011′

SOURCE:  Sarah Titterton London Telegraph April 20, 2013

Officials told the Associated Press, Reuters and CNN that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with police outside Boston on Friday morning, was interviewed by federal officers.

The matter was closed when it did not produce any derogatory information.

One official told AP that the FBI shared its information with the foreign government. The official did not say what country made the request about Tamerlan Tsarnaev or why.

The 26-year-old’s younger brother Dzhokhar, also a suspect in Monday’s bombings that killed three people and wounded scores more, has been taken into custody after a dramatic confrontation with police.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died of bullet wounds and injuries from explosives strapped to his body, a hospital doctor said.

Full article here

At least 32 dead after earthquake strikes China’s Sichuan region

 A Communist Party official said  the earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan provinces left at least 32 people dead  and injured more than 600.

Xu Mengjia, party secretary of Ya’an city, which administers the area where  the quake hit, told China Central Television on Saturday that the casualty count  could climb higher.

The quake, which struck shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday, was measured at  magnitude-7 by China’s seismological bureau and at 6.6 by the U.S. Geological  Survey. It struck near the area where a devastating quake left 90,000 dead or  missing and presumed dead five years ago.

The quake — measured by China’s seismological bureau at magnitude-7 and the  U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6 — struck the steep hills of Lushan county shortly  after 8 a.m. toppling buildings, many of them older brick structures. People ran  into the streets in their underwear and wrapped in blankets, according to photos  posted online.

The quake’s shallow depth, less than 8 miles, likely magnified the impact.  The official Xinhua News Agency said that the quake rattled buildings in the  provincial capital of Chengdu 70 miles, to the east. It caused the shutdown of  the city’s airport for about an hour before reopening, state media said.

Lushan, where the quake struck, is home to 1.5 million people where the  fertile Sichuan plain meets foothills that eventually rise to the Tibetan  plateau. Known for its mountains, the area is near a well-known preserve for  pandas.

Social media users who said they were in Lushan county posted photos of  collapsed buildings and reported that water and electricity had been cut  off.

A man who answered the phone at the Ya’an city government said  telecommunications were cut and that medical and rescue teams are on the way to  the area.

“I felt the strong quake this morning in my office. All drawers of the desk  opened and some stuff on the table fell on the floor,” said the man, who refused  to give his name, as is usual with low-ranking Chinese government officials.

The area lies near the same Longmenshan fault where the devastating  7.9-magnitude quake struck in May 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or  missing and presumed dead.

BREAKING NEWS: Door-to-Door Dragnet for Boston Marathon Bomber

wanted_Gun_20130419_131719Photo Source: Fox News

BREAKING NEWS: Boston remained on lockdown, with  Black Hawk helicopters patrolling the skies and authorities “going door-to-door,  street-to-street” through the Watertown section as the hunt for the second  Boston Marathon bomber continued following a chaotic night of mayhem night that  saw a police officer and one of the suspects killed.

Earlier, a bullet-riddled SUV was  recovered in the city’s Watertown section and the FBI searched a home in  Cambridge where the brothers were believed to have lived. A woman was taken from  inside the building, but it was not known if she had any connection to the  suspects.

Police believe the two suspects  from Monday’s terror attack are Chechen brothers, Muslims possibly from  Dagestan, a province in Russia  that borders Chechnya. The man on the loose was identified as Dzhokhar A.  Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass. They are believed to have been here for  “several years,” sources said, and potentially up to a decade.

“We have several other new leads that have just developed with the past few  minutes,” said Massachusetts State Police Police Superintendent Timothy Alben,  speaking at a news conference early Friday afternoon. He said police had covered  “60 to 70 percent” of the perimeter, inside which they believe Tsarnaev is  hiding.

Police believe Tsarnaev could be armed and consider him extremely dangerous.  He and his brother — in a vehicle they carjacked from a man who later escaped — led police on a chase through city streets after robbing a 7-11 in Cambridge and  killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, according to  authorities.

The suspects threw explosives from the car and exchanged gunfire with police  who were in pursuit as it headed into Watertown, according to the district  attorney’s news release. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was shot several times in the  gunfight and pronounced dead late Thursday at an area hospital. But his younger  brother escaped, and continued to elude authorities, who were going door-to-door  all morning in Watertown.

“Suspect No. 1 is dead, Suspect 2 is on the run,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval  Patrick said at a Friday morning press conference. “There is a massive manhunt  underway.”

Police also found a car believed to be registered to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in  Boston, after earlier issuing a lookout bulletin to Connecticut State police.  The Black Hawk choppers were flying above Watertown “to provide extra eyes,”  sources told The Boston Globe.

During the pursuit, a MBTA transit police officer was seriously injured and  transported to the hospital, according to a news release. He was identified as  Richard H. Donahue Jr., 33, and was being treated at Mt. Auburn Hospital.

Witnesses told The Associated Press they heard multiple gunshots and  explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were  in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.

State police spokesman David Procopio told the news agency: “The incident in  Watertown did involve what we believe to be explosive devices possibly,  potentially, being used against the police officers.”

Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where a suspect in  the marathon bombings was taken and later died said they treated a man with a  possible blast injury and multiple gunshot wounds. They wouldn’t say if the  patient they treated, who came in with police, was the suspect in the black hat  from marathon surveillance footage.

Schools are closed, train and bus service is suspended and police were  telling residents of neighborhoods including Cambridge, Waltham, Watertown,  Newton, Arlington and Belmont to stay indoors.

The suspects apparently surfaced just hours after the FBI released their  imaged late Thursday afternoon, going on a bloody rampage that claimed the life  of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, 26. He was found shot to death in his squad  car at 10:20 p.m. Thursday. It was not clear if he was killed before or after  the convenience store was robbed, at about 10 p.m.

“The MIT Police serve all of us at the Institute with great dignity, honor  and dedication,” Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer, said  in a statement. “Everyone here — those who knew Officer Collier, and those who  did not — are devastated by the events that transpired on our campus last night.  We will never forget the seriousness with which he took his role protecting MIT  and those of us who consider it home.”

Earlier Friday, Cambridge police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office  said the MIT officer was responding to a report of a disturbance when he was  shot multiple times late Thursday. He later died at a hospital. His name was not  immediately released.

Procopio said the shooting took place about 10:30 p.m. outside an MIT  building. The area was cordoned off and surrounded by responding law enforcement  agencies, according to a posting on the university’s website.

The shooting came little more than three days after the twin bombings on the  Boston Marathon that killed three people, wounded more than 180 others and led  to an increase in security across the city.

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Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Jana Winter, Mike Tobin, Mike Levine, Griff  Jenkins and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Police say between 5 and 15 people killed in Texas fertilizer plant explosion, more than 160 hurt

A small Texas town where as many as 15 people were killed in an explosion at  a fertilizer plant late Wednesday is reeling as rescuers comb the rubble house  by house and one official laments: “part of that community is gone.”

Police say between 5 to 15 people were killed and more than 160 were  injured during the massive blast at West Fertilizer in downtown West — a  community of roughly 2,600 residents about 20 miles north of Waco. The explosion  occurred around 8 p.m. and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, a town  located 45 miles north. It sent flames spiraling high into the evening sky and  rained burning embers, shrapnel and debris down on frightened residents.

“There are homes flattened. Part of that community is  gone.”

– Waco Police Department Sgt. William Patrick Swanton


“Homes have been destroyed,” Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said.  “There are homes flattened. Part of that community is gone.”

A member of the city council, Al Vanek, said a four-block area around the  explosion was “totally decimated.” Other witnesses compared the scene to that of  the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and authorities said the plant made materials  similar to that used to fuel the bomb that tore apart that city’s Murrah Federal  Building.

Debby Marak told The Associated Press that she noticed a lot of smoke in the  area across town near the plant when she finished teaching her religion class  Wednesday. She said she drove over to see what was happening, and that when she  got there, two boys came running toward her screaming that the authorities had  ordered everyone out because the plant was going to explode. She drove only  about a block when it did.

“It was like being in a tornado,” Marak, 58, said during a phone interview.  “Stuff was flying everywhere. It blew out my windshield. It was like the whole  earth shook.”

Marak called her husband and asked him to come get her. When they got to  their home about two miles south of town, her husband told her what he’d seen: a  huge fireball that rose like “a mushroom cloud.”

The USGS reported that the blast registered a magnitude 2.1, which is  comparable to a minor earthquake.

“They are still getting injured folks out and they are evacuating people from  their homes,” Swanton said early Thursday. He added later: “At some point this  will turn into a recovery operation, but at this point, we are still in search  and rescue.”

Gov. Rick Perry told reporters during a press conference Thursday in Austin  that the explosion was a “truly nightmare scenario” that likely affected every  family in the small community.

“This tragedy has most likely hit every family, touched practically everyone  in that town,” Perry said. “I ask all Americans and Texans to join me and Anita  in keeping them in our prayers.”

Swanton said authorities believe that between 5 and 15 people were killed in  the blast, but stressed that’s an early estimate as search and rescue operations  remain under way. There is no indication the blast was anything other than an  industrial accident, he said. At least three firefighters are still missing.

The still-smoldering fire was “somewhat under control” by early Thursday,  Swanton said, adding that authorities were not concerned about lingering  smoke.

Swanton said a “small amount of looting” has occurred near the blast site,  but he did not provide additional details. He said looters are a “significant  concern” to authorities and that at least one person suspected of being a looter  was spotting running from a damaged home.

“The town is secure,” Swanton added.

A weather front is bringing cooler temperatures and thunderstorms into the  area. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth said thunderstorms are expected  to affect West until about 9 a.m. Thursday, though lightning should become less  frequent gradually. Temperatures are dropping into the low 50s.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is sending a  national response team to the site. ATF spokeswoman Franceska Perot said  Thursday the unit includes fire investigators, explosives experts, chemists and  canine units.

West Mayor Tommy Muska, who is also a volunteer firefighter, did not answer  questions about his fellow firefighters, but said: “I ask for your prayers.”

A search for survivors continued throughout the night, as emergency workers  went house to house and business to business looking for people trapped in the  rubble.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are hurt, and there’s a lot of people, I’m  sure, who aren’t gonna be here tomorrow,” Muska said. “We’re gonna search for  everybody. We’re gonna make sure everybody’s accounted for. That’s the most  important thing right now.”

The town’s volunteer firefighters responded to a call at the plant about 6  p.m., Swanton said. Muska was among them, and he and his colleagues were working  to evacuate the area around the plant when the blast followed about 50 minutes  later. Muska said it knocked off his fire helmet and blew out the doors and  windows of his nearby home.

The main fire was under control as of 11 p.m., Texas Department of Public  Safety spokesman D.L. Wilson said, but residents were urged to remain indoors  because of the threat of new explosions or leaks of ammonia from the plant’s  ruins.

Dozens of emergency vehicles amassed at the scene in the hours after the  blast, as fires continued to smolder in the ruins of the plant and in several  surrounding buildings. Aerial footage showed injured people being treated on the  flood-lit football field that had been turned into a staging area.

Vanek said first-responders treated victims at about half a dozen sites, and  he saw several injured residents from the nursing home being treated at the  community center. Swanton said early Thursday morning the injured were being  taken to hospitals in Waco and a triage center at high school in nearby  Abbott.

A spokesman at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco told The Associated  Press the facility received 98 patients, including the five in intensive care.  Another 30 have serious injuries, including orthopedic and head trauma.  Providence Health Center in Waco treated 65 patients from the explosion,  admitting 12. A spokeswoman says those patients had broken bones, cuts, head  injuries, minor burns and some breathing problems.

Two patients were also being treated at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. reports as many as 300 people were taken away from the scene  with injuries. Roughly 133 patients, including some in wheelchairs, were  evacuated from the West Rest Haven Nursing Home, which was among the damaged  buildings.

Up to 75 homes were also damaged, as well as an apartment complex with about  50 units that was reduced to a “skeleton,” Wilson said.

Erick Perez, 21, of West, was playing basketball at a nearby school when the  fire started. He and his friends thought nothing of it at first, but about a  half-hour later, the smoke changed color. The blast threw him, his nephew and  others to the ground and showered the area with hot embers, shrapnel and  debris.

“The explosion was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Perez said. “This  town is hurt really bad.”

The explosion knocked out power and could be heard and felt for miles around.  Lydia Zimmerman told KWTX-TV that she, her husband and daughter were in their  garden in Bynum — 13 miles from West — when they heard multiple blasts.

“It sounded like three bombs going off very close to us,” she said.

Lucy Nashed, a spokesman for Perry’s office, said personnel from several  agencies were en route to West or already there, including the Texas Commission  for Environmental Quality, the state’s emergency management department and an  incident management team. Also responding is the state’s top urban search and  rescue team, the state health department and mobile medical units.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said it was deploying a large investigation  team to West. American Red Cross crews from across Texas also headed to the  scene. Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster said the group was working with  emergency management officials in West to find a safe shelter for residents  displaced from their homes.

Swanton said he had no details on the number of people who work at the plant,  which was cited by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2006 for  failing to obtain or to qualify for a permit. The agency acted after receiving a  complaint in June of that year of a strong ammonia smell.

In 2001, an explosion at a chemical and fertilizer plant killed 31 people and  injured more than 2,000 in Toulouse, France. The blast occurred in a hangar  containing 300 tons of ammonium nitrate, which can be used for both fertilizer  and explosives. The explosion came 10 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist  attacks in the U.S., and raised fears at the time it was linked. A 2006 report  blamed the blast on negligence.

President Obama, in a statement released Thursday, thanked first responders  in the “tight-knit” Texas community.

“I want to thank the first responders who worked tirelessly through the night  to contain the situation and treat the wounded,” the statement read. “My  Administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our  state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs as  search and rescue and response operations continue. West is a town that many  Texans hold near and dear to their hearts, and as residents continue to respond  to this tragedy, they will have the support of the American people.”


Mississippi man arrested in connection to ricin letters sent to Obama, lawmakers

A Mississippi man has been arrested as a suspect in connection to the mailing  of three letters sent to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and a  Mississippi official that initially tested positive for ricin, Fox News  confirms.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen said the man was arrested  Wednesday at approximately 5:15 p.m. CT. It is unclear if charges are getting  filed tonight or if they will be filed tomorrow.

The Department of Justice said he was arrested at his Corinth, Miss., home  following an investigation conducted by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces in  Memphis, Tenn., and Jackson, Miss., the U.S. Capitol Police, and the U.S. Postal  Service,  the U.S. Secret Service.

The suspect has been identified as 45-year-old Paul Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo,  Miss., a source told Fox News. Tupelo is also the hometown of Wicker and his  wife.

The FBI confirmed earlier Wednesday that a letter addressed to President  Obama had “preliminarily tested positive” for ricin, a day after lawmakers said  another letter sent to the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Roger Wicker tested  positive for the same substance.

In a statement following the announcement of the arrest, Wicker thanked FBI  and Capitol Police for their “professionalism and decisive action” in keeping  his family and staff “safe from harm.”

Wicker assured Mississippians that both his offices in Mississippi and  Washington remained open for business and thanked the people of Mississippi for  their thoughts and prayers.

The warnings came amid a flurry of reports on suspicious packages. Fox News  learned of several suspicious packages or envelopes in various Capitol Hill  office buildings, and Capitol Police said three packages that were flagged had  been removed.

Separately, the office of Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., reported a  “suspicious-looking letter” at one of the senator’s Michigan offices; and a  spokesman for Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., reported a “suspicious letter” was  intercepted at Flake’s Phoenix office. Authorities were also called to the  Dallas office of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, over what was described only as “a  piece of mail” — but field tests later came back negative.

According to a Homeland Security Department handbook, ricin is deadliest when  inhaled. It is not contagious, but there is no antidote. A senior Congressional  source familiar with the inquiry into the letters sent to President Obama and  Sen.Wicker told Fox News that the ricin was “low grade” and “not  weaponized.”

The package alerts compounded security concerns in the wake of the letter  incidents and the Boston bombing, which the FBI has said do not appear to be  related.

Both of the initial suspicious letters were apparently intercepted on  Tuesday. They never reached the Hill or the White House.

An FBI bulletin obtained by Fox News said the letter sent to Obama is still  being screened, though it initially tested positive.

The bulletin said both letters included the phrase: “To see a wrong and not  expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”

Both were signed, “I am KC and I approve this message.”

The envelopes had Tennessee postmarks, but no return address.

Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said mail sent to the White House is  screened at a remote site for the safety of the recipients and the general  public. He declined to comment on the significance of the preliminary ricin  result, referring questions to the FBI.

Capitol Police swiftly ramped up security, and lawmakers and staff were  cautioned away from some parts of the Hill complex. After hours of jangled  nerves, officials signaled it was safe to move throughout the area and people  settled back to normal, if watchful, activity.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer said that an individual who was  responsible for simultaneous suspicious-package incidents in the Hart and  Russell Senate office buildings on Tuesday was detained and released on  Wednesday. The packages were not hazardous.

Gainer said the man was “not particularly harmful, although terribly  disruptive.”

Sources has said Tuesday that officials were familiar with the person  believed to have sent the letters as the person was thought to have sent other  letters before.

The mail-screening system was established after the Anthrax attacks of 2001  that closed the Hart Senate Office Building.

Click  for more information on ricin.

Source: News’ Mike Emanuel and Chad Pergram, and the Associated Press  contributed to this report.