Tag Archives: Alaska

Alaskans evacuate after 7.9-magnitude earthquake prompts widespread tsunami alert

  • A 7.9-magnitude quake hit off coastal Alaska early on Tuesday.
  • It prompted authorities to issue widespread tsunami warnings.
  • An area from Alaska to the edge of Mexico was initially covered.
  • However, these warnings were later rolled back to just Alaska.
  • Locals in Kodiak, an island off the coast of Alaska, were woken by sirens and warned to seek high ground.

Continue reading Alaskans evacuate after 7.9-magnitude earthquake prompts widespread tsunami alert

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Sarah Palin’s son Track arrested on burglary, assault charge in Alaskan town where his mom was mayor

Track Palin, the Army veteran son of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, was busted on burglary and assault charges Saturday, court records show.

The 28-year-old was arraigned Sunday morning after his arrest in Wasilla, where his mother served as mayor before running alongside Sen. John McCain during the 2008 presidential election.

Palin also faces a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge for causing nearly $1,000 in property damage following an unspecified domestic violence incident, according to records.

Wasilla police did not immediately respond to a request for more information and the victim in Palin’s latest arrest was not identified.

Continue reading Sarah Palin’s son Track arrested on burglary, assault charge in Alaskan town where his mom was mayor

Hawaii Leads US States in Well-Being for Record Sixth Time

  • Hawaii has highest well-being scores in three of five well-being elements
  • Alaska among top two well-being states for third straight year
  • West Virginia is lowest well-being state for eighth straight year

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hawaii residents had the highest well-being in the nation in 2016, with the state reaching the top spot for the sixth time since Gallup and Healthways began tracking well-being in 2008. Alaska finished in the top two for the third consecutive year, while Colorado finished in the top 10 for the ninth straight year and joins Hawaii as the only two states to earn this distinction.

States With 10 Highest Well-Being Scores, 2016
State Well-Being Index Score
Hawaii 65.2
Alaska 64.0
South Dakota 63.7
Maine 63.6
Colorado 63.5
Vermont 63.5
Arizona 63.4
Montana 63.2
Minnesota 63.2
Texas 63.1
GALLUP-HEALTHWAYS WELL-BEING INDEX

Continue reading Hawaii Leads US States in Well-Being for Record Sixth Time

There were only 3 ZIP codes in America without any Ashley Madison accounts — here they are

One of the reasons why the Ashley Madison hack has swept through the US’ imagination to such a profound degree is how all-encompassing it seemed. The hack clawed its way into communities all across the country — well, not quite every community.

Gawker’s Gabrielle Bluestone has uncovered that there are precisely three ZIP codes across the country that have no record of Ashley Madison users. That’s ZIP codes, not area codes. And what do they have in common? They’re partially lacking two things: the internet and a large number of people.

Gawker’s discovery highlights a pretty dark truth. These three ZIP codes are probably the only ones in the US that don’t house spouses looking to cheat — at least not by using Ashley Madison.

Here they are:

Nikolai, Alaska (99691) — Population: 94 (2010 Census)

Most of the residents of Nikolai are indigenous Alaskans, according to Gawker, and the town can dip to 60 below zero in the winter.

pure zip codes 2

Perryville, Alaska (99648) — Population: 113 (2010 Census)

When Gawker asked a local why no one in her town was on Ashley Madison, she replied that there was maybe only 10 households in the entire town that had internet. This town is also predominantly indigenous Alaskan.

pure zip codes 1

Polvadera, New Mexico (87828) — Population: 269 (2010 Census)

An employee at the county clerk’s office told Gawker that there probably was no one on Ashley Madison because you can’t get reception in that area, which is about 4 square miles of rural peace.

pure zip codes 3

And there you have it. Those are the last vestiges of the US left untouched by Ashley Madison — though of course there is the possibility that there are other bastions of innocence that have fake accounts registered to them.

Even so, the ubiquity of Ashley Madison is striking.

Secret FBI project trained Alaskans in preparation for Soviet invasion

Codenames: Washtub was known inside the government by several other codenames, including Corpuscle, Stigmatic and Catboat, according to an official Air Force history of the OSI, which called it one of OSI's 'most extensive and long-running Cold War projects.' The FBI had its own code word for the project: STAGE

Declassified documents reveal that in the 1950s the FBI trained Alaskan residents to become agents behind enemy lines if the Soviets invaded. No women, Eskimo, Indians or Aleuts were included, with native peoples considered unreliable.

The recently declassified FBI and Air Force documents show that in the early stage of the Cold War the US government feared that the Soviet Union was planning an intervention and occupation of Alaska.

The US military believed that the Soviet invasion would be airborne, with bombing preceding dropping of paratroopers to Alaska’s major inhabited localities, namely Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome and Seward.

Close: A map shows the jarring proximity of Russia to Alaska, the closest point of which is just 2.3 miles from country to country via the islands of Little and Big Diomede

To cope with the eventuality that there was no way to rebuff the invasion, in 1951 FBI director J. Edgar Hoover initiated a highly classified project, code-named “Washtub,” organizing a human intelligence network, recruiting and training citizens across Alaska to provide the American military with intelligence in case of war with Moscow.

Under the plan, “stay-behind agents” would hide in so-called survival caches – bunkers loaded with food, warm clothes, message-coding material and radios – and report on enemy movements.

Washtub: This undated handout image obtained by The Associated Press shows an Air Force chart showing the organization, by function and lines of authority, of the Washtub project

The covert network consisted of fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and people of other professions. But there were restrictions – no one from the indigenous population was included.

“Eskimo, Indian and Aleut groups in the Territory should be avoided in view of their propensities to drink to excess and their fundamental indifference to constituted governments and political philosophies. It is pointed out that their prime concern is with survival and their allegiance would easily shift to any power in control,” insisted the founders of the program.

Feared the Russians: Hoover teamed up on the highly classified project, code-named Washtub, with the newly created Air Force Office of Special Investigations, headed by Hoover protege and former FBI official Joseph F. Carroll

After being secretly screened by the FBI for disloyalty – at least some recruits were fingerprinted – the recruited citizens were offered up to $3,000 a year fees (equivalent to $30,000 in today’s money) which was supposed to double “after an invasion has commenced.”

However, it is not said in the records how much was actually paid to the recruits.

All participants underwent a range of specialized training such as the parachutes, “guerilla techniques and close fighting,” scouting, patrolling, methods of interview and interrogation, “Arctic survival,” and, also coding and decoding messages.

 

The latter did not always go well, as learning these techniques was “an almost impossible task for backwoodsmen to master in 15 hours of training,” one document said.

“Agents should be trained singly and their identities withheld from each other,” the declassified document reads.

The plan suggested organizing “cells” comprised of a principal, a group of agents the principal recruited, and sub-agents recruited by agents “who are not aware of the identity of the principal.”

A typical candidate to become a principal, OSI suggested, would be “a professional photographer in Anchorage” having only one arm and “it if felt that he would not benefit the enemy in any labor battalion.”“Reasonably intelligent, and particularly crafty,” he would also have amateur radio operator skills and be “licensed as a hunting or fishing guide, and [be] well versed in the art of survival.”

“Women will not be used in any operation contemplated by the proposed plan,” the document reads, giving no further explanations.

Being a recruit for the program was acknowledged as a potentially dangerous mission, since the Soviet military doctrine called for the destruction of local resistance in occupied lands.

To make up for the possible casualties, a reserve pool of agents was to be kept outside Alaska and brought in to the region by air.

The program was active from 1951 till 1959 and within that time the OSI trained 89 stay-behind agents, Deborah Kidwell, official historian of the body, wrote in the group’s magazine last year, AP reported. The survival caches served peacetime purposes for many years after the program was shut down.

An Inuit man prepares his canoe on Nunivak Island, Alaska

Initiated by the FBI, the program was later led by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), becoming OSI’s “most extensive and long-running Cold War projects.” The FBI dubbed the project “STAGE”.

The reason why the FBI opted not to lead the project was that agency’s director, Hoover, worried that in case of an invasion of Alaska the FBI would be “left holding the bag.”

“If a crisis arose we would be in the midst of another ‘Pearl Harbor’ and get part of the blame,” Hoover wrote in the margin of a memo from his aide in September 1951, finally ordering: “Get out at once.”

Parallel to the agent program, the US also worked on training a group of civilian operatives in Alaska whose task would be to organize the evacuation of downed military air crews.