26.05.2006: Tsunami Destroys Casablanca - Next Thursday



UNCLAS CASABLANCA 000571

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, CACS, ZH, ZT, MO

SUBJECT: Tsunami Destroys Casablanca - Next Thursday

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Out of All the Cities in All the World...

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1. (U) On Monday afternoon, May 22, 2006, hundreds of

Moroccan children returned home from school with a dire

prediction that a giant tsunami would strike Casablanca in a

mere three days. Some schools threatened closures and word

of the disaster washed over the city sending people

scurrying to find more information and seek higher ground.

A few wealthy, educated expats fled their palatial homes by

the sea to find refugee in the high-rise dwellings of

friends well above the predicted level of destruction. Less

fortunate Moroccans, meanwhile, could be found heading to

mosques to pray for protection against the storm, images of

Indian Ocean tsunami still fresh in their minds. Moroccan

National Press reported some Moroccans were packed and ready

to head to the mountains or even travel to other countries.

Consulate Casablanca´s Consular Section received numerous

emails and phone calls requesting information on the

impending doom as well.

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He Had to Blog Into Mine...

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2. (U) The tsunami prediction originated with French author

and UFO "kidnapping victim" Eric Julien, director of the

Ufological Research Center. Julian claimed he had received

information psychically that a comet fragment would crash

into the Atlantic Ocean on May 25, 2006, and cause a giant

tsunami. He asserted that the waves would be up to 200

SIPDIS

meters high and impact all countries bordering the Atlantic.

In Morocco, Julien´s forcast was taken so seriously that the

head of the Moroccan Meteorological office, Mustapha Janah

made an official statement to the Moroccan press denying the

possibility of the tsunami and quoting "NASA" officials who

noted that the comet in question would be approximately ten

million kilometers away when it passed the earth.

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Maybe not Today, Maybe not Tomorrow...

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3. (U) Why did the rumor spread so quickly and why was it

taken so seriously? According to some Moroccans, the answer

may be twofold. First, Morocco is a land of oral history

where word of mouth has been the preferred method of

communicating news for generations. With literacy rates

hovering around fifty percent, gossip is a more common

method of disseminating information than the newspapers.

Second, for the very religious of Casablanca the idea that a

giant wave would sweep through the city and wash it "clean

of evil and vice" is not such a stretch of the imagination.

Historically, images of floods sweeping away the sinners of

the world have peppered religious doctrine and some here

believe Casablanca may be overdue for a cleansing.

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Here´s Lookin´ at You Casa...

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4. (U) We can confirm nearly twenty-four hours after the

predicted tidal wave, Casablanca has been left unscathed.

Despite a few nervous moments during the week when the sky

darkened and the surf increased slightly, Casablanca remains

intact.

GREENE



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