September 1996 – 20 years ago

September 1996

3 September – In fear that Saddam Hussein intended to launce a genocide campaign against the Kurds the Americans launched its Operation Desert Strike. The successful cruise missile strike targeted Iraqi air defence targets.

hurricane-fran-september 1996
Hurricane Fran: A home destroyed by Fran along the North Carolina coastline.

5 September – Hurricane Fran peaked with winds of 195 kilometres per hour. The storm left 22 people dead including 13 in North Carolina. It also caused about $3.2 billion in damages.

10 September – The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996. As of March 2015, 164 states have ratified the CTBT and another 19 states have signed but not ratified it. Since the CTBT opened for signatures in 1996. India and Pakistan both carried out two sets of tests in 1998 and North Korea carried out four announced tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013 and 2016.

10 September – Pauline Hanson in her maiden speech to Parliament attacked Asian immigration and called for tougher laws on Aboriginal welfare.

spiro-agnew-september 1996
Spiro Agnew

17 September – Former US vice President Spiro Agnew died of an undiagnosed acute leukaemia. In October 1973, Agnew resigned the office of vice President after criminal charges of tax evasion were laid against him. He always maintained that the tax-evasion and bribery charges were an attempt by Richard Nixon to divert attention from the growing Watergate scandal.

 18 September – A North Korean submarine ran aground in South Korea. The crew were captured and the South Korean government declared them spies. They were all executed.

20 September – Murtaza Bhutto was the son of Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was overthrown and executed in 1979.  In 1981 Murtaza claimed responsibility for the murder of a rival politician and the hijacking of a Pakistani International flight in which a hostage was killed. He went into exile in Afghanistan returning in 1993.

By now his sister Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister who had him arrested. While out on bail he became a vocal critic of his sister. On 20 September 1996 during a confrontation with police, Murtaza Bhutto and six associates were killed.

21 September – Bob Dent had a sandwich and a stout with his wife before turning to his doctor, Dr Philip Nitsche, and said “Let’s do it.” Bob Dent was the first person in the world to die under legal euthanasia.

26 September – The Dalai Lama paid a visit to Prime Minister John Howard during his visit to Australia.

27 September – During a surfing carnival in Gracetown, Western Australia, Huzzas Cliff collapsed killing nine spectators sheltering under a rock overhang at the base of the cliff. Four children were among the dead.

27 September – The Taliban captured the capital city of Kabul in Afghanistan after driving out President Burhanuddin Rabbani and executing former leader Mohammad Najibullah.

30 September – The US Congress passes an amendment that bars anyone convicted of domestic violence from obtaining and possessing firearms.



September 1996 – Music Movies, Books and TV

tupac-shakur-september 1996
Tupac Shakur

Ricardo Lopez was obsessed with singer Bjork. He stalked her for three years diarising on video and on paper as he went. When Bjork began a relationship with DJ Goldie, Lopez decided to kill or at least disfigure his idol with a sulphuric acid letter bomb. On 12 September he sent the package to her home in London before video taping his own suicide. His body was found four days later. Fortunately it still left enough time for Scotland Yard to intercept the package before it caused harm.

On 7 September 1996, hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died six days later. The shooting stemmed from a gang altercation after a boxing match earlier in the evening.

In September of 1996, Australians were still big on Los Del Rio’s “Macarena”. Just like in the US, the hit would remain on top of the charts until November. Other songs that were being listened to in the month were Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”, Peter Andre’s “Flava” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something.

September 1996 also saw the passing of screen legend Dorothy Lamour. Although she had a long string of credits, Lamour would be remembered mostly for her work with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in the “Road to” movies.

The big movies for September 1996 were “First Wives’ Club”, “The Crow: City of Angels”, “Bulletproof” and “Maximum Risk”.

Anne Rice’s “Servant of Bones” and John Grisham’s “Runaway Jury” were still among the top of the Bestsellers List. Joining them was Tom Clancy’s “Executive Orders” and James Patterson’s “Jack and Jill”.

executive-orders-tom-clancy-september 1996 jack-and-jill-james-patterson-september 1996

The most talked about thing on Australian TV was Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Peter Costello doing the Macarena.



Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called a cargo?”