Skip to comments.Terror in the Skies Again (Absolutely Positive MUST-READ)
Posted on 07/15/2004 6:19:30 AM PDT by Rutles4Ever
A WWS Exclusive Article
Note from the Editors: You are about to read an account of what happened during a domestic flight that one of our writers, Annie Jacobsen, took from Detroit to Los Angeles. The WWS Editorial Team debated long and hard about how to handle this information and ultimately we decided it was something that should be shared. What does it have to do with finances? Nothing, and everything. Here is Annie's story.
On June 29, 2004, at 12:28 p.m., I flew on Northwest Airlines flight #327 from Detroit to Los Angeles with my husband and our young son. Also on our flight were 14 Middle Eastern men between the ages of approximately 20 and 50 years old. What I experienced during that flight has caused me to question whether the United States of America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its citizens from terrorist threats.
On that Tuesday, our journey began uneventfully. Starting out that morning in Providence, Rhode Island, we went through security screening, flew to Detroit, and passed the time waiting for our connecting flight to Los Angeles by shopping at the airport stores and eating lunch at an airport diner. With no second security check required in Detroit we headed to our gate and waited for the pre-boarding announcement. Standing near us, also waiting to pre-board, was a group of six Middle Eastern men. They were carrying blue passports with Arabic writing. Two men wore tracksuits with Arabic writing across the back. Two carried musical instrument cases thin, flat, 18" long. One wore a yellow T-shirt and held a McDonald's bag. And the sixth man had a bad leg -- he wore an orthopedic shoe and limped. When the pre-boarding announcement was made, we handed our tickets to the Northwest Airlines agent, and walked down the jetway with the group of men directly behind us.
My four-year-old son was determined to wheel his carry-on bag himself, so I turned to the men behind me and said, "You go ahead, this could be awhile." "No, you go ahead," one of the men replied. He smiled pleasantly and extended his arm for me to pass. He was young, maybe late 20's and had a goatee. I thanked him and we boarded the plan.
Once on the plane, we took our seats in coach (seats 17A, 17B and 17C). The man with the yellow shirt and the McDonald's bag sat across the aisle from us (in seat 17E). The pleasant man with the goatee sat a few rows back and across the aisle from us (in seat 21E). The rest of the men were seated throughout the plane, and several made their way to the back.
(Excerpt) Read more at womenswallstreet.com ...
After reading the entire article, I realize that nothing actually happened on the flight. Suspicious activity? Perhaps. But the flight went on, landed safely, and nothing untoward happened.
I refuse to live in fear of everyone who doesn't look like me.
I doubt that terrorists will be able to take over planes anymore. Once it became apparent that terrorists seek to kill instead of hold hostages, even liberals will die trying to prevent it.
"On September 21, as the remains of thousands of Americans lay smoldering at Ground Zero, [Secretary of Transportation Norman] Mineta fired off a letter to all U.S. airlines forbidding them from implementing the one security measure that could have prevented 9/11: subjecting Middle Eastern passengers to an added degree of pre-flight scrutiny. He sternly reminded the airlines that it was illegal to discriminate against passengers based on their race, color, national or ethnic origin or religion."
Oh my God! Now this terrifies me.
I read the whole thing, also, and it wasn't "perhaps" suspicious activity, it WAS very suspicious activity. I agree that it is pointless and debilitating to live in fear, but if this entire account was presented accurately, those men should have surveillance 24/7.
This is really frightening. However, I doubt very much if the air marshalls would have hesitated to kill eveyone of them if an overt act occured. I agree it may have been a dry run. but, at least now the authorities KNOW their MO.
This story scared the hell out of me, and I wasn't on the plane.
metro is my airport. this is unbelievable. i have gone through the "metal detector" with batteries in my pocket; it wasn't even turned on. they waved me on when i pointed it out. ugh.
Apparently they weren't interested in using the plane as a missile, they were just considering blowing it up over downtown LA. Not much the passengers can do about that.
After reading that rambling chicken little story I wish I had waited for the movie to come out.
You are being foolish.
Everyone, including the air marshals on board that flight, were obviously concerned.
At the very least, some attempt to disrupt these passengers' activity should have been made while en-route.
It is also exteremely irresponsible for our airline security to allow this group to fly together - twice!
It also shows the priorities of our airline security:
1. Be politically correct
2. Cover your own ass
3. Minimize public awareness of terrorist threats
4. Uhhhh, yeah, try to keep everyday people form dying, if we get around to it
"I doubt that terrorists will be able to take over planes anymore. "
I believe you are correct. I see no reason for people to necessarily have a fearful reaction just because someone who appears to be a Muslim is on a plane.
I cannot remember the last flight I was on that didn't have a few Muslim-looking people on it. All those flights arrived safely.
No doubt now that passengers would react quickly these days, but I disagree with those who are suspicious of everyone who looks different. That's just silly.
I also refuse to have an irrational fear of silverware. If someone comes at me with a fork stolen from an airport restaurant, I think I'll be able to fend them off.
I DID think that it was interesting, though, that airlines are allowed to detain only two 'minorities' per flight (I'm assuming that I read that right). If there are 20 suspicious Arabs (or caucasians, or blacks, or Indians, or....) on a plane, I think that I'd like to see them all talked to.
If they were assembling an explosive device in the lavatory and exploded it, what effect would air marshalls have had on the incident?
Air marshalls are powerless against in flight bombs. It is time for marshall law
Bump for later reading.
They would have to get the explosives on board. There in lies their problem.
HOOOOOOEEEEEYYYYY, that is some post. perhaps the passengers should be armed..
They were lucky to have air marshalls on the flight. Then again, perhaps the air marshalls were called in BECAUSE of the manifest. The only problem with this, is had these guys actually built a bomb onboard, air marshalls aren't of much use once it detonates...
This didn't read to me like a tinfoil account. Authorities are concerned about this type of scenario, but if the safeguards are not in place (or implemented if they are), history will repeat itself.
Scared me, too. As I remember, Atta and some of his merry men did a dry run on a NY to LA flight before 9/11 that was reported after the fact.
I will NOT fly on a plane with more than 2 Middle Eastern men on it. 3 or more get on, I get off. Period. I don't care how much money it costs me. I haven't had to use this rule yet, but I always check out the other passengers before I get on.
If I was this woman I would've asked to get off, particularly after seeing the 2nd group come on.
This article is also a good argument for late boarding. If you get on just before the gate closes you can check out the other passengers and decide if it looks safe enough.
Sure, they could be using blond Chechens, so examining the other passengers isn't foolproof, but if they won't protect us we at least have to try and protect ourselves.
PC is going to kill us all.
"It is time for marshall law
I assume you mean MARTIAL law. If so, you don't really understand what martial law is. If you did, you wouldn't be eager to have it in place.
The people we are fighting are not stupid and they will use our laws and liberties against us to the max if they can.
Sounds like the Federal Air Marshalls were there and that the authorities were on to the thing very early on. I believe in such circumstances it is warranted to act before on the basis of such behavior.
One thing is for sure...they are not going to get control of another aircraft and run it into a building. They may make it crash...but they will be resisted. Both by authorities on the plane and by passengers as was the case on Flight 93.
This was probably not a dry run ... the idea, it seems, was to blow the aircraft up over a heavily populated area like LA. For whatever reason they were unsuccessful ...
You are right, it is martial law, I am terrible!
I know what it is and yes I think it is time.
I think I need to mark this one for hubby to read. And now's not the time for a stiff drink. Now's the time to be sober.
Dry run or not, there were a load of terrorized individuals on board that plane. Thankfully, they arrived safely to their destination.
I remember being in Det Metro once. Our toddler son had to go through security screening four or five times before he made it through. He had pants with multiple pockets, and all were loaded with keys. He used to collect keys, and he had to carry all of them with him wherever he went. The security was not so amused. I guess someone was watching them that day because they were very diligent. That was years ago.
"I know what it is and yes I think it is time."
So, you're ready to dispense with all legal protections? You're ready to be forced to go through checkpoints anywhere? You're ready to produce your papers at any time? You're ready to spend as long in jail as the authorities want, with no recourse to legal assistance?
I suspect that you want martial law for others, but not for yourself. Sorry, but that isn't the way it works in the USA.
The 911 hijackers took at least one rehearsal flight. The actor James Woods was a witness to their odd behavior on that rehearsal flight. This could have been a rehearsal flight. Or perhaps the rags couldn't assemble their bomb as planned (hence the one man mouthing the word "no" near the end of the flight).
I agree that living in fear is not the way. But burying your head in the sand in the face of blatantly threatening behavior is foolish. How many stories, editorials, etc. have been published about how the 911 hijackers were able to take over their planes with nothing more than box cutters because the passengers were so stunned that such a thing could happen that they failed to take any action to stop what was going on? Only the brave souls on the Pennsylvania flight did this - and only after they found out by cell phone what had happened earlier in New York.
Northworst should have taken better action - including calling an immediate emergency landing if the pilots deemed it appropriate. Even if the group turned out to not be an immediate threat (they would probably be a threat on a later flight), such action would send out a signal that the airlines are still being vigilant.
As for claims of racial profiling, Phuck the rags. Give them their own airline and then everyone will be a whole lot safer.
Practice makes perfect.
In my opinion this is actually a positive account of how behind the scenes activity is actually occurring to take the appropriate activity. I can certainly understand the lack of publicity, they may tip off another cell and lose the opportunity to snatch them up too.
While I agree that nothing actually happened on the flight, the activities of these 14 men were suspicious and, in my mind, enough to raise the discomfort level beyond reasonable.
We have to remember that we are living in a post-9/11 world and our very survival depends heavily on being uncomfortable in these types of circumstances. Furthermore, although Bush has not overruled him, Norman Minetta's demand that ME men or persons of ME descent NOT be profiled has been demonstrably proven to be inexcusably reckless and dangerous. We know that the terrorists want another successful attack against the US INSIDE the US, why help them achieve it?
While this story sounds very much like a Hollywood "much-ado-about-nothing" movie in which a bunch of suspicious activities occur but nothing actually happens, the fact remains that, given what we know about the ME and Muslims, something COULD have happened. As silly as it seems, we have to defend against the prospect of what COULD have happened versus what did.
Because this is a POST-9/11 world, not an innocent 9/10 world.
Yes, but if the terrorists are secretly assembling a bomb in the lavatory, no one - not even Chuck Norris sitting in first class - can do anything about it.
Based on what happened at the end of the flight and the presence of a number of air marshals on the flight, they were under surveillence.
Wonder how many F-16s were airborne or sitting on 5 minute strip alert along the flight path?
Components could have been hidden in the towel (where a foot long object was concealed), in the McDonald's bag, in the camera the man carried to the bathroom, and other similar places not noticed by the author.
I am retinking my flight plans to and from the Northeast next month. No joke!
PC is going to kill many more people. You will see.
The guy they arrested in the Minneapolis airport last week flew in from Syria by way of Amsterdam and was not on any terror watch list either.
"You may need a stiff drink"
Have we become a nation of cowards? We need to quit sloberring and running around like sheep over incidents like this. Learn, yes, be vigilant, yes, take corrective measures in a thoughtful manner, yes. Run around in fear, no, and a million times no.
Also, "Before I'm labeled a racial profiler or -- worse yet -- a racist, let me add this. A month ago I traveled to India to research a magazine article I was writing. My husband and I flew on a jumbo jet carrying more than 300 Hindu and Muslim men and women on board. We traveled throughout the country and stayed in a Muslim village 10 miles outside Pakistan. I never once felt fearful. I never once felt unsafe. I never once had the feeling that anyone wanted to hurt me".
Outsourcing or not, Americans need to figure out who their friends are.
Chicken Little is right.
I refuse to live in fear myself, but I don't plan to live STUPID either!
>>The actor James Woods was a witness to their odd behavior on that rehearsal flight.<<
Any place on line were we can read an account of what he saw?
I'll be circulating this story far and wide.
So only if the flight were blown up would you have become concerned? My understanding is that terrorists conduct numerous dry runs. But then, I guess they have a constitutional right to conduct dry runs, and if it generates suspicion, then obviously those concerned are racists....
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your trip. WTF, this is not good.
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