Skip to comments.U.S. Accuses American of Discrimination
Posted on 04/28/2003 4:40:24 PM PDT by honway
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Add this to the list of American Airlines' woes: The government is accusing the carrier of violating passengers' civil rights. The nation's largest airline is struggling to avoid bankruptcy. Its chief executive was ousted Thursday because he didn't disclose executive perks granted while he was seeking wage concessions from company unions.
On Friday, the Transportation Department issued its first racial bias complaint ever against an airline, saying that 10 people were removed from American flights or denied boarding because they were perceived to be Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian or Muslim.
Most of the incidents cited in the administrative complaint happened to U.S. citizens and occurred within three months of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the department said.
American said it would fight the charges and denied that passengers were discriminated against by its crew or the crew of American Eagle, its commuter arm. The case will be heard by an administrative law judge.
"All of the airlines, as well as the nation, were under heightened security during this time and American (and American Eagle) employees were following the directives of the president and the attorney general to be vigilant in the face of terrorist threats," the airline said in a statement.
It said that vigilance prevented Richard Reid from igniting a shoe bomb on an American flight in December 2001.
Reid, a scruffy-looking 29-year-old British citizen and convert to Islam, pleaded guilty in Boston last October to attempting to blow up the Paris-to-Miami flight.
Transportation officials said some of the passengers who complained were rebooked on American or another airline without any additional screening, though they'd been removed from their American flight as security risks.
Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said he was very pleased the complaint was filed. The committee filed discrimination lawsuits against three airlines last spring.
"This is excellent," he said. "Yes, we had these incidents, but the government is responding in the way we would hope it would."
Among those not allowed to fly were Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and a Secret Service agent on President Bush's security detail, Ibish said.
There have been many complaints filed by the government against airlines for discriminating against disabled people, but never before about race, color or national origin, said Chet Lunner, a Transportation Department spokesman. "This is the first time on racial grounds," he said.
American could be fined as much as $65,000 plus penalties for any other violations that might be discovered during an administrative hearing.
5) During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre-September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone's first question was "Why?--Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case? (I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBIHQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like Robert Hansen, who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis' effort.)
A July 2001 memo by an FBI agent warning that Osama bin Laden might send terrorists to the United States for flight training was disregarded by headquarters, which was unaware officials previously tried to identify Middle Eastern flight students in this country, a congressional investigator said.
The Phoenix-based agent, Kenneth Williams, wrote a memo to his superiors in Washington two months before the attacks, suggesting that terrorists might be learning to fly commercial jetliners at U.S. flight schools. He asked for a check of flight schools, but no checks were made.
Yesterday evening, the White House confirmed a just-broadcast CBS News report that the CIA had warned President Bush last August that members of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack U.S. airplanes.
But the White House spokesman said the warnings didn't include the possibility that the hijackers would turn the planes into missiles for suicide attacks.He said the President received the information in his daily CIA briefing while vacationing at his Texas ranch.
A July 2001 memo by an FBI agent warning that Osama bin Laden might send terrorists to the United States for flight training was disregarded by headquarters
the CIA had warned President Bush last August that members of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack U.S. airplanes
The FBI knew all about Yousef's plans. They'd seen the files, been inside 603. The CIA had access to everything, too. ...
might be planning to fly a plane into the World Trade Center,
Hussein Ibish and I attended the same university, although I never had the displeasure of meeting him. He was a notorious campus figure, known for his pro-Palestinian militancy and radical politicization of the graduate student newspaper. Ibish was the ubiquitous campus progressive, ruminating on unions, Americas genocide in Iraq and the evil Americans supposed imperial ambitions in the Middle East.
All of this was standard fare in Amherst, a radical left-wing enclave that fancied itself, in the words of a Gramscite Marxist friend, the Berkeley of the east coast. But Ibish was an anomaly even by Amherst standards, earning the nickname Insane Rubbish from the small cabal of Ibish-haters on campus.
After I graduated, Ibish dropped from my radar, a forgotten relic of those frustrating years in Western Massachusetts. But in the past few years Ibish, under the aegis of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, has become the go-to guy for domestic Arab issues. And his radical past has been almost entirely forgotten.
Yes, the same PC $hit that contributed to the failure of our government agencies to protect the public from Middle Eastern terrorists has now evolved to punishing the victims.
FBI Was Warned of Sept. 11 Hijacker
Informant Says He Provided Facts About Phoenix Hijacker
By John McWethy
May 23 A paid FBI informant told ABCNEWS that three years before Sept. 11, he began providing the FBI with information about a young Saudi who later flew a hijacked passenger plane into the Pentagon.
Aukai Collins, the informant, said he worked for the FBI for four years in Phoenix, monitoring the Arab and Islamic communities there. Hani Hanjour was the hijacker Collins claimed to have told the FBI about while Hanjour was in flight training in Phoenix.
Collins said the FBI knew Hanjour lived in Phoenix, knew his exact address, his phone number and even what car he drove. "They knew everything about the guy," said Collins.