Friday, July 23, 2004

Terror in the Skies, Again?

Terror in the Skies, Again?

Two plusses and a minus? What gives?

It appears to me that the first article below was written by a woman (Ann Jacobsen) who has her wits about her, and her and her husband were making observations of obviously unusual behavior aboard a flight. Further, the Washington Times has picked up a separate incident and is saying these really could be 'dry runs' by would-be terrorists.

A quick search of Google for "terrorist dry run" or "terrorist dry runs" found about 1,000 entries. Now, I didn't go read them all, and it appears a goodly number of them, blogs and such, are all talking about this same article. But the topic is at least a legitimate one. SOMEBODY ought to be asking the questions! Wait 'till some of those bastards grab the next plane. Surely it will be 'Bush's fault'. (Come to think of it, it WILL be Bush's fault for not firing Mineta a long time ago.)

Still, I find it strange that there was apparently more than one Air Marshall on that flight. As thin as they're stretched trying to randomly cover all flights, having more than one on a plane strikes me as odd. Was something already afoot that we're not being told?

It's possible these guys were just toying with people, being 'funny' by acting 'suspicious' on purpose. If so, maybe they're all hovered around a PC somewhere laughing their ass off right now at all the chatter they've caused. Who carries their Big Mac to the toilet otherwise?

On the otherhand, what if this was a dry run? Maybe not so much as a bomb making test run, but a 'media awareness' test run. Maybe they were being intentionally obvious so as to be sure to be noticed. Testing to see how far they could push the envelope. Checking to see the followup media reports, the government reaction and the airline response. Surely they wouldn't send out their first string for a test run of this sort. Even if they really were innocent musicians, this data is still usable information by terrorist plotters.

On the other otherhand, isn't Syria listed as a "Terrorist-sponsoring state"? Does the attitide of 'Oh, they're just musicians?... go head' strike you as just a little niave? What do you think they're going to put on the Questionaire? Occupation: TERRORIST. You think maybe they're going to walk down the isle introducing themselves 'Hi, I'm a terrorist.'

Come on people, we're at WAR here. This is serious stuff.

So why does Snopes discount this story as "False"? While the Syrian band members were apparently not terrorists, the story is still valid. Jacobsen never said they were terrorists. She only said she observed unusual behavior by "Middle Eastern men".

Make a note: EVEN A TERRORIST IS NOT A TERRORIST UNTIL HE BLOWS SOMETING UP. Up until that moment he's just a guy (quite possibly with a funny accent, olive skin, maybe a little nervous, who might even play a musical instrument.)

We should be not looking for "terrorists". They're already easy enough to spot. They're the ones holding guns, box cutters or other various and sundry weapons up to the necks of the closest stewardess.

No, what we should be looking for are people who could be terrorists. Fortunately, most of us don't work for Norman Mineta so we can scruitinize more than two Arabs at a time. Behavior as described by Jacobsen certainly meets the logical criteria I would apply to what to look for. If it turns out to be nothing, fine. Better to be wrong than dead.

I had come to rely on snopes as being an impartial voice of reason, researching rumors and either confirming or discounting them. But this one is not a rumor. It apparently happened. It appears that the 14 Syrians were checked out and cleared, however, Jacobsen's premise is chilling: If 19 guys can learn to fly planes, certainly 14 can learn to play musical instruments. No? Just because they weren't pre-listed on the latest terrorist list doesn't mean they aren't.

The airlines and the TSA had better wise up. I've flown several times since 9/11/01 and I feel less safe now than I ever did before. To be fair, I'm sure there are many dedicated and hard-working TSA employees who are trying to make a difference. But I've also seen some sleep-walking doosies. The bottom line is, I have no confidence that these folks in the check-in counters are really accomplishing much.

I will drive whenever possible.

Terror in the Skies, Again? - WomensWallStreet

Part II: Terror in the Skies, Again? - WomensWallStreet

Scouting jetliners for new attacks - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - July 22, 2004

Michelle Malkin: I BELIEVE THE JACOBSENS -- July 19, 2004

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Terror in the Skies)

Something big [and bad] is coming, says CIA director
Something big [and bad] is coming, says CIA director -- July 15, 04

Waiting for the big bang...


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