Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Government, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 6:33 am

A couple of weeks ago when that Dutch airliner returned to the Amsterdam airport following an incident involving 12 men who, after boarding the plane late, began to pass around cell phones and walk up and down the aisles, I asked on my radio show “What is going on here?”

In the last several months there have been numerous incidents involving suspicious behavior of passengers or threats that have been phoned in or found scrawled on air sickness bags. And counterterrorism experts say that even though most of these incidents are explainable because of heightened security fears, there are just too many of them to dismiss out of hand. In fact, these experts believe that some of these incidents could have been “feints” by terrorists:

“We are constantly being probed by terrorists,” Mr. Hagmann said. “We are going to have a limited number of incidents that are just a ploy, a nonevent as a result of misunderstandings or innocuous activity. You can expect that and factor that in. But the extent we are seeing today — the numbers are well beyond the norm.”

At least 23 incidents worldwide since the Aug. 10 arrests of two dozen suspects have led to 11 emergency landings or flight diversions, four of them escorted by military jets, and 16 arrests.

The majority of disruptions occurred on domestic and inbound international flights. The number of publicly reported security incidents peaked on Aug. 25, with eight incidents on that day, Mr. Hagmann said.

Judging by that shocking number of incidents on August 25 as well as the other reported events, one would have to conclude either we have the biggest bunch of bedwetting scaredy cats running our airline security or that something very, very bad may be in the offing. And, of course, those numbers don’t include incidents that are not publicly reported.

This kind of speculation is not new. Annie Jacobsen of the Womens Wall Street Journal has written a series on her own experience in a flight where 14 Syrian men behaved in an extraordinarily strange way - moving about the cabin, making sudden moves toward the cockpit, going in and out of the bathroom frequently among other noticeable activities. Jacobsen has also kept track of a few other similar incidents. Her tussle with DHS over getting them to investigate the incident is indicative of either a dysfunctional counterterrorism system or bureaucratic laziness.

Are we being paranoid?

Laura Mansfield, a counterterrorism consultant and Arabic translator, says many of the incidents involve terrorist sympathizers hoping to divert attention from actual terrorists moving forward with real plots.

“There is a combination of things going on. They are trying to get the threat level reduced by creating a bunch of false alarms so people will be complacent. It’s also a strategy of red herrings and disinformation,” she said.

The aviation threat level in the U.S. went to Code Red, or severe, after the Britain arrests and today remains on Code Orange, or high.

Miss Mansfield said that although the terrorists pay no attention to anniversary dates, recent activity and the release of several tapes indicate that Islamic militants want badly to strike the U.S. before this upcoming September 11.

An example of sympathizer involvement Miss Mansfield cited is a 2004 campaign in which in an Islamist Web site urged Muslim tourists to distract law enforcement by videotaping landmarks, nuclear plants, water-treatment facilities and infrastructure on their vacations.

According to many on the left, there is very little to worry about, that the War on Terrorism, alert levels, arresting people who are plotting terrorist acts, and spying on terrorists is all part of a gigantic conspiracy by the Bush Administration to make political hay out of terrorist threats by using fear as a political club to force the American people to vote for Republicans.

Yes it is true that terrorism as a political issue is a huge plus for Republicans. But instead of seeing straw men in the wind perhaps Democrats should be asking themselves why that is so? Is it because Americans are a bunch of cowardly lions with no courage and, as John Dean speculates in his best selling book “Conservatives Without Conscience” a predilection to follow authoritarian politicians?

Or could it possibly be that Americans are an eminently practical people and prefer a political party that takes terrorism as seriously as they do and worries less about “understanding” terrorists as putting them 6 feet under?

Don’t look for an answer any time soon on that score. There is no place on earth where there is less introspective analysis than on the left wing of the Democratic party.

That same Islamist website encouraging ordinary Muslim tourists to distract our counterterroism efforts added this chilling message:

“The distractions are going well,” the site reported. “The Americans are chasing those with video cameras believing them to be terrorists. That permits us to do our preparations undetected.”

Another piece of the same puzzle from a mosque in Georgia:

Last year, Miss Mansfield visited a mosque in Georgia that advertised an English and Arabic session on God and family. She attended the Arabic session where a man identified as Khaled recounted a New York flight. He and his friends acted suspicious and made simultaneous restroom runs to frighten passengers.

“He laughed when he described how several women were in tears, and one man sitting near him was praying,” Miss Mansfield later wrote in an account of that meeting on her personal Web site.

“As the meeting drew to a close, the imam gave a brief speech calling for the protection of Allah on the mujahedeen fighting for Islam throughout the world, and reminded everyone that it was their duty as Muslims to continue in the path of jihad, whether it was simple efforts like those of Khaled and his friends, or the actual physical fighting,” Miss Mansfield wrote.

Please note the “simultaneous restroom runs” and compare it to Annie Jacobsen’s experience. Coincidence? Or part of a mis-direction playbook authored by jihadists?

And another little tidbit of information to chew on; Federal Air Marshall’s have been forced to reveal themselves twice in the last two weeks. They have done so only once previously in the 5 years since 9/11.

I am not asking you to connect any dots. There are no dots to connect so don’t bother. What I am asking is “What is going on here?”

And the terrorists may not even need to bring down a plane to accomplish their goal:

We have to keep in mind the terrorists want to strike at our economy, and the airline industry is very weak. These diversions and cancellation of flights cost the airline industry a lot of money, and we have to look at that,” Mr. Hagmann said.

Dave Mackett, an airline pilot and president of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, says the diversions are costing airlines millions and leaves the industry vulnerable to lawsuits.

“This cannot be the new norm,” Mr. Mackett said.

And whatever happened to those 12 Indian Muslims on that Amsterdam to Mumbai flight that was escorted back to the Amsterdam airport by F-16’s?

They were released within 48 hours after enormous pressure was applied by the Indian government. And when they returned to India?

“It was a misunderstanding on the part of the airline. We were treated well and want to forget it as a bad experience,” Mohammad Iqbal Batliwala, one of the passengers told reporters on arrival at the airport.

Batliwala refused to comment further saying that he was tired.

Another passenger Shakeel Chotani said that the ‘misunderstanding has been sorted out’.

Meanwhile, the remaining passengers refused to speak to the waiting media and were taken away by their relatives.

The passengers took over an hour to come out of the terminal building after their aircraft landed.

A “misunderstanding by the airline?” A refusal to say anything else? The other men running off without saying anything?

One question; how would you feel if you were innocent and rousted in such a manner? I know I would be screaming bloody murder to the press the first chance I got. And I wouldn’t chalk it up to a “misunderstanding” by anybody but rather a clear case of profiling.

Extremely odd. And one more puzzle piece to put off to the side until we figure out where it might fit - if it even belongs to the terrorism puzzle at all.


  1. Oustanding post.

    Comment by Jo — 9/4/2006 @ 6:58 am

  2. Please let us officially profile.

    Note that even these false alarms have involved young men of Middle Eastern appearance.

    As you point out, even creating fear and distrust achieves terrorism’s goals.

    It makes me so angry.

    Comment by goddessoftheclassroom — 9/4/2006 @ 8:07 am

  3. I am not sure if this is a feint, as it well might be, as much as a strategy. The enemy no longer needs to blow up planes or hijack and fly them into buildings. A few carefully coordinated disruptive events can accomplish the same goal–crippling the airline industry, causing economic damage and spreading fear, terror.

    How long the American people are willing to just go about their lives, like the persecuted people of Israel, in these circumstances, with the constant fear of attack and heightened insecurity, remains the great unknown. But at some point, whether it results from simply tiring of an intolerable situation or another castrosphic attack, collective rage is going to set in.

    There are many dark clouds brewing on the horizon, in Iran, in the Middle East, in Europe, in Britain, in Africa, in North and South America. These disruptions of airline flights are only a small part, like balls of hail, of the larger storm, the looming all-out war between Islam and the West.

    Comment by GawainsGhost — 9/4/2006 @ 9:06 am

  4. Perhaps a point beside the point, but I found the Mansfield citation interesting. I recall that Yassar Arafat used a P.R. tactic in which he would say one thing in English for the benefit of the foreign press and quite another in Arabic for home consumption. Mansfield’s experience in the Georgia mosque suggests that perhaps some Muslim leaders in this country might be doing the same. As the forced religious conversion of the Fox News reporters challenges the Christian conscience, so might some Muslim leaders here (perhaps under the cover of Arabic) be challenging their followers to ponder whether they are Muslims first and Americans second, or vice versa.

    I realize this all sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I am not promoting one by any means. Nonetheless, Khalid’s boasts (in Arabic) about the “cowardly” reaction of the American passengers worries me about some larger questions. My apologies to the peaceful Muslim community, but please ponder the issue.

    Comment by Larry — 9/4/2006 @ 9:35 am

  5. The misdirection the terrorists are using is a classic strategy of Communists. The chief allies of Iran and Syria who are now the chief Islamic terrorists states are Russia and China who are leading Communist states. Without the support of Russia and China Iran would be much easier to contain. The Islamic terrorists are playing from the Communist play book.


    I have had the same thoughts as you. I have wondered how long Americans will be willing to continue being persecuted before collective rage sets in and the gloves finally come off. Americans along with Israelis are to the early 21st century what the Jews were to Nazi Germany. This war is far bigger than simply the US versus Islamic terrorists. The major supporters of the Islamic terrorist supporting states are the leading Communist states of Russia and China. The enemy is an alliance of Communists and Islamic extremists.

    Comment by B.Poster — 9/4/2006 @ 5:31 pm

  6. So, Rick, if a similar incident happened on an American flight, should these 12 be sent to Gitmo? How about the members of the congregation Ms Mansfield attended? After all, they CLAIM they’re just the innocent victims of a misunderstanding. BULLS**T!!!!

    Comment by SDN — 9/4/2006 @ 6:08 pm

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