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Federal Air Marshals: 2004 Northwest Airlines Flight 327 “Terrorist Dry Run”

Posted By Douglas J. Hagmann On May 29, 2007 @ 2:42 am In Domestic Terrorism,Suspicious Incidents | Comments Disabled

29 May 2007: A significantly redacted 51-page report was released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security late last Friday with new details of what federal air marshals say was a terrorist dry run aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles on June 29, 2004. The release of the report stems from a freedom of information act request from the Washington Times in April 2006, writes Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson in an article dated May 27, 2007. Ms. Hudson is known for her tenacity in getting to the bottom of a story and accuracy in reporting, and Ms. Jacobsen for her detailed accounts of the events of Northwest Airlines Flight 327 on June 29, 2004 in her book Terror in the Skies, Why another 9/11 could happen again.

The complete report will appear in tomorrow’s edition of The Washington Times.

Ms. Jacobsen was aboard Flight 327 with her husband, both veteran air travelers, witnessed unusual behavior of 13 Middle Eastern men during the flight. Some of the men behaving erratically were ultimately identified as band members of Syrian singer Nour MEHANA, known by some innocuously as the “Syrian” version of Wayne Newton. Despite official denials, relentless and unfounded accusations of racism, bigotry and even hysteria, as well as the prematurely dismissive report issued by the urban legend myth-buster web site Snopes as well as some uninformed, clueless Internet “Bloggers”, Ms. Jacobsen pressed forward and reported the details of the behavior of the Muslim men aboard that flight. After reviewing the OIG report, it is obvious that Ms. Jacobsen has been vindicated and her detractors exposed as inept, at the very least.

Meanwhile, among the report’s findings, which will be detailed tomorrow, include the following verifications:

Prior to boarding, one of the air marshals noticed what he later characterized as “unusual behavior” by about six Middle Eastern males, who arrived at the gate together, then separated, and acted as if they did not know each other. According to the air marshals, these men were sweaty, appeared nervous, and arrived after the boarding announcement. The air marshals made eye contact with one another to ensure they were aware of this behavior. The six men were part of the 13 member musical group. One of the six passengers who we interviewed said that while waiting at the gate he also noted several Middle Eastern-appearing men talking in small groups.

During the flight, about eight of the 13 Middle Eastern males behaved in a manner that aroused the attention and concern of flight attendants and passengers, and later of the air marshals and pilots. Suspicious activities noted by flight attendants and other passengers included:

- One man, with a limp, sitting in the emergency row area, repeatedly refused to exchange seats, pretending not to understand English, even though he spoke English to the gate agent. The promoter eventually helped convince him to change seats;

- One or two men walked the aisle, appearing to count passengers.

- One man rushed to the front of the plane appearing to head for the cockpit. At the last moment he veered into the first class lavatory, remaining in it for about 20 minutes;

- One man carried a large McDonald’s restaurant bag into a lavatory;

- Several men spent excessive time in the lavatories;

- Another man, upon returning from the lavatory, reeked strongly of what smelled like toilet bowl chemicals;

- Some men hand signaled each other. The passenger who entered the lavatory with the McDonald’s bag made a thumbs-up signal to another man upon returning from the lavatory. Another man made a slashing motion across his throat, appearing to say “No.”

- Several men congregated in the aisles, changed seats, and arose when the seat belt sign was turned on in preparation for landing.

It should be considered that on the day of the flight, the DHS issued an urgent alert to several U.S. airports to be on the lookout for Pakistani men believed to be training for a terrorist attack in the U.S. An article written by Jason Burke, published in the British newspaper The Observer on 8 February 2004, four months before flight 327 warned of dry-runs aboard aircraft under the headline “Terrorist Bid to Build bombs in Mid-flight: Intelligence Reveals Dry Runs of New Threat to Blow Up Airliners.” Equally important is that information from multiple agencies provided to US intelligence agencies contemporaneously verified that Islamic terrorists were planning to build bombs in aircraft bathrooms by smuggling components individually.

Of course, there is information about the band leader himself, although he was not one of the 13 aboard the aircraft. From Syria - a noted terrorist “sponsor nation,” MEHANA produced an album that included the song “Um El Shaheed,” or “Mother of a Martyr.”
The song is about a woman who mourned her son’s death until she realized that “he died for a good cause - with a weapon in one hand and his heart in another - and he should be glorified for what he did.” According to the Washington Times, MEHANA “sings to the mother that her son’s goals are heroic and she should be happy he is dead,” fighting to free Palestine, Golan Heights and South Lebanon.” The song concludes with chants of “Allahu akbar,” commonly the last words of Muslim homicide bombers.

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