Flying the unfriendly skies: An extensive analysis of passenger air incidents

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

Note: Due to the length of this investigative report, it can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here (Right click, choose “save as, save target as” or save page as” to save to your computer).

18 January 2010: Sometimes, a story can be told in a few paragraphs. When a matter of personal and national security is involved, however, it requires a deeper analysis rooted in historical perspective for proper insight. Consider what is at stake when you board your flight with your family, holding your child’s hand as you walk onto the plane for your next vacation, or anxiously await the arrival of your closest friend or family member at the airport terminal. Although many have seemed to already forgotten, war has been thrust upon us, with our enemy using this very conveyance on which we rely. Therefore, this analysis cannot be limited to a few paragraphs or sound bites. Those can be found in the major media and elsewhere.

Nearly all of the major media outlets, talk show pundits, and numerous bloggers have been reporting on the recent suspicious incidents aboard airlines over the last few weeks. The majority of those in the media, in lockstep with the mentality of our current administration, have categorized the incidents or perpetrators as “isolated incidents,” “isolated extremists.” They conclude they have “no connection to terrorism or “larger plots,” and assure  the public  that “no identifiable threat” was found in these instances, with the obvious exception being the near successful bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day.

Many of these incidents have been explained away by our government’s own security agencies as simple misunderstandings, including but not limited to situations caused by language barriers, physical illness, mental illness, and alcohol induced impairment by a passenger(s), or various other seemingly innocuous explanations. These public explanations are usually accompanied by the official and increasingly familiar rationale that an “abundance of caution” was merely exercised in each instance. Such explanations have allowed the majority of the passengers who engaged in the activity that interfered with commercial air travel to walk away freely without being criminally charged, despite federal laws that specifically prohibit interference with commercial air travel.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security institutes new and ineffective security measures that still fail to address the problem. Instead of effectively profiling passengers to identify those posing the greatest risk to air security before they enter the aircraft, we are allowing them to shamelessly and quite literally strip our wives, mothers, grandmothers and even children through the use of high tech imaging. Our present security system is not a security system at all, but a degrading annoyance that is systematically stripping away not only our clothes but our dignity, restricting our civil liberties, and eroding our freedoms and rights.

And not only are we allowing ourselves and our families to be subjected to this humiliation that does little for our actual security at 35,000 feet, many ordinarily sensible freedom loving Americans are actually encouraging and embracing these insulting draconian methods.

We insist on employing the most invasive methods to look for weapons on bodies of passengers but not at the passenger’s behavior, ethnicity, and religious affiliation, country of origin, prior travels, visas and passports, despite the latter having been proven much more effective than the former. We approve of having our bodies and those of our wives and children patted down and frisked, a tactic once reserved only for criminal suspects, and permit TSA officials to rifle through some of our most intimate belongings.

Passengers young and old, physically fit and obviously infirmed alike are already forced to remove their shoes at security checkpoints, which is an artifact of poor and ineffectual threat screening. We continue to be perilously myopic in limiting our focus for weapons, while being forced to believe that placing the same level of scrutiny on the passengers themselves is somehow violating their religious freedoms and civil rights. We are now being “virtually disrobed,” and it might not be long before we’ll be asked to grab our ankles before boarding a plane. It is sad that many are making jokes about the process and struggling to find catchy names for the types of bombing suspects (e.g. shoe bomber, crotch bomber) while it is the terrorists themselves who are laughing the loudest.

As we’ve seen after 9/11, the UK liquid bombing plot, and the most recent Christmas Day PETN and TATP explosive plot, our present air travel security system is becoming more progressively reactive rather than being preventative in nature. Based on this practice, it is likely that the next series of security measures implemented will be based on reconstructive forensic analysis of plane and body parts.

If we are truly concerned about the safety of our air travel the next time we board a plane or see our loved ones off on their next flight, we must understand how we arrived at this level of continued exposure and inefficiency. We must demand answers for the recent upsurge in suspicious airline incidents instead of accepting the convoluted logic of the heads of the DHS, TSA, administrative officials and career politicians who are supposed to represent us, and the major media, that is supposed to inform us.

Even as the security becomes proportionately more invasive and less effective, it seems too few Americans asking questions, having themselves and their loved ones resigned to being subjected to virtual nudity and shoeless entry. Ironically, it seems the only group of people that are objecting to this invasive technique are Muslims themselves. Equally ironic is that this investigator is in agreement with their objections, but for different reasons.

From an investigative perspective, I believe the answers to our air security problems can be found through a comprehensive analysis of the behavioral patterns of suspects involved in past events, combined by an honest assessment of the manner in which each incident and suspect was handled. Every aspect of these events should be subjected to professional investigative and behavioral analysis, from the first indication of trouble to the final utterance of federal officials to the liberally biased media.

Next, it is this investigator’s professional opinion that we must not discount the connection between the recent increases in air incidents (and other unrelated terror plots) with the controversial policy announced by the current administration involving the adjudication of Islamic terrorists though our criminal court system. I believe there are both obvious and obscure relationships between these seemingly unrelated events, as the primary aspect of the current threats facing us lies in the asymmetrical nature of the war they have waged upon us. I will point out where I believe the relationships exist.

The Bush administration and his predecessors failed us by acquiescing to the protests of well funded and deeply entrenched Islamic advocacy groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to avoid identifying our enemy by the religious and political ideology of Islam. We saw the residual results of this Bush instituted policy, reconstituted in a more aggressive fashion under Barack Hussein Obama, in the immediate aftermath of the Fort Hood shooting. A well known Fox News anchor interviewing a U.S. Senator refused to even mention the name of the suspect in custody despite both having complete verification of the accuracy of the information. This illustrates a willful failure to provide the truth to the American people.

The Obama administration and his supportive media have exponentially exacerbated these failures. Barack Hussein Obama has publicly emphasized our national defects as seen by other countries rather than focusing on their atrocities, while the media provides the reiteration. In his June 2009 Cairo speech, Obama unapologetically prostrated our country not only before the world in general, but the Islamic community specifically either through ignorance or with malice, neither of which is acceptable. Combined with the backward decision purportedly made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, with the imprimatur of Barack Hussein Obama to adjudicate terrorists including terror kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohamed in our criminal courts rather than treat them as the war criminals they are, the terrorists and those who facilitate and finance them have become emboldened in their ideology and actions domestically and abroad.

That decision by the current administration has essentially changed venues from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to the courtrooms of America. Worse, they have armed our enemies with legal tools once reserved only for citizens of America. And as if to further punish our country and our citizens who’ve been most traumatized and victimized by acts of war, they’ve changed the venue not only from the desert battlefield, but to Southern District of New York, where the buildings and survivors still bear the scars from the worst attack on America. While some rationalize this as proving our moral and ethical superiority over our enemies, one must ask whether those arguing in favor of this truly understand the tactics of our enemies, or whether they simply hate America.

What does all of this have to do with the recent increase of suspicious airline incidents? Plenty, if one connects the applicable dots. To do so, we must be able to identify a legitimate “dot” and to distinguish between true stupidity or honest mistakes and the evil that is confronting us. Before that can be done however, it is necessary to be have the courage and intellectual honesty to identify the evil as a dot of a larger picture Only then can they be connected, the evil confronted, and the fight properly engaged.

The dots

TWA Flight 847: How many Americans recall the horrific ordeal of the passengers of TWA Flight 847 that was hijacked by Muslim terrorists on 14 June 1985? Among the 153 passengers was 23 year-old U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem who was brutally beaten, executed and whose body was tossed by the Islamic terrorists onto the hot airport tarmac at the Beirut airport.

The ostensible reasons for the hijacking, supported by the behavior of the Shia terrorist perpetrators, focused on the actions of Israel and America’s support for Israel. The hijacking was planned and facilitated by Hezbollah with the assistance of Iran. That act of Islamic terrorism against a U.S. flagged commercial aircraft, including the murder of a U.S. serviceman, was seen throughout the world, thus giving the hijackers the global forum to pontificate their beliefs about America and Israel before a worldwide audience.

Compare this to bringing Kalid Sheikh Muhammad and four other Islamic terrorists to the United States Federal Courthouse in New York. The result will be similar, giving Mohammed and the others a global audience that will put America on trial. The trial will give the terrorists a forum to denounce America and Israel, already hobbled by Obama’s world posture.

Also, note that the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 was handled as a criminal act. Is it any wonder that as of today, almost 25 years after this horrifying ordeal, that three of the Muslim terrorists who were the murderous perpetrators and members of the Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah remain at large and on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list? Rewards of $5 million for information leading to their arrests and convictions still are being offered by the FBI.

Pam Am Flight 103: Also of significant historical importance Pam Am Flight 103, scheduled to fly from London to New York when a bomb blew it from the sky on 21 December 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing its 243 passengers and 16 crew members, along with 11 people on the ground.

A few weeks before that bombing, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a rather specific warning about a planned bombing of a transcontinental flight from Germany to the U.S. The attack was successful despite the advance warning and assurances to ramp up passenger and cargo screening and security procedures.

That incident of mass murder, initially described by Scotland’s Lord Advocate as “the UK’s largest criminal inquiry led by the smallest police force in Britain,” was eventually supplemented by the FBI in a three-year joint investigation. That investigation eventually led to arrests and a controversial trial in a criminal court where one defendant was convicted, while a second was found not guilty.

While much controversy still surrounds the terrorist attack Of Pan Am Flight 103, including the recent release of the convicted bomber due to health reasons, a sealed letter was hand delivered to then President George Bush on 15 May 1990 by the chairman of the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST). The letter included recommendations by the commission, along with this prophetic statement:

“National will and the moral courage to exercise it are the ultimate means of defeating terrorism. The Commission recommends a more vigorous policy that not only pursues and punishes terrorists, but also makes state sponsors of terrorism pay a price for their actions.”

That is a clear and ominous warning made nearly 20 years ago that is just as applicable today. Given the hindsight we now have at the cost of numerous lives and bloodshed, it is reasonable to question the not only the decision, but the motives behind the decision to handle such matters as instituted by the Obama administration. With the employment of hindsight, one might see this now 20 year-old recommendation as an ominous warning against handling each incident as “isolated” and ultimately downgrading obvious acts of war by terrorists to common criminal offenses.

TWA Flight 800: Six years after the ominous warning issued by the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, on 17 July 1996, TWA Flight 800, flying from JFK Airport in New York to Rome crashed into the Atlantic near the Long Island community of East Moriches, New York, resulting in the deaths of all 212 passengers and 18 crew members. The “official” cause of the crash was the result of a freak explosion within the center fuel tank of the aircraft, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other government officials. To accept the official explanation is akin to believing that the events taking place aboard our aircraft today have little or nothing to do with Islamic terrorism. (Image below courtesy of Applewhite/AP).

It is extremely important to understand the investigative process involved in TWA Flight 800, from start to finish, as this incident appears to have established the current gold standard used by federal investigative agencies and politicians acting in oversight positions alike for all future investigations of airline incidents.

To fully understand the nuances of the investigation of TWA Flight 800, it is important to realize that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) serves as the lead investigative agency for airplane accidents, although answers to the directives of the U.S. Attorney General when requested to surrender its jurisdiction in the event the accident turns out to be an act of terrorism.

Therefore, all potential acts of terrorism are removed from their immediate investigative jurisdiction and transferred to the Attorney General and FBI.

It is equally important to note that although it is supposed to be independent, the five members that make up the NTSB are appointed by the President, who also appoints the head of the NTSB. Accordingly, its independence, as well as its investigative powers, can be open to compromise by political agendas.

At the time of the TWA Flight 800 tragedy, the NTSB was under the direction of Jim Hall, who was appointed to the NTSB by then-President Bill Clinton in October of 1993. Less than a year later, Hall was appointed acting chairman, a position he held until his resignation in January 2001.  Despite his position, Hall had absolutely no investigative experience. In fact, he worked as a staff member for Senator Al Gore, Sr. (D-TN), and later served as a counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.  Within the context of the TWA investigation, Hall has been described as “arguably the least qualified and most political chair in NTSB history.”

Not to worry, however, as the investigation of TWA Flight 800 would be taken over by the FBI at the direction of the Attorney General. Some might be surprised to learn that the “liaison” assigned to handle matters between the NTSB and the FBI was none other than Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, who later went on to become part of the 9/11 Commission.

It was her assignment to “reign in” the investigation. It should not be considered any coincidence that Gorelick has been identified as the individual ultimately responsible for the “wall” that contributed to blocking the sharing of intelligence information that is partially blamed for the failures leading to 9/11. That “wall” far exceeded the constraints of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and was ultimately responsible for preventing counter-terrorism investigators access to the contents of the computer owned by Zacarias Moussaoui in the months prior to 9/11. Although the restrictions she imposed on terrorism investigations from a criminal investigative position made her infamous, Gorelick was also involved mired in controversy over illegal campaign contributions to the Clinton-Gore campaign made via the likes of Charlie Trie and John Huang from foreign sources, the origins of which have yet to be fully disclosed. The relevance, of course, is to “follow the money” in criminal investigations. Gorelick was also appointed Vice Chairman of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), a capacity in which she served from 1997 through 2003 and was handsomely rewarded.

It is also no coincidence that like Jamie Gorelick, Jim Hall would play a future role in maintaining informational control over terrorist events.

PETN: Then & Now

On page 118 of the official NTSB report pertaining to TWA Flight 800 dated 23 August 2000, signed by James Hall, it was noted that trace amounts of three types of explosives were found in the wreckage of Flight 800, including pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN. The following is excerpted from page 118 from that report:

“Examination of recovered wreckage revealed trace amounts of explosive residue on three samples of material from three separate locations in the airplane wreckage. These material samples were submitted to the FBI’s laboratory in Washington, D.C., with many other material samples for analysis. The pieces on which these traces were found were described by the FBI as a piece of canvaslike material and two pieces of floor panel; however, the exact locations of the traces were not documented. According to the FBIs laboratory report, [219] analysis of each of the three material samples revealed that they contained traces of different explosives: one contained cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX), one contained nitroglycerin, and one contained a combination of RDX and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN).”

CNN also reported that investigators found traces of explosive on the plane, specifically between rows 15 and 25 in their article published on 23 August 2006. The NTSB report under Hall explains, however, that this particular aircraft was used for a dog-training explosive detection exercise at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport on June 10, 1996, and further suggests that one of the containers used for the explosives could have leaked some material onto the aircraft. Given the confluence of events in this case, many simply do not believe in this coincidence.

Looking at the TWA Flight 800 tragedy with the clarity of hindsight in conjunction with the more recent attempts to bring down our aircrafts using PETN, is it reasonable to so readily accept that the downing of this aircraft was the result of a freak disaster?

Egypt Air Flight 990: Next, consider the events of Egypt Air 990, a flight from Los Angeles to Cairo with a stop-over in New York. Shortly before 2:00 am on 31 October 1999, the aircraft crashed headlong into the Atlantic Ocean, just 60 miles south of the Massachusetts coast, killing all 217 on board. While some continue to believe the cause of the crash remains in dispute, I would urge everyone to look at the “cast of characters” involved in this investigation, the diplomatic posturing, and the lengths involved ensuring that this crash was attributed to things unrelated to pilot suicide or an act of terrorism.

Although all evidence points to a deliberate act of Islamic terrorism by Egyptian co-pilot Gameel Al-Batouti for bringing down Flight 990 and murdering all on board, including many elderly Americans traveling to Egypt as tourists, we again find ourselves being admonished for making engaging in such reckless speculation by the NTSB under orders by the Clinton administration, despite the evidence.

Recall that the Gameel Al-Batouti, who was in sole control of the aircraft while the pilot left the cockpit, switched off auto-pilot controls and uttered a phrase in Arabic “Tawakkalt Ala Allah,” the meaning of which could be taken a number of ways. It is seeming clear, in this instance, that it was the intent of Al-Batouti to take down the aircraft, was his utterance was similar to the 9/11 hijackers Arabic rallying cries of Alluah Akbar. Investigation found reliable references to Al-Batouti being a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, close in relationship to the Islamic Jihad Group.

Also consider what was taking place elsewhere at the same time. Lyne Stewart, an American activist and attorney representing Egyptian terror suspect Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (familiarly known as the blind sheikh), was acting as a go-between with her client and members of his Egyptian terror organization, for which she was convicted in 2005. At the time, however, there was intelligence information to suggest that Al-Batouti was assigned the task of taking down this aircraft and Stewart was complicit based on her illegal transfer of information and instructions. If one were to accept this as reasonable fact, this could be yet another reason to argue against the adjudication of terrorists in our court system.

Next, consider carefully the remarks of Jim Hall, again the “lead investigator” of the crash for the NTSB during a press conference held on 19 November 1999, less than three weeks into the investigation. The U.S. State Department under the Clinton administration was under extreme pressure from the government of Egypt to find a cause that did not involve the actions of Al-Batouti or any member of its crew. Responding to the political pressure he faced, Hall denounced speculation of any improprieties by Al-Batouti or the crew by saying that such talk had “done a disservice to the long-standing friendship between the people of the United States of America and Egypt.”

Bowing to the political demands to avoid a confrontation between Egypt and the U.S., the final conclusion about the crash reached by the NTSB in its final report dated 21 March 2002 was quite underwhelming:

“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the EgyptAir flight 990 accident is the airplane’s departure from normal cruise flight and subsequent impact with the Atlantic Ocean as a result of the relief first officer’s flight control inputs. The reason for the relief first officer’s actions was not determined.”

A message – a wrong message – was being sent to the Islamic world by our own leaders. Throughout the investigation, sensitivities of the Egyptian government were placed well ahead of the facts of the investigation and the fate of the victims of a murderous Islamic terrorist. With the crash of Egypt Air Flight 990, there was a growing sense of the vulnerability of U.S. air travel by Islamic terror groups. Unsurprisingly, the tempo of dry runs and suspicious incidents aboard our aircraft began to rise exponentially.

The aforementioned events that suggested a vulnerability was not lost on the likes of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the planner of the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and a terror suspect with a keen interest in targeting airliners, and his nephew Ramzi Yousef, a key player in 1993 World Trade Center bombing that murdered six people and injured over 1,000 more.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed & airline bomb plots: Five years after Lockerbie, Islamic terrorists Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the latter, coincidentally, soon to be tried for his role in 9/11 in a New York City courtroom at the behest of the Obama administration, planned a large-scale terrorist attack intending to blow up twelve airliners while in flight as they were inbound to the United States.

In December 1994, Mohammed and Yousef conducted a “dry run” for Operation Bojinka or the Manila Plots, the names given to the above referenced airline plot. Facilitated by Mohammed both financially and logistically, Yousef planted an explosive device under a seat of Philippine Airlines Flight 434 that he assembled in the lavatory of the plane during a stopover. Yousef disembarked, and Flight 434 took off again with a Japanese national occupying Yousef’s former seat. The explosion killed the innocent passenger and almost brought down the aircraft.

Notably, the explosive components of bomb included liquid nitroglycerin that was disguised as a bottle of contact lens fluid, glycerin, nitrate, sulfuric acid, and other chemical concentrations. Also notably, the bomb was constructed in the lavatory of the aircraft, using components smuggled aboard.

Yousef, the nephew of Mohammed, is a current resident of the Supermax ADX Prison in Florence, Colorado after being found guilty of his involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing and later of seditious conspiracy. Meanwhile, Mohammed will be facing a criminal trial in New York City for his role in the 9/11 attack on the U.S., with his experience in airline attacks a mere footnote – nonetheless an important one – just a short distance from the buildings destroyed by the means of his interest.

As documented in a previous article, Terror probes – what you’re not being told,  practice runs of our airlines were in full swing at the dawn of the new Millennium and in the months prior to 9/11, including the well publicized account of actor James Woods who witnessed firsthand some of the 9/11 hijackers preparing for that fateful day.

Part II: Post 9/11 to the Present

American Airlines Flight 587 & American Airlines Flight 63: Americans have seen their share of suspicious incidents involving aircraft in the months and years following the attacks of 9/11, including the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into a Queens neighborhood shortly after takeoff from the JFK Airport on 12 November 2001. All 260 passengers and crew on board and 5 people on the ground were killed in this crash that was officially attributed to the separation of the plane’s vertical stabilizer and rudder in flight. The assembly was reportedly found in Jamaica Bay, about a mile north of the main wreckage site.

On 6 December 2004, the NTSB released the full version of their Final Report on the crash of American Airlines Flight 587.The “probable cause” of that crash, according to the NTSB, was “the in-flight separation of the vertical stabilizer” after take-off that caused the pilot to lose control and crash. This determination was initially disclosed at their Final Report Meeting held in Washington, D.C., on 26 October 2004.

Some proponents of this explanation cite a previous, similar incident involving the same type of aircraft involving American Airlines Flight 903 in an accident in 1997 outside of West Palm Beach, Florida and some known “defects” of the vertical stabilizer.  This official cause of the crash of Flight 587 is not without its problems, however, and does not reconcile with a number of facts that definitely indicate a fire and/or explosion occurred aboard Flight 587 at least several seconds before the crash into a Rockaway, Queens neighborhood. Investigators note that there are well over 50 eyewitnesses who saw fire and smoke coming from Flight 587 during level flight and while the tail section was still attached to the aircraft.

Additionally, there are some interesting facts involving the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and transmissions by the pilot that suggest a catastrophic occurrence took place aboard the aircraft that does not comport with the separation of the tail stabilizer. There is also the problematic debris field that suggests that some type of tearing of the body of aircraft, possibly consistent with an explosion, occurred well before the crash. A thorough review of the NTSB report minimizes may of these facts and fails to adequately address others.

In addition to the physical evidence supporting a shoe bomb type of attack against Flight 587, speaking volumes is the FBI’s involvement in this incident and their statement that they continue to consider this “an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Shortly after the crash and in contrast with the official cause of the “accident,” a close associate of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, identified as Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, agreed to cooperate with authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence for his role in Islamic terrorist activities. According to Jabarah, American Airlines Flight 587 was brought down by Muslim terrorist Abderraouf bin Habib bin Yousef Jdey (or a close working associate) by using the same methods as attempted by “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.

Although there is always a question of credibility when dealing with terrorists making deals, information provided by Jabarah proved extremely accurate. While in FBI custody, Jabarah told U.S. investigators that an operative by the name of “Hambali” was planning to conduct bombings in bars, cafes, or nightclubs frequented by Westerners in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia. With 30 days, the world witnessed the terrorist attack in Bali on 12 October 12, 2002. According to an FBI source, additional valuable information has been gleaned through interviews with Jabarah.

Also of significant importance is the Verbatim Transcript of Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing for ISN 10024 (Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) recorded on 10 March 2007. The following is an image of the top of that page that clearly illustrates Mohammed was in charge of “the Shoe Bomber Operation to down two American Airplanes” (highlight mine) as stated in point #4. Note that the target was “two American planes; REID was unsuccessful, so who or what is referenced by the second aircraft?

Based on my investigative review of this document as well as other evidence, it is my professional opinion that the second plane is a direct reference to AA Flight 587.

Although this reference could be associated with TWA Flight 800, it appears more closely associated with Flight 587 based on the information obtained from Jabarah and the overall timeline used within that document.

Richard Reid, of course, gained notoriety a month later on 22 December 21, 2001, when he attempted to detonate a bomb inside his shoe aboard American Airlines Flight 63 flying from Paris to Miami. More recent investigation appears to substantiate the allegations of Jabarah and makes a case that suggests direct involvement with Flight 253 on Christmas Day.

It is significant to note that the composition of PETN and TATP bomb used by Reid in his shoe on 22 December 2001 is the same, except for the quantity, as used by Abdul Farouk Abdul-Mutallab on 25 December 2009.  Also of note is that REID, known to be associated with Jamaat ul Fuqra and Pakistani Sheikh Mubarek Ali Gilani, reported directly to Khalid Sheikh Mohamed for the American Airlines Flight 63 bombing plot and attempt. Although Mohammed was obviously out of contact for the December 2009 attempted aircraft bombing, we are being made aware of Abdul-Mutallab’s travels prior to the 2009 incident with the potential for historical terrorist asset overlap extremely high.

Ample warnings for “body bombs”

Long before the placement of airport see-though machines, there were numerous “test runs” made by Islamic terrorists. Among the most publicized was the incident on 6 March 2007, when 35 year-old Iraqi national Fadhel al-Maliki was about to board a U.S. Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. Alert TSA officials noticed odd behavior being exhibited by al-Maliki and conducted a more extensive investigation. What they found surprised them, and became the source of jokes among some within the intelligence community.

Fadhel al-Maliki was testing the system. Hidden in his rectum was a homemade device of electrical wires, chewing gum and a rock. During questioning, al-Maliki admitted to having the said items in his rectum to “relieve stress.” Perhaps feigning a bit of mental instability, he dubiously claimed that the rock contained special powers and was from another planet. After a determination was made by bomb squad officials that the “device” was inert, TSA airport security director Larry Fetters stated that al-Maliki never posed any threat.

What is not being disclosed that al-Maliki was not the first or the last man (or woman) to be caught with objects secreted in various areas. According to a bulletin distributed to law enforcement agencies dated 20 July 2007, TSA personnel have confiscated items “resembling improvised explosive device (IED) components” including but not limited to wires, switches, pipes and “dense clay-like substances” designed to resemble explosive material. These items were found at a number of airports, including Milwaukee, Houston and Baltimore. The bulletin stated that screeners have documented a significant “surge in recent suspicious incidents” of this nature, suggesting that terrorists are likely conducting “pre-attack security probes” or “dry-runs” at airports across the country.

In an article titled Better late than never published on 13 February 2008, I wrote about new methods terrorists were discussing smuggling bombs and their components aboard airplanes, including inside a false womb. Much like the crude assembly secreted in the rectum of Fadhel al-Maliki, some TSA officials and others, including some security Blogs posters, scoffed at such ideas and described them as “over the top alarmist.”

Part III: A select history: Lavatories and suspicious behavior

Reports by aircraft crew members have reported numerous incidents of Middle Eastern men showing extensive interest in aircraft lavatories, especially lavatories located near or adjacent to the cockpit. Additionally, inspection of the lavatories after suspects visited and spent inordinate amounts of time inside the bathrooms have found tampering of various fixtures, including and especially the wall mirrors, ceiling tiles and smoke detectors.

On 21 April 2003, US Airways Flight 1112 from Tampa to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport: A man described as a clean-shaven Middle Eastern in appearance and about 25 years-old acted suspiciously  during the final 30 minutes of the flight and repeatedly violated a “thirty-(30) minute rule,” applicable to inbound Washington flights at that time. The rule states that all passengers must remain seated during the final 30 minutes of the flight.

According to the flight crew, the man, who was seated toward the rear of the aircraft, kept deliberately standing up during the final 30 minutes of the flight, despite warnings from at least one flight attendant. About five minutes before landing, the man rushed to the bathroom and remained inside as the plane taxied to the gate. Although the man did not appear ill, he refused to exit the lavatory to take his seat.

Upon arrival at the gate, the pilot instructed all passengers to remain seated until further advised. Shortly thereafter, two uniformed officers with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police boarded the aircraft and escorted the passenger from the plane. Two additional officers escorted the man from the gate to an area for questioning, although he was not charged and later released. A sweep of the plane for explosives turned up nothing, according to authorities.

A statement from Amy Kudwa, director of Media Relations for USAirways, told the media “There is not a security threat at this time.”

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On August 19, 2006, Delta flight 6492, a Boeing 737 from Atlanta with 46 passengers aboard landed at the San Antonio International Airport on schedule, but the suspicious actions of an unidentified man aboard the flight concerned the flight crew. According to media reports, a flight attendant became suspicious of a man who was spending an “inordinate” amount of time in the plane’s lavatory.

When the man emerged from the bathroom, an inspection by one of the flight attendants found that some ceiling panels apparently had been moved in addition to evidence of tampering with the mirror and the smoke detector. The flight attendant notified authorities and the plane was diverted to a far north corner of the airport. Two teams of bomb-sniffing dogs were brought to search the plane.

The suspect, described by one witness a middle-aged man of Middle Eastern appearance, was detained and interviewed by authorities. Although the passenger tampered with the bathroom smoke detector and other items in the lavatory, the FBI publicly stated that he was determined to be “not suspicious at all” and released.

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On Wednesday, 24 October 2007, crewmembers aboard a flight from Reagan-Washington National to Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport flight reported suspicious activity of four-(4) men of Middle Eastern origin. According to reports, one of the men entered and exited the rear aircraft lavatory three times, while two others entered and exited other lavatories aboard the aircraft. The fourth man waited to enter the front lavatory close to the cockpit while a second lavatory on the other side of the aisle was vacant.

Instead of using the vacant lavatory, the man waited for an extended period to use the lavatory “of interest” and remained inside of that bathroom for an extended period of time. Inspection of the lavatories found evidence of tampering of the fixtures by one or more of the four men.

Additionally, all four men changed seats repeatedly, moved about the cabin of the aircraft, and failed to obey specific instructions of the flight crew.

According to a TSA Office of Intelligence report, the possible tampering of the lavatory mirror in one of the lavatories could be indicative of an attempt to locate concealment areas for smuggling criminal contraband or terrorist materials. Additionally, their collective behavior suggests that the four passengers had a “specific, operational objective” and conformed to known elements of pre-operational terrorist planning.

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Annie Jacobsen, author of the must-read book Terror in the Skies, Why 9/11 Could happen Again, detailed her observations of 14 Syrian “musicians” behaving in a suspicious manner aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 327 on 29 June 2004, flying from Detroit to Los Angeles. Having read her book, talked with her in detail about this and other matters, and conducting my own investigation to satisfy my own “due diligence” requirements, I am convinced that the events she witnessed were indeed internationally choreographed by the Middle Eastern men for multiple reasons on that flight. It is my professional opinion that the vicious disinformation campaign waged against her to refute her version of events is backed by an agenda and fueled by others who do not have or refuse to acknowledge all of the facts.

In addition to her reports of the events of Northwest Airlines Flight 327, Ms. Jacobsen has been at the forefront of pointing out other suspicious incidents aboard passenger flights, including a suspicious incident aboard Frontier Airlines Flight 623. On Sunday, 7 October 2007 a man of Middle Eastern origin traveling aboard a Denver-to-Detroit flight acted suspiciously, according to passengers and members of the flight crew who witnessed the man’s actions.

Based on witness statements, the man was engaged in what could be described as surveillance of the flight attendants, and made several trips to the aircraft lavatory. Additionally, the man locked himself in the first class lavatory of the aircraft nearest the cockpit and refused to exit, despite orders to do so from flight crew. The man was also found to be shaving in the lavatory. Although not an unusual act itself, there are religious and cultural implications associated with this activity when considered along with other suspicious actions.

Since 9/11, there have been dozens of suspicious incidents involving men confirmed to be Muslims who have exhibited a lot of interest in aircraft lavatories. There have been just as many FBI bulletins and advisories, just not for the eyes of the public.

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Coordinated activities aboard airlines

United Airlines Flight 925, Washington, DC to London: On 13 June 13, 2004, nine-(9) men of Middle Eastern origin appeared to arrive at the gate just before the doors to the aircraft were about to be closed. They presented their itineraries that indicated that nine-(9) of the men arrived from different countries in the Middle East on separate flights. At the time of boarding, none of the men gave any indications that they knew each other.

Once aboard the plane, some of the men began to speak to each other in Arabic. Under the scrutiny of the flight attendants, it became obvious that at least nine, if not all 12 of the men were indeed familiar with each other. Acting in a manner that suggested some level of pre-planning and co-ordination among the dozen Middle Eastern passengers, several walked to the mid-section of the aircraft and congregated in the aisle at a location near one of the emergency exits, blocking passage between the front and rear of the aircraft as well as blocking access to the exit. At that time, two of the Middle Eastern men who had remained seated in the far rear of the plane, began taking photographs of the aircraft interior.

At one point during this flight, a flight attendant noticed a duffle bag placed in the aisle near one of the Middle Eastern men.  When she asked the man if the bag was his, he clearly stated in English that it wasn’t, and denied knowing who placed the bag in the aisle or its owner. She then moved the bag to the front galley and made an announcement for its owner to see her in order to reclaim it. Shortly after she made the announcement, the same man she questioned admitted that it was his bag and requested it returned to him.

At another point during the flight, one of the men began walking up and down the aisle with a small hand-held mirror, occasionally using the mirror as if he was looking to see if anyone behind him was following or watching him.

By this time, air marshals on board had identified the men and had the flight crew notify the police a London. According to information obtained from investigative reports, all twelve-(12) of the suspicious Middle Eastern men were Muslims who were traveling to the same Islamic center in London. They were detained and questioned, but were released without charges.

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Northwest Airlines Flight 42 Amsterdam for Mumbai: On 23 August 2006, a DC-10 carrying 149 passengers, including twelve-(12) men, later confirmed to be Indian nationals and Muslims, engaged in a variety of suspicious activities during a flight from Amsterdam for Mumbai. The men, all of South Asian origin, made multiple attempts to use cellular telephones at a critical time during the flight. Specifically, some of the men began to use the electronic devices as the flight was taking off, disobeying orders by the flight crew not to do so. They also passed the cell phones back and forth between each other, and acting together, walked the aisles after being told to stay seated.

According to a report by witnesses and some members of the flight crew, their behavior was so disruptive that the crew reported a serious in-flight security emergency and was escorted back to Schiphol Airport by F-16 fighters at the request of the pilot. Once back at the terminal, all twelve Muslim offenders were taken off the plane and arrested for “attempted violence on board a plane in mid-flight thereby posing a threat to the aircraft.”

On 24 August 2006, Dutch prosecutors announced “they found no evidence of a terrorist threat” or any indication that they had “any terrorist intent.”

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Northwest Airlines Flight 720: On Saturday, 2 June 2007, two men from the Philippines engaged in what authorities, the flight crew and passengers have described as “suspicious.” The two men, acting together, began their suspicious behavior before the flight took off from Minneapolis en-route to Boston Logan Airport. The flight to Boston was completed, but not without incident.

Immediately before takeoff, one of the men stood up from his seat and shouted to other passengers “Your lives are going to change today forever.”

During the flight, according to witnesses, the men walked around the cabin of the aircraft after being told to sit down, and refused to buckle themselves into their seats. After finally being seated for a brief period once in the air, both men rose from their seats simultaneously. One of the men laid on the aisle floor and began screaming, while the second man stood over him, “mumbling and gesturing.”

Additionally, one of the two men kept walking the aisle of the aircraft during the flight, while the second man pulled his luggage from the overhead storage area and began to rifle through it. Passengers who witnessed this incident admitted being frightened and concerned about their motives.

Despite the objections of the flight attendants, both men also stood up as the plane descended into Boston. Once at Boston Logan, both men were escorted from the plane by state police. The plane was carrying about 150 passengers during that flight.

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American Eagle Flight 4518: On Friday. 21 September 2007, an Embraer ERJ-145 twin-engine jet carrying 27 passengers and three crew members reported a “serious disturbance” involving two men of Middle Eastern appearance that took place during the final 30 minutes of the flight from Jacksonville, Florida to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The flight left Jacksonville at 7:00 p.m. and was scheduled to land at RDU at 8:20 p.m. The nature of the incident was not initially disclosed, but was classified as “a terrorist threat” according to Raleigh-Durham International Airport spokeswoman Colleen Fischvogt in her initial reports to the media.

Upon landing at 8:40 p.m., emergency vehicles were dispatched to meet the aircraft, which was kept away from the main terminal, with police and armed agents surrounding the plane before federal authorities also boarded the plane. Police and the FBI ultimately boarded the aircraft and took the two men into custody. Authorities refused to say what was said or found that prompted the call from the aircraft to authorities, and also refused to release the names of the two people who were arrested by the FBI.

Police kept all of the passengers and crew aboard the aircraft for 90 minutes, before allowing them to exit the aircraft shortly before 10:00 p.m. After being permitted to exit the plane, police sent bomb detection personnel into the aircraft and inspected the luggage of all of the passengers. The passengers were permitted to pick up their bags and leave the terminal at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

The morphing from a “terrorist incident” to a simple “misperception of events”

After news of the incident began to circulate in the media, the FBI (Charlotte Field Office) denied that the incident was related to terrorism, although still would not say whether any arrests were made. According to FBI spokesman Newsom Summerlin, “there’s a difference between investigative detention and [someone] being arrested.” According to the FBI via their spokesman in Charlotte, their investigation determined that “the observed activity was misperceived.”

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USAir Flight 300, 20 November 2006: The gold standard: Perhaps the most notable “coordinated” airline incident involving any group of Muslim airline passengers involved the six imams flying on USAir Flight 300 from Minneapolis to Phoenix. On November 20, 2006, airline officials in Minneapolis removed the six imams from the aircraft after complaints of suspicious activity from several passengers and flight attendants. The six imams attended a North American Imams Foundation (NAIF) on Saturday and Sunday, 18-19 November 2006, where Rep-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim congressman elected in the U.S. spoke. At 7:00 pm on Sunday, 19 November 2006, the leader of the six imams, Omar Shahin, attended a private meeting with Ellison.

On Monday, 20 November 2006, the imams arrived at the Minneapolis terminal and were witnessed in a variety of activities that alarmed witnesses and passengers of Flight 300. Their activities can be read in the actual police report and witness statements. The civil action against the airline, flight crew, and even the passengers who reported the suspicious behavior and the authorities who responded are also available in PDF format.

Possibly the most disconcerting series of dots stems not just from the actions of the six Muslim leaders aboard USAir Flight 300, but the previously established relationships between Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the Council on American Islamic Relations and its co-founder, Nihad Awad, and the Imams themselves. Awad served as a major fundraiser for Ellison, and Ellison remains a very close ally of CAIR and its members despite its current classification as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation for Relief & Development – the latter a funneling mechanism for Islamic terrorism.

Smuggling: the obvious & not so obvious

On Thursday, 7 September 2006, 21 year-old Mohammed Ghanem was arrested at the Detroit International Airport for attempting to board a plane with a knife imbedded in his address book. Ghanem was attempting to board a plane headed for his native country of Yemen when the knife was discovered, according to authorities. A resident of Hamtramck, Michigan, a near exclusive community of Muslims, was reportedly traveling back to Yemen to get married.

The suspect retained defense attorney Nabih Ayad, a lawyer frequently used by the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR), who stated that his client doesn’t know where the knife came from.

A trial for Mohammed Ghanem was held in 2006, and he was found guilty on 19 December in a jury trial. He was sentenced to one year in jail on the charges

On Sunday, 17 February 2008, 21 year-old Benjamin Baines, Jr., a resident of Clearwater, Florida was scheduled to fly Southwest Airlines Flight 338 from Tampa to Jacksonville at 7:45 a.m., and then transfer to a connecting flight to Las Vegas, ostensibly to visit his father. His travel plans were drastically altered when he reached the security screening at Airside C, where he attempted to take his backpack on its contents onto the airplane.

Screeners made Baines, who told security officers that the backpack just contained books, place the backpack though the x-ray machine. What the screeners observed surprised them. Along with a copy of the Quran, pages of violent rap music lyrics, the books Muhammad in the Bible, The Noble Quran, The Prophet’s Prayer, and the Bible, was the book Fear Itself, which had been hollowed out and contained a box cutter in the hollowed out area.

When caught with the knife, Baines told the screeners that he forgot the box cutters were in the book, a place he normally used to hide marijuana and money. He stated that he had no ill intent with regard to the knife. His relatives agreed. “He’s not militant,” said James Layne, Baines’ 28-year-old cousin. “He’s not a crazy blow-yourself-up kind of guy. It’s all a major misunderstanding.”

Ethean Butler, Baines’ uncle, also stated that it was all a misunderstanding and that he was arrested because “he was black and carrying the Koran.” Baines was charged with and pleaded guilty to carrying a concealing weapon. He served a 30-day sentence in the Hillsborough County lockup.

Part IV: Notable upsurge in airline incidents in 2009

1 January 2009 AirTran Flight 175 departing from Reagan National Airport to Orlando, Florida: Passengers became alarmed by a conversation they overheard between two other passengers, dressed in Muslim attire, talking about the safest place to sit on board an aircraft in the event a bomb was aboard. The two Muslim passengers were among a party of nine traveling together from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida to attend an Islamic conference.

According to one witness report at the time, the content of the conversation not only seemed suspicious, but “deliberately loud or at least loud enough to be over heard by a number of other passengers seated nearby. Those alarmed passengers reported their concerns to the AirTran flight crew, who subsequently caused all 104 passengers, including the 9 Muslims, to deplane while an investigation was conducted. All passengers were rescreened and permitted to re-board, except those nine-(9) Muslims at the center of controversy who were traveling together.

At that time, AirTran made a decision not to allow the Muslims back onto the aircraft. Although the FBI reportedly concluded their investigation of the Muslim passengers, the investigation into the incident itself was not yet fully complete.  Concurrent investigations were incomplete at the time, according to airline sources. To their credit, acting within their rights and in consideration to the safety of all of their passengers, AirTran denied the controversial party boarding back onto the already disrupted flight.

In the end, none of the remaining 95 passengers made it to their ultimate destinations on time, AirTran refunded some tickets and made other booking arrangements due to the incident, which cost the airline dearly in time, money, and passenger goodwill.

What happened next, however, just might serve to explain the alleged misrepresentation of facts and AirTran’s strong response to the most recent incident- Flight 297 just eleven months later.

Within hours of the incident, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release accusing the airline of violating the civil rights of the Muslim passengers and filed a complaint against the airline with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Under threat of litigation, CAIR, named in federal court documents as an unindicted co-conspirator in an unrelated terror financing case, demanded the airline apologize to the offended Muslims and undergo what can be described as sensitivity training to avoid such future incidents. (Click here for complete details of this incident).

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17 November 2009 AirTran Flight 297 scheduled to fly from Atlanta Hartsfield Airport to Houston was disrupted by a group of thirteen Muslim men. They were among 73 passengers who boarded AirTran Flight 297 on Tuesday, 17 November 2009, for a routine flight scheduled to depart Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, gate C-16 at 4:43 PM ET to Houston Hobby Airport.

As the aircraft began to taxi to the runway, a female flight attendant was beginning to issue the normal passenger advisories over the PA system. Almost on cue at the time passengers were told to turn off all electronic devices, one of the Muslim men seated in the front of the plane began to use his cell phone in a manner that was described by a flight attendant and passenger “as deliberate and obvious.” He was talking loudly in Arabic, nearly at the level of the flight attendant. Some reports suggest that this man actually called another Muslim passenger, although this has not been immediately confirmed. It is possible, however, as another passenger reported that a Muslim man seated toward the rear of the plane answered his cellular phone at the same time the man in the front began using his.

As if previously rehearsed, at least ten of the 13 Muslim men aboard the aircraft began to leave their seats at the same time. At least one passenger stated she observed one of the Muslim passengers using his cell phone to take photos of other passengers on the aircraft. (Click here for complete details of this incident).

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Delta-Northwest Flight 253: Abdul Farouk Abdul-Mutallab (a/k/a Umar Farouk Abdul Mudallad), a 23 year-old Nigerian national, attempted to detonate a PETN-TATP combination to bring down the aircraft on Christmas Day. (Click here for complete details about this incident).

Part V: In defense of suspicious behavior

Rewind back to 1997. William Jefferson Clinton was President, and it was four years after the first World Trade Center bombing by Islamic terrorists, and a year after the crash of TWA Flight 800. In 1997, Clinton appointed Mr. Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and as noted earlier, a major fundraiser for Congressman Keith Ellison, to a “Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House on Aviation Safety and Security.” That position permitted an enviable level of access to various aviation related security measures that not only influenced air security policy, but allowed for knowledge of the inner workings of the system to be obtained.

Subsequent to that appointment, Nihad Awad and CAIR have come under active investigation for their roles in the criminal conspiracy and ties to HAMAS terrorists. Additionally, as many as 15 CAIR officials, including AWAD, have either been convicted or otherwise implicated in federal terrorism investigations since the 9/11 attacks.

As I reported in 2006 and as referenced earlier, the case involving the six Imams removed from USAir Flight 300 on 20 November 2006 would be a watershed event in the history of airline travel and Islamic influence. And it was. As I accurately predicted and was quoted in The Washington Times article on November 21, 2006, I stated that the USAir Flight 300 event of alleged discrimination would be “…a watershed event in this country…and they are looking for this to be litigated ad nauseam.” And it was, and continues to be the gold-standard of litigation against airline security by Islamic travelers. It was CAIR and their legal staff who represented the now infamous case.

In the months following that event aboard USAir Flight 300, CAIR was at the forefront to change, through threats of litigation and ultimate litigation, airport security as it applies to Muslim travelers. And it worked. Witness the birth of the Flying While Muslim website, where Muslim passengers are well advised of their rights while traveling by air.

Shortly afterward, on 28 December 2006, I also reported that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provided special training to “sensitize” the 45,000 security officers working in the nation’s airports “to the cultural traditions of American Muslims,” according to the USINFO.STATE.GOV Website. This “training” was in part a response to the November 2006 USAirways incident and most certainly an artifact of the close ties between CAIR and the White House Panel of Aviation Security.

Based in part of the Council on American-Islamic Relations being named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a group tied to the terrorist organization HAMAS, the FBI allegedly severed formal ties with CAIR. Apparently, the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department have other ideas.

As detailed by Josh Gerstein in an article published on 9 November 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder agreed to give a keynote speech to a Michigan group that included the local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The November 19, 2009 engagement was the first annual awards banquet of Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust, a coalition of several dozen law enforcement agencies and community groups. The agenda of CAIR appears to be as active as ever, despite the negative publicity and reported ties to terrorist groups.

Connecting the dots: How we arrived here

This report details a number of events that have taken place against our airline industry and our national security over the last 25 years. These events are only a fractional number of the terror-related incidents involving air travel as many more exist that remain outside of the public purview. Based on a review of the limited number of events listed in this report and our response to these events, it is no surprise that our airline industry remains under attack by Islamic terrorists. In fact, the attacks will continue until the Islamic terrorists are successful or until we change our methods of handling these threats to one of our most important national assets.

While some of the incidents are admittedly the work of unsponsored loners for the purpose of personal jihad, others are clearly coordinated efforts by groups of Islamists with specific goals. Such goals include but are not limited to:

  • Assessment of airline security procedures and response, from terminal to terminal;
  • Desensitizing the traveling public for the eventual acceptance of suspicious behavior as cultural nuances;
  • Creating victims and compensable events out of Muslims who engage in odd or suspicious behavior aboard airlines, which will have a cascading effect in other areas of mass transit;
  • Effectively using the U.S. and Western media as a conduit for cultural reform sympathetic to political Islam;
  • Softening air security by using key groups and personnel with direct or tangential ties to Islamic terrorist organizations to infiltrate our security agencies at key levels;
  • Using our own laws against us, specifically in civil rights cases as we witnessed in the case of US Air Flight 300. This tactic will usher in a parallel form of judicial reform that will extend beyond airline cases and ultimately result in the implementation of Islamic Sharia law;
  • Distract and deflect attention away from other Western and U.S. targets, including other forms of mass transit in the U.S., making them more vulnerable to attacks;
  • Compel individuals elected officials, political committees, security agencies, and others involved in oversight and policy making decisions to shape security policy around the culture of Islam.

During the last 25 years, we have seen the gradual infusion of Islamists into all areas of federal, state and local governments across the United States. Specifically in the air travel industry, our efforts to prove and maintain religious and cultural diversity have had permitted groups and individuals with known terrorist ties access to some of the most sensitive areas of airline security, and in many cases, permitted them to  shape policy that conforms to their larger agenda. We have witnessed the influence of politics over investigations, and seen the rewards in the form of more enviable political positions given to individuals who have become and remain politically compliant.

We have witnessed the influence exerted on the U.S. by Muslim countries, specifically involving the Egypt Air 990 incident and with the 9/11 Commission, ignoring the clear warning issued in 1990 following the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Consider that warning through the hindsight of 9/11, where 15 of the 19 hijackers originated from Saudi Arabia. Much ado was made about the physical bow made by Barack Hussein Obama to the Saudi Royals, but he was not the first U.S. President to do so, just perhaps the most visible and unapologetic.

Over the last few decades, we have allowed ourselves to be marginalized from within at the expense of American citizens, who continue to exchange freedom for security and ending up with neither. Many otherwise sensible Americans have accepted the denials that all of the suspicious airline incidents have no nexus to terrorism while facts are withheld, changed or scrubbed completely. Such can only happen under the direction or with the approval of those in the highest levels of our government.

Concurrent with the stealth methods of attacks against air travel, Islamic terrorists are also intent on waging successful physical attacks against airlines, or mass murder on visible level. The murder of hundreds, if not thousands of innocent Americans in air attacks will serve to energize the Islamic jihad being waged while systematically causing irreparable economic damage to the air travel industry. The results of a successful attack (or attacks) will also serve to further restrict air travel, stripping away more rights of all Americans. This is being rapidly facilitated y our current administration, but certainly did not start there. If not soon recognized, acknowledged and stopped, it will not end here or end well.