"News" story #1 (full story & link copied below) begins:
"LONDON, Aug. 13 - Four days after the British government said it had foiled aYou got that? The reporter slips his opinion into the second paragraph of this story, under the guise of divining what "muslim leaders" think -- to make the preposterous assertion that if only we would leave the muslim world alone, the threat would All Go Away. Where is Rodney King when I need him?
plot by Islamic radicals to bring down up to 10 passenger jets bound for the
United States, Britain's highest-ranking law enforcement official said today
that about 24 other terrorist conspiracies were still under surveillance in this
"The figure - far higher than had been made known - seemed
likely to alarm many people. It could reinforce calls among Muslim leaders and
other opponents for Prime Minister Tony Blair to reverse foreign policies in the
Muslim world described by Islamic leaders on Friday as providing "ammunition to
extremists that threaten us all.""
Second "news" story (copied below):
""If the British government is serious about defeating terrorism and notYeah, that's what we need to keep life down to a normal level. Faster body cavity searches and 10 times the cops.
allowing the terrorists to disrupt normal, everyday British life, then it must
provide the additional security staffing.""
Third news story (copied below):
"Bush said the suspected plot in Britain "reminds us of a hard fact: TheMaking nicely my point the other day that what Bush is attempting to create is a virtual Maginot line. I could just see the leader of the French in 1940 telling his people -- "The Germans have to succeed only once to achieve their goal of conquering us, while we have to succeed every time to stop them! Build more fortifications!" Yes, that will do it.
terrorists have to succeed only once to achieve their goal of mass murder, while
we have to succeed every time to stop them.""
To underscore my point about how pointless this approach is, the news is suggesting there are many more plots being "monitered". Indeed. We could talk about the 10 missing Eqyptian exchange students. Completely innocent as the driven snow, we have been told over and over and over.
Uh-huh. Well, who was going to board all those airliners with liquid explosives? Remember, we have "watch lists" that are supposed to keep suspected terrorists and their sympathizers off of airplanes. You would have to think that the plotters know this, and would therefore pick conspirators who could get past the watch list. Otherwise, they don't get their hair gel on board. The fact that the 10 Egyptians disappeared only a day or three before the plot was to be executed is deeply ... fishy.
Then let's take that small group of Muslims arrested (up to 5 as of today) with thousands of cellphones "to make a small profit re-selling them". (News story #4 copied below.) Right.
For those who don't know, one of the weapons of choice of the Iraqi "insurgents" (aka, terrorists) has been cellphones. A pair of wires from the ringer go to a detonator, and you can set off an explosive anywhere by a simple phone call. Even an idiot terrorist can manage this much (especially if he's trained by Iranians). But of course, while we now have means of defeating these guys in Iraq (a plane flies over, Achmed the Camel jockey, while assembling his bomb, goes boom), we don't, here in the States.
Now let's use a little logic. It's rather unlikely that the terrorists thought they could get 1000 cellphones with explosives on board 1000 airplanes. Even someone as stupid as a terrorist would know this. Clearly (to me) they weren't going to do that.
But you don't have to put them all in planes to kill people, create havoc, disrupt the western economy, make the stock market crash, shut down transportation, etc. The sheer number suggests other purposes, and it wasn't stocking cousin Iqbal's Used Cellphone store in Karachi.
Think malls, buses, subways, air terminals, businesses, fast food restaurants, etc. Preposition the devices, then make a bunch of phone calls later on, all at once. That would sow a lot of panic.
I would bet a month's salary this is what the authorities don't want to discuss (I am sure even they can connect even the dots). I don't think they intended to use in conjunction with the plane attacks.
Not enough time, unless the attacks were intended to be at least a month or two later -- we're told the attack was targeted for about Aug 13, but maybe that was a dry run.
But I'd probably put the most likely explanation as being that these guy were trying to buy as many cellphones as they could *before* the plane attacks cause they knew that afterwards there would be a lot more scrutiny of such purchases. It was probably intended as an attack a month or two after the plane attacks.
But speaking of dry runs, not so long ago I saw something similar to my 8/11/2001 experience, but out of SFO last fall. Strange things in the terminal, then on my flight. Three middle-eastern men and a middle-eastern woman, very strange behavior, including repeated trips to the toilet behind the cockpit, visited in sequence by each, then opening and studying an overhead bin where oxygen canisters were stored. There's more, but let's leave it at that. Reported through other channels. You may have read in the paper these last few days that the British conspirators were expected to mix the separate components of their liquid explosives in the bathrooms of the planes. I'll tell you, I almost got up to search the bathroom on that plane flight.
I'm no master spy. I'm just a suspicious guy who blatantly and indiscriminately profiles and pays attention to what's going on around him. And I can weave a conspiracy theory as well as the next whack-job. Was it just coincidence that I was on that flight at that time?
Unlikely. The fact that *I'm* seeing it tells me it's going on much more often than people realize, and the authorities are either missing it entirely or not telling anyone. More likely the former. Which tells you how well the virtual Maginot line concept works.
None of this is going away until we get rid of General McClellan and send Sherman to start devastating our enemies in their homelands.
August 13, 2006
Britain Monitoring Other Terror Plots, Official Says
By ALAN COWELL
LONDON, Aug. 13 - Four days after the British government said it had foiled a plot by Islamic radicals to bring down up to 10 passenger jets bound for the United States, Britain's highest-ranking law enforcement official said today that about 24 other terrorist conspiracies were still under surveillance in this country.
The figure - far higher than had been made known - seemed likely to alarm many people. It could reinforce calls among Muslim leaders and other opponents for Prime Minister Tony Blair to reverse foreign policies in the Muslim world described by Islamic leaders on Friday as providing "ammunition to extremists that threaten us all."
Speaking in an interview on BBC television, the British home secretary, John Reid, said that since last year's July bombings, British security services had foiled what he described as four other major conspiracies.
Apparently seeking to bolster official denials of a link between terrorism and Britain's alliance with the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Reid also said officials had learned that Al Qaeda first tried to attack a target in Birmingham, Britain, in 2000. "So this has been a long-going threat but it is a chronic one and it is a severe one," he said.
"We now think in retrospect that the first Al Qaeda plot, for instance against this country, preceded by quite a while our intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and actually preceded 9/11," he said. The remark seemed to be an indirect confirmation, for the first time, that the government saw the hand of Al Qaeda in the latest conspiracy.
Mr. Reid did not give details of any of these purported plots.
Asked about a report in the British Sunday newspaper The Observer that police were hunting "two dozen" terror cells in Britain, Mr. Reid said: "I'm not going to confirm an exact number but I wouldn't deny that that would indicate the number of major conspiracies that we are trying to look at. There would be more which are not at the center of our considerations and there may be more that we don't know about at all."
He also appeared to suggest that some conspirators associated with the plot disclosed last week may still be at large. "We believe it was a major, major plot," he said, describing the police investigation as "ongoing."
"We believe we have the main targets," he said, but did not rule out the idea that other people at large might still be planning an attack or "prepared to use this opportunity to carry out a terrorist attack."
Two weeks after the bombings of July.7, 2005, when four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters on the London transport system, another group attempted what seemed a copycat attack that failed only when its explosives did not detonate.
News of the latest plot on Thursday set off a huge security clamp-down at British airports - particularly at Heathrow in London, Europe's busiest - that resulted in equally huge delays and cancellations in flight schedules. Two airlines, British Airways and Ryanair, warned Saturday that unless security procedures were accelerated, airports would no longer be able to cope with the hundreds of thousands of passengers trying to fly out of Britain every day.
Mr. Reid hinted the security clamp-down may be eased, saying it was "time limited." But he did not say when.
He also said the latest plot provided fresh evidence to support police demands for counterterrorism laws to be amended to permit detention of people without trial or charge for 90 days. The current limit is 28 days.
While the government insists that the latest plot was real, many of its critics today started to question publicly the veracity of the government's depiction of it, citing previous occasions - including an intelligence dossier used to justify the invasion of Iraq 2003 - when official assertions of a threat proved wrong.
Mr. Blair is on vacation in the Caribbean. His absence has been criticized by adversaries who contend that if the plot was as serious as Mr. Reid and others maintain, he should return home.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BRITAIN_TERROR_PLOT_AIRPORTS?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-08-13-08-06-26Aug 13, 8:06 AM EDT
Flight Cancelations Increase at Heathrow
LONDON (AP) -- Airlines canceled almost a third of flights from Britain's busiest airport Sunday, plunging travelers into a fourth day of travel chaos triggered by the foiling of an alleged airplanes bombing plot.
Many passengers were also missing their flights because they were stuck in lengthy security lines, prompting airlines to ask the government to bring in police to speed up the security checks.
British Airways scrapped 30 percent of flights from London's Heathrow Airport on the instructions of the airport operator British Airports Authority, or BAA.
The airport operator said 70 percent of flights on all airlines at Heathrow were expected to operate, but warned that tough new screening measures for passengers and luggage meant delays were inevitable. BAA's chief executive for Heathrow, Tony Douglas, said the airport was doing its best, but that delays "will go on until the security threat level is reduced."
Home Secretary John Reid acknowledged that the security measures would have to be altered.
"The present regime is time limited," Reid told British Broadcasting Corp. television. "We know it is not indefinitely sustainable."
In the wake of the foiled plot to bomb as many as 10 airplanes over the Atlantic Ocean, authorities introduced tough new security measures, including individual searches of all passengers and a ban on carry-on luggage except clear plastic bags containing travel documents and a few essential items. Reid said Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander had asked U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to ease the restrictions imposed by the United States, which include a ban on passengers carrying liquids aboard flights.
On Sunday, British Airways canceled almost 100 flights to Europe from Heathrow and scrapped all its domestic flights from London's second airport, Gatwick. Most long-haul flights were operating, although 10 BA flights to the United States were canceled.
Scores of flights from Britain to Europe and the United States also were canceled Saturday. Passengers were delayed so long by the strict new security measures that many missed their flights.
British Airways said it "cannot rule out the possibility that flights will once again depart without all their passengers because of ongoing problems with BAA's security search process and baggage operation at Heathrow Airport."
Some airlines accused BAA - which operates seven of the country's major airports - of failing to cope with tough new anti-terror security requirements.
"The airport's baggage system cannot process all of the passengers' bags and where passengers have been able to check their bags in, the lengthy queues in the airport security search area means that passengers are unable to get to the departure gate in time," BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh said.
Budget carrier Ryanair appealed to the British government to use police and army reservists to speed up searches at overloaded airport security checkpoints.
Ryanair, which has its British base at Stansted Airport, northeast of London, said it had complied with BAA orders to cancel more than 60 of its Stansted flights this weekend, about 20 percent of the total, but said this overloaded security situation must be fixed by Monday.
"Ryanair and other major U.K. airlines cannot keep canceling flights and disrupting the travel plans of tens of thousands of British passengers and visitors solely because the BAA cannot cope with the new body-search requirements," chief executive Michael O'Leary said.
"If the British government is serious about defeating terrorism and not allowing the terrorists to disrupt normal, everyday British life, then it must provide the additional security staffing."
Bush says British terror threat may not be over
Aug 12, 10:37 AM (ET) By Steve Holland
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush cautioned on Saturday the threat from a plot to detonate liquid explosives on commercial flights may not have passed and denied Democratic charges he was trying to use the crisis for political gains in an election year.
"We believe that this week's arrests have significantly disrupted the threat," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Yet we cannot be sure that the threat has been eliminated."
British authorities arrested two dozen suspects on Thursday for allegedly plotting to use liquid explosives to blow up airliners flying from Britain to the United States.
The arrests prompted the United States to raise its terror alert to the highest level ever and prompted airports to ban passengers from taking liquids, gels and creams on planes.
Bush, who returns to Washington on Sunday after a 10-day working vacation at his ranch, urged air travelers to be patient with the stricter security measures.
"The inconveniences you will face are for your protection and they will give us time to adjust our screening procedures to meet the current threat," he said.
Democrats on Friday accused Vice President Dick Cheney of trying to use this week's arrests in Britain to Republican advantage in November congressional elections, which will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. Congress.
'AL QAEDA TYPES'
Cheney said on Wednesday the Democrats' defeat of Connecticut Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman in the state's primary on Tuesday because of his support of the Iraq war could embolden "al Qaeda types."
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in a statement on Friday: "Once again, GOP (Republican) leaders are using terrorism and our national security as a political wedge issue. It is disgusting -- but not surprising."
Bush said the suspected plot in Britain "reminds us of a hard fact: The terrorists have to succeed only once to achieve their goal of mass murder, while we have to succeed every time to stop them."
"Unfortunately, some have suggested recently that the terrorist threat is being used for partisan political advantage. We can have legitimate disagreements about the best way to fight the terrorists, yet there should be no disagreement about the dangers we face," he said.
Democrats in their weekly radio address charged Bush has shortchanged domestic security needs and the war on terror, and they blamed him for bungling the Iraq war.
Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas said the administration's "poor management" in Iraq "has created a rallying cry for international terrorists" and "diverted our focus, our military and more than $300 billion from the war on terrorism."
Pryor said U.S. ports, borders and chemical plants remain unsecured, emergency personnel lack critical resources and the military, including the National Guard, was stretched.
"It's time for Washington to be tough and smart about the threats we face," he said. "Americans deserve real security, not just leaders who talk tough but fail to deliver."
(Additional reporting by Vicki Allen)
Local Links to Terrorist Arrests
Posted 8/10/2006 06:12 PM
The Washington County Sheriffs Department in Ohio has arrested two men for their involvement in what police say could be aiding terrorists, and one man linked to them could have been doing the same in Taylor County. Story by Sarah Kapis
Last week, the Grafton police pulled over 24-year-old Hashem Sayed for a routine traffic stop. But what they found in his car was far from routine. Patrolman Daniel Laymon recalls the scene, "There were multiple cell phones, roughly 150 to 200 cell phones from multiple retailers," he said.
Buying that many pre-paid phones is not a crime, but the police say it is unusual.
Less than a week later, the authorities in Marietta, Ohio, arrested 20-year-old Osma Sabhi Abulhassan and 20-year-old Ali Houssaiky. Washington County Sheriffs deputies seized several pre-paid cell phones and thousands of dollars in cash. Because of the incidents, Grafton police believe the events are connected.
"The department feels that there are a lot of similar circumstances and there are a lot of similarities between the activity there and the activity experienced here," said Patrolman Laymon.
The activity seems to be more than just a coincidence. All three men are from Dearborn, Michigan and all three gave similar reasons for buying the phones. Sayed said he was buying them to ship to California to sell for a profit. But Washington County's sheriff says that may not be the whole truth. "They are digital for detonating car bombs and they have a particular digital frequency and that's what they're using them for," said Sheriff Larry Mincks.
Mincks says the men also had instructions on how to obtain private flights and airplane passenger information.
"It also had some information concerning airport security and check points."
He says the two men apprehended in Ohio are linked to another man who is being investigated for possible terrorism. Now, police across the state have a warning for residents.
"Not that it's a crime," said Grafton Police Chief, Robert Beltner. "But we can check into it to make sure nothing illegal is going to take place with those phones."