August 10, 2006
Terrorist Attacks Thwarted; Air Travel Disrupted
Don't fly today.
It's not that I'm worried about a terrorist attack, Scotland Yard seems to have that under control with 21 arrested (British-born and Muslim, no surprise) and their investigation continuing. No, I wouldn't fly today because of all the new security restrictions: passengers can't take any liquids on board; no carry-ons like briefcases and computer bags; parents have to taste their child's milk or formula to prove it's the real deal; the few items you can carry with you into the cabin have to be in clear plastic bags. The thought of flying for seven hours without being able to turn on my computer, listen to my iPod, or read my book gives me the hives. I understand the reasoning behind the restrictions, but they really turn me off from flying. Too bad Amtrak is an uneconomical, pathetic replacement for travel outside the Northeast Corridor.
The no carry-on restriction and liquid ban better be temporary, or else the airlines will be hurt. One reason some people own a notebook computer is to get work done while in the air. Forcing computers and mobile phones to be stowed in the belly of a plane will have many business travelers saying, "Air travel is too much of a hassle; I'm going to teleconference." And that might be just what the Islamists want.
There was mention that U.S. airlines were targeted, but I heard no such confirmation from Scotland Yard. If United, American, Northwest et al. were targeted I'd see that as the Islamists trying to hit the U.S. economically. The first reports said 20 planes from four U.K. airports were targeted. That dropped down to six planes. I think Islamists, probably al-Qaeda, wanted to hit U.S. airlines, cause a massive security response that would turn off many from flying, and send the industry into another financial malaise just when it's starting to regain its footing. A secondary effect is the ailing airlines would reduce consumer confidence possibly causing a recession.
The U.K. is at their highest security level. The Department of Homeland Security raised the general terrorist threat level to orange ("high") while the level for incoming planes to the U.S. from the U.K. is red ("severe"), the highest possible level. London's Heathrow airport isn't taking any incoming planes and canceled shorter-range flights until this afternoon (London time). The CEO of the organization that runs Heathrow said something I've never heard from a CEO. He told reporters people shouldn't come do business with him today. It was an unusual statement for an extraordinary time.
Walid Phares at the Counterterrorism Blog asks some good questions. The best one being,
Is there a "Jihadi factory" in the UK which is targeting domestic and Transatlantic transportation; a factory that produces suicide bombers heading towards the Middle East, London subways and passengers flights towards the US? Who is ordering these strikes and are they located inside the British isles?
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"Sky Terror in UK: US Security Alert to ORANGE (High). May Go RED -- Fox"del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | Spurl | Yahoo MyWeb
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 04:43 AM | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (3)
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