SAN FRANCISCO — The passengers sat stunned as they watched a man walk quickly toward the front of American Airlines Flight 1561 as it was descending toward San Francisco. He was screaming and then began pounding on the cockpit door.
“I kept saying to myself: ‘What’s he doing? Does he have a bomb? Is he armed?’” passenger Angelina Marty said.
Within moments Sunday, a flight attendant tackled Rageh Almurisi. Authorities do not yet have a motive.
OK, so far the story is keeping to the script. The guy was just some kind of nut case. Yes, crazy people do this sort of thing from time to time. Who knows why?
The report continues to follow the standard template — next comes the disclaimer mandated by the Department of Homeland security:
While authorities said that Almurisi, 28, of Vallejo, Calif., has no clear or known ties to terrorism, the incident underscored fears that extremists may try to mount attacks to retaliate for the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden last week.
So far, so good. The perp and the reporter are both playing by the rules. The only shadow on this otherwise pristine account is the name of the alleged suspect: Rageh Almurisi. Alarmingly close to “raghead”, isn’t it? But that surname could be Italian, right? Couldn’t it?
The cloud on the horizon then gets a little darker with this:
Federal agents are investigating Almurisi’s background. He was carrying a Yemeni passport and a California identification card, authorities said.
Whoops! Even if we scrub the forbidden “of Middle Eastern appearance” from all the descriptions in the news reports, that Yemeni passport drops a little stink bomb into the DHS media spin.
But maybe the California ID card will fix things up — in fact, you know that’s the game plan, since the headline assigned to this piece by Fox is “Suspect in flight disturbance had Calif. ID”.
So this guy was nothing more than a good ol’ California boy, with his surfboard and blond hair and jams. He just couldn’t wait to get back home and catch a wave.
Well, maybe not. There remain a few little niggling details about the incident, which were unfortunately revealed by fellow passengers who happen to understand certain Arabic phrases. The TSA evidently failed to explain to these well-meaning but misguided people how important it was that they remain silent — for the sake of our national security, of course:
Marty, 35, recalled that she and other passengers on the plane were stunned when they saw Almurisi walking down the aisle. She said a woman in a row across from her who speaks Arabic translated that Almurisi said “God is Great!” in Arabic.
Andrew Wai, another passenger, told KGO-TV on Monday that the wife of one of the men who took Almurisi down later said Almurisi was yelling “Allahu Akbar.”
"There was no question in everybody's mind that he was going to do something," Marty said.
Really? D’you think?
Let’s recap the talking points that Fox and the TSA would like us to remember about this incident:
|1.||It was the work of a deranged loner.|
|2.||It had no known connection with terrorism.|
|3.||The man who acted out was a member of a tiny minority of extremists.|
|4.||He was a California resident.|
|5.||This has nothing to do with Islam.|
|6.||Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.|
In a sense, the incident on Flight 1561 really did have nothing to do with terrorism. The alleged Mr. Almurisi never really intended to highjack the plane or blow anything up — if he had planned such an action, his “Allahu Akhbar!” would have waited until after the stewardesses were dead, the passengers were subdued, and the bomb was about to explode. No real terrorist would have been so spectacularly obvious until the situation was completely under his control.
So what was he up to? Was he a really a “deranged loner” after all?
Probably not. In an article at the American Thinker, Lee DeCovnick offers some insightful suggestions about what was actually going on:
As details emerge about the incident on an American Airlines flight to San Francisco, it looks increasingly like a dry run.
The term “dry run” goes back to Prohibition. Moonshiners paid drivers to made practice runs during the day to identify landmarks and spot escape routes without carrying any untaxed corn liquor.
There were a couple of disturbing items in this dry run. First, this was a single “dry runner” who was most likely timing the walk from the rear lavatory and the noting response from the aircrew, while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” We also know that other dry runs have had up to 13 possible hijackers on a single flight. Was this a dry run of the initial diversion, where the real action may start in the rear of the aircraft, where aircrews are often located?
Second, this dry run was so blatant, so unsubtle, that you have to wonder if this incident itself was a diversion from other airline or routes. Or conversely, because this was so blatant, will the authorities continue to give special significance to these particular circumstances? That’s a tough call by the Homeland Security either way.
We need to be vigilant as air passengers. The false sense of security, the Kabuki theater of the absurd, what we call the TSA screening process is simply a joke.
Mr. DeCovnick has hit the nail on the head. And there could have been additional elements to this “dry run” — for instance, the alleged dry-runner (or possibly fellow conspirators who were “sleepers” among the passengers) could have been gauging typical passenger responses to his behavior. The mujahideen know very well that the passengers, and not the crew or the air marshals, would most likely be the first line of defense against their intended attack.
But there is another important aspect of the incident: it was a probe. That is, it was designed to test the system and discover weak points that could be exploited in a later operation, which may be of a totally different sort.
It’s not just the cabin crew, the passengers, and the cockpit door that are being tested here. The people who planned this operation knew that their man would be subdued, arrested, and interrogated. Each of those actions offers the possibility of a lawsuit or lawsuits — for “profiling”, discrimination, harassment, wrongful detention, and so on, directed at the government, the airline, the crew, and the passengers who intervened.
With Eric Holder running the Justice Department, it’s even conceivable that federal civil rights charges could be brought against some of those alert responders if they somehow managed to display insufficient sensitivity to Mr. Almurisi’s religious and cultural sensibilities.
The Syrian “musicians” that Annie Jacobsen exposed to the world were a probe. The “Flying Imams” were a probe. The Danish cartoon provocation was a probe. The violence that used Terry Jones as a pretext was a probe.
Every time Muslims engage in loud, violent, outrageous, or litigious behavior, they are probing us. They know the kuffar are weak and indecisive. They know we are vulnerable on multiple fronts, so they are constantly probing us on all those fronts, to see where we are likely to cave in and accede to their demands in order to avoid further mau-mauing.
Osama bin Laden is not the main point. He is a sideshow, but a necessary sideshow: Osama and his ilk are a warning that helps keep us in line, meek and submissive as sheep. The image of the crazed mujahid with his bomb belt or exploding underwear is always out there to make us aware of what a “tiny minority of extremists” may do to us if we don’t give in to the persistent and unremitting demands of the “vast majority of peace-loving Muslims”.
Blatant probes like this one serve as a constant reminder that Osama’s heirs are everywhere. Their oft-repeated assertion that “we love death more than you love life” wears down our will to resist and makes us ready to accept the piecemeal application of sharia law in the West.