Friday, October 29, 2010

The Latest

from Fox:

Bomb Materials From Yemen Found on Way to Jewish Places of Worship in Chicago
Published October 29, 2010

DEVELOPING: Suspicious packages discovered in Dubai and England in air cargo shipments to the U.S. contained explosive materials and appeared headed for Jewish places of worship in Chicago, President Obama confirmed Thursday afternoon.

Obama's remarks in a brief address to reporters capped a tense daylong drama, in which federal authorities grounded UPS planes at airports in Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia to inspect packages based on fears of a terrorist threat originating from Yemen.

The Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is suspected, and investigators are looking into whether the packages were part of a dry run for a future mail-bomb plot.

President Obama, confirming that authorities had uncovered a "credible terrorist threat," spoke shortly after military jets escorted a passenger jet from the United Arab Emirates to New York's JFK airport as a precautionary measure because it was carrying a package from Yemen.

"We will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens," Obama said.

A UAE official told the Associated Press late Friday that an "explosive device" in Dubai was found in a courier company's regional hub.

FedEx reported earlier that a suspicious package was found at its Dubai facility.

Another package, found on a UPS plane at East Midlands Airport in central England, contained what looked like a toner cartridge with white powder and wires coming out of it.

The Thursday night discoveries prompted U.S. authorities on Friday to sweep a UPS plane in Newark, N.J., two UPS planes in Philadelphia and two UPS trucks in New York City.

The planes in Philadelphia are still being investigated. The Newark flight and New York trucks have been cleared.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama was alerted Thursday night, and administration officials have been monitoring the situation.

"Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in London and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen," Gibbs said in a written statement. "As a result of security precautions triggered by this threat, the additional measures were taken regarding the flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports.

Given the origin of the packages, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula "is at the top of the list" of suspects, a U.S. official told Fox News.

"Since two of the suspicious packages that were intercepted were addressed to religious institutions in Chicago, all churches, synagogues and mosques in the Chicago area should be vigilant for any unsolicited or unexpected packages, especially those originating from overseas locations," Chicago FBI spokesman Ross Rice said.

Federal law enforcement officials said the suspicious device that resembled a toner cartridge was removed from the a flight in a distribution center at East Midlands Airport in the U.K.

A crew member aboard a UPS plane arriving to Philadelphia from Paris later notified authorities on approach about a suspicious package. The crew member described a possible radiological component to the package, the incident report said. The two occupants safely exited the aircraft after landing in a remote area of the airport.

A second UPS plane was isolated near the UPS terminal at the Philadelphia airport before take off, the report said.

A third UPS plane, which arrived at Newark Liberty Airport from East Midlands in the U.K., was investigated, but UPS says it was cleared and proceeded on to Louisville, KY.

Two UPS trucks in Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y., were also investigated and cleared, officials said.

Law enforcement officials also are investigating a suspicious packages in Portland, Maine. No word on whether that package has any links to UPS or Yemen.

"As an additional safety measure, FedEx embargoed all shipments originating from Yemen," Maury Lane, spokesman for FedEx told Reuters.


revereridesagain said...

Probably a dumb question, but how were they postmarked? Why would anyone at a synagogue with any common sense just open a package postmarked "Yemen"? Why would anyone order printer cartridges from Yemen?

Has al Qaida Yemen decided that, since their gonzo shahids get caught by fellow airline passengers and t-shirt vendors, they'll have better luck shipping bombs in suspicious packages 12,000 miles by air and no one will be the wiser?

If there were two packages with bomb materials, what were the rest? Duds? Decoys? Imaginary? Did they actually expect all these packages to get where they were going or were they just testing to see which got found?

And are there others that didn't?

Did Ozero make another of his inane "we will be protected by our hopes and our dreams" remarks? I can't stand to actually watch him anymore.

midnight rider said...

Revere -- the packages checked here today were checked because they came from Yemen, not because they knew they contained anything.

I wonder whether there's some that got through as well.

Pasto just asked me the same question: why would ANYONE at a synagogue open an unkown package from YEMEN.

Anonymous said...

if any one of these pkgs managed to reach it's destination it would likely have been considered a bonus

this was more a test of the system

peak travel season is about to begin . . .wanna bet this is going to be a very disrupted holiday season?

revereridesagain said...

Another interesting detail: news reports said the packages heading for Chicago contained "bomb materials", not "bombs". So, if a synagogue gets a package from Yemen and for some reason opens it and finds, say, a toner cartridge with a couple wires and powder or other material that could be used to cause an explosion, first thing they do is call the cops/FBI, right? They are not likely to open another package from Yemen, and assuming the story gets out, neither is any other temple in the area. And now that THIS story today is out, there's not a synagogue in America that's going to open anything from a suspect part of the ME.

The Unibomber successfully delivered deadly bombs to several victims over a period of years from a back woods shack using bicycles and buses to travel; meanwhile the FIBBIEs were trying to figure out what high-tech methods they assumed he must have been using.

So, what did they expect to learn from this dry run, assuming that's what it was? Is there stuff that got through to where it was going -- which was NOT synagogues -- despite all the searches? Did it tell al Qaida what we are looking for -- and what we aren't looking for?

BNI is reporting that there were more than a dozen "potential bombs" shipped, and they haven't found them all. (And while checking that out, take a gander at the post above it, about the ongoing plot to stage a Mumbai-type attack with hostages to get KSM released.)

Remember the old story about the guy who used to get stopped at the Mexican border every week and his expensive car -- a different one each time -- searched for drugs? Turned out he was smuggling cars?

Never a dull moment.

Anonymous said...

Delta pressed to investigate Muslim profiling complaints

by Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio

St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations wants Delta Air Lines to investigate complaints that some Muslim passengers were subject to religious profiling.

The group says last month, four Muslim men were escorted off a Delta flight when it landed at the Twin Cities airport. The council says a flight attendant had reported one of the men behaved suspiciously after dropping a pen.

In another incident, the group said a Delta commuter plane flying to Grand Forks made an emergency landing in Fargo after a flight attendant feared a Muslim student had tampered with a lavatory smoke alarm. No foul play was found.

Zahra Aljabri, the organization's assistant civil rights director, said the issue is the training flight attendants are receiving regarding what constitutes suspicious behavior.

"We're just asking for that training to be examined, so that incidents don't continue to occur," Aljabri said.

Delta said it takes the accusations seriously and will "take any and all actions necessary" to ensure all passengers are treated equally.