View Full Version : Another 9/11?

19th Jul 2004, 05:10
Has anyone read this? What do you make of it?


Blue Boy
19th Jul 2004, 05:45
Paranoia? Nonsense?, (and) or just utter :mad:!

19th Jul 2004, 05:56
A critical review here. (http://www.donaldsensing.com/2004/07/casing-northwest-327-threat-or-hoax.html)

If the F/A's were that concerned, they would have notified the captain, and he would have diverted ASAP. No way would they continue to a crowded city like LA. I think she was overreacting. Besides - 14 men to plant a bomb?

19th Jul 2004, 06:05
Surely in todays times, if the Captain was aware of the on-board scenario, and had made contact with security forces on the ground, this would have been just cause for a "fighter escort" to an alternate airport, especially in US airspace. I also agree that the covert alliance between the F/A and the passengers is a little strange? Why couldn,t one of the on-board federal marshalls make a written description of the "suspect" if it was needed?? A chilling read nevertheless!!

19th Jul 2004, 07:29
The article is from an extremely alarmest paper. Absolute rubbish.

19th Jul 2004, 08:51
Guarantee it sold a lot more copies this issue for her.. which (we must remember she is a paid writer) is her JOB, to rattle off a nicely embellished, detailed - but not quite bedtime- story.
Probably paid for her family ticket, and not a pang of guilt either I bet for all the 'real' people scared or put off by this

Now I've read it too.... GRRrrrr...(but at least she's not benefitted financially from me and others here.. phew... !)

19th Jul 2004, 10:50
Just to get to the bottom of this:

Are there any NWA crews on this forum, maybe even the ones flying 327 on June 29 between DTW and LAX, that could comfirm this story?

19th Jul 2004, 11:02
What this story makes abundantly clear is that it’s very easy for people to interpret innocent behaviour as sinister, but the flip side of this is that it’s very easy to interpret sinister behaviour as innocent.

Carrying a musical instrument case is apparently sinister, but would the writer have become concerned if she saw someone messing around with their shoe?

Two aspects of the story sound a bit suspect to me…

1) After the cabin crew had “strapped themselves in for landing” seven men stood up and stood waiting to use the lavatory but “not one of the flight attendants asked them to sit down.” Surely cabin crew would not allow this on final approach? In fact surely there isn't enough time for seven people to take it in turns to use the toilet on finals?

2) A flight attendant told the writer and her husband that there were “federal air marshals sitting all around us”. Surely cabin crew aren’t meant to tell passengers this under any circumstances?

19th Jul 2004, 12:00
The airline i work for, the Captian gives the F/As 15 mins to land! thats enought ime to secure the cabin etc, so we probably take our seat with 5 mins to land, if 7 men stood up for the toilet, and each took approx 4 mins in the toilet each, thats 28mins, it doesnt make sence, as there would still be people waiting for the toilet as the nervous family hurried up the jet bridge. a little far fetched one might say!

19th Jul 2004, 15:56
This has been making the rounds of various groups/boards for the last couple of weeks, but few have so far risen to the bait (for that is what I consider it to be).

At best it's simply a case of a distraught harpy letting her imagination loose, the middle-eastern-appearance syndrome if you will. Different cultures behave differently, infrequent flyers do things on airplanes which don't fit the 'norm'. Reminds me of the East Indian choir who were subject to similar scrutiny for 'passing notes' on a flight - although that case was much sooner after 9/11. I imagine the little red book was the Qu'ran, perhaps she would have been less discomfitted had it been the Bible.

A cynic might read something into the timing of the article, coinciding as it did with Ridge's warning that the election might have to be postponed. GWB down in the polls again ? Nah, that couldn't be it. :hmm: :ouch:

19th Jul 2004, 16:02
Nothing but complete and utter rubbish, not even worth commenting on the "events".:mad:

19th Jul 2004, 16:54
Consider also that the writer, Annie Jacobsen, turns to Ann Coulter as a good source for her "research" and to bolster her claims.

Coulter, one would do well to remember, is the same person who, soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, wrote in her syndicated column that the United States should invade the Middle East and convert the Muslims to Christianity.

That's pretty much all I need to know to make up my mind about Ms. Jacobsen's credibility.

19th Jul 2004, 16:55
The author wasn't Mrs Tom Clancy was it?

Sorry but I doubt that if these individuals were being watched then they wouldn't have got as far as boarding without questioning.

19th Jul 2004, 18:21
Danger. Rant...

A few first-blush observations…

1. When the husband gets up to speak to a FA, the FA pulls him into the galley and, among other things, tells him that, “…the flight attendants were passing notes to each other.” Then, 30 minutes later the FA comes to the husband… “Leaning over and whispering, she asked my husband to write a description of the yellow-shirted man sitting across from us. She explained it would look too suspicious if she wrote the information. She asked my husband to slip the note to her when he was done.”
----So, the FAs are not having any trouble writing notes to each other, but when it comes to writing down a description of a particular individual, it would look suspicious? FAs write stuff all the time for crying out loud, and if they want to do so privately, can do it behind a curtain in a galley or in a lav. Finally, the guy is sitting right across the aisle! Leaning in and whispering isn’t suspicious? Please..

2. “Approximately 10 minutes later, that same flight attendant came by with the drinks cart. She leaned over and quietly told my husband there were federal air marshals sitting all around us. She asked him not to tell anyone and explained that she could be in trouble for giving out that information. She then continued serving drinks.”
----Puts me in mind of Otto lying to Wendy when she catches him talking to Archie in “A Fish Called Wanda…” Dimwitted Otto makes up a story on the spot and claims that he works for the CIA and is just going around the neighborhood to let the public know that the CIA is debriefing KGB defectors in a nearby safe house. Wendy, seeing the utter nonsense in the CIA’s telling all of the neighbors about a secret safe house, challenges him on it, and Otto responds…
Otto: Look, you obviously don't know anything about intelligence work, lady. It's an X-K-Red-27 technique.

Wendy: My father was in the Secret Service, Mr. Manfredjinsinjin, and I know perfectly well that you don't keep the general public informed when you are "debriefing KGB defectors in a safe house."

Otto: Oh, you don't, huh?

Wendy: Not unless you're congenitally insane or irretrievably stupid, no.
In much the same way, it would be irretrievably stupid to even begin to indicate locations of any FAMs to the pax.

3. “Right in front of us, two men stood up against the emergency exit door, waiting for the lavatory to become available. The men spoke in Arabic among themselves and to the man in the yellow shirt sitting nearby.” OK. Fine. But just a few minutes later, “The last man came out of the bathroom, and as he passed the man in the yellow shirt he ran his forefinger across his neck and mouthed the word ‘No.’”
----No? In English? I’m not an Arabic speaker, but I’d think that he would have mouthed the word, “la.” How about another angle? Did the young man get in trouble with the FA for being up and mouth the word “nahono” as in “we” and drew his finger across his neck signifying that the FA verbally “killed” the guys for being up when the seat belt sign was on? Look, I’m not saying that this is what happened. Only curious about other possibilities, assuming the story is even remotely accurate. (And again, I'm not an Arabic speaker and I'm not equipped to get into a discussion of verb conjugation, etc)

4. “We gave sworn statement after sworn statement.”
----Nonsense. Multiple sworn statements in one sitting does not fit well with reality.

5. “So here's my question: Since the FBI issued a warning to the airline industry to be wary of groups of five men on a plane who might be trying to build bombs in the bathroom, shouldn't a group of 14 Middle Eastern men be screened before boarding a flight?”
----Yup. You can bet your bottom dollar they should be screened, and that they WERE screened. This is the stuff that really gets my goat. All pax are screened (in general terms. Let’s not pick nits here). End of story.
--She goes on, “No one checked the passports of the Syrian men. No one inspected the contents of the two instrument cases or the McDonald's bag. And no one checked the limping man's orthopedic shoe. In fact, according to the TSA regulations, passengers wearing an orthopedic shoe won't be asked to take it off. As their site states, ‘Advise the screener if you're wearing orthopedic shoes…screeners should not be asking you to remove your orthopedic shoes at any time during the screening process.’”
----Again, nonsense. This woman and her family stayed on the air side in DTW. They did not get anywhere near security. How, in the name of all things holy would she have been able to tell whether these guys were adequately screened? She had no idea whether these gentlemen had started their trip at DTW or were, like her and her family, changing planes there. She knew (or should have known) that they had been subjected to security screening the first time they entered the air side, but for some reason concentrates only on the fact that the gate agent didn’t do a strip search on them. Further, she cites only enough of the TSA orthopedic policy to make her point. Truth is, the policy info that she quotes from says that “…screeners will need to see and touch your prosthetic device…as part of the screening process… A screening supervisor or a lead screener will need to perform an explosive trace detection (ETD) screening of your prosthetic device…” So, if this guy DID have a prosthetic device, it probably got closer scrutiny than any of HER carry-on baggage. Although they would not have made him take it off during screening, they WOULD have run an ETD on it. If the ETD would have shown traces of explosives, well, THEN he’d have been made to take it off…

6. I’ve ranted too long already, so allow me to add just one thing… Much as I love NWA, I have to say that in all my travels, among all the carriers I fly, the NWA FAs appear to be the least likely to manage pax when the seat belt sign is on. I’ve often wondered whether this was some sort of company policy (the logical evolution of the “all we can do is ask them to sit down” line of thought). Perhaps this less-than-aggressive approach reinforced any idea this author had (and nope, I'm not saying that NWA FAs let pax stand during landing. Just wondering whether a predisposition regarding these guys was kicked up a notch by a lax seat belt policy...).

Sure, there’s more, but that’s enough for now.


20th Jul 2004, 08:56
I personally liked the age old bit where she desperately tried to prove she wasn't racist. Yeah right lady, that report had "closet Nazi" written all over it!

Maybe she should go and work for airport security, she'd be much better placed.

20th Jul 2004, 13:57

There's more!

She wrote a follow up to the original article:


20th Jul 2004, 14:27
Skimmed about half that link, just looks like a load of self-congratulatry self-back slapping.


20th Jul 2004, 20:04
See additional info under NWA 327.

No one in the gov't, the FBI, the air marshals onboard, the airline, TSA etc disputes this woman's claims of what happened at all. Food for thought.

21st Jul 2004, 08:23
It just shows how your innate biases colour your perception of events. Does anyone remember the Grauniad advert showing the black youth running at a man holding a briefcase, viewed from different angles? Some showed it looking like an assault or mugging, the final view showed he was saving his life.

The best bit I found was that the "Middle Eastern" men looked at each other!:oh: When you're in foreign lands, do you make eye contact with other westerners? Does that make you a terror suspect in their eyes?

Besides, if they had been terrorists, we wouldn't have heard this story at all:\

21st Jul 2004, 16:30
The best bit was one of them going into the bog with a full McD's bag and when he came out it was empty. To shamelessly plagiarize from another group, it was suggested that the toilet was the most convenient place to be when eating from a McD bag :D

fescalised portion
21st Jul 2004, 21:20
This topic is also being discussed on USaviation.com, and it makes a very interesting read......



22nd Jul 2004, 12:23
A story off the Dow Jones wire today:

Middle Eastern Men Scouting US Jets For New Attacks-Paper

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Flight crews and air marshals say Middle Eastern men are staking out airports, probing security measures and conducting test runs aboard airplanes for a terrorist attack, The Washington Times reported in its
Thursday editions.

At least two midflight incidents have involved numerous men of Middle Eastern descent behaving in what one pilot called "stereotypical" behavior of an organized attempt to attack a plane, the paper reported.

"No doubt these are dry runs for a terrorist attack," an air marshal said.

Pilots and air marshals who asked to remain anonymous told The Washington Times that surveillance by terrorists is rampant, using different probing methods.

"It's happening, and it's a sad state of affairs," a pilot said.

The Times reported that a June 29 incident aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles is similar to a Feb. 15 incident on American Airlines Flight 1732 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

The Northwest flight involved 14 Syrian men and the American Airlines flight involved six men of Middle Eastern descent. The men were seated throughout the plane pretending to be strangers. Once airborne, they began congregating in groups of two or three, stood nearly the entire flight, and consecutively filed
in and out of bathrooms at different intervals, raising concern among passengers and flight attendants, the Times reported.

Link to the Washington Times story:

23rd Jul 2004, 04:40
(copied from the other thread)

Barry60, sevenforeseven, et al.

I'm not sure why you and others call it "absolute rubbish" "complete rubbish" etc,

Several journalists have followed up on the story. They all seem to agree on the basic facts:

1) a group of 14 arab men were traveling together on the flight.
2) on the flight they behaved in a suspicious manner.
3) FBI, LA police and other security services met the plane on arrival and interviewed the men.

Presumably because they were informed by the captain of the flight which indicates that cabin crew and the captain thought the behaviour was suspicious enough to warrant investigation.

4) the men were subsequently allowed to continue their journey.

So it seems likely the 14 Syrians are completely innocent.

The article is written in a sensationalist style but it is certainly not "complete rubbish".

23rd Jul 2004, 15:13
FBI, LA police and other security services met the plane on arrival and interviewed the men. Presumably because they were informed by the captain

Or maybe not. Notice the date of this item (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/06/29/eveningnews/main626679.shtml). Just coincidence, I'm sure :ooh:

23rd Jul 2004, 20:46
Copyright 2004 KFI NEWS. All rights reserved.


LOS ANGELES | July 22, 2004 – Undercover federal air marshals on board a June 29 Northwest airlines flight from Detroit to LAX identified themselves after a passenger, “overreacted,” to a group of middle-eastern men on board, federal officials and sources have told KFI NEWS.

The passenger, later identified as Annie Jacobsen, was in danger of panicking other passengers and creating a larger problem on the plane, according to a source close to the secretive federal protective service.

Jacobsen, a self-described freelance writer, has published two stories about her experience at womenswallstreet.com, a business advice web site designed for women.

“The lady was overreacting,” said the source. “A flight attendant was told to tell the passenger to calm down; that there were air marshals on the plane.”

The middle eastern men were identified by federal agents as a group of touring musicians travelling to a concert date at a casino, said Air Marshals spokesman Dave Adams.

Jacobsen wrote she became alarmed when the men made frequent trips to the lavatory, repeatedly opened and closed the overhead luggage compartments, and appeared to be signaling each other.

“Initially it was brought to [the air marshals] attention by a passenger,” Adams said, adding the agents had been watching the men and chose to stay undercover.

Jacobsen and her husband had a number of conversations with the flight attendants and gestured towards the men several times, the source said.

“In concert with the flight crew, the decision was made to keep [the men] under surveillance since no terrorist or criminal acts were being perpetrated aboard the aircraft; they didn’t interfere with the flight crew,” Adams said.

The air marshals did, however, check the bathrooms after the middle-eastern men had spent time inside, Adams said.

FBI agents met the plane when it landed in Los Angeles and the men were questioned, and Los Angeles field office spokeswoman Cathy Viray said it’s significant the alarm on the flight came from a passenger.

“We have to take all calls seriously, but the passenger was worried, not the flight crew or the federal air marshals,” she said. “The complaint did not stem from the flight crew.”

Several people were questioned, she said, but no one was detained.

Jacobsen’s husband Kevin told KFI NEWS he approached a man he thought was an air marshal after the flight had landed.

“You made me nervous,” Kevin said the air marshal told him.

“I was freaking out,” Kevin replied.

“We don’t freak out in situations like this,” the air marshal responded.

Federal agents later verified the musicians’ story.

“We followed up with the casino,” Adams said. A supervisor verified they were playing a concert. A second federal law enforcement source said the concert itself was monitored by an agent.

“We also went to the hotel, determined they had checked into the hotel,” Adams said. Each of the men were checked through a series of databases and watch-lists with negative results, he said.

The source said the air marshals on the flight were partially concerned Jacobsen’s actions could have been an effort by terrorists or attackers to create a disturbance on the plane to force the agents to identify themselves.

Air marshals’ only tactical advantage on a flight is their anonymity, the source said, and Jacobsen could have put the entire flight in danger.

“They have to be very cognizant of their surroundings,” spokesman Adams confirmed, “to make sure it isn’t a ruse to try and pull them out of their cover.”

24th Jul 2004, 10:48

It is complete rubbish. And not just garden-variety rubbish: flat-out, clear-as-day, racist, paranoid, non-sensical, devoid-of-logic-and-reason rubbish.

Someone's McDonald's bag "mysteriously" emptying and then vanishing? I know it's a stretch to believe that someone would eat the whole thing and then throw away the bag, but I'm told it happens.

Northwest has a horrible rep when it comes to letting people who bought tickets together sit together. Boarding as a group, travelling as a group and then sitting apart is not unusual and happens all the time, every day.

If I was smiled at, particularly by some idiot who presumed that brown skin=terrorist, I wouldn't smile back either, especially not during a four-hour Northwest flight. That isn't suspicious.

And, as mentioned, Ann Coulter is another naive, borderline racist who is partly responsible for much of the knee-jerk race-based paranoia that divides and segregates people.

Unadulterated rubbish, but it feels good to have a Saturday morning rant.

26th Jul 2004, 15:45
Well, the "rubbish" view has convinced snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/skyterror.asp) - which is, for the time being, good enough for me. :)

Tony Flynn
26th Jul 2004, 22:14
'It just shows how your innate biases colour your perception of events. Does anyone remember the Grauniad advert showing the black youth running at a man holding a briefcase, viewed from different angles? Some showed it looking like an assault or mugging, the final view showed he was saving his life.'

The youth in that ad was a white skinhead - innate biases?????

27th Jul 2004, 07:10
I think there were several different ads in that series. One I remember was a white skinhead running after, what turned out to be, a runaway pram.

This is what Snopes have to say:

"although the events Ms. Jacobsen claims to have witnessed on her flight did occur, her interpretation of them was erroneous"

27th Jul 2004, 09:19
This story is also the front page of the Sunday Times News Review this week.

29th Jul 2004, 10:00
I fully appologise, but the advert was many years ago. I have just as many innate biases as the next person, and this was totally unconscious. However, the point is still valid.

Quote...'It just shows how your innate biases colour your perception of events. Does anyone remember the Grauniad advert showing the black youth running at a man holding a briefcase, viewed from different angles? Some showed it looking like an assault or mugging, the final view showed he was saving his life.'

The youth in that ad was a white skinhead - innate biases?????...unquote

31st Jul 2004, 10:15
Patdavies: It did indeed. Shamefully :(

10th Aug 2004, 19:52
Update from the MSP Star-Tribune yesterday...

Quoting, in part...

Air marshals dispute key assertion in Flight 327 account

Did, as a passenger reported, seven of the 13 Syrian musicians whose behavior was terrifying some passengers actually stand up in unison and take strategic positions by the lavatories and the exit door during final approach to Los Angeles, an act that would have been a frighteningly overt and unambiguous provocation?

They did not, according to the Federal Air Marshal Service, which had previously left unchallenged assertions by Annie Jacobsen, a freelance writer on the flight, that they did.

"What happened was, they were already standing up in the aisle before the seat belt signs became illuminated," said Dave Adams, a spokesman for the agency, which represents air marshals who travel undercover on airplanes.

"The flight attendants asked them to sit down, and the men respected the orders and sat in their seats. Two gentlemen asked why they had to, and a flight attendant told them 'Because, so please take your seats.' And they obeyed," he said.

The new information came from "subsequent interviews of flight attendants on this matter by our personnel," he added.

So there was absolutely no sudden move by the men on final approach?

"None," Adams said.



14th Sep 2004, 15:59
"I grabbed my son, I held my husband's hand and, despite the fact that I am not a particularly religious person, I prayed. The last man came out of the bathroom, and as he passed the man in the yellow shirt he ran his forefinger across his neck and mouthed the word "No." .......

isn't it kind of funny that after all the shady conversations at the back of the plane that the 'terrorist' decided to suddenly start speaking English instead of Arabic!!

This story reads like a child's school essay!

"The Day I Was Kidnapped!" by Me aged 11.