View Full Version : High-Altitude Rambos

23rd Sep 2002, 19:15
New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/23/opinion/23HERB.html) (free registration may be required).

one of the many episodes of hysteria to erupt on board airliners in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks by the air marshals:eek:

23rd Sep 2002, 22:54
I'm afraid these guys' training has a long way to go.

24th Sep 2002, 07:52
A spokesman offered the absurd explanation that Dr. Rajcoomar was detained because he had watched the unfolding incident "too closely."

Yeah, if I was sitting there and they placed someone in handcuffs next to me while waving a pistol about, I'm sure I'd only show a slight interest and then resume reding the paper :rolleyes:

24th Sep 2002, 12:07
Can't be bothered to fill in the form for free subscription (plus another source which will have my e-mail adress).
Can someone post the article here?

Thanks in advance.

24th Sep 2002, 12:13
Just for you sir. Now they have my e-mail address; but I console myself in the fact that you IFTB sir, can now read the said article! :D

High-Altitude Rambos

r. Bob Rajcoomar, a U.S. citizen and former military physician from Lake Worth, Fla., found himself handcuffed and taken into custody last month in one of the many episodes of hysteria to erupt on board airliners in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dr. Rajcoomar was seated in first class on a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Philadelphia on Aug. 31 when a passenger in the coach section began behaving erratically. The passenger, Steven Feuer, had nothing to do with Dr. Rajcoomar.

Two U.S. air marshals got up from their seats in first class and moved back to coach to confront Mr. Feuer, who was described by witnesses as a slight man who seemed disoriented. What ensued was terrifying. When Mr. Feuer refused to remain in his seat, the marshals reacted as if they were trying out for the lead roles in Hollywood's latest action extravaganza.

They handcuffed Mr. Feuer, hustled him into first class and restrained him in a seat next to Dr. Rajcoomar. The 180 or so passengers were now quite jittery. Dr. Rajcoomar asked to have his seat changed and a flight attendant obliged, finding him another seat in first class. The incident, already scary, could — and should — have ended there. But the marshals were not ready to let things quiet down.

One of the marshals pulled a gun and brandished it at the passengers. The marshals loudly demanded that all passengers remain in their seats, and remain still. They barked a series of orders. No one should stand for any reason. Arms and legs should not extend into the aisles. No one should try to visit the restroom. The message could not have been clearer: anyone who disobeyed the marshals was in danger of being shot.

The passengers were petrified, with most believing that there were terrorists on the plane.

"I was afraid there was going to be a gun battle in that pressurized cabin," said Senior Judge James A. Lineberger of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a veteran of 20 years in the military, who was sitting in an aisle seat in coach. "I was afraid that I was going to die from the gunfire in a shootout."

Dr. Rajcoomar's wife, Dorothy, who was seated quite a distance from her husband, said, "It was really like Rambo in the air." She worried that there might be people on the plane who did not speak English, and therefore did not understand the marshals' orders. If someone got up to go to the bathroom, he or she might be shot.

There were no terrorists on board. There was no threat of any kind. When the plane landed about half an hour later, Mr. Feuer was taken into custody. And then, shockingly, so was Dr. Rajcoomar. The air marshals grabbed the doctor from behind, handcuffed him and, for no good reason that anyone has been able to give, hauled him to an airport police station where he was thrown into a filthy cell.

This was airline security gone berserk. No one ever suggested that Dr. Rajcoomar, a straight-arrow retired Army major, had done anything wrong.

Dr. Rajcoomar, who is of Indian descent, said he believes he was taken into custody solely because of his brown skin. He was held for three frightening hours and then released without being charged. Mr. Feuer was also released.

Officials tried to conceal the names of the marshals, but they were eventually identified by a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter as Shawn B. McCullers and Samuel Mumma of the Transportation Security Administration, which is part of the U.S. Transportation Department.

The Transportation Security Administration has declined to discuss the incident in detail. A spokesman offered the absurd explanation that Dr. Rajcoomar was detained because he had watched the unfolding incident "too closely."

If that becomes a criterion for arrest in the U.S., a lot of us reporters are headed for jail.

Dr. Rajcoomar told me yesterday that he remains shaken by the episode. "I had never been treated like that in my life," he said. "I was afraid that I was about to be beaten up or killed."

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union have taken up his case and he has filed notice that he may sue the federal government for unlawful detention.

"We have to take a look at what we're doing in the name of security," said Dr. Rajcoomar. "So many men and women have fought and died for freedom in this great country, and now we are in danger of ruining that in the name of security."

24th Sep 2002, 12:48
Dumb as it might seem, consider this. A clever terrorist might arrange for an incident that in itself does not seem to be a planned hijack attempt just to identify the sky marshals. Once this has been accomplished, the marshals have to stay unholstered until the end of the flight. Terrorists who have yet to act know who and where the marshals are. Their only hope may well be to have gun in hand. These guys evidently did not behave well but, once they identified themselves they were in a scary situation.

Iron City
24th Sep 2002, 12:56
What, you didn't use IFTB's email address?

24th Sep 2002, 13:00
126.9 and IXTB , as the NY Times article is under copyright, only short excerpts of the content can legally be posted here.

Danny does not enjoy receiving nasty letters from copyright lawyers and I respectfully suggest to 126.9 cutting down your post to the maximum 10% of content allowed before he has to get involved.

24th Sep 2002, 13:22
What did I start?

Firstly, Mr. 126.9 Sir, thank you very much for exposing your e-mail adress to the spammer on my behalf. I will remain forever your fan and not attack any of your postings, far from it, they ARE supported!

Secondly I apologise to RatherBeFlying and Danny for having got PPRuNe in possible hot water by this.
However, the complete following of this tread knows where the article came from, the newspaper name was quoted several times, they even got 126.9 and others to sign up!
Hardly an infringement of any rights? I would like to be enlightened by "what's his username again, who is in the legal profession?" if this situation is an offence of copyright.

But I do apologise for the trouble.


I believe 126.9 used [email protected] as e-mail adress. :D :D :D

24th Sep 2002, 16:09
It gladdens my heart to see that the air marshals were travelling in first class. I wouldn't like to see them squeezed up in coach like the majority of the passengers.


24th Sep 2002, 17:22
I personally, wish also, that you were rather flying.

If you read today's NY Times, it might come to your attention that the said article was less than 1% of their published content. Furthermore, since the article was clearly COPIED, PASTED AND ACKNOWLEDGED as the property of NYT, I feel no burden of copyright infringement.

Have a nice flight; PLEASE? :p

24th Sep 2002, 18:45
...Are you a Pprune Marshal, or are you just Danny's poodle? :eek:

24th Sep 2002, 21:03

If you go to the DRUDGE REPORT website you could have read the entire article without subscribing to the NYT website.

Few Cloudy
25th Sep 2002, 17:07
The little fellow gets an upgrade to first class -then when he gets there he canīt get his manacles round the Champagne glass. Thatīs bitter.

25th Sep 2002, 17:41
In a year the FAM force has increased from some 50 officers to an estimate of 6000 with more to come.

These people are green, untried and mostly inexperienced. They have been given a tough job with little practical training. Some FAMS I spoke to had only been given hands on training on a 727 fuselage, really useful these days. They had never actually practiced their business in ANY wide body two aisle aircraft. Other FAMS had never been shown the security door locking arrangement. They had no idea how the cockpit door was secured from the inside. They were clearly very grateful when I gave them a tour of the cockpit area - HELL they did not even know about the location of the crash axe!

The officers were mainly drafted from various other federal agencies. I am sure most are truly dedicated. but the programme seems to have suffered from rapid expansion.

25th Sep 2002, 17:55
Here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=3853&highlight=copyright#post3853)

25th Sep 2002, 18:14
qoute from RBF link

"... or any link back to the source. "

I do think the requirements have been met in this thread, dont ya think? :rolleyes: