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Yemeni Aircraft Bomb Plot Foiled

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Yemeni Aircraft Bomb Plot Foiled

Old 30th Oct 2010, 09:36
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As I understand it, EMA had its first securty alert about 03-30hrs then another later, I am not sure of the time but may have been around 1030hrs, two suspect packages?

Am I correct in saying that one of these packages actually arrived in the USA and the other was taken by the UK authorities for forensic examination?

Was there a slip up at EMA which enabled one package to arrive in Uncle Sams backyard, or was that package a false alarm?
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 09:38
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What confuses me is that why an item which was discovered, removed and examined in the UK and reported as being "sinister looking but harmless" turns out to be an explosive device, when Obama starts his little spout.

Are we looking at limited release of information by UK authorities for operational reasons, or something else entirely !!

It all plays directly into the hands of those who detect an odd smell here !
How dare you suggest that Govts wouldn't have their interests solely at heart, ooops sorry our interests at heart in releasing fictionional ooops sorry factual information regarding this.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 09:47
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The way it apparently unfolded was actually the opposite NA.

The first one was discovered in EMA, under as yet unclear circumstances. It was examined and found to be "sinister looking but harmless"

Only after this did the great cross Atlantic pantomime spring into action whch culminated in Obama's great declaration.

As I said further up the thread "They both cant be right"

Did someone in the UK not get the script right, or
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 10:07
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Based on personal experience of receiving parcels* via UPS I wonder if just a thorough check of any manifest would throw up various HAZMAT, either wrongly labelled or the documentation not examined.

* solvent based paints, supposedly shipped by ground USPS were wrongly directed to UPS and came through without a hitch, not once, but several times. Other items, accepted by UPS just disappear from the system or are returned to the sender as undeliverable - unexistant (?!) address.

The point I'm making is that even if it is a proscribed item the fault probably lies in UPS practices.


BTW surely JB is this thread's spiritual home? A lot more conspiracy theorists hanging out over there
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 11:15
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'sinister looking but harmless'??

Where's that come from? The news is currently reporting:

"Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed the package found in the UK contained explosive material.

"The package which originated in Yemen was removed for forensic examination by UK experts. That examination continues," she said.

"At this stage I can say that the device did contain explosive material. But it is not yet clear that it was a viable explosive device. The forensic work continues."
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 12:02
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Given that the packages were addressed to actual locations (mostly Jewish institutions, I believe), isn't it more likely that this was an attempt to send large letter bombs to the addressees?

If not, why not just pick random addresses?
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 13:52
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From the UK Daily Mail

The Daily Mail has some more info. (Daily Mail is not always accurate ! )

Packages found at British airport and in Dubai DID contain explosives: Obama says it was a 'credible' terror plot | Mail Online

Al Qaeda ink cartridge bomb found on jet was linked to mobile phone SIM card



By David Williams and Rebecca Camber
Last updated at 12:09 PM on 30th October 2010
  • Bomb discoverd on jet in UK following MI6 tip-off
  • Similar Fed-Ex package seized in Dubai
  • 'Bombs' were addressed to synagogues in Chicago
  • British Jews on 'high alert' after advice from police
  • Home Office grounds all flights from Yemen to UK
  • Passenger jet escorted into JFK airport by U.S. fighters
The US-bound package discovered on a plane in Dubai contained explosives and an electrical circuit linked to a mobile phone SIM card, police said today.
The device was prepared in a 'professional manner' and bore the hallmarks of terror groups such as al Qaeda, Dubai Police said in a statement.
The explosive material PETN, or pentaerythritol trinitrate, was used, the statement said.
This is the same chemical found after the failed attempt to blow up a plane over Detroit last Christmas.
A major international terror alert was launched after security staff found printer cartridges with wires attached at cargo hubs at East Midlands Airport in the UK and Dubai yesterday.

Enlarge Dubai police discovered parts of a computer printer with explosives loaded into its toner cartridge found in a package onboard a cargo plane coming from Yemen



Terrorists had tried to conceal a bomb inside this printer, which was intercepted by Dubai police en route from the Yemen to Chicago



The packages were addressed to synagogues in Chicago, and were on Chicago-bound cargo planes that had set off from Yemen in the Middle East.

'The parcel was prepared in a professional manner where a closed electrical circuit was connected to a mobile phone SIM card hidden inside the printer,' Dubai Police said.

'This tactic carries the hallmarks of methods used previously by terrorist organisations such as al Qaeda.'

The bomb also contained lead azide, an explosive compound which can be used in detonators.

The statement continued: 'Swift action has enabled Dubai Police to foil a potential act of terror in the place the package was bound.'

The police said they were tipped off by a call from abroad. It warned of the possibility of an explosive device hidden in postal packages onboard the FedEx flight from Yemen.




The one found in Britain was intercepted by MI6 after a tip-off to one of its sources in the Arabian country, it was reported last night. Security services were placed on high alert.
The first package was found in the early hours yesterday. It had arrived on a United Parcel Service (UPS) flight which stopped at East Midlands Airport, on the Derbyshire and Leicestershire border.
It was taken off the plane and placed in a UPS storage depot just 300ft from the runway and half a mile from the passenger terminal, which is used by five million a year.





From there, it would have been transferred on to a cargo plane bound for Chicago.

The Fed-Ex bomb: The booby-trapped printer was packed in a box together with a number of everyday items such as books and magazines



Enlarge The packages spurred searches and investigations of jets arriving at New York's JFK Airport, Newark International Airport in New Jersey and the airport in Philadelphia

Newark: A bomb squad officer carries a package away from a UPS cargo plane as the plane and its contents are searched inr Newark, New Jersey


But before this could happen, it aroused suspicion during routine checks. The package was tested in a remote sealed-off area of the airport after wires and white powder were seen to be coming from it.
Initial examinations suggested it might not have detonated, but last night it was sent together with other items from the plane to Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist detectives for further forensic tests.




It was also reported that the device was linked to a mobile phone.






U.S. officials said they believe the packages contain pentaerythritol trinitrate, or PETN – the same powerful explosive used in last year’s failed Christmas Day Detroit airliner attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was trained in Yemen.
This is the same explosive as used by shoe bomber Richard Reid in his failed attack in 2001.
One of the most potent explosives known to man, just 100g of PETN can destroy a car.

THREAT FROM YEMEN GROWING





Fear have been growing rapidly over the terror threat posed to the West by Islamic fundamentalists based in Yemen.
Gordon Brown warned in January that the Middle Eastern country represented a growing ‘regional and global threat’ following the failed bomb attack on a U.S. plane over Detroit on Christmas Day last year.
Yemen-based group ‘Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’ is now considered the most dangerous strand of the terror organisation outside Pakistan and Afghanistan.
At its head is the preacher Anwar Al Awlaki, above, who is thought to have influenced both the Detroit bomber Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab and the 9/11 terrorists.
MI6 say he is urging violent attacks against the UK and the US describes him as ‘probably terrorist Number One.’
Mutallab, who is accused of trying to blow up a jet over Detroit on Christmas Day with explosives hidden in his underwear, is thought to have been tutored in Yemen.


However, it is extremely difficult to detect – making it an ideal weapon for terrorists.
But other sources said the packages may have been dummies adapted to look like real bombs in a ‘dry run’ as preparation for a real plot.
Hours after the discovery at East Midlands, two UPS planes at Philadelphia airport were moved to a secure area and checked, while searches were also carried out on an aircraft arriving from the UK in Newark, New Jersey.
Further checks were reported on planes that carried cargo originating in Yemen and that were arriving from Europe in Portland, Maine, and at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
In Brooklyn, New York, police were examining a package from a UPS truck after reports that a possible explosive had been found.

Two fighter jets later escorted an airliner travelling into New York from Dubai.

UPS said it was immediately suspending service out of Yemen until further notice 'because security is of the utmost importance'.

The terror alert follows calls this week from airline bosses that existing security procedures such as shoe and laptop checks should be scrapped.

Earlier this year, the US and Britain temporarily closed embassies in the Yemeni capital over fears of a terrorist attack.

A Yemen-based offshoot of al Qaeda was suspected of being behind the alleged Christmas Day bomb attempt on a jet flying to Detroit.

Speaking in the White House last night, Mr Obama said: 'I want to briefly update the American people on a credible terrorist threat against our country and the action that we have taken with our partners to respond to it.
'Last night and earlier today our intelligence and law enforcement professionals working with our friends and allies identified two suspicious packages bound for the US - specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago.
'Those packages have been located in Dubai and East Midlands Airport in the UK.
'Initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material.'
He added: 'I've...directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting.

Search: Officials head straight for cargo hold to find the suspected package that has been sent from Yemen



Grounded: The Emirates plane on the tarmac at New York's JFK airport after being escorted down by U.S. fighters with a suspect package from Yemen on board

Men walk past the offices of FedEx in Sanaa last night. Two suspicious packages being flown from Yemen to the United States were found in Britain and Dubai on Friday after a tip prompted authorities to search cargo planes on both sides of the Atlantic


'Although we are still pursuing all the facts, we do know that the packages originated in Yemen.
'We also know that al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist group based in Yemen, continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies.'
DEVICE SHOWS 'TERRORISTS HAVE THE ABILITY TO ADAPT'



The use of explosive material built into printer cartridges shows terror groups are coming up with innovative new ways to launch attacks on foreign soil, security experts said today.

The packages discovered on cargo planes in Britain and Dubai are now undergoing forensic analysis.

According to US officials initial tests indicated the use of PETN, the same powerful explosive used in the plot to blow up a plane over Detroit last Christmas.

'If this attack is by AQAP (al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula), it demonstrates an accelerated ability to design new and innovative ways of conducting IED attacks and a focused effort to execute those attacks on US soil,' Ben Venzke, chief executive of the intelligence agency IntelCenter, said.

Mr Venzke said the group elaborated on its bomb-making philosophy in its official Arabic-language magazine, Sada al-Malahim, following the attempted Christmas Day bombing.

'The article provides insights into how the group approaches IED (improvised explosive device) design and creates devices for specific targets and operations,' he said.

'The creation of devices built into toner cartridges fits within this philosophy and would not be surprising to see coming out of AQAP.'

He quoted the article as saying: 'The using of many methods for implementation and bombings is very important because it gives flexibility to operations and the infiltration through barriers.

'The decision to use one device or another differs according to the importance of the location and the results of the blast. You have weapons that you use at the proper time. This is also subject to the conditions of the targeted place.

'The tight security inside the office of a security official under observation and guard is totally different than an aeroplane that is in the air for six hours.

'It is certain that the conditions in the later situation will be more flexible and do not raise suspicions during implementation.'

Terror expert Dr Sally Leivesley said it appeared to be a 'sophisticated' device which may have used the powdered toner as a means of evading screening.

She said the size of the device meant if it was a bomb it could cause 'devastation'.

She said: 'It's a step-jump change in terms of threat to aviation and it's extremely serious.
'These devices can be put on board anywhere.'



The U.S. and Britain have stepped up training, intelligence and aid to Yemen this year amid concerns that the country has become a major training ground for Al Qaeda and after ­specific warnings that it is targeting aircraft.
Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed the package at East Midlands did contain explosive material, but said it was not yet clear whether it was a 'viable explosive device'.
Forensic experts are still examining the find.
Ms May said Cobra, the UK government's emergency planning committee, met yesterday following the discovery and would meet again later today.
All direct flights from Yemen to the UK had been suspended, she added.
Ms May said: 'The package which originated in Yemen was removed for forensic examination by UK experts. That examination continues.
'At this stage I can say that the device did contain explosive material. But it is not yet clear that it was a viable explosive device. The forensic work continues.'
She added: 'We are reviewing the security measures for air freight from Yemen and are in discussion with industry contacts.'
The Yemeni government expressed astonishment last night at reports linking it to the two explosive packages.

In a statement distributed to journalists and appearing on the official website, the government said there were no UPS cargo planes that had taken off from Yemen, or any indirect or direct flights to British or American airports.

The statement added that the government was co-operating with the US, British and Emirati parties.
Yemen's statement warned against 'rush decisions in a case as sensitive as this one and before investigations reveal the truth'.

The government also promised an investigation into claims that the packages had originated in Yemen.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who is at his Chequers country residence, will not be attending or taking part in today's Cobra meeting.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron had spoken to the Home Secretary last night, and was being kept up to date with the situation.
Former Home Secretary Lord Reid said there was a 'huge and continuing threat' from terrorism.

He told BBC News: 'The important thing is to remember that even when there are no incidents like this, there is still a huge and continuing threat from terrorism, not just al Qaida but its affiliates and in some cases from brand new groupings.

'We've got to get away from this idea that if we go a period of time without an incident like this that somehow we can reduce vigilance and reduce security at airports.'

He said it was 'unclear' whether this was a 'dry run', but it would be 'unwise to assume that because we have detected these two (devices) that there aren't any more out there'.

He added: 'What no government can guarantee is 100% success because, to use the old adage, we have to be successful every time in our counter terrorist operations, the terrorists only have to be successful once.'



The latest aviation security alert involving suspect cargo packages is almost certainly bound to end hopes of an easing of airport checks for UK passengers.
Earlier this week British Airways chairman Martin Broughton had suggested that some parts of the security programme were now 'completely redundant'.
He added that there was no need to 'kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done'.
Mr Broughton had added: 'We should say, 'We'll only do things which we consider essential and that you Americans also consider essential'.'
The BA chairman's views were supported by many leading figures in UK aviation.
Mike Carrivick, chairman of the Board of Airline Representatives, which speaks for 80 UK carriers, said: 'Every time there is a new security scare, an extra layer of security is added. We need to have a look at the whole situation.'

A Yemeni employee serves a customer at a branch of the US package delivery firm UPS in Sanaa this morning

Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA, called for 'rationalising' of security checks and former security minister Lord West said security had gone too far and could be made 'much less onerous'.
UK Transport secretary Philip Hammond said he would allow airlines to look at how they could 'ease the passenger experience'.
But that now looks a forlorn hope, with the hard-pressed passenger likely to face more, rather than fewer, checks.
The latest situation also strengthens the US argument that it is right for America to insist on the tightest of security, and the fullest of information about passengers, for flights from the UK to the USA.
With the UK's Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax due to rise on Monday, longer queues at UK airport security points will add to the problems
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 13:54
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isn't it more likely that this was an attempt to send large letter bombs to the addressees?
Of course it was; it was no more an attack on an aircraft as it would have been an attack on the mailvan that finally delivered it.

It was a low-level and silly attempt; so silly that there must be a suspicion that it was a diversion or had some other ulterior purpose.

Al Qa'ida has much bigger fish to fry than a building used by some Jews.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 14:35
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Anything of interest in all this to the aviation passenger side?

Most of the discussion above is political and well covered in the press.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 15:31
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it was no more an attack on an aircraft as it would have been an attack on the mailvan that finally delivered it.
It seems the Hon. Ms May disagrees: U.K. official: Aircraft was likely target of attack - CNN.com

It does seem a strange 'plot'.
If the intent was to blow up a cargo plane, why draw attention by addressing the device to a synagogue ? And why waste a bomb on a frieghter anyway ?
If the intent was to bomb the synagogue(s), how on earth would they know exactly when to detonate, assuming the 'cell phone' was a viable method.

More to come I'm sure. Well, perhaps not (shhh !).

ETA: another thought: why in the name of Jaweh would anyone at a synagogue accept an unexpected package from Yemen ?

Last edited by PaperTiger; 30th Oct 2010 at 16:23.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 16:24
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All they have to do is call the mobile when it's mid atlantic and leave voicemail while it's out of range. Then when phone gets in range again...

Given that mobiles have been used as triggers many times before... Is it safe for airlines to install base stations in planes?
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 19:54
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A little update on this: Star Air a/c was evacuated, but not searched, due to the fact that it stood next to UPS Philadelphia a/c where the package was found. UPS was coming from CGN.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 20:20
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Originally Posted by cwatters
Given that mobiles have been used as triggers many times before... Is it safe for airlines to install base stations in planes?
If the bad guys can get bombs on planes then being able to remotely detonate them is the least of your worries.

But the idea that they're trying to destroy planes makes little sense; why would they then address the package to a synagogue, when they could have picked a completely innocent address which would have been far less likely to raise suspicion?
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 22:52
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Anyone else wonder why the Emerites 777 captain didn't ask the fighters and ATC to be escorted to the nearest suitable airport? Flying for over an hour past viable airports doesn't sound like it is in the best interest of his passengers. Land, get the airplane searched, then press on.
Continuing to fly towards the populated area of NYC makes me wonder if Homeland Security didn't make a tactical mistake as well.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 23:10
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Anyone else wonder why the Emerites 777 captain didn't ask the fighters and ATC to be escorted to the nearest suitable airport?
Cause that would open up a financial can of worms, with landing fees, refueling, turnaround time delays,etc.
Besides, they already had F-16s hovering beside them in a Show Of Farce
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Old 31st Oct 2010, 06:58
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Thumbs up

in a Show Of Farce
Excellent, I like that very much.
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Old 31st Oct 2010, 09:28
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My bugbear being the UK declaration that the first printer discovered at EMA was "sinister looking but harmless" has finally been addressed.

It is now being admitted that first examinations overlooked the fact that it may have contained explosive material.


This from a BBC website made me chuckle however :-

Must keep public afraid of a bogeyman. Check.

Bogeyman must have a Middle East connection. Check.

Needs to be somewhere new, to highlight the scale of the threat, Afghanistan is getting a bit too familiar to them. Check.

Needs to look like the US & UK could both have been hit. Check.

Must have some sort of physical evidence, show them some pictures of circuit board things, they look like they could be some kind of sophsiticated bomb - they'll never know the difference. Check.

Last edited by El Grifo; 31st Oct 2010 at 10:12.
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Old 31st Oct 2010, 10:31
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But the idea that they're trying to destroy planes makes little sense; why would they then address the package to a synagogue, when they could have picked a completely innocent address which would have been far less likely to raise suspicion?
It sounds like a mixture of different devices were sent. Perhaps those were designed to go off when fitted into the printer/copier?
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Old 31st Oct 2010, 10:41
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El Grifo:

Which BBC web page. As far I can see BBC News website has no Forums (Fora?) on the event and your quote doesn't look like the stuff normally written by a BBC journalist who wants to keep their job!

I really do not believe the assertion by DC that the UK package was intended to explode in flight. If anything was likely to raise suspicion then it would sure be a package sent from Yemen to a Jewish address in the USA. If you wanted to blow up the aircraft then surely addressing it to any old John Doe in Hicksville, Arizona would be less likely to draw attention en route.

I think statements from both sides of the atlantic to the effect the target was the aircraft are just propaganda to justify clamping down on the international package industry, to the extent they could easily kill, or seriously injure it's future.
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Old 31st Oct 2010, 10:42
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Any of you watch TV programs like "Border patrol"? (There are several that cover the work of customs staff in places like the UK or NZ)..

They seem to intercept an awful lot of parcels on arrival suggesting that departure checks on packages from some countries are very poor.
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