Yemen Terror Scare

The news is filled with a terror scare today from two packages with explosives headed to synagogues in the U.S from Yemen. President Obama says it sounds like al Qaida Arab Peninsula. (AQAP.) The Guardian reports cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may be behind it.

I'm just getting to the news so I don't have any thoughts on it yet. Here's a thread to discuss it.

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    Security tight here since (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 03:24:31 AM EST
    I arrived Oct. 12. Airport security is very careful re carry ons, which must be tagged w/name and flight no.etc. Last flight had to show boarding pass to get off the plane. Hotels screen vehicles before admission to the grounds. Screen all items--suitcases, hand luggage. Each person walks through metal detector plus wanding and thorough pat down.

    Kind of amusing to read Sen. Collins is shocked cargo isn't checked. Well known.

    actually, some cargo is always screened (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by nycstray on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:41:18 AM EST
     . . . your pets! Had to take Dot to a special area, remove her from the crate while they gave it a once over. Thankfully they didn't want to give her a pat down :)

    Shocked you say (none / 0) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 08:27:07 AM EST
    Sen. Collins is definitely overpaid if she isn't aware that cargo isn't checked. It has been a well publicized issue and one that was discussed in the halls of Congress during her tenure.

    I'm not a senator (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Zorba on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 08:51:12 AM EST
    and even I know that they don't check cargo.  Which irritates me every time I go through TSA security at the airport and have to take off shoes and jacket/coat, go through a metal detector (last time, I went through the whole-body scanner) and so on.  As someone mentioned, they don't screen the cargo ships sailing into our ports much, either.
    More than 6 million cargo containers enter U.S. seaports annually, of which only 2% are physically inspected by Customs.

    There are over 300 sea and river ports in the US.  They don't inspect the vast majority of cargo coming into those ports, they don't inspect the cargo on the planes, while they treat airline passengers like criminals.  

    I'm not a Senator either (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:31:16 AM EST
    but there are many security practices I am completely unaware of...don't know if they do, don't know if they don't. But, I thought air cargo went through one of those pressure tunnels to force anything explosive to explode.

    They do a random examination of our luggage, for sure. I almost always have a ticket in my suitcase telling me that it was opened and searched by TSA. So far, nothing stolen.


    I've learned (none / 0) (#43)
    by Zorba on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 01:13:57 PM EST
    not to wear an under-wire bra while traveling by air, because the one time I did, it set off the metal detector and they patted me down.  I've never had my checked luggage searched, though (to my knowledge- no TSA ticket in any luggage, at any rate).

    Yes (none / 0) (#52)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 01, 2010 at 09:47:05 AM EST
    When I traveled last June, I didn't realize how much an underwire bra would single me out.  Got a very thorough "feel up" from the TSA officer - too bad (in my case) that it was another woman.  ;)

    Funny thing - on the way back from that trip, they pulled me aside and swabbed my hands (for explosives, I guess), and told me to wait for another check.  When I got up there, I was told I was fine and to have a nice day.  It didn't take any more time out of my trip, but I was curious if I was picked for a reason, or if it was something like "every 5th passenger has to be screened for explosives".


    I thought they do inspect cargo (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by ruffian on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:49:14 AM EST
    shipped via passenger planes, but jot on cargo planes.

    And surprise, I AM a senator! Not telling you which one though.


    Next stop is Delhi for (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 09:33:12 AM EST
    mon a.m. flight home. Will try to squeeze in a sitar/tabla/voice concert first though.

    PS. Detested that book, which all my friends sd., oh, you'll love it. Made it to where she jumps out the window @ the ashram. Such a navel-gazer.

    Never met a sitar/tabla concert I didn't like (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ellie on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 09:54:54 AM EST
    My ex roomie's wonderfully generous parents occasionally treated the whole household to a concert. Bestie always thanked us for being indulgently nice to her parents and "enduring", eg, Ravi Shankar. Imagine that!

    As for EPL, I'm withholding judgment until I skim the upcoming sequel: Give. Me. Break.


    Stear clear of 'the Art of Racing in the Rain' too (none / 0) (#34)
    by ruffian on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:16:20 AM EST
    I wisely passed it up in an airport store only to have it foisted on me by well-meaning friends. Drivel.

    The Liberal Leaning Set's foolishness! (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:44:08 AM EST
    There are many kinds of POLITICOs.

    Yes, I too think it might be a conspiracy, but not necessarily a Republican or Democratic one.

    Perhaps it is a devilish plot of the YEMEN/AQ National Committee trying to mess a little bit with America right before a National election day.

    Really folks, the whole world isn't organized around Democratic-Republican politics.  That idea is one of the great weaknesses of the Liberal leaning set.  That idea colors the glasses that most people who call themselves progressives wear.

    It is why most Independents remain independent and even tend toward Republican though many of the Democratic Party goals really would aid them.

    Only when that foolishness abates will the Liberal's gain a consistent base past the usual 20%.

    At least handling this situation seems to (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 01:29:30 PM EST
    have come off without a hitch so far.  They didn't make it through this time.  If politics are involved, from what I'm hearing it is the politics of the mostly Muslim regions of the world.  Al Qaeda has been losing support because moderate Muslims are bringing up how many Muslims that Al Qaeda has in the past felt free to kill in its terrorist attacks.  Singling out and hitting specifically American Jews and only killing Jews was hoped to help them out with their current PR problem.

    Just in time for Election Day (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 08:43:30 PM EST
    What a convenient coincidence.

    And aimed at Chicago, home (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Cream City on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 10:11:17 PM EST
    of the President, of the Democratic Party . . . and, of course, of shady political ploys.

    On the other hand, one could see why the home city of the President could seem so significant to groups overseas.  And that other cities might not be as up on security as New York must be now.

    And that this alleged incident involved use of cargo planes, not passenger planes, reminds me of many reports for a decade now, post 9/11, of how wide open are our cargo systems -- not just airways but waterways aka harbors, too.  There is basically no homeland security aimed at ships.  (I pay attention to those reports, living near a harbor.)


    The publicity may have been amped (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:23:39 PM EST
    up, with presidential statement and all that, but yeah, it does seem to have actually been a coincidence.  As far as we can tell, this is the real deal, not the fake crapola the Bushco people used to give us at opportune points.  This wasn't a bunch of pathetic wannabes from Brooklyn fantastizing about blowing up the bridge with fertilizer.

    And if the reports of intelligence are right and there are something like 15 packages with fairly powerful explosives, while only 2 have actually been found so far, this may not even be over yet.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 08:49:32 PM EST
    Do you think that the DLC arranged it, the WH, or the GOP?

    I think scribe is saying (none / 0) (#3)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 09:30:49 PM EST
    what a coincidence to have this happen just before election day.

    No, I think he/she is fairly (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:24:52 PM EST
    clearly saying this is nonsense ginned up for partisan purposes.  I think that's actually wrong.

    i think it's entirely possible (none / 0) (#53)
    by CST on Mon Nov 01, 2010 at 11:24:33 AM EST
    that whoever planned this is aware that our elections are coming up.

    But no, I don't think that it's the state department.


    Hmmmm (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 09:37:50 PM EST
    I do not think that is the all of it. Considering that we went through 8 years of fake alerts whenever BushCo needed some cover, it seems that the implication here is that Obama, or some politico engineered it.

    As per Jeralyn's comment, I do not know what to think either.


    I'd be open to considering (none / 0) (#35)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:20:38 AM EST
    that it is just possible these events take place more often than the media is alerted to, and conveniently shared with the press when it is politically beneficial. Let's not forget that it was the Rs who kept us safe through all the orange alerts, though. Is this a ploy that works for Dems?

    I did not hear that the Dem Admin raised the domestic alert thermometer over this. In fact, it was a WORLD Alert.


    Remember the Bin Laden tapes (none / 0) (#20)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 12:25:20 AM EST
    that came out just before the election in 2004?

    My first thought: Fabled October Surprise? (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ellie on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:05:40 AM EST
    I think it was the confluence of too many factors that, in the past, were always (fractionally) dialed back after the sensationalism was milked for all it was worth.

    When the facts and reality checks came down, the Bush admin was suggesting that everyone move along, and nothin' to see here, folks.


    I have to admit I was suspicious too at first (5.00 / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:22:15 AM EST
    I'd like to think that this administration has more scruples about pulling stunts like that. Seems this is legit, so maybe i'll stop reacting that way at some point.

    Yemen says not them (none / 0) (#5)
    by waldenpond on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 10:04:28 PM EST
    In a statement distributed to journalists and appearing on the official website late Thursday, 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.

    AP via Salon

    Makes Sense (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:15:38 PM EST
    Yemen does not have UPS or FedEx Service.

    One of the packages was found aboard a U.P.S. cargo plane at East Midlands Airport near Nottingham, England, officials said. A second, similar package was removed from a FedEx flight in Dubai, they said.

    Neither company has flights into or out of Yemen, but they offer shipping from Yemen and contract with other companies to move freight from there to hubs in Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East.



    My kid emailed me from Dubai (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:27:08 PM EST
    on his way to the airport to fly 'home' to Amsterdam today.  They're 9 hours ahead of me here on the left coast but I haven't heard from him since, by Skype or email, and the news is sketchy about Dubai.  Dunno if they shut down the airport or what, but now I hear the package they found there had a printer in it.  Explosives?  Dunno.

    Unnerving.  He was in Cairo last week and couldn't even take his luggage into the hotel without having it screened first.

    I guess I'm not as alarmed as when he was in college in Pennsylvania and we sat by the TV to hear moment by moment about Three Mile Island...

    Doubt I'll have any fingernails left by midnight if I still hear nothing.  Cancer or no cancer, I may start smokiing again...temporarily.  Wish I were a drinker.  Maybe an Irish coffee...yeah, that's the ticket...


    So sorry, oldpro (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Cream City on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:33:18 PM EST
    as I sent my firstborn off tonight for his big move to . . . Chicago, and to an apartment near a major synagogue in the city, too.  Yikes.  But at least he'll be driving there tomorrow and not trying to cope with O'Hare, which is awful on any day -- and at least he is not traveling in the Mideast now!

    I'll be sending good thoughts your way and his, hoping that he is not slowed down so much in the Amsterdam airport security that he misses a stroll around it.  If you have to be in an airport, ugh, it's one of the good ones!


    Sheesh...what a world our kids live (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:46:22 PM EST
    in now.  They seem to handle it better than we do.

    Kyle just moved to Amsterdam last May...has always loved the city and finally convinced his company to open an office in The Hague so he could commute from Amsterdam and cover Western Europe from there instead of flying back and forth from Seattle endlessly.

    Timing.  No favor to keep 'em home and locked up.  It's their world now, thanks to George Bush and an indefensible foreign policy sticking us with two wars and inciting the radical fringe of the Muslim world to produce more terrorists.


    And now I have to email a niece (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Cream City on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 12:13:03 AM EST
    in Chicago, I realized -- just moved there, too, and to Hyde Park, which must be under massive security.  And she just recently converted to Judaism. . . .

    So I had better check in on her parents as well.  Fortunately, they also are fans of Irish coffee to get through long nights.


    Oh, dear...endless worries. (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 01:57:48 AM EST
    Mine is finally over for the night...Kyle is home and in touch...finally.

    No more coffee, Irish or otherwise, on this night.

    Hang in there, Cream.  Thanks for connecting...always good to hear from you and follow your paths on this site.


    Wonderful news (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Cream City on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 08:46:12 AM EST
    with my morning coffee, as I checked here first in hope that all gone well for your son and his mom.

    Mine heads off now on his interesting paths ahead!  So it is another of those turning points in my life as well . . . as I am plotting perhaps a next book.

    Or not! as the libraries are full, as can be my life in other ways now.  Thanks for the good thoughts, too, Oldpro.


    Yes! Slept well in relief last night... (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 02:09:51 PM EST
    Skype call my breakfastime, his dinnertime, first thing today as soon as I was up and turned on my computer with first cuppa coffee at hand!  Thanks for checking in, Cream.

    Great talk for an hour.  Whew.  And isn't Skype wonderful?  I'm revising my tech attitude...well, slightly anyway...when it works for me -- as it increasingly does not!  

    Zesus ... I rode in the front with a friend in his new car last week and when the dashboard lit up and he started punching all the buttons and gizmos, I thought I was in the cockpit of a 747!  Comfy now in my '98 Honda and keeping it 'til 'the end!'  I really don't need any more stress just now...old friends, old familiar and comforting cars and appliances where the off-on switches aare enough to make it work - if we just remember to plug the damn thing in and/or fill the gas tank...oh, well...always something!  I miss Gilda...

    And...while the libraries may be full, as I tell my friends whose kids are thinking of going to law school..."there's always room and need for a good one!"  Same goes for books and you are a clear thinker and good writer, so...onward!

    But yes...keep an eye on the kids, friends (including the online friends - thanks!) relatives you're still speaking to, neighbors...and don't forget to make some time for yourself and whatever feeds, entertains and excites you to new adventures.



    Hugs and kisses (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Zorba on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 06:23:04 PM EST
    to you too, oldpro.  It's frightening when our kids (or any loved ones) may be in harms way, and I'm so glad your son is fine.  I well remember how Mr. Zorba and I were biting our nails four years ago, during the riots in Budapest.  Our daughter and her boyfriend were in Budapest at the time.  We finally got a call from her- they didn't even know the riots were taking place until they saw a news report on the TV at the hotel, and then they both looked at each other and said, "We'd better call our parents."  All was fine with them.

    Oy! (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:34:58 PM EST
    Well all flights are messed up, particularly ones coming from Dubai. Not to worry, I am sure your son is fine.

    Have an irish coffee....  cigarettes will not help, imo.

    easier said than done..


    Hope you hear from your son soon (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:40:07 PM EST
    Uncertainty about your child's well being is hard to cope with anytime but I can only imagine it is worse when he is so far away.

    Irish coffee easier to resist tomorrow than those "temporary cigarettes." Believe me I know from experience.

    Take care.


    Right you are. Thanks, MO. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:53:45 PM EST
    Finally....an email from Amsterdam. (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 01:51:18 AM EST
    Home safely after a flight from Dubai through Doha, Qatar...6 hour layover with a midnight departure, 7 hour redeye to Amsterdam.

    Now it's midnight here and time for some zzzzzs for Mom.


    I know how relieved you must feel (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 08:20:45 AM EST
    Sleep well and take care.

    Woke up this ayem to an (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 02:15:32 PM EST
    hour-long Skype call from Kyle.  Whew.  Great to catch up, finally.

    Thanks for your online friendship, MO.  Very kind.

    Have a lovely weekend wherever you are!  Senior moment...I forget!


    Beautiful Saturday here in Missouri (none / 0) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 05:10:06 PM EST
    Current temperature is 75 and sunny. Trees have begun turning. Don't think they have reached their peak yet although that normally happens around the 23rd or so.

    Since I am someone who does not like cold weather, I would be very happy to have a long Indian summer - lasting through November at least. It happens here sometimes.

    Always enjoy interacting with you online and look forward to your comments. Take care.  


    I'm glad (none / 0) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 05:40:59 PM EST
    to hear that and I hope you are doing well.

    That's comical (none / 0) (#37)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:25:55 AM EST
    CNN news last night showed an Alert box that said "UPS: Suspending all service out of Yemen" - so was this a faux comfort ploy. "It's okay, folks, we will stop what we never started."

    MOre (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 11:39:16 AM EST
    Yemen packages may signal Al Qaeda franchise is 'amateurish'

    The Yemen packages found on UPS and FedEx flights yesterday came shortly after Al Qaeda in Yemen published a jihadist magazine emphasizing the importance of targeting Americans......

    The FedEx office in Sanaa refused to talk to media about the incident, and according to an employee from UPS's office the company "doesn't have the right to give out any information until they complete the investigation."

    At about 4:30 p.m. local time both the FedEx and UPS in Sanaa closed early. The UPS office was surrounded by at least 10 Yemeni soldiers.

    How UPS, FedEx packages get from Yemen to the West
    There is mixed information as to whether there are any direct flights from Yemen to the United Kingdom. However, what is certain is that shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS do not send their own planes to Yemen for security reasons. Instead they use cargo flights of commercial airlines to ship parcels out of Yemen.



    Oh, and passenger must show (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 09:03:15 AM EST
    Photo id and itinerary before entering airport. But you leave your shoes on.

    Still in India? (none / 0) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 09:16:43 AM EST
    Is your next stop Bali in a remake of the Eat Pray Love? ;-)  

    What about your undies? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Ellie on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 10:11:02 AM EST
    But you leave your shoes on.

    Of course, depending on your particular constitution's reaction to Indian food, explosive might have a whole other meaning.


    Shipping out of Yemen. (none / 0) (#47)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 04:32:28 PM EST
    This article has several items.


    The big US shippers FedEx and U.P.S have offices in Yemen, and local shipping companies ship to the elsewhere as well.

    "Our colleague Robert F. Worth in Beirut, Lebanon, reports that the Yemeni police have closed down the offices of FedEx and U.P.S. in Sana, the Yemeni capital."

    Typo! (none / 0) (#49)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 05:13:09 PM EST
    I said "local shipping companies ship to the elsewhere as well."

    It should have been "local shipping companies ship to them elsewhere as well."

    "them" being FedEx and U.P.S.