Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Aviation Update

This story made news Tuesday:
An unidentified man was sucked out of a passenger jet at 14,000 feet after a suspected bomb blasted a hole through the side of the fuselage just five minutes after the Airbus A321 took off from Mogadishu. Eyewitnesses claim the badly burned body of an elderly man fell to the earth about 15 miles away from the airport at the time of the blast.
Horrible. Of course due to the location on the aircraft there's little speculation it was anything other than a bomb--even the captain didn't mince words:
Capt. Vlatko Vodopivec, the pilot, said he and others were told the explosion was caused by a bomb. "It was my first bomb; I hope it will be the last," Vodopivec told the AP by phone from Mogadishu. He said the blast happened when the plane was at around 11,000 feet and still climbing to its cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.
Shortly before he was caught, Ramzi Yousef was perfecting micro seat bombs using Casio watches for timers so he could place bombs on aircraft on one leg and have them blow up on the next leg, after he had exited.  Philippine Airlines 434 was his test run.  The "Bojinka" plot of the mid 90s would have used eleven of them simultaneously exploding on US carriers over the Pacific. Thankfully it was thwarted, although it didn't wake up the public very much.

But Yousef and Uncle KSM weren't the first. There were several terrorist bombs in the 80s, including TWA 840, which blew four passengers out of the aircraft on a flight from Rome to Athens, Greece.  Bomb maker Abu Ibrahim, now in his 70s, is still on the FBI's wanted list for helping construct similar devices--he was last seen in Iraq (where he held a long association).

By the way, the passenger who was ejected from the Daallo Airlines flight does not necessarily have to be the perpetrator, authorities are likely checking to see who was on the previous flight in that same seat or whether someone from the ground crew could have done it.   Still, it's likely this shows that once these terrorists get set on something they never give up.   


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Meanwhile another terror related aviation story hit the Daily Mail yesterday:
The deadly 9/11 terror attacks were devised by former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after he was inspired by a pilot who crashed a plane into the ocean in 1999, it has emerged.
When bin Laden heard the murder-suicide on EgyptAir Flight 990 had killed 217 people, including 100 Americans, the terrorist strongman said: 'Why didn't he crash into a building?'
This conversation supposedly occurred in 1999. Which is interesting, because the FBI had information off Yousef's captured laptop dating to 1994 that talked of crashing an aircraft into CIA HQ. After capture KSM gave up more details about the "planes operation", detailed here in the 9/11 Commission Report:
KSM claims that the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center taught him that bombs and explosives could be problematic, and that he needed to graduate to a more novel form of attack. He maintains that he and Yousef began thinking about using aircraft as weapons while working on the Manila air/Bojinka plot, and speculated about striking the World Trade Center and CIA headquarters as early as 1995.

In other words, this recent bin Laden story sounds like BS. Since it came from the AQ magazine, that makes it even more likely.

The question is why, and why now? KSM is still languishing at GTMO with no hope of a trial until Obama leaves office, if then, so he poses no threat from a competitive jihadist standpoint.  A more realistic explanation is that AQ is just trying to put another halo on their deceased hero's head to enhance weak recruitment as compared to ISIS.  That is, unless it's one of their harbingers.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Meaning of the word 'is' again

History repeats.  That's basically what the Clintons are doing on this email scandal, same playbook as Monica.   Define an issue down to legal terms, use legal parsing to craft disingenuous replies, then look in the camera with the best serious face and blame a vast right wing conspiracy.

Can't blame them, it worked before, largely with the same breed of media.  Even tonight one of Clinton's main flacks was on Megyn Kelly's show defending the indefensible, and with vigor and gusto. It's all they've got.  But with a helpful (or even lackadaisical) media not riling up the muddy middle swing voters with saturation coverage, it's not beyond succeeding. 

Meanwhile, getting to wherever we're going on this is already an exercise in the bizarre.  Hillary likes to say she never 'sent or received email that was classified at the time'.  She also likes to say that no organization is too big to fail and no person is too big to jail.  She even said some of this wearing black and white striped pants suits.  Does she even get the irony there?   Or is she just rubbing it in?
 
She is the smartest woman in the world, after all.

Back in reality where chief gumshoe James Comey works (he of Ashcroft hospital drama fame) the stakes are high.  Comey has a legacy as a straight shooter and lefty hero for challenging the evil, constitution crapping imperial president Bushco, but he's got some new cards to play now. Will he play them fairly?  If he recommends indictment and Lynch blows it off, will he resign out of protest?  Or will he see the lucrative FBI position, stretching well into the next president's tenure, as something to protect and serve?  Cough, "I did all I could", sigh, let's move on to ISIS.  No protest leaves the media wide open to carry Hillary's water all the way to the next set of Roman columns. 

My guess is Comey won't fizzle out on principle and we may see something sooner than later.  The more the FBI drags this out the more primary wins Hillary can accumulate, then claim that any FBI investigation is purely partisan and interfering with a national election. There would be some precedence in that, too.  So maybe we'll see something this weekend. 

MORE  1/31/16

The something we saw this weekend was nothing.  So, it appears the FBI is going to let the voters caucus on Monday and beyond before taking any action.  

So here's more wild speculation.  After she's won a primary or three, if FBI moves to indict her the campaign will throw up a flag and cry foul, claiming the FBI is trying to impede an election.   When the right reacts as they predictably will (loud and boisterous) the Clinton machine will attack them as making a phony scandal out of an honest 'mistake'.   That's probably where the press will kick into top gear on the story, jumping in with the historic Mrs Rodham Clinton's campaign, helping her douse the fire before moving the rubes on to other preferred narratives, like the war on women.  It would help is some big breaking story came along to feed that, but surely one can be arranged.

Meanwhile the GOP will wither under the attacks and demand people 'move on' to the substantive issues facing the country, etc etc.

The only wildcard in that scenario is Trump.      

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Investigation Update

With all the hoopla over Hillary's emails and Obama's Iran deal, one story has completely been buried--the Stuxnet leak on Iran. Back when Holder was holding fort at DOJ he promised to get to the bottom of a leak about Stuxnet to the New York Times, appointing US Attorney for Maryland Rod Rosenstein to handle the case.

This was way back in 2012--the leak was basically in support of Obama's reelection campaign. Dribs and drabs of information would occasionally bubble out over the years, but in small quantities. Few cared.

Eventually in 2013 we were told the prime person of interest was "Obama's favorite general" retired 4 star Hoss Cartwright. Indeed he was. But then the story went cold again.

Then just recently we learned that Cartwight's case was more or less put on hold because it could have potentially interfered with the peace in our time Iran nuke deal.  Who made that call, by the way?   Obama has said the Attoney General's office is completely independent. 

The president has also bragged about his administration's severe handling of leakers and those who violate their security oaths. Lower level people have been sent to jail. The Defense Department is contemplating a move to reduce the rank of General Petraeus ex post facto. But we have Cartwright's case still in limbo? Did he leak or not? The Iran deal is done, where's the update?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Yeah, but it's all legal and stuff

The Wall St Journal's article about Obama's spying on the dangerous terrorist Bibi Netanyahu has illustrated the slippery slope of the NSA's 702 collection program.  Yes, there should be some admission on the right that such a thing could occur.  Meanwhile, lefties who were once outraged at such things are using the legality to justify Boehner, McConnell and other congressmen getting caught up in a snooping program designed to stop Israel from stopping the ridiculous non-binding, non-treaty with actual terrorists dressed in Mullah suits. 

It's worth a look back at 2007 to see how far things have tumbled down the slope..