Friday, October 29, 2010

Aviation Update

Question--does the confirmation of an explosive material found in the cargo consist of a Fed Ex(?) cargo flight out of Dubai (with the package originating from Yemen) have any bearing on the downing of UPS flight 6, which took off from the same airport on September 3 only to be tragically downed by a fire in the cargo hold?

They are largely blaming the UPS crash on a shipment of lithium batteries or electronics but no official cause of the fire has been released. Today's activities don't necessarily say anything about that event but it does seem a rather strange coincidence, considering there was also a Lufthansa MD-11 freighter that crashed in Riyadh earlier this summer.

MORE 10/30/10

CNN has more on the devices:
The devices were "professionally" loaded and connected using an electric circuit to a mobile phone chip tucked in a printer, Dubai police told WAM, the official news agency for the United Arab Emirates.

They were packed in toner cartridges and designed to be detonated by a cell phone, a source close to the investigation told CNN. Police said they were tipped off about the possibility of an explosive device in postal packages onboard a FedEx flight from Yemen headed to Dubai.
The next question is where the trigger (detonator) man would be, whether in a foreign country or America, and what is the range of the remote device. UPS has a facility in Louisville, Fed Ex in Memphis, would someone actually wait for the plane to taxi into the ramp area to push the button or would they do it while in-flight? Timing is probably no coincidence either--we are about to enter the Christmas package rush season.

No doubt these are the kind of questions Aulaqi wants us chasing our tails over. Like Abdulmuttalab, it really doesn't matter if the bomb goes off so long as the message of capability is received. But if UPS 6 was actually a successful attack (and they likely know it by now) expect an all-out effort to eradicate this Yemeni cell in the very near future, perhaps even using cruise missiles, etc.

MORE 10/30/10

Here's a timeline of events issued by CBS News. Notice where the timeline begins, and what happened a day afterward.

(and more here, from NBC).

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