Friday, December 13, 2013

Aviation Update

A couple of sensational stories are making news and are worth exploring a bit.

One, the would-be white jihadist in Wichita.  According to CNN:
Loewen, who became the subject of a federal investigation early this summer, hoped to commit an "act of violent jihad against the United States" and spent months studying the airport's layout, photographing airport access points, researching flight schedules and assisting in the acquisition of car bomb components, Grissom said.
Not much elaboration there other than 'an act of violent jihad', which should explain itself. CNN goes on to list the charges:
Loewen is charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Officials did not answer questions or elaborate on the third charge during a Friday news conference.
The third charge, "provide(ing) material support" to a terror group, doesn't really seem to comport with the authorities calling him a "lone wolf". So, we must venture over to "Faux News" for more:
The complaint says an undercover FBI employee told Loewen about a recent trip overseas and a meeting with members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This agent told Loewen that "brothers" were interested in his airport access, and asked if he'd be willing to plant "some type of device," the complaint said. Loewen allegedly responded, "Am I interested? Yes. I still need time to think about it, but I can't imagine anything short of arrest stopping me."
The U.S. citizen allegedly wrote to the FBI agent that he was inspired by Usama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki.
Interesting that none of this was available on the CNN story but oh well, maybe they believed that business about AQ being on the run.  But let's cut to the chase here.  From all initial stories this guy indeed sounds like a lone nutcake someone brought to the attention of the Feds, who then set him up for a sting op, which occurred today.  He wasn't communicating with terrorists nor did he visit Arabia, he's just a lone dope duped by the Feds.

Some may use this to generate more conspiracies about the Feds trumping up events to justify the NSA's eavesdropping program (especially if it turns out to be part of the investigation) but such is to diminish the idiots out there who have a legitimate crush on the bin Laden wing of Islam and whose conversion involves visions of spectacular death of American innocents.  This same violent aspect will undoubtedly be downplayed by people who will be using the Colorado school shooting to suggest more gun bans.  Such is America 2013.  

UPDATE  12/14/13 

This story in the Wichita Eagle is very informative as to the days and months leading up to Friday's arrest.  The FBI affidavit suggests they became aware of Loewen's jihadi desires via his postings on a jihad website, using an undercover FBI agent to start communicating with him, which eventually led to the operation.

The story illustrates two things--1) the bush-league nature of Loewen's efforts to wage war.  Anyone in this day and age should realize they are being monitored while online.  Most probably the real dangerous jihadies have found other ways to communicate by now.  And 2) the derangement and commitment available to a real jihadist should they have found Loewen before the FBI did.  He fits the profile of the typical suicide bomber and although a lone kook, this event shouldn't be trivialized.     


Meanwhile CNN and several other networks made a point to mention the 'birther' aspect of the tragic death of the Hawaiian Director of Health Loretta Fuddy, who certified the legitimacy of Obama's released long form birth certificate back during the Trump birther trump in 2011.

They were basically reporting about the birther aspect and conspiracies before the tinfoil hatters even realized what was happening.   No doubt some in our mainstream media welcome the conspiracy theories as a way to deflect away from the health care fiasco while also piling extra dung on the Tea Party.    

So, what about the incident itself?  It was a short over-water flight from one coastal Hawaiian airport to Honolulu via a single engine Cessna Caravan 208, which holds about 10 passengers and a pilot.  Nine were on board--they all survived impact but only one died while awaiting rescue, Ms. Fuddy.  One survivor, a man over 70 years old, swam to shore while the others were picked up by police/Coast Guard helicopter rescue.

There seems to be some confusion about what happened after the aircraft ditched in the ocean. Here's the LA Times, playing up the conspiracy aspect headline:
The eight other people on the plane, including the pilot, were rescued, but one "person remained in the fuselage of the plane," Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig told KHON-TV. "It's always a different situation when you're not able to get everybody out."
Hey LA Times, if you don't want conspiracies about Obama maybe you shouldn't hold onto videos of him hobnobbing with Bill Ayers and Palestinian radicals before national elections.  Sorry, digression.  Notice the Times is saying there was one person still inside the aircraft, hinting that this person was the one who didn't survive.  But that's completely bizarre, because here's the AP from late yesterday:
"He recounted how he said he helped Loretta into her life jacket and he held her hand for some time," the priest said. "They were all floating together and she let go and there was no response from her."
Later today they updated it to provide more about the swimmer:
"Everyone was real quiet. We hit (the water) and it was all about getting the belts off," he said, describing how everyone started putting on life jackets and remained on the plane until it seemed to start sinking. "There wasn't panic or anything. It was very orderly. It wasn't like any of the movies or the TV shows."
Bobbing in the water, Hollstein noticed the pilot and seven other passengers seemed fine. "I didn't want to sit out there bobbing, so I figured I'd take a shot at going to the shoreline."
So he's basically saying everybody got out as the plane began sinking, saying he saw the 'seven' other passengers. This same guy later expressed surprise that Fuddy had died, saying:
"She was doing fine out of the airplane," Hollstein said. "Her assistant was really watching her. He was taking care of her."
Absolute proof everybody got out, at least according to this witness.   But wait--the Honolulu paper had a different version:
The Rev. Pat Killilea, pastor of St. Francis Church at Kalaupapa, said he didn't see the plane hit the water, but watched rescue operations from Kalaupapa's airport where the survivors were taken. Killilea said the pilot swam to shore to get help for the passengers floating offshore.
"He (pilot) had been able to get the passengers out of the plane wearing their life vests. However, once in the water they were beginning to drift apart and so he decide to swim to shore to get help," Killilea said this morning in a phone interview. He added, "There was blood on his (pilot's) chest when he arrived at the airport."
Hmm, so a reverend is telling a different story than one of the survivors, a story full of graphic detail including evidence of injury despite swimming ashore.  Note to the LA Times again--when you quote a Honolulu fire department official as emphatically saying someone was still in the aircraft when the aircraft was submerged by the time the rescuers arrived, and when a reverend contradicts later reports from the AP about the identity of the pilot, that tends to fuel conspiracies.

Yes, confusion and misinformation often reign after air disasters but usually officials don't get that specific.  Not to say this isn't all shoddy reporting, so with that in mind it's a little hasty to talk about any conspiracies.  Bizarre things happen in life every day, and certainly Ms. Fuddy seems an unlikely target for a black ops hit squad (no offense intended) as she seemed a team player, recently working to enact Obamacare on the Islands.

The autopsy should reveal the exact cause of death and will help nail this down.  It would also help if the NTSB could retrieve the wreckage from the ocean floor to study the engine, which should be largely intact, but they have said they probably won't be attempting it. Stay tuned, as they say.

UPDATE   12/17/13

The NTSB has decided that maybe they will try to salvage the aircraft after all.  They claim to have spotted it via helicopter submerged about 500 yards offshore.   Meanwhile the autopsy was completed Friday the 13th but has not been publicly released.   Maybe it has been privately released and maybe it's now safe to bring up the wreckage and find out what actually happened.   

No comments: