Terror in the Skies

A story published on the Women Wall Street website about a possible new terrorist threat has been setting the blosophere abuzz. The story, written by Annie Jacobsen, describes her experiences on a four-hour plane ride during which a group of 14 Syrian men began to act suspiciously (in her eyes), whispering to each other and making frequent trips to the bathroom. After the plane landed, Jacobsen did some investigating and learned that authorities are worried about gangs of terrorists separately carrying aboard the parts needed to make a bomb, and then assembling the bombs onboard in the bathroom. However, the Syrians on Jacobsen's flight were apparently just a group of musicians. A lot of people are suspicious of Jacobsen's story... not that she necessarily invented it, but that she exaggerated it. Some details seem a bit unlikely. For instance, the stewardesses on her flight seem awfully willing to divulge passenger information as well as the location of federal air marshals. I guess people are suspicious because no one ever heard of Annie Jacobsen before this, and Women Wall Street is an odd place for an article like this to appear. But preliminary research by Michelle Malkin seems to indicate that the story is basically true. Though this doesn't mean that Jacobsen wasn't being a bit paranoid. Would it really require 14 terrorists to assemble one bomb?

Hate Crimes/Terror

Posted on Fri Jul 16, 2004


The most compelling argument I've heard to justify the Syrians' behavior as realistic (i.e. argument that the story could be true) is that their journeys to the front & back of the plane at the beginning and end of the long flight is that they were engaging in a couple of their five times daily prayers.

As for anti-arguments... well, the story is implausible on a whole host of easy to spot reasons. Time will tell, and considering how much attention this has received by major bloggers (Reynolds, Lileks, Malkin), it won't be much time to wait at all.
Posted by Beck  on  Fri Jul 16, 2004  at  03:42 PM
No matter how many pieces you split the bomb in to, one of them is the explosives, which are becoming easier and easier to detect.

If this woman is for real, she's an idiot. A racist idiot.
Posted by Terry Austin  on  Fri Jul 16, 2004  at  05:59 PM
The invocation of Ann Coulter and the endorsement of Michelle Malkin tells me all I need to know.
Posted by Camille  on  Sun Jul 18, 2004  at  01:28 PM
This is a true story, you idiots! What are you waiting for? No hoax here. that was a test run. wake up americaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by edward james  on  Sun Jul 18, 2004  at  02:38 PM
If anyone wants the most recient information, please write me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). It's pretty darn interesting. BC
Posted by Buffalocandles  on  Tue Jul 20, 2004  at  02:57 PM
"The most compelling argument I've heard to justify the Syrians' behavior as realistic (i.e. argument that the story could be true) is that their journeys to the front & back of the plane at the beginning and end of the long flight is that they were engaging in a couple of their five times daily prayers"

Um... in what religion is it considered Kosher (pardon the pun) to single out a toilet as your spot for daily prayer? Not to mention, those airplane potties are much too small to roll out the ol' prayer rug.

Heavens, I'll never understand how anyone can join the mile high club in one of those things.

Do tell, though. What are the "easy to spot" reasons?
Posted by lorel  on  Thu Jul 22, 2004  at  01:03 AM
It's unfortunate that in a country that prides in its rich diversity and deep cultural mix, we allow a nobody named Annie Jacobsen to turn speculation into a conspiracy theory. Annie Jacobsen's story is based on a connection of dots of incidents that ultimately meant nothing. Quite simply, we cannot and should not be alarmed every time a person of Middle Eastern descent stands up on a moving aircraft and heads to the lavatory. Articles like Jacobsen's only turn back the hands of time and incite hateful, cruel and completely unneeded racism.

In the process of forming, People Against Annie Jacobsen. P.A.A.J will provide a fair and balanced response to the Annie Jacobsen's of the world who turn baseless speculation into cold racism.
Posted by Asher Ailey  on  Thu Jul 22, 2004  at  09:49 AM
Undeniably racist paranoia that appeals to other racists, which conveniently created a sensation and boosted her business. Nothing like instilling hate and making a buck at the same time.
Posted by Brian H.  on  Thu Jul 22, 2004  at  12:56 PM
I have just received an update on this incident. The band was found and much of Annie's story can be confirmed. In my opinion, these 14 jokers played up on America's fear. To the band members, they were probably having a good time. To the passengers, it was a fearful event.

I have read many of the posts here. I have read a few who claim paranoia and the like. Call it what you will. Humans have a natural sense to heightened awareness when threatened or feel threatened. We can sit back safe behind our keyboards and type away. For the few who know what their reactions would be, good for you. We in America are under a real threat. And a true fact is, we don't know who the enemy is. We just read about them in newspapers and hear about them on the radio and TV. But, don't worry. These feelings will soon pass. We will once again feel comfortable in our surroundings. And that's what the terrorists want. It's more effective.

Should anyone want a copy of the article, feel free to send a blank email with the subject "Terror In The Sky" to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I will reply with all three articles.

Posted by Rick  on  Thu Jul 22, 2004  at  02:29 PM
This story is just a right wing paranoid woman trying all she can to keep people afraid so they will vote for her hero. Like Camille said, envoking Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin says it all. But what really got me were her comments about being so thoroughly screened at airports in Europe. Living in Europe I know better, they don't live in fear here.
Posted by Julz  on  Thu Jul 22, 2004  at  07:58 PM
I just want to know how it's racist. If you come from a region of the world that breeds terrorism, and nobody there seems to care, and someone from a country that the terrorists want to destroy thinks you're up to no good, how is that racist?
Posted by Drunk Stepdad  on  Fri Jul 23, 2004  at  01:40 PM
The worship requires ablutions (washing). The only place to do that on a plane is in a restroom.
Posted by Baba  on  Fri Jul 23, 2004  at  06:24 PM
FBI Fumbles again

The following is just a few lines. You can read the rest in the newspaper.

Almost all of the Syrian musicians who were questioned by law-enforcement officials after exhibiting suspicious behavior aboard a Northwest Airlines flight were traveling on expired visas.
The 14 men in the band were questioned by several agencies that make up the Joint Terrorism Task Force after the pilot aboard Flight
327 from Detroit to Los Angeles on June 29 radioed for law-enforcement assistance.
Posted by Rick  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  10:59 PM
So there's 14 members in this Syrian rock band. The problem is, all Syrians look alike. That's why she thought the same guy went to the bathroom 14 times.
Posted by Abdul Salami  on  Mon Aug 02, 2004  at  09:59 AM
The "story" is no more than a classical example of idiotic behavior as consequence of government threataganda, and conveniently exploited for this sole purpose. Even so, if anyone wants to follow up, just read the SECOND part of Jacobsen's "story", and notice how she became (even deeper) mentally intoxicated with her overnite "fame" (infamy?) after her appearances in the so called "main media".
As someone said, "Thou will always have stupid ones amongst thou"...or something like that...
Posted by the legend  on  Tue Aug 03, 2004  at  05:16 PM
Well, I just received a nine part series report on the investigation of terrorist dry runs. It is a LONG report and very compelling. Annie Jacobson is not the only witness. Annie is the bravest of witnesses. This is an ongoing practice. If anyone wants a copy, send a blank email with the subject "Terror In The Sky" to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Posted by Rick  on  Tue Oct 19, 2004  at  07:55 PM
14 is enough, they can assemble a pretty big bomb However the correct number of men is 15. (his job is setting the thing at the right time).
This is the only reason the flight made it to safe landing.
Furthermore I would like to point out that any stewardess telling who the airmarshalls are and were they are seated ought to be shot on the spot for they are plainly helping and abiding terrorists.
We must all be very hard on those types.
Posted by Beasjt  on  Fri Jan 14, 2005  at  04:03 PM
This has been very informative. As a browned skinned person I'll make a note: When travelling w/ family hold piss and crap at my discomfort for the sake of other passengers'. BTW, I believe Snopes debunked this witness not too long ago. http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/skyterror.asp
Posted by Pist  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  02:17 AM
Seems this woman may not have been outrageous as people thought she was. I say this because of what happened at Heathrow recently...
Posted by HW  on  Thu Aug 31, 2006  at  10:40 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.