Report: 12 passengers arrested after diverted Northwest flight lands

posted at 12:31 pm on August 23, 2006 by Allahpundit

Just across on Fox. There have been no fewer than three false alarms in the past ten days or so, and this’ll probably be number four. Although this is the first of them to involve actual arrests.

The flight took off from the Netherlands and was turned around after reports of “suspicious bevavior” onboard. Here’s the AP report. Possibly significant: the destination was Mumbai. Also possibly significant: the pilot requested an escort from fighting jets while returning to the airport. The flight that was diverted to Boston last week also got an escort, though, so that might be SOP at this point.

Stand by for updates.

Update: Confirmation of the arrests. They’re not raising the national terror alert.

Update: Evidently it was U.S. air marshals onboard who were suspicious. Fox has a tip that the passengers’ behavior involved cell phones.

Update: Who knows?

A U.S. passenger named Alpa, who did not wish to use her last name, told AP television reporters she had seen police handcuff and remove around 11 men of south Asian appearance from the plane before other passengers. She said she didn’t see what happened but heard from other passengers the men had aroused suspicion by getting out their mobile phones.

Update: Mary K is following this too.

Update: Walid Phares says all 12 who were arrested were using their cell phones after the plane took off. Not sure what his source is for that.

Update: The AP says they weren’t just using the cell phones, they were passing them around to each other.

Update: Not exactly related, but related enough:

Over 50 percent of Transportation Security Officers at Orlando’s International Airport have failed tests that determine whether a bomb is in a passenger’s bag, according to aviation sources…

The test, called TIPS, Threat Image Protection System, is performed while officers are on the job. While screening passenger bags, a TIPS test image is randomly displayed on the baggage checking screen amongst images of the bags that are being checked…

Many officers are missing the test images all together.

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Good thing the Dutch have F-16s! Me thinks there is a major and loosely connected plot going on. Too much similarity in such a short time.

Entelechy on August 23, 2006 at 12:53 PM

Well, they’re a day late.

frankj on August 23, 2006 at 1:05 PM

Hey, maybe they should try flight segregation. That could work. I’m sure we could even find arab pilots for the brown people. I know I’d feel safer if’n everyone was white, and of course, christian.

THeDRiFTeR on August 23, 2006 at 1:31 PM

You’ve been linking MKH quite a bit in the past couple of days.

I smell romance!

Or maybe pastrami.

Hard to tell the difference, really.

Slublog on August 23, 2006 at 1:37 PM

Romance has more vegetable oil and oregano.

If it’s done correctly.

Hoodlumman on August 23, 2006 at 2:04 PM

Drifter–

Were you under the impression that Johnny Walker Lindh, aka Suleyman al-Faris, is Christian?

Ah ha. That explains a lot. That’s why the Left hates Christianity so much–they thought the Taliban and 9-11 hijackers were Christian! And I can see why you get so mad at us for being suspicious of “radical Islam” when there are Christians like Johnny Walker doing things for the Christian Taliban. If I thought that, I’d be all, “come on, get your head in the game, right wingnuts!” too!

But actually, I’ve heard a rumor that they were affiliated with a completely different religion altogether–possibly one that starts with an I.

I’m glad we’ve laid that little misunderstanding to rest. Can you get on board with the rest of us now?

Just don’t use your cellphone.

see-dubya on August 23, 2006 at 2:23 PM

“Or maybe pastrami.”

Pastrami. Lunchmeat of the Gods.

Remember it.

thirteen28 on August 23, 2006 at 2:24 PM

Mumbai? Where the heck is Mumbai? That’s what I was asking myself a few weeks ago with the bombings that happened there. Then, much to my surprise, I learned that Mumbai is, in fact, BOMBAY! Heck! I know where BOMBAY is! Why do we suddenly have to refer to it as Mumbai? AAAHHHH!

BNCurtis on August 23, 2006 at 2:26 PM

Slublog, romance aside, true pastrami is made of beef, but turkey is a popular alternative :)

Entelechy on August 23, 2006 at 2:28 PM

Drifter–

Were you under the impression that Johnny Walker Lindh, aka Suleyman al-Faris, is Christian?

see-dubya on August 23, 2006 at 2:23 PM

Um, why no, I wasn’t under that impression. That’s why racial profiling will not suffice. We’ll have to get them to divulge their faith too. Otherwise, we could get stuck with some dodgy whites also.

I’m glad we’ve laid that little misunderstanding to rest.

THeDRiFTeR on August 23, 2006 at 2:38 PM

It’s been Mumbai for like 10 years.

Jim Treacher on August 23, 2006 at 2:42 PM

Apparently they were all talking on their phones and passing them around to one another,not normal passenger behavior, the in-flight cell-phone ban not withstanding.

bbz123 on August 23, 2006 at 2:43 PM

PS “Constantinople?” Istanbul.

see-dubya on August 23, 2006 at 2:46 PM

Has anyone changed their flying habits? Other than not packing the verboten stuff.

honora on August 23, 2006 at 2:52 PM

Oh c’mon! They were just playing Phone Tag… or something… you know you can’t trust us Westerners… we’re so gosh darned racist.

Nah… my bad. Hang the dumb bastards. That is of course AFTER we torture them for everything they know.

Seriously… I mean that.

venmax on August 23, 2006 at 3:19 PM

Mumbai kinda sounds like the cop killer that all the Hollywood people want freed. I like Bombay better.

frankj on August 23, 2006 at 3:44 PM

I’m starting to think getting on a jet and scaring everybody on board with meaningless, weird sh1t, like exchanging cell phones or parading to the bathroom, has become Martyrdom Lite. It’s as if the terrorist masterminds have figured out that gullible suicides are one-shots, always in short supply. But a$$h0les are reusable, and so plentiful that one need not even bother to recycle them.

Kralizec on August 23, 2006 at 3:56 PM

Well, U.S. Air Marshals and the flight crew were suspicious enough to react this way. And yet, I see that some are raising the possibility that perhaps it was just a misunderstanding. Well, it just might be the case. These could be completely innocent Asians. But whatever the situation, trained professionals reacted strongly.

Which makes me even more sympathetic for the British passengers who refused to fly with two Asians. Maybe they were wrong, but it seems uncool the way some have second guessed them.

They may not have been trained professionals, but they were there on the ground with the situation and I wasn’t. So I’m gonna cut them some slack.

EFG on August 23, 2006 at 3:58 PM

Interesting point, Kralizec.

EFG on August 23, 2006 at 3:59 PM

So Allah, are you rethinking the whole treatment of the 2 Spanish Middle-Easterners vis a vis this latest incident…the 4th in 10 days?

EFG, you have to much faith in the airport screeners, especially those in a country like Spain. Better safe than sorry, as long as they are treated with the same respect everyone else deserves.

Good thoughts, Kralizec.

BirdEye on August 23, 2006 at 4:10 PM

BirdEye, I’m not talking about the airport screeners. I’m saying that my gut reaction is NOT to second guess the Brit passengers who refused to fly with the Asians.

And in support of this, I pointed to the fact that the Air Marshals just arrested/detained a bunch of people as well.

EFG on August 23, 2006 at 4:27 PM

Yeah kralizec, they’ll keep this form of “crying wolf” until we’re numb to it, and frightened to mention anything to anyone for being labeled “racist” or “religious…ist…” that’s when they can go back to the hardcore Martyr acts.

And Drifter, you’re right. There will be Whiteys, Mexicans (Padilla comes to mind), Blacks, and “Asians” who will all do this in the name of that one religion. I guess we do have to become religious…ists.. But, alas, the jerks will probably bring a bomb on disguised as a Bible next, just to keep us guessing.

NTWR on August 23, 2006 at 4:30 PM

Mea culpa EFG – your post leaves me confused – but I think I see where you’re going now that you’ve clarified…

BirdEye on August 23, 2006 at 4:34 PM

personally, i’d rather ‘sing’ and be wrong than keep my trap shut and be right – especially 35,000 feet above ground.

pullingmyhairout on August 23, 2006 at 4:42 PM

The Drifter, you’ve become quite the liberal troll… who let you in? For the record, your comment DID imply that Walker was a Christian, when in fact he was, not surprisingly, Muslim.

And it’s not about “racial” profiling or profiling on “faith”… It’s terrorist profiling. Profiling is one of the most important tools law enforcement has. It’s not meant to prevent crime, but it’s meant to HELP catch criminals. No one claims that profiling is an end all, but it’s a start and better than nothing. Do you hear a bunch of white guys in their 30s freak out everytime there’s a serial killer on the loose and a profiler lays out the “profile” of white male, aged 30-40, etc. etc.? Remember when they did that even during the beltway sniper case? Sadly they were wrong in that case because the murderer was again…… MUSLIM! But based on profiling techniques they had previously thought he would be a white man. Too bad we don’t have a group like CAIR along with the ACLU to flip out about it.

The point is, religion, religious garb, race, the way a person acts, should all be part of profiling. Call it racist all day long, but who is more likely to be a terrorist? I’d be much happier knowing that security thoroughly checked someone of middle eastern decent, rather than did a half-assed job in order to appear “fair”.

RightWinged on August 23, 2006 at 5:30 PM

follow-up on my own comment:

It’s not meant to prevent crime, but it’s meant to HELP catch criminals.

In the terrorism game catching a criminal is preventing the crime… because usually they are dead once the crime is committed.

RightWinged on August 23, 2006 at 5:32 PM

Um, why no, I wasn’t under that impression. That’s why racial profiling will not suffice. We’ll have to get them to divulge their faith too.

]

Sounds good to me. We can’t trust chicken-sh*ts like DrIfTeR to care if they blow us all to hell, and we can’t trust the “Moderate Muslims” to “take back their faith”.

Round ‘em all up and send ‘em home. Send DrIfTeR with ‘em too.

venmax on August 23, 2006 at 5:41 PM

The Drifter, you’ve become quite the liberal troll… who let you in?

RightWinged on August 23, 2006 at 5:30 PM

Who let me in? I just registered, like you. Do you think they should revoke my posting privileges?

THeDRiFTeR on August 23, 2006 at 6:26 PM

Mea culpa EFG – your post leaves me confused – but I think I see where you’re going now that you’ve clarified…

BirdEye on August 23, 2006 at 4:34 PM

Yeah, well, my original post was a disorganized, discombobulated piece of crap. So I’m not surprised it had you scratching your head. Hell, even I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was writting after I re-read it.

So, to recap:

My post: Crap
Bethany:….Awwwwhhhhhh……(Homer Simpson style sound)

Conclusion: Screw hanging out here since it just means publicly facing up to my illiteracy. I’m headed over to Late Afternoon Bethany-themed Palate Cleanser

Cause’ Allah’s got pics of Bethany and uh, oh yeah, some links or something like that.

EFG on August 23, 2006 at 6:31 PM

Drifter, you shouldn’t have your priveleges revoked, and I’m sure you won’t. Us “neocons” aren’t into the fascist silencing of opinions contrary to ours, unless they are Dr. Deb style.
Your points, though most often contrary to my own, are still thoughtful, unlike Betteroffblue, who, mysteriously, hasn’t popped in for a while…thankfully.

It’s good to know how the “other side” thinks. We are all Americans first and foremost, right?

NTWR on August 23, 2006 at 7:08 PM

see-dubya
Sorry for the delay responding but I had a afternoon hair and nail appt(I know..too much information!*lol*)
Anwyay, I know what you are saying esp with EasyJet and RyanAir but it is more likely from Manchester to pop to Dublin for a “day”..1600 miles each way for a “day trip” is still a little odd.
It is entirely possible all is as they say.In this day and age if I were an “asian male” I would be sure to comport myself to be above reproach ESPECIALLY on an airplane just to avoid such events.
THeDRiFTeR
It is close enough that twice I have been pulled out of boarding lines because I am redheaded, blue-eyed, freckled faced woman with an Irish last name which caused me to be “profiled” and rescreened. I was actually shadowed by police with an uzi and a dog in that airport so the “Irish” connection there is very strong. I understand your points but I guess everything is relative. It is less than 200 miles from Manchester to Ireland so in Atlanta where a one way commute to work can be 50 miles, Manchester is close to Ireland.

labwrs on August 23, 2006 at 7:25 PM

Ooops..sorry for the posting snafu. Mea culpa.

labwrs on August 23, 2006 at 7:26 PM

Hmm, and here I thought, up til now THeDRiFTeR was more libertarian than liberal…. Drifter, please repudiate the label of Liberal; Tell us you are Libertarian or moderate conservative; something- anything but Liberal…

Otherwise I’ll have to re-think my whole philosophy…. I’ve actually agreed with you several times in the past…. And I never agree with liberals on anything. ;-)

LegendHasIt on August 23, 2006 at 7:44 PM

Libertarian. Fiscal conservative, social libertarian.

THeDRiFTeR on August 23, 2006 at 8:13 PM

PS “Constantinople?” Istanbul.

PPS
“Myanmar”? Burma
“Kampuchea”? Cambodia
“Beijing”? Peking (or if you prefer, Peiping)

So there!

Lehuster on August 23, 2006 at 8:15 PM