The Lap Bomber Mystery

A case that just gets curiouser and curiouser – Published on Antiwar.com, by Justin Raimond, December 28, 2009.

Linked on these blogs with Why Aren’t the NYT and WaPost Covering the International Gaza Freedom March? with Just foreign policy.org, with Justin Raimondo – USA, and with Antiwar.com.

It just wouldn’t be Christmas in the age of terror if we didn’t have a visitation, ostensibly from al-Qaeda, now would it? ‘Tis the season, and all that. Recall Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber,” arrested on December 22, 2001, for trying to blow up American Airlines flight 63, coming into Miami from Paris. As in the current case involving one Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, the explosive used was PETN, also known as pentaerythritol: Reid, like Umar, was subdued by passengers and airline attendants, and, to add yet another touch of déjà vu, Reid’s stunt led to the imposition of the take-off-your-shoes rule at airport security, just as Umar’s midair antics have now inspired the Transportation Safety Authority to inaugurate a spate of new regulations: nothing in your lap, please, and no getting up from your seat for a solid hour before landing.  

Also please note the timing: the Reid incident occurred at a volatile moment, right after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and just as the Bush administration was ramping up to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq. Umar, the lap bomber – so called because he apparently had his explosive device hidden in his pants – also leaps onto the international stage at a sensitive time, when President Obama is launching a major offensive in Afghanistan and the US has “assisted” Yemen in its air strikes on the alleged al-Qaeda stronghold in that country – where Umar, we’re told, received “training” and the actual explosive device.

What’s more, the pattern fails when we take into account our own mindset, eight years after the Shoe-na’bomber affair: back then, we were all too frightened out of our wits to really question anything the government told us, and the news media reported. We took it all at face value, and trusted in the gods that we wouldn’t all be blown to smithereens in the next attack, which – for all we knew – could have come at any time … (full text).

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