Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Cracker Turns Man-Made Disaster Escape

A young Amsterdam entrepreneur has become the toast of the town. The 32 year old partner in a media company, Jasper Schuringa grabbed hold of the Nigerianse Muslim terrorist Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab (23) and narrowly averted a Christmas man-made terror disaster over Detroit.

Northwest Airlines Airbus flight NW-253 from Amsterdam to Detroit carrying 278 passengers, was on approach to Detroit, just lowering the landing gear, when a Nigerian male passenger attempted to ignite a powdery substance attached to his legs.

Al Qaeda's perverted wish to cause maximum harm may have helped the situation. Had the Nigerian succeeded in triggering an explosion in midair, the casualty rate would have been hundred percent. But the terrorist waited until approach to Detroit, in the hope of causing also casualties on the ground.

Schuringa watched Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab trying to set his underpants on fire. He looked him in the eye, jumped him and held him subdued until landing. Schuringa was also hurt in the assault. His parents are so proud of him. A friend, Kasem Challiou was contacted by Schuringa after the event; he has told the press the jihadist was covered in explosives. Delta Airlines initially mentioned  something concerning firecrackers. American authorities later officially declared it a major terrorist man-made disaster thwarted.

In an interview with CNN (below) Schuringa says not to have hesitated for a second. Which is a small miracle given the advice Dutch citizens get from their authorities, never to act on impulse but always to call in the experts: the nanny state at its most insidious. Not so Schuringa: "I didn't give it a thought", he said. "I just wanted to save the plane".

Just 20 minutes prior to the landing in Detroit the Nigerian grabbed a powdery substance, mixed it with a fluid and set fire to it. A series of minor explosions followed. He claims to have acted on the orders of Al Qaeda.

What stands out in the affair is the rank incompetence all round: the general security situation failed, as well as - luckily - the terrorist, son of a prominent, wealthy family in Abuja. Engineering colleges in London and a terror crash course in Yemen, to no avail. The amount of explosives, a semtex component, is said to have been sufficient in quantity, but Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab didn't manage to ignite it.

The Border Police and the National Anti Terror Coordinator in Amsterdam are baffled. The FBI have also arrived on the scene, aghast how the panty bomber could stroll around the airport for three hours, carrying the explosives along in a bag.

Elsevier Magazine is reporting that security at Amsterdam Airport is wanting. The article claims officials are often barely trained. Pentrite is invisible to current detection apparatus. But it can be detected by 'naked scanners'. More accurately called "millimeter wave scans", these devizes are currently undergoing trials at Amsterdam Airport.

Passengers say to have hardly been searched. Security officials might have wanted to search Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, had they been aware who he was. He is among the 550,000 names in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database (TIDE). Smaller watch lists trigger additional airport screening, but intelligence officials said there wasn't enough information to move Abdulmutallab into those categories. He was put on the database only after the US visa had already been issued.

! Update Dec. 29: on the matter of the missing passport, this just in from The Washington Times: "Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab reportedly boarded the aircraft by impersonating a Sudanese refugee who did not have a passport, a ruse officials in Amsterdam apparently accepted. It is certain that al Qaeda had tested this method at Amsterdam before." Well, this has been going on for donkey's years. The first thing refugees do after boarding a plane is to flush their passport through the toilet. It's a "known issue". (Read "The Case of the Undocumented Crotch Bomber".

Rand Simberg, a recovering aerospace engineer and a consultant in space commercialization, space tourism and Internet security, writing yesterday on Pajamas brings a few politically incorrect suggestions to bear how the general security situation might be improved.


! Newser: "Ex Gitmo Inmates Linked to Bomb - Al Qaeda Leaders Did Art Therapy, Were Freed in Saudi Arabia"
- IBD: "Yes, Janet, There Is A 'War On Terror'"
- RedState: "Seven Things Wrong With The Anti-Terrorism Policies of the TSA"
! Mediaite: "Possible Link Between Northwest Airlines Terrorist And Fort Hood Shooter?", by Glynnis MacNicol
- NRC: "Unused body scan could have revealed explosive powder"
- MEF: "The System "Worked Really Very, Very Smoothly" in Detroit?", by Daniel Pipes
- FoxNews: "Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Attempted Bombing of U.S. Plane"
- NewsMax: "Foiled Terror Attack Should Be Wake-Up Call"
- NewsMax: "Napolitano Concedes Airline Security System Failed"

Continued in "The Case of the Undocumented Crotch Bomber


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