While the People’s Daily Online coming up as the most updated site on a Google News search would be a small lesson in propaganda for another day, the actual story registered as only a blip on my personal radar screen. High-rise elevator TVs, on the other hand, were another matter.
I did find it intriguing that an early-20-something average-working-joe friend of mine became alarmed enough to say to me, “Man I don’t wanna be anywhere near [the Sears Tower]. Did you hear about the [terrorist plot]?” – especially when the only things he really talks about are hot girls and how much money he’s making.
(Would he be willing to exchange more of his freedoms for a greater sense of security?)
Later I found myself sitting next to a businessman who’d happened to be waiting for a business partner of some sort from the UK. The bit I overheard was near the end of his conversation, apparently with a gate agent of some sort. “He’s flying in from the UK… so, it’ll probably be a while until he gets in.” With that, he resigns himself to a chair and reads a newspaper.
So, for the typical international white-collar businessman, the “foiled plot” becomes merely a matter of inconvenience… inconvenience as a consequence of increased security. Increased security in exchange for, in this case, some former personal freedoms (drinks brought onto a flight to save some cash) upon boarding a flight.
For convenience. For “normalcy”. For the next episode of “American Idol”, or “The 4400”. In other words, to continue being the self-absorbed, consumeristic, enraptured-by-meaningless-drama lemmings the last few decades of globalisation has managed to make us into.
It is here in this context is where Jesus’ teachings have profound meaning. For, what good is convenience and “normalcy” if you lose your soul (Mt. 16:26)? These are simply the byproducts of the greater philosophy, which are consumerism, narcissism, and individualism.
Heaven changes the whole equation. Why be scared of losing your job and family when you can lean on Jesus’ promises, where you spend eternity with him, the maker and provider of all good things? Do you honestly think you would be scared of a plane crashing into a city skyscraper if God made a promise to protect you eternally (Jn. 10:27-28)?
So fellow brothers, don’t be afraid and don’t worry (Mt. 6:25-34). Moreover, don’t think that government actions will prevent you from going to hell, either.
The NWO/Conspiracy theory angle: It was a plot hatched by the government to get people to react in fear and accept greater legal incursions upon civil liberties.
Jesus Fundamentalist: Yes, it seems a likely move, and relates strongly to other speculations concerning 9/11 and 7/7.
A close-to-execution terror plot targeting flights from Britain to the United States which was intended to kill hundreds, has put the United States on its highest alert ahead of the 5th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Both U.S. and British officials confirmed Thursday that at least 21 suspects in London were in their final stage of plotting to blow up several U.S.-bound flights from Britain with liquid explosives they planned to take onboard.
The latest news reports said the plot targeted at least three major U.S. carriers on flights from Britain, with destinations including at least five major U.S. cities.
Alert levels were raised to their maximum at U.S. and British airports and air travel across Europe and in the United States faced mass disruptions.
Earlier in the day, the Bush administration raised the threat level for flights from Britain to “red,” designating a severe risk of terrorist attacks.
It is the first time the red alert level in the Homeland Security warning system has been invoked.
All other flights, including all domestic flights in the United States, were put under an “orange,” alert, one step below the highest level.
The administration also banned all liquids and gels from flights, including toothpaste, makeup, and suntan lotion, but baby formula and medicines were exempted.
Airports across the United States beefed up their security on Thursday and some flights were canceled or delayed.
Britain’s threat warning level has been raised to “critical” — meaning an attack is expected imminently.
SECURITY BEEFED UP
Responding to the elevated alert level, airports across the United States beefed up their security.
At Dulles International Airport near Washington DC, warning signs were put up to alert passengers in all-red capital letters, prohibiting liquids or gels from being taken onboard.
Passengers dumped their liquids into large trash cans, with the result that they were filled so quickly that they had to be emptied every few minutes.
At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas, extra police and dog units were sent out overnight to patrol terminals and parking garages.
In Chicago, aviation commissioner Nuria Fernandez said the only exceptions to the ban on liquids would be breast milk and fruit juices for small and nursing children.
At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, some passengers were surprised by the sudden ban on flying with liquids.
At most of the airports, prolonged security checks produced long queues of passengers.
Media reports said the London plot had targeted United Airlines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines Inc. U.S. air carriers have canceled some flights due to the security concerns.
American Airlines canceled three London-bound morning flights and three afternoon or evening flights from London to the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents will also step up security measures in international arrival areas, including the increased use of explosives detection technology, canine units and special response teams.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will implement a series of additional security measures, including sending U.S. Federal Air Marshals to Britain to provide expanded coverage on flights between the two countries.
“SUGGESTIVE OF AN AL QAIDA PLOT”
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a morning press conference that the terror scheme was “suggestive of an al Qaida plot.”
He said the plot involved hiding masked liquid explosives and detonators in carry-on luggage.
Chertoff said the plan was reminiscent of a plot by 9/11 coordinator Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who in 1999 had envisioned detonating bombs on 11 airliners possibly traveling over the Pacific Ocean.
The plot was “as sophisticated as any we have seen in recent years as far as terrorism is concerned,” he said.
Chertoff said the plotters were in the final stages of planning before execution, though it was unclear whether the plot was linked to the upcoming fifth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the operation “could potentially kill hundreds”.
FBI Director Robert Mueller also said the plot bears “the earmarks of an al Qaida plot.”
“We do believe the plot involved flights from the UK to the U.S. and was a direct threat to the United States,” said White House press secretary Tony Snow in Texas, where U.S. President George W. Bush is taking a 10-day vocation.
Snow said Bush would address the issue during a visit to Green Bay, Wisconsin later on Thursday.