Terrorist gets 15 years for JFK airport plot

JFK, JFK airport, terrorismA terrorist who plotted to blow up fuel tanks at JFK airport has been given 15 years in prison, the BBC reports. Abdel Nur, a citizen from Guyana, tried to meet an Al-Qaeda explosives expert in order to blow up JFK airport’s fuel depot, and the fuel lines that run below an adjoining neighborhood. He hoped to kill thousands in the attack.

Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim , and Abdul Kadir were also arrested. Kadir is a former member of parliament from Guyana and is now serving a life sentence. Defreitas has been found guilty and will be sentenced in February. Ibrahim’s trial is scheduled for April.

The plot was foiled when Kadir and Defreitas discussed their plans in front of an unnamed informant. This informant recorded their conversation and alerted authorities. This last detail is interesting. These radical Muslims would hardly have discussed such a plan in front of a non-Muslim. It stands to reason, then, that the informant is a Muslim. What these two nutcases didn’t understand is that most Muslims aren’t terrorists. This fact will almost certainly be lost amid the news of another “Muslim terrorist plot”.

There are no hard figures for the number of Muslims in the United States since the U.S. Census doesn’t record religion. One study by Dr. Tom W. Smith of the University of Chicago estimates the Muslim population in the U.S. at around 1.9-2.8 million. If most Muslims were terrorists, as many people believe, the U.S. would be suffering attacks every day. Luckily this is not the case. Vigilance defeats terrorists, fear and stereotyping helps them win.

[Photo courtesy Doug Letterman]

Orthodox Jew causes bomb alert by praying

bomb, bomb scare, tefillinDo these look like bombs to you? They did to the crew of a New Zealand ferry. So much so that they radioed the police, who were waiting for the man wearing them when the ferry docked. Then the armed cops forced him and a companion to the floor.

All in a day’s work fighting terror. Or not.

In fact they’re tefillin, known in English as phylacteries , and they’re an essential part of Orthodox Jewish prayer. When the man strapped these to his arm and head in order to pray, the crew thought the little boxes looked like bombs and the straps like wires. The fact that these leather boxes are only a little more than an inch to a side wasn’t enough to reassure them.

This is a perfect example of how travel leads to a more understanding world. Before I visited Israel at age 20, I’d never seen tefillin and didn’t know what they were. Call me soft on terror, but I didn’t have a panic attack the first time I saw them, either. Travel teaches you that not everything different is weird, scary, and dangerous. Perhaps the crew of the ferry should stop shuttling back and forth between Wellington and Picton and see a bit more of the world.

[Photo courtesy user Chesdovi via Wikimedia Commons]

Breaking news: Suspected bomb found on German airline

bombA flight from Namibia to Germany was delayed earlier today after a suspected bomb was found in a suitcase. The package included a detonator, batteries, and a clock, the BBC reports. Details are unclear at this moment and it is not known if the device was an actual bomb or simply meant to intimidate.

The suspected bomb was found before it was loaded onto an Air Berlin flight from Windhoek to Munich. The flight was delayed for several hours as all passengers and luggage were checked. It has now safely completed its journey.

Germany has recently upped its security because of intelligence that an attack was imminent.

An interesting detail in this case was that the suitcase had no destination sticker, suggesting that it did not go through normal check-in procedures.

[Photo courtesy user Arcturus via Wikimedia Commons]

Man arrested for Twitter bomb threat at Robin Hood Airport

In what is probably the world’s first Twitter airport bomb threat, a 26 year old man has been arrested when he joked about blowing his airport “sky high”.

Paul Chambers was stuck at Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport (yes seriously – that is its name) during the nasty snow storms that hit the UK last week.

When it became clear that the snow could delay his flight, he tweeted the following:

“‘Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high”

Police were alerted to the Tweets, and Mr. Chambers was arrested. He was held under UK anti-terror laws, and locked up for seven hours.

He was eventually released on bail, and will have to appear in court on February 11th. Worst of all (for him), he has been banned for life from Robin Hood airport and has been suspended from his job. All because of a harmless tweet.

According to police, it is all because of “the world we live in”. Apparently that new world is one where people making jokes on Twitter can be considered terrorists. So, next time your airline pisses you off, be careful what you say on Twitter!

German tourist arrested for bomb threat at Disney World

Seriously folks, who out there doesn’t know by now that it’s just not okay to make a bomb threat? It’s not okay at the airport, and it’s not okay at Disney World either. But still, we have yet another story about someone getting arrested for making a false bomb threat.

A 37-year old German tourist told security that he had two bombs in his backpack as he was passing through security at Walt Disney World in California. Not surprisingly, the security guards detained him and had a bomb-sniffing dog check out his bag. No bombs were found, and the man, who then claimed he was just joking about those bombs, was arrested and taken to the Orange County Jail. Bail was set at $10,000.

According to ABC News, this isn’t the first bomb scare at Disney. In September, a mysterious device was found under a bus. Bus service around the resort was suspended, but the device was not found to be explosive.