Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'Printer' Bombs, Yemen Mail Service, and 'Good Old Days' That Weren't

It's the 21st century, and things aren't any simpler now, than they were in the 'good old days.' I'll get back to that.

From today's news:
"Yemen Mail Bomb Could Have Exploded Over Eastern U.S., British Authorities Say"
Associated Press, via FOXNews (November 10, 2010)

"A mail bomb intercepted last month at an English airport could have exploded over the East Coast of the United States, British police said Wednesday.

"Forensic evidence showed the device, originally sent from Yemen by way of Cologne, Germany, was timed to be detonated about six to seven hours after the cargo aircraft carrying it left the U.K. for the U.S. The package was removed by police in Britain during transit...."

"The UPS cargo plane intercepted in England left the country without the package at 11:20 p.m. ET on Oct. 28, two hours after landing, police said. The device was timed to be activated at 5:30 a.m. ET, said British police.

"Authorities on both sides of the Atlantic said they only narrowly thwarted the plot, in which terrorists in Yemen hid two powerful bombs inside printers and shipped them to addresses in Chicago aboard two cargo planes. The printer cartridges were filled with PETN, an industrial explosive that, when X-rayed, would resemble the cartridges' ink powder...."

"White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro said: 'We greatly appreciate the highly professional nature of the U.K. investigation and the spirit of partnership with which U.K. authorities have pursued this matter.'

"He praised the efforts of intelligence and law enforcement professionals in the U.K., the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the United States, and said they will continue to work together "to address and counter the threat posed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.' "
"Bomb Could Have Struck East Coast, British Say"
John F. Burns, Europe, The New York Times (November 10, 2010)

"A package bomb from Yemen removed from a cargo plane in Britain on Oct. 29 could have exploded over the American East Coast, Scotland Yard said in a statement on Wednesday that offered the clearest sense so far of the danger averted.

"The bomb was one of two dispatched from Yemen to fictitious recipients in Chicago, with powerful plastic explosives packed into toner cartridges inside computer printers . The second was intercepted in Dubai...."
"Plane was over Canada when police say mail bomb was timed to detonate"
The Canadian Press / The Associated Press (CP) (November 10, 2010)

"A mail bomb that was intercepted in England last month would have been in Canadian airspace when authorities say it was timed to detonate.

Data from Houston-based Flightaware show that UPS Flight 232 from the East Midlands to Philadelphia was about 257 kilometres northwest of Quebec City at 5:30 a.m....

"...Flight 232 makes daily flights but not always along the same route.

"Had the plane taken its alternate route, straight across the Atlantic, it likely would have been over the U.S. when it blew up...."
No matter where the thing went off, it would have killed people.

That would, in my opinion, have been a bad thing. Not good. Very bad.

Ah, For the Good Old Days?

I've been described as "an elderly gentleman." For good reason. I'm old enough to remember the 'good old days' of the fifties, when everything was rosy. In the Happy Days series, anyway.

I don't pine for 'the good old days,' because I remember the fifties.

Despite what folks with various biases might think, the fifties were not an idyllic time when children were perfect and wives knew their place and there was a car with tail fins in every carport. Economically, it was a pretty good decade for white men who had served in WWII: and that's another topic.

The fifties wasn't a time when the yellow peril and commie menace were beaten back by stalwart red-white-and-blue-blooded Americans who exposed pinkos in the State Department and cleansed Hollywood. In my opinion, we're still digging our way out of the mess left by the 'black lists.' Which is yet another topic.

The fifties also weren't a time when militaristic capitalistic warmonger oppressor classes tore food from the bleeding lips of oppressed classes, only to be exposed by the inexorable march of people's liberation. Which is the flip side of McCarthyism, sort of. And yet again another topic.

There were a whole lot of folks back in the 'good old days' of the fifties who didn't have quite the same experience as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. And that helped set up the sixties. I was around at the time - and despite the Timothy Leary/Jimi Hendrix insanity (we lost a lot of brilliant, talented people like Hendrix then), some of the changes were long overdue. In my opinion. And still another topic.

You Like Simple? Watch a Bond Movie, or Happy Days

We live in the real world: where everybody with an eastern European accent isn't an evil spy, cutthroat, or cold seductress (yes, the stereotype existed); where everybody living in the Middle East isn't a terrorist (some are - stereotypes exist for a reason); and all threats to America and other places where people are allowed - at times grudgingly - to speak their minds and make money don't come from the Middle East. Or, in my view, from foreigners.

One lesson from the latest near-miss is that terrorists really do exist.

Another is that there are leaders in the Middle East who seem to have, for whatever reason, decided that it's not a good idea to let terrorists operate with impunity.

I think Iran's Ayatollahs have helped make cooperation with the West seem less unpalatable. And that's emphatically another topic.

Somewhat-related posts:In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.