Thursday, August 10, 2006


Thursday's newscasts are full of terror talk. Scotland Yard busted up an alleged plot to blow up planes flying into the United States from the United Kingdom. The Department of Homeland Security has officially gone nutballs, banning "any liquids" from all planes operating in the U.S.

Here's the statement from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:
The Department of Homeland Security is taking immediate steps to increase security measures in the aviation sector in coordination with heightened security precautions in the United Kingdom. Over the last few hours, British authorities have arrested a significant number of extremists engaged in a substantial plot to destroy multiple passenger aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.

Currently, there is no indication, however, of plotting within the United States. We believe that these arrests have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted.

For that reason, the United States government has raised the nation's threat level to Severe, or Red, for commercial flights originating in the United Kingdom bound for the United States. This adjustment reflects the Critical, or highest, alert level that has been implemented in the United Kingdom.

To defend further against any remaining threat from this plot, we will also raise the threat level to High, or Orange, for all commercial aviation operating in or destined for the United States. Consistent with these higher threat levels, the Transportation Security Administration is coordinating with federal partners, airport authorities and commercial airlines on expanding the intensity of existing security requirements.

Due to the nature of the threat revealed by this investigation, we are prohibiting any liquids, including beverages, hair gels, and lotions from being carried on the airplane. This determination will be constantly evaluated and updated when circumstances warrant. These changes will take effect at 4 a.m. local time across the country. Travelers should also anticipate additional security measures within the airport and at screening checkpoints.

These measures will continue to assure that our aviation system remains safe and secure. Travelers should go about their plans confidently, while maintaining vigilance in their surroundings and exercising patience with screening and security officials.

The United States and the United Kingdom are fully united and resolute in this effort and in our ongoing efforts to secure our respective homelands.
DANGER! DANGER! Not in the U.S., but to be safe, NO LIQUIDS ON THE PLANE! Go about your business, nothing here to see, but BE VIGILANT!

The conditioning has worked. Ivan Pavlov would be proud.


Amy said...

No liquids on the plane. Hmm, roughly 60% of the human body is liquid so by that logic only packages that aren't liquid are allowed to fly. :-)

The Newtster said...

What in the hell is the matter with you people?

60% of the human body is liquid? What, are you dumb or something?

These people were going to sneak liquids on board these planes to mix with other componets to blow up the airplanes. These liquids were to be inside of packaging not suspected by UK inspectors.

You people on the left, I just don't get. If we take precautions, the United States gets a shellacing because of their actions: Bush and Chertoff get ridiculed for doing their job. If we did nothing, and god forbid, something did happen, why we'd be demanding another 9/11 Commission to see where Bush screwed up.

You guys on the left may find this funny and you might get a chuckle out of it, but this threat is real. It is serious and will have to be dealt with for many years to come until the threat is no more.

You say Pavlov would be proud. But from where I sit, I would say, in your case, Nevil Chamerlin would be proud.

Amy said...

You know Newt, I don't get you ... you are wound so tight I think you might explode. Yes, I made a joke. Just like Jay Leno would, David Letterman, Jon Stewart ... a joke about a serious situation, happens all the time. It doesn't mean "we" on the left don't take the situation seriously. Some of us make light to cope. You come here and demonize us "lefties" because you clearly are devoid of a sense of humor. You blog squat here constantly (and I'm not the first person to call you on it)and what I can't understand is if you hate us so much, why do you keep torturing yourself by showing up here every day? Are YOU dumb?

Anonymous said...


newtster, please go back to hiding under your bed and wetting your pants.

The Newtster said...

Amy, my dear. Last I knew, we both have the same right to free speech as the next. I am simply responding to a post entitled The Men Who Cried Wolf.

I see no humor in this. This is dead serious stuff. Yes, as far as a sense of humor, I have one of those. I just choose to use it at times other than the present.

If you want to call me names like Blog Squatter, that's fine. I know I've been called worse by a anon or two.

The Newtster said...

anon. You're an idiot.

DocLarry said...

Yes, this is serious. Mustn't allow any liquids on any planes anywhere in the United States because MAYBE some extremists were planning to POSSIBLY try to blow up planes between the UK and the US. That's not an overreaction. No sir.

I guess this response is better than Homeland Security's response to several thousand being stranded in New Orleans about one year ago.

And I suppose it's better to keep all liquids off all planes than to install chemical sniffers at check points in airports. Good thing the LAW ENFORCEMENT agency of the UK was able to stop this potential threat. We might have had to invade Argentina.

DocLarry said...

I'm surprised neither newtster hasn't linked this supposed terrorist plot to Lieberman's defeat. The Republican talking point is that Lieberman's loss shows Democrats are weak on security.

And isn't it amazing that Lieberman's defeat results in our first ELMO ALERT terror warning ever? We've finally gotten past Ernie.

Anonymous said...

I understand that the reason they busted Rush Limbaugh a few weeks ago was he was going to take that illeagal Viagra and ERRECT a deadly weapon. Newtster needs to go back to fixing appliances. Desdinova the Eternal Light.

DocLarry said...

Oops! That should be "neither newtster nor chappaquiddikkid".

All this excitement is getting to me!

Anonymous said...

And for the love of God, no SNAKES ON THE PLANE!!!

Anonymous said...

Unless Samuel L. Jackson is on the plane too...

You could probably even take liquids on the plane if Sam was on it because he could take care of ANY potential threat!!!!!!!!!

Amy said...

Newt - no one is saying you don't have a right to free speech. You are quite welcome to say what you want, but don't think we aren't going to call you on being ridiculous. Free speech permits us to do that very thing. Free speech also allows us to make light of whatever we like as well. As for calling you a "blog squatter," if the shoe fits, wear it Newtie.

Anonymous said...

Heavy emphasis on the "squat" part. Desdinova the Eternal Light

Anonymous said...

Arguing with someone only gives them the attention they crave.

If you want someone to go away then then it's best to ignore them.

Amy said...

Anon, you're right. From here on out, I deny Newt's existence.

I feel better already.

Anonymous said...

If you feel yourself starting to panic, keep in mind that these terrorist guys have been under surveillance for awhile -- so the authorities knew about the liquid thing before they issued the 4 a.m. ban on liquids (can we use the loo, I wonder?) Why make the bust and impose the ban today? Well, call me a cynic, but things are looking bad in the Mideast, Condi keeps putting her lovely foot in her mouth, and Lamont just made the Iraqi war an issue in a key political race.

BTW, many liberals would rather not feel so cynical. We supported the pres immediately following 9/11. But he blew his political capital by insisting that we continue spending money on tourism while living in fear and while using the fear it was manufacturing to take us to Iraq and win the presidency.

I'm sorry, that puts my cynicism to shame. These people are unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Here is one of the first volleys from the right: Dems wanted Lamont. Look what happened!

The Newtster said...

I have an idea for you guys. After reading your intelligent posts on such an important topic, I think you should hold your blogger meetings at Lakeland instead of a bar.

chappaquiddikkid said...

Picked up on something Doc Larry said about democrats being weak on security. If you are inclined, follow this link to Slate. It's an article entitled "Dead With Ned" written by Jacob Weisberg. Slate is far from conservative and so is the author.

The link is

Anonymous said...

As someone who flies commercial airlines regularly as part of what I do for a living, I have to say I completely understand and agree with the new restrictions. I have boarded literally dozens of flights since 9/11 carrying my usual cup of coffee, which has never been checked for the legitimacy of its contents. It's halfway bugged me, thinking that someone with the same motivations as the 9/11 hijackers could easily substitute gasoline (or some other flammable or caustic substance) for java and have a very simple means of causing great harm.

I'm not a Republican. I'm not a conservative. I'm not a fan of the Bush administration by any means. But I fully get why they're doing what they've done. I'd support it, coming from an administration of either leaning.

Yes, it sucks, and it will continue to suck. But I'd rather be inconvenienced on the ground than murdered in the air, whether by an Al Quaeda operative or by some lone nutbag copycat.

We live in a sick world...

Anonymous said...

The explosive in question seems most likely to be TPTA, or triacetone triperoxide, which can be made by mixing acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and hydrochloric acid together. None of these chemicals would cause an alert with bomb-sniffing dogs or equipment.

All are easily available: acetone is a common paint solvent; hydrochloric acid is commonly available at hardware stores as muriatic acid; you do need a more concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution than what you get at Walgreen's.

TPTA was the explosive used in last year's London bombings; I think the question may be, why hasn't our government raised an alert aout this until now?

And just how do we defend ourselves when common household chemicals can be mixed to make fires and explosions?

notafinga said...


DocLarry said...

Let's ban all liquids from being sold! Heck, if all this stuff is so readily available, we need to shut down hardward stores, Lowes, paint stores, pharmacies, groceries...oh, hell, just close all businesses.

Interesting that the liquids in question are those used in the London bombings, which weren't on a plane. Has Homeland Security banned liquids on subways? Amtrak? Grayhound? Why not?

Are government employees being searched for liquids they may smuggle into government buildings? Why not?

The Bush Administration: weak on security.

marcus alrealius alrightus said...

chappaquiddikkid..... Quit hyperventilating. As the old saying goes "Decisions made in haste lead to waste. Weisberg's logic is garbage. Try reading this article by Mark Schmitt where he lay bare the faults with Weisberg's analogies.

Anonymous said...

Larry, I'm curious about something. Let's suppose, just for the sake of debate, that a group of terrorists were to succeed at blowing up several airliners using smuggled-on liquids.

How many airliners would have to be blown up before you would reconsider your opposition to a liquids-on-airliners ban?

Anonymous said...

At some point, the lives we are trying to save must have some value. For Pete's sake, what are we saving when we are too afraid to drink bottled water on a long flight, or when the lady sitting next to us seems ominous because she's somehow made it aboard with a pair of sewing scissors? I have a friend who had an infant fork taken from her at a DC checkpoint.

Of course we all want to be safe. But we may differ on the question how far we are willing to go. We may also differ on the question whether banning yesterday's method du jour will prevent tomorrow's attack. Some of might wish the Government would invest in longer-term solutions (screending of all checked luggage might be a start, or advocating and exploring meaningful solutions for Mideast problems (and no, I am not suggesting that we negotiate with the terrorists)

Longfellow said...

Before carry-on leads to carrion?

DocLarry said...

As Condi says, anon, I'm not going to engage in hypotheticals.

Homeland Security, under the Bush administration, is hardly serious about homeland security. Dick Cheney knew about the planned raid and wrote an op-ed piece for the NY Times to coincide with this morning's announcement. Bush is on vacation (again) and wasn't even awakened when the Brits went public and the ban on liquids was announced. He's still on vacation.

This "ban on liquids" is politically motivated and not the result of a real threat. You may believe otherwise, but as Ron noted in the post that led to this comment, the men have cried wolf yet again and the majority of Americans don't believe them anymore.

chappaquiddikkid said...

OK. This is kinda long, but it's interesting, I think. Apparently these London terrorists were thinking about a "dry-run" in two days before the actual event. I'm not saying they're connected to the Iranians. But since they're Pakistani, who knows.

In a WALL STREET JOURNAL op-ed Tuesday, Princeton's Bernard Lewis writes: "There is a radical difference between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other governments with nuclear weapons. This difference is expressed in what can only be described as the apocalyptic worldview of Iran's present rulers."

"In Islam as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time -- Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the US about nuclear development by Aug. 22," which this year corresponds "to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427.

This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to 'the farthest mosque,' usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1).

"This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

Anonymous said...

A big thank you to Mr. Lewis for providing convincing evidence of a belief I have long had:

Religion is insanity.

MrsThurstonHowell said...

Marcus a.a.: You've posted on TPM Cafe before haven't you. Josh Marshall & friends are favorites o'mine.

Say, wasn't it about Hurricane Katrina time when NBC Brian Williams got brave about several issues and I believe posted on his blog a long chronology of dates and events showing a distinct pattern of Homeland Security alerts paired with either giant snafus perpetrated by GeeDubya or big dips in his poll ratings (or both)? What an eye opener.

Hey GeeDubya! Who we gonna believe? You or your lyin' eyes?

John Stone said...


Why not we have on that reads CHATTER ... and Eve had her talking snake. The figster is kinda' the OJ Simson of this airplane story. He needs to spend more time on the golf course looking for the terrorismists... but wait ... he might find the gid-deal/big-shot from ATT there ... so it would be a snake and a terror all at the same time. Good jobs figster!!!

John Stone said...

I think Lieberman set the whole thing up to cover for getting a big wet one while he was kissing
Georgies butt.

DocLarry said...


British officials have not disclosed information about those they have arrested. The U.S. says they are all British citizens. Pakistan claims it played a major role in thwarting the plot, but has released few details. Only Michael Chertoff has made an al Qaeda link, and a weak one at that.

At this point it's factually incorrect to say these supposed terrorists are Pakistani. We can barely even say their British. Your assumption that they may be linked to Iran shows a great leap in logic and slanders those who may have played an important role in uncovering the plot.

Timothy McVeigh as born and raised in the U.S. Was he connected to Iran? Was al Qaeda behind his actions? Not saying it is so, but who knows?

And I have no idea why my word verification is "hefag."

JJ said...

I have an idea, Doc!
p.s. My word verification was "eyaah."
Shouldn't that be reserved for Howard Dean?

Anonymous said...

Rather have them taking my bottle of water than listening to my phone calls and reading my emails before I make it to the airport, I would be willing to sacrifice a little convenience before I want to let go of my right to privacy

DocLarry said...

JJ's back!

Now, go read some words off a screen. Oh. Wait. You probably are right now. My bad.

Security is not Liberty said...

What until terrorist get bombs surgically implanted in their bodies and blow up planes...will they then bann everyoen with a surgical scar?....our fear not their terror will being down the West