India

Complicating the Detroit Bomber Narrative

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Kurt Haskell, a Detroit-area lawyer who claimed to have been on the notorious Amsterdam to Detroit flight that ended with a fizzled would-be terror attack, says that he saw a well-dressed older man he identified as Indian helping escort the young Muttalab past the boarding gate without a passport. To quote from MLive.com, a local Detroit news site (which has a picture of his boarding pass to corroborate at least the fact that he was on the plane, unless it's a photoshopped forgery):

While Mutallab was poorly dressed, his friend was dressed in an expensive suit, Haskell said. He says the suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. "The guy said, 'He's from Sudan and we do this all the time.'"

Mutallab is Nigerian. Haskell believes the man may have been trying to garner sympathy for Mutallab's lack of documents by portraying him as a Sudanese refugee.

The ticket agent referred Mutallab and his companion to her manager down the hall, and Haskell didn't see Mutallab again until after he allegedly tried to detonate an explosive on the plane.

Haskell's full story in his own words here. I still find the most suspicious fact of this whole incident that 257 people were flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, a city that is by most accounts deader than Mu and Atlantis combined, on Christmas day.

UPDATE: There's another part of Haskell's full in-his-own-words account that on second thought deserves quoting here for interest: 

FBI also arrested a different Indian man while we were held in customs after a bomb sniffing dog detected a bomb in his carry on bag and he was searched after we landed. This was later confirmed while we were in customs when an FBI agent said to us "You are being moved to another area because this area is not safe. Read between the lines. Some of you saw what just happened."(The arrest of the other Indian man). I am not sure why this hasn't made it into any news story, but I stood about 15-20 feet away from the other Indian man when he was cuffed and arrested after his search.

I have not read all the news accounts with enough scholarly thoroughness to say whether Haskell is correct that "this hasn't made it into any news story."

UPDATE II: Detroit area FBI officially denied anyone else was taken into custody in the incident, according to an update to the MLive.com story linked at the top, despite what Haskell says he thinks he saw.

UPDATE III: Another person on the plane, writing at Huffington Post, claims to have seen the same "older dude identified by viewer as Indian being taken away by authorities" thing at Detroit baggage claim. Thanks commenter newswatcher.

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  1. Kurt Haskell, a Detroit-area lawyer

    Stop right there.

  2. I still find the most suspicious fact of this whole incident that 257 people were flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, a city that is by most accounts deader than Mu and Atlantis combined, on Christmas day.

    Detroit and Amsterdam have been Northwest hub cities for as long as I can remember. Inside the U.S., it’s very difficult to fly Northwest without going through either Detroit or Mpls./St. Paul.

    1. Brian,

      In other words, they were passing through Detroit on the way to civilization.

    2. NWA has two hubs servicing routes to Europe — Minneapolis and Detroit. NWA uses older 747s to Amsterdam out of Minneapolis and newer A330s out of Detroit. The A330 is a nicer ride and Detroit is much smaller that MSP. So I prefer to connect through Detroit when going East.

      Going West, you want to connect in MSP to Tokyo before connecting to wider Asian network.

    3. One transits through Detroit on their ways to someplace else. I transited through Detroit on NWA many many times when I lived in Tokyo.

  3. I still find the most suspicious fact of this whole incident that 257 people were flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, a city that is by most accounts deader than Mu and Atlantis combined, on Christmas day.

    Hey, blame Northwestern/Dutch KLM. That’s the only way I’ve ever been able to get back to the States (read: Ohio) from Germany.

    1. I flew to Tokyo from Columbus via Detroit. . .rock city. Very annoying to have to waste time on such a short leg.

      1. Every time I’ve flown anywhere (other than Florida) out of Columbus, I’ve had to fly through either Detroit Wayne or Chicago O’Hare.

        1. That’s just wrong. Atlanta and I are old friends, but at least it’s on the way to most places I have to go from here.

          When I lived in Chicago, I always tried to fly out of Midway–O’Hare sucks. Back then, you could practically get out of the cab and walk right up to the plane.

          1. The quick boarding describes Midway, not that other airport.

            1. I’d have to check my itinerary, but I think I did actually fly from overseas (not Germany) to Atlanta to Cincinnati to Columbus once.

              1. I’ve never been to Midway, incidentally, but O’Hare was impressively large.

                1. Please leave me out of this..

                  1. It’s big, in a almost useless, boondogglely way.

                2. Midway was nice, until they kept expanding it without making it bigger, if you see what I mean – now it’s ten pounds of airport in a five pound bag.

          2. Not only that, but Midway serves a lot of smaller airports in large metro areas, like St. Petersburg/Clearwater (with six gates) instead of Tampa International. Plus, I attended U. of Chicago, and Midway airport is a straight shot up 55th, making it a much cheaper cab ride.

        1. Frankly, I think that song is the only reason Detroit still exists.

          1. Red Wings.

            1. Lost to the Penguins.

              1. Bettman rigged it.

    2. Used to fly this route all the time between Abu Dhabi and CLE/CAK. The CLE/CAK -> DTW leg is super-awesome!

  4. Any bets on whether Mr. Haskell will retract his story following a visit from a mysterious, well-dressed stranger?

    1. If she is wearing a fidora she is Carmen Sandiego.

  5. Detroit Wayne Airport is actually quite nice, too.

    1. Yes. But then, it’s in Romulus Michigan, and not actually in Detroit city proper.

      1. Is that where the Rohmites are from?

        1. That is the homeworld of the ROMULANS, idiot!

          1. Their cloaking technology fooled me.

    2. It’s probably my favorite frequently-used airport.

    3. Detroit Metro used to be a pit, but all the terminals have been rebuilt during the last 10 years or so. As others have pointed out, the airport isn’t in — or even next to — the city of Detroit. It’s about halfway between Detroit and where we live in Ann Arbor (and is very convenient).

      If you get out your globe, you’ll see that by the direct (great circle) route up over the North Atlantic, Detroit is as almost as close to Amsterdam by air (3940 miles) as Washington DC is (3870 mi).

      And, BTW, there are about 5 million people here in SE Michigan, only a relatively small and declining fraction of whom actually live in Detroit.

  6. Dearbornistan?

  7. I don’t know why anyone finds this surprising or somehow complicating the narrative. Europe is full of fifth column Muslims. It would be surprising if Al Quada didn’t manage to get operatives inside airports and customs services in Europe.

    1. The Janet Napolitano “did not appear to be part of a broader plot” part of what seemed to be the conventional narrative when I went to bed last night. I know this things shift precipitously.

      1. Ok. My mistake. I hadn’t heard that. It seems pretty stupid to assume the guy acted alone.

        1. Here’s the LA TIMES piece I got that from:
          http://www.latimes.com/news/na…..3038.story

          1. What I want to know is this:

            He took two international flights, did he not?

            Was there a well-dressed man greasing that no-passport flight too?

            Janet says there’s no larger plot. Good enough for me!

        2. He was a patsy!

  8. I believe there’s plenty of decent areas immediately outside Detroit.

  9. He’s a Detroit-area lawyer. From what J sub D and others have said, the suburbs and other parts of Michigan aren’t quite shithole level bad like their neighboring large city.

  10. They were all Ohio Bobcats fans headed to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

    1. I laughed a little too hard at this.

  11. I believe there’s plenty of decent areas immediately outside Detroit.

    But between the city and them, there’s a wall of burning tires.

  12. The guy’s original post mentions a second arrest of a passenger from the flight. this should be easy to confirm or deny for a reporter with the right sources. I think there is a lot of confirmation required for the whole story. If true, it points to the weakest link in any security scheme: the human element.

  13. This article is full of suggestive innuendo, the very ingredients that have prevented the US from fully understanding the threat of terrorism. When the lawyer says “Indian man”, what does he mean?
    When the author writes that he cannot understand what the passengers were going to do in Detroit – a major hub, whose ignorance is he displaying?

  14. This article is full of suggestive innuendo, the very ingredients that have prevented the US from fully understanding the threat of terrorism. When the lawyer says “Indian man”, what does he mean?
    When the author writes that he cannot understand what the passengers were going to do in Detroit – a major hub, whose ignorance is he displaying?

    1. When Africando double-posts, whose computer skills is is displaying?

      1. He’s displaying…Africando’s Law (of the internets).

    2. American humor is lost on Africandos. I blame the cultural differences.

      1. Well, at least he’s an Africando instead of an Africannot.

          1. Yeah, I fucked that one up. I must be drunker than Max Baucus.

            1. In that case, TAPOG, I want some of whatever you’re drinking.

              1. He’s drinking Art-Nog.

                1. Sorry, I meant to say The Art-Nog.

                    1. What’s in The Art-Nog?, anyway?

                    2. It is a flaw in your insidious marketing plan, true.

  15. Damn Reason and its inadequate understanding of Northwest’s hubs!

    1. :::shakes fist at Doherty:::

    2. Postrel always knew her airport hubs.

      1. Awesome drinking game entry, John.

  16. When the lawyer says “Indian man”, what does he mean?

    Yes, casino or convenience store?

    Dot or feather?

    The world needs to know.

    1. Long time guys…

      I think everything about this story is fishy/complicated. As someone who has spent much time at Schiphol, I think the witness is perhaps too convenient (or wrapped up in being involved in the story). The check-in area at Schiphol would not be a place to play cards (as there’s no seating) and if the “terrorist” had made it to the departure lounges (and passed all the security hoops) there would have been no need to check in.

      I think the man is enjoying his moment in the spotlight at best or at worst, supporting the “terrorist” story for other purposes.

      There are many things about this young “terrorist” that have come out that fish it up worse than holiday visitors but I don’t want to take up too much space.

      You missed my tin-foil hat didn’t ya? Tell the truth and shame the devil I say! ;o)

  17. a bomb sniffing dog detected a bomb in his carry on bag and he was searched after we landed. This was later confirmed while we were in customs when an FBI agent said to us “You are being moved to another area because this area is not safe. Read between the lines. Some of you saw what just happened.”

    So what?

    When you see the guys in the blue windbreakers with “FBI” stenciled on the back doing their “O J Simpson at the airport” impersonation, it’s time to worry.

    And- I need a better witness than Eddie Kurt Haskell to tell me what the “bomb” sniffing dog actually found.

  18. a bomb sniffing dog detected a bomb in his carry on bag and he was searched after we landed.

    Am I the only one who finds the sequence of events here a little odd?

    1. The last international to U.S. flight I was on—Dublin to Newark–where most of the passengers were transferring to another flight in the U.S.–which it sounds like would have been the case here what with the “Detroit is NW hub” even if a terror attack had NOT been tried—had all the bags sit on a carousel while a dog came and sniffed them before we were able to move them ourselves onto our connecting domestic flight.

      1. Yeah, you’ve got to pass through security again if you come through Detroit from an international flight.

  19. The Janet Napolitano “did not appear to be part of a broader plot” part of what seemed to be the conventional narrative when I went to bed last night. I know this things shift precipitously.

    Yesterday, she was claiming the “system” worked. That narrative has apparently been rewritten.

    1. Maybe she meant the system was not unresponsive?

  20. The Kurt Haskell account doesn’t make sense. He implies that the airline was somehow aware that Mutallab did not have a passport. It might be possible to fly without an ID on a domestic flight but it would never work on an international flight. Yes, you can be a refugee and lack a passport but then you should have a refugee photo ID. Airlines have strong incentives to check a passport and visa of everyone flying to a foreign country because if the entry is denied the same airline will have to deport that person back, which means flying him back for free.

  21. I have to wonder where the Detroit failed bomber is going to be tried. Even on Fox they are already talking about Federal Court. They were still in the air when it all occurred. The fire was out and he was already subdued in the front of the aircraft when the wheels touched down. Crimes committed in air space over a country, state, etc. have always been a legal point of contention that I don’t think any major court much less the World Court in The Hague has ever settled.

    Are we not at war with a stateless “country” called Al Qaeda? How much more proof do we need? A million dead? The shooting rampage at Ft. Dix then this attempted bombing. WE ARE AT WAR! How many does there have to be before moving the 9/11 bombers and combatants to NYC for trial is reversed?

    What if the “enemy” was a no uniform group of neo-Nazi skin-heads who were killing blacks and Jews daily all over the country? Would president Obama’s have a different opinion? What if their estimated number climbed to five million? Not enough? How about 20 million with members from all over the world? Let’s say they take over entire towns or even states by the ballot box and acquit each murdering member as soon as they show up in court with their AK-47’s still in the trunks of their cars? Is THAT then a war or a string of tens of thousands of felony crimes the same as robbing every Walmart in the country? IF the president tramples on Posse Comitatus and “regular U.S. enlisted combat troops and officers” patrol our streets to enforce the martial law that is surely coming he it is completely two-faced to not use our regular military in the actual war with Al Aqaeda but use them against American citizens who will most likely be protesting his ruinous policies in a peaceful manner but in huge numbers (many millions – eventually even the meekest will protest our country’s turn toward undemocratic fascist socialist progressivism that effectively preempts our Constitution, Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, Posse Comitatus and all the other liberties millions of Americans have fought and died for to preserve. Eventually, most will only give up these rights not with a whimper but with a bang. So what will it be? The “government fears the people” quote of Thomas Jefferson or not?

    Detroit has a high number of people of Muslim heritage (both Arabic and Persian – there is a difference -look it up). A suburb (Dearborn) has the highest percentage of Muslim residents of any city its size in the country (25,000 to 250,000 residents) with a third being first-generation Arabic. This from Wikipedia which did not list Persians (Iran) and that is (my guess from reading newspaper and magazine articles) another 10 to 20%. Due to the widely known animosity between those of African heritage and Arabs, their city is made up of less than two percent African-Americans.

    As Arabs and Persians immigrate to the United States, Dearborn is their number one destination. Sharia Law is actively practiced there. You can find many authenticated news stories of Sharia Law incidents including “Mercy Killings”. In spite of evidence that should convict anyone, acquittals are common if a jury trial is held IN Dearborn. Assuming this man who almost killed hundreds of people Christmas day at the Detroit airport is given a jury trial, what is the chance of him being found not guilty totally because of the makeup of the jury?

    How many such killers will walk free before the American people have “had enough?”. Right now the city of New York is going to have to relive 9/11 over and over each day for the next five years. Then, assuming they are found guilty, an appeal will be made and the venue changed for yet another city to endure (probable) bomb scares, actual killings to intimidate jury pools and so on. Just as will be probably be happening in NYC for the next five years. Read the Dearborn newspaper and you will find many reports of trials where the evidence listed should have quickly convicted the defendant but he was found innocent. The makeup of the jury is NEVER listed and the outcome of trial is buried as much as possible while still being in the newspaper. I’m told by friends who live in Detroit TV news reports of such trials (including murders that were clearly “mercy killings” of a teenage girl killed by a male relative) are brief and almost NOTHING is said beyond “the trial in the murder of X was concluded and Mr. Y of Dearborn was found innocent”. THAT IS IT!! STILL, bomb and threats of murder are common. Being employed in the media in Detroit is a job uncommonly hard to fill.

    I’m told the nervous TV reporter moves onto another story VERY quickly. On some days it is safer to live in Baghdad than in Dearborn. I read the state police avoid Dearborn, the U.S. House representative from Dearborn is now a Muslim. If the lawyer for the failed Detroit airport bombing can change the venue to Dearborn I would expect an acquittal. Will the American people accept that? I say “yes” as they seem to have accepted every other loss of their cherished freedoms since January 20, 2009. I say “cherished”. They are cherished to me but apparently not to many others!

    What? They or he couldn’t be found not guilty just because there are enough Muslims on the jury? That they will do their civic duty and vote based on the evidence? Is it not “politically correct” but an interview played only once (live) on Fox News (a permanent motion to seal the video for something like 99 years was made and granted) of a black young lady who had been on the jury was spoken with right after the trial. She said (not verbatim but pretty close – the words are on the Internet, just not the video ) “OJ was guilty but this was payback for 200 years of slavery and racism. I voted “not guilty for that reason”. That is not racism or anything else other than the truth. She said it but it was not reported in any newspaper and, as I say, OJ’s lawyer quickly had the judge grant a motion taking the video of the interview and barred interviewing any other jurors FOREVER!

    So there is a record of this happening. Yes, it happened many times years ago in the South (and a few times in the North) when a clearly guilty white man was found innocent of murder or a beating of a black person by a jury made up of (racist) white people. Racism and bigotry knows no color, ethnicity or religion. It continues to be a shame on the human race.

    But WHAT IF any of the Al Qaeda suspects to be tried in NYC or this Detroit failed bomber are acquitted by a jury that happens to be made up of more than a few Muslims? As I say, we are at WAR with an army without land and that doesn’t wear uniforms. If not an army, maybe we should have sent the New York City police department to Afghanistan to “arrest” the “9/11” bombers and not declared war first on Afghanistan and then Iraq. As president Obama has chosen to fight this war we are quickly turning victory into defeat. Not to mention endanger not just our troops overseas but every man, woman and child in our county and in the non-Islamic world. I have to ask — WHY? It is a blunt question but whose side is President Obama on? I wonder. I REALLY wonder.

    Gary in Kansas

      1. Thanks for playing, Gary. Johnny, do we have any parting gifts for him?

        1. Maybe an elements of style book with a special section about run-on sentences and the judicial use of periods.

          1. Year’s supply of Sex Wax and a $3 coupon off lunch at Applebees.

          2. Or a definition of “brevity.”

        2. Maybe a closing parenthesis.

    1. You can find many authenticated news stories of Sharia Law incidents including “Mercy Killings”.

      I thought it was honor killings that are practiced under Sharia Law.

      1. Yeah, mercy killings are carried out under Schiavo Law. Bam, I’ll be here all week.

    2. Shut the fuck up, Gary.

      1. Ok, I’ve seen this before and this is the second time here and don’t know what it means. It’s making me feel stupider than usual.

        Anyone care to share?

          1. it’s something the kids are texting.

            1. Meh–I prefer words.

        1. Too long; didn’t read.

        2. Google is your friend.
          (too long, didn’t read)

          1. Is there a term for “Too many answers, only read one?”

    3. CHEMTRAILS!!

      (This section included to comply with Squirrel commenting guidelines)

    4. Wow, you are a complete dumb ass aren’t you? Have you ever been to Dearborn? More dangerous than baghdad? You have to be kidding me. I go to the bars there all the time and it is no more dangerous than any other US city. Yes, I said bars. They do serve alcohol in Dearborn. Sharia law? Well considering a large portion of Dearborn is Maronite and Chaldean they may not be thrilled to practice Islamic law. Get your facts straight and don’t discuss things of which you have no knowledge.

  22. What I want to know is this:

    He took two international flights, did he not? Was there a well-dressed man greasing that no-passport flight too?

    Janet says there’s no larger plot. Good enough for me!

  23. Is a well-dressed man similar to a sharp-dressed man?

    1. i don’t know, i’m just looking for some tush.

  24. This “second” Indian man being cuffed was also reported by a Huffington Post blogger Roey Rosenblith who was on the plane as well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..04255.html

    1. Maybe he was cuffed and released without arrest?

    2. This one just gets more interesting as time goes on.

  25. It was nice of Gary to take time out from his busy schedule of harassing the families of servicemen killed in action to explain the International IslamoFascist Terror Conspiracy to us.

    I hope you get run over by a hearse, Bub.

  26. Google is your friend.

    That’s what they want you to think.

  27. So what are you saying Gary?

  28. You said: I still find the most suspicious fact of this whole incident that 257 people were flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, a city that is by most accounts deader than Mu and Atlantis combined, on Christmas day.
    Let me help you: 1) 5 million people live in Metro Detroit 2) even though we have our problems, 85% of us are employed 3) in order to help our economy we have improved our airport so it is one the nicest in the country 4) not everyone is christian: we have large atheist, jewish, orthodox, and moslem communities (some of the best witnesses were loyal arab-americans from nearby Toledo). Please stay informed.

  29. also: Detroit continues to be the busiest land border gateway for goods transported across the border via highways, railroads and pipelines in 2008. Port Huron, MI is the third busiest land crossing. In 2008, $120 billion in merchandise trade passed through Detroit by the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel, Ambassador Bridge, rail tunnels and a truck ferry, accounting for 15 percent of the total value of U.S. land trade. Windsor, Ontario, Canada is southeast across the Detroit River from Detroit. Sarnia, Ontario is east across the St Clair River from Port Huron.

  30. Hi my name is Roey Rosenblith, I was on the flight and wrote the Huff Po piece as far as I know nobody else is talking about this. But I did have some NBC, CBS folks contact me on the topic. But you’re the first person that I can tell who has put it all together.

  31. so what’s next on the list of targets then…

  32. so what’s nest on the traget list…
    visa application detroit

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