Friday, May 21, 2010

Fuggedaboutit, Part 2

A Slate columnist says, "If you see something, say something? You'd never shut up."

"I set out to see how much disturbing behavior I could encounter in Times Square during an hour and a half around lunchtime...

"I met a Brazilian tourist who had way too many shabby bags in tow, and an off-duty Indian pilot who was carrying a grocery bag around his neck like a cape, food stains running down his shirtfront. I sidled up to a guy scalping Broadway tickets because he was wearing a sweatshirt in the heat.

"Several guys ... tried to sell me a ride, including Abdullah Ghazi, a bearded young man in a yellow City Sights polo. I asked Ghazi what sort of 'unusual' behavior might grab his attention. 'Someone panicky or paranoid,' he said. 'You make a logical assumption that he's off his meds.' And how often does he see that? 'Oh! Every day.' ...

"Investigators announced that they were hunting for a man who was shown on a surveillance tape taking off his shirt immediately after the incident. This was deemed suspicious activity by the police, though Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't necessarily agree: 'It was a hot day,' he said. 'Maybe he was just changing his shirt? And this is Times Square, where you have the Naked Cowboy.'"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If you see something... eh, fuggedaboutit

The Huffington Post reports that someone left a shopping bag labeled "Suspisious Package?" [sic] on an electrical box in Manhattan...

...and everyone ignored it.

New Yorkers don't scare that easily, and besides, much like DC, people are busy and they have places to be!

In any case, it seems some people know the lesson in my "Scary Things" section: how to recognize when something's not a bomb. (You know, like when it's a name badge, bacon, or a coin. I'm just sayin'....)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dulles Airport Emergency Exercise 2010

On Saturday, May 8, Dulles International Airport held its triennial full-scale emergency exercise. It simulated a plane crash, and 120 volunteers (including DM) played casualties. Fun was had by all.

We had to be there at the crack of dawn, 5:30 a.m., then get breakfast, and get moulaged (made up with fake wounds). The exercise started at about 9 a.m. It rained for a short time beforehand, so we had lie on wet ground, but they gave us blankets to lie on, and the temperature was very comfortable. (Except when they poured fake blood on us. That stuff was cold!!) It wrapped up in time for lunch.

Pictures from this exercise and past ones are in the photo gallery:

Dulles Airport Drill 2010 National Airport Drill 2007Dulles Airport Drill 2007

Friday, May 7, 2010

Idiot Terrorists, Part 2

The bumbling nature of some freedom-haters was detailed in a prior post, Idiot Terrorists, Part 1. Al Qaeda's 1993 bombing on the World Trade Center is another example.

Mohammed Salameh was the guy who famously got arrested when he returned to a Ryder outlet -- twice -- to try to get the deposit back on the truck they'd blown up. But that's not all:

  • Salameh was used as the driver for the materials in the bomb, and possibly for the bomb itself, despite having failed his driving test four times, and getting into three accidents in the prior few months.

  • The second accident, a month before the bombing, involved his car jumping the curb, tearing the undercarriage, and landing him and another conspirator, Ramzi Yousef, in the hospital. He checked out the next day, but Yousef was laid up for 5 days.
  • Yousef ordered some of the chemicals used in the bomb from his hospital room.

  • Since Salameh's car was unusable, another conspirator, Nidal Ayyad, used his corporate account with his employer to rent another for him -- which Salameh then crashed two weeks later in the third accident.

  • Ayyad also used his position and company letterhead to order other chemicals used in the bomb, and he used a computer at work to write the letter claiming responsibility for the bomb.

  • Salameh called Ayyad at his office number several times from the storage facility where they had the chemicals used for the bomb -- and where they still had all a lot of leftover materials when the FBI raided it.

  • The fourth guy involved, Ahmad Ajaj, was arrested at an airport trying to get into the country, when he was found to have four passports in different names and military manuals for making bombs. He was still in prison when it went off.

If it had been a suicide mission, they'd have reason to not care about the trail they left -- but it wasn't! They may have at least planned to flee the country afterward -- but good old Salameh stayed and kept trying to get his deposit back. With rocket scientists like this, who needs waterboarding?

Next installment: Idiot Terrorists, Part 3
Prior installment: Idiot Terrorists, Part 1

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Size Matters

Breaking news:

"A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener is facing an assault rap after he allegedly beat a co-worker who joked about the size of the man's genitalia after he walked through a security scanner.
"Rolando Negrin ... and his co-workers had been training with new 'whole body image' machines -- the controversial kind that provide very revealing images of a traveler -- when Negrin walked through the scanner. 'The X-ray revealed that [Negrin] has a small ***** and co-workers made fun of him on a daily basis," reported cops. ...

[Click on the picture for a larger, uncensored, NSFW version. (It's not that guy's, just a sample.)]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Idiot Terrorists

A lot of would-be terrorists are stupid or incompetent, and that's good. Sometimes, it thwarts their plans; it at least makes them easier to catch afterward.

The recent bombing attempt at Times Square is an example. The Oklahoma City bombing utilized barrels of ANFO -- ammonium nitrate mixed with fuel oil. It's a powerful explosive commonly used in mining. Ammonium nitrate is also used as fertilizer. The Times Square bomber used fertilizer -- but it was the wrong kind.

Also, it was inside a metal gun locker, not mixed with fuel oil, and not exposed to the firecrackers and fuel canisters he also used.