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Thursday, August 17, 2006 By: Juan Paxety
No, not created by Arafat, but by another bearded bastard
Cap'n Ed has a good post on the new tactics being employed to spot potential terrorists at our airports. Ed makes, however, an error that's common:
Israel, which has had to contend with terrorism on airplanes for much longer than anyone else, has maintained a high record of success with this approach. Israel doesn't worry about what a passenger might carry onto a flight as much as they focus on the traveler himself.
Ed seems to fall for the old Yasser Arafat invented aircraft hijacking yarn - based on his hijacking of airliners in 1970. Here's how Winds of War describes the summer of 1970, beginning with the fedayeen taking over strategic positions in Jordan.
Small-scale clashes continued throughout the summer of 1970, however; and by early September, the guerrilla groups controlled several strategic positions in Jordan, including the oil refinery near Az Zarqa. Meanwhile, the fedayeen were also calling for a general strike of the Jordanian population and were organizing a civil disobedience campaign. The situation became explosive when, as part of a guerrilla campaign to undermine the Jarring peace talks to which Egypt, Israel, and Jordan had agreed, the PFLP launched an airplane hijacking campaign.
Within the space of two hours on September 6, PFLP gangs hijacked a TWA jet, a Swissair jet, and made an unsuccessful attempt to seize control of an El Al airplane. About two hours later, another PFLP group hijacked a Pan Am jet and forced the crew to fly to Beirut airport, where the airplane landed almost out of fuel. The next day the airliner was flown to the Cairo airport, where it was blown up only seconds after the 176 passengers and crew had completed their three-minute forced evacuation.
King Hussein viewed the hijackings as a direct threat to his authority in Jordan. In response, on September 16 he reaffirmed martial law and named Brigadier Muhammad Daud to head a cabinet composed of army officers. At the same time, the king appointed Field Marshal Habis al Majali, a fiercely proroyalist beduin, commander in chief of the armed forces and military governor of Jordan. Hussein gave Majali full powers to implement the martial law regulations and to quell the fedayeen. The new government immediately ordered the fedayeen to lay down their arms and to evacuate the cities. On the same day, Arafat became supreme commander of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), the regular military force of the PLO.
The incident led to a 10-day war in which the PLO was driven out of Jordan into Lebanon - and to the creation of the Black September Movement.
But that was far from the first aircraft hijacking. Aircraft hijacking was, of course, the creation of fidel castro. For years Florida bound planes from across the Americas had been hijacked and forced to fly to Cuba. The skyjackings began in 1961, and followed what became a familiar pattern:
First U.S. Aircraft Hijacked, May 1, 1961:
Puerto Rican born Antuilo Ramierez Ortiz forced at gunpointa National Airlines plane to fly to Havana, Cuba, where he
was given asylum.
Even Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963 hatched a plot to have his pregnant wife assist him in hijacking a plane to Cuba. By 1969, the problem was so serious, Secretary of State William Rogers wrote a memo to President Richard Nixon:
Hijacking of aircraft to Cuba is an increasingly serious problem. Most of the hijacked aircraft have been U.S. planes, but aircraft from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru have also been involved. So far this year, nine U.S. aircraft and three from other countries, all commercial airliners, have been taken to Cuba. This compares with seventeen U.S. and nine non-U.S. aircraft hijacked in 1968. A few of these were non-scheduled and private planes, but most were commercial airliners. There were seven successful hijackings of U.S. aircraft and three of other countries in the period 1961-67. Most of the recent hijackers have been U.S. citizens, rather than Cubans.
U.S. citizens they may have been, but they were foremost supporters of castro and his revolution. Israel's problem with hijacking is serious - but the United States has had to deal with it longer than even Israel, thanks to the billionaire bearded bastard in Havana.