As if we needed more of them, a real chilling thought

As noted here:

CNN is also reporting that investigators now believe that other planes were intended to be hijacked Tuesday, perhaps more than one. The unprecedented shutdown of all commercial air travel nationwide shortly after the attack may have thwarted the additional attacks, they believe.

My question that’s up for debate is this: Even just hypothetically for the moment, what if the two guys picked up in Texas did indeed have box-cutters? What if one or both had been training as a pilot? And what if it can be determined they had some level of affiliation with others directly connected to the attack?

What do they get charged with? Possession of a box-cutter?

It seems to me that something like attempted murder or attempted hijacking would be extremely difficult to prove, given the evidence of the above situation. I was going to fly, I had to cancel, I had a box cutter, and I had had conversations with some of these other people.

“So what?” their attorneys will say. “Doesn’t prove anything.” And, more or less, they will be right.

It chills me to the bone to consider that there are other terrorists out there that wanted to make Tuesday an even more horrific event. Maybe they are waiting their chance now. And even if we caught them, all they could likely face is some half-assed criminal charge involving false documents, or deportation because of expired visas.


I agree that you present a very scary scenario. The law tends to be relatively slow in catching up with the latest trends in criminal behavior. Thus, it appears highly unlikely that the posession of the evidence you presented could be used to construct a credible prosecution against suspected terrorists. I believe, however, that the absence of successful terrorist acts in the past is evidence that U.S. intelligence has done a pretty good job of removing potential terrorists before they are able to carry out their plans. It is, of course, disappointing that these individuals cannot be held responsible for their horrible plans, but it appears that these plans have been effectively thwarted in the past.

And, to my mind, unacceptible.

The charge would be conspiracy which is often considerably easier to prove than the primary offence.

IANAL, far less an expert on US laws and codes, but wouldn’t they come under some “conspiracy to commit” type of law? Circumstantial evidence, perhaps, but someone boarding a plane with similar weapons to the hijackers, false papers, etc when a conspiracy has already been proved[sup]1[/sup] has got to count for something.

One other thing, I do recall seeing on one of the stations[sup]2[/sup] that law enforcement agencies had taken a couple of people into custody and said, “They are talking.” Wouldn’t that bolster the case a tad? [sub]Depending on what they’re saying, of course.[/sub]

[sup]1[/sup]“Conspiracy” in the sense of a group of people gathered together for an unlawful purpose, instead of in the sense of the Illuminati or something daft like that.

[sup]2[/sup]Don’t quote me, but I think it was CNN, one of the crawling supers across the bottom of the screen. Late Thursday night, Australian time.

I don’t think the FBI / NSA are above using a few underhand tactics in this case.

Most countries have the ability to ‘detain or execute’ without trial… er… shall we say they were ‘shot while trying to escape’ ?

Why do you think the FBI are capturing so many terrorists now ?, do you think they ‘nicely asked mr terrorist’ to spill the beans.

Truth drugs, missing fingers… its all going on… but then again it always has.

Just to throw in my two cents…

Keep in mind that it’s entirely likely that it was never expected to “get out” that the hijackers used knives. Thus, even later passengers, even under heavier scrutiny, may still have been able to get small, semi-innocuous weapons on board… I mean, how many people carry/carried Leathermen-type tools?

Had we not known they used knives, the automatic assumption would be, knee-jerk-reaction fashion, that they’d smuggled guns on board.

Second, all the individuals save for a few “left behind” were, actually, supposed to die. A plane crash is typically horrific enough, no matter the circumstances, that “whole” bodies typically aren’t found.

Thus, no one worried about covering any tracks by using fake names or forging passports. Using real, legit names undoubtedly simplified the logistics and failed to raise any “red flags” that a fake might have, and knowing who they were would have been irrelevant since by the time authorities found out, it would be too late.

All told then, it is NOT impossible that the people they are currently arresting/detaining may have been additional, or possibly just “backup” crews. Perhaps the only thing that did stop them- the later teams, if such they are- was the wholly unprecedented stoppage of all flights.

I can easily see even well-educated individuals, in their planning, overlooking or missing operational details such as the fact that personal cellphones can work at altitude, and that given fair reason, yes, the FAA can ground all 7,000-some-odd planes if the damn well feel like it.

Unless these recent arrests speak up or confess (I’d like to offer my services- I have my own kneebreaking hammer) we may never know.


This is still GD. A gratuitous assertion may be equally gratuituously denied.

Thus… no, it’s not.

  • Rick
The FBI/NSA using underhanded or illegal tactics? Sure.

 Missing fingers? No. All any suspect has to do is produce a photo of themself with a full complement of fingers, dated before he entered custody. When the suspect is released, the photo and his hands are evidence enough for the media even if the FBI escapes a trial. Secondly, there are numerous more painful, less scarring techniques to use. The classic rubber truncheon produces excruciating pain but leaves only bruises. Even so, several NYPD cops were convicted of torturing prisoners with a rubber truncheon last year. IF the government DID use torture, I'm sure they'd find something more painful and less incriminating than cutting off fingers. Kepp in mind as well, that any torture is useless on religious fanatics. Since any fundie would be convinced that torture assured them paradise, it would be futile to torture them.
 Truth drugs? I challenge you to prove that any "truth serum" even works. Sodium pentathol and the rest are no more effective than booze. Thus a suspect under the influence of a "truth drug" would feel disoriented, but you'd likely have an angry drunk on your hands. The hypnotised, zombie prisoner is purely fictional. At times Israeli and Irish police forces have prevented suspects from sleeping. Not only did this cause all kinds of protests, it didn't work. I'm sure Unca Cecil has debunked "truth serum". I'll be back with a link.

Doc Nickel wrote:

Last Tuesday’s hijackers herded the passengers into the back of the plane, and told them to call their loved ones on their cell phones and tell them that they were about to die.

How the hell do you plan on keeping your use of knives a secret, if you let your hostages make phone calls?

Declare a state of war.

Declare that these were spies operating to our country’s detriment.

Summarily execute them.

End of problem.
No expensive court case, no dragged out trial. Kill them now.

Zen, what if the terrorists happened to have extremists in America (non-Islamic, but Christian) working in cahoots with them? How will we know until its too late? Let the process continue. We are not like them. Not even Islamic countries engage in summary executions, even in a state of war.

The war on terrorism must apply to all terrorists, domestic and foreign, dark-skinned and pale skinned. The both sides in Northern Ireland better get their acts together, or they will be next.

The way I read it, and I suppose I may have gotten some early, unverified info, was that the passengers were herded to the back, and one or two of them tried their personal cellphones, rather than the plane’s phones. The people on the ground told the passengers that there’d been other hijackings-and-crashes.

And from my understanding, THEN the terrorists, who saw/noticed the calls being made, told the passengers to call home, et al.

In other words, I think the terrorists let them make their calls only after the passengers had already MADE at least one call.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, as it is something of an assumption, what with the less-than-crystal-clear nature of our news for the moment.

Sadly, without torture (and even that is uncertain) there is no way to find out. I am unable to justify using torture no matter how deserved it is in this case. We must merely exterminate anyone conspiring to perpetrate further atrocities upon our nation. Summary execution in a time of war is commonplace and needs to be considered as a potential repercussion for anyone contemplating such an act as last Tuesday’s.

If there are elements within our country that support or facilitate these conspiracies then we are obliged to pursue them with the same determination we go after other terrorists with. I heartily agree with you about the complexities of solving more local problems like the IRA. I think that the world has been served notice of what the logical extension of terrorism to its extreme looks like. I also think that the time has come to make all terrorist activity, be it financing them or harboring them, into capital crimes everywhere in the world.

I’m not convinced. I think a lot of their fervor is at least imparted rather than something they reached on their own.

Moreover, I have had my own religious convictions that, at times, were enough that I would gladly face a firing squad. I still might.

But put my nuts in a meat grinder and slowly turn it, and I might soon sing a different tune.

Zenster said

Against whom? What country?


Sorry, I did not mean to assert that it occurs commonly, but that it is a commonplace feature of wartime law.

We declare war on Afghanistan. Their government was in full cooperation with the organization that perpetrated last Tuesday’s atrocity. Such complicity is sufficient reason for their immediate removal by whatever means are necessary.

I further advocate that all Taleban governments be deposed as significant threats to our nation’s security. By their very nature they allow for no middle ground in this issue and should be addressed as intransigent hostile elements.