Terrorism: November 22, 2003


Once again, Americans at home and abroad are being warned about increased risk of terrorist attacks. American intelligence organizations are reporting a rising volume of threats, based on "Al-Qaeda's continued interest in aviation, including using cargo jets" to attack facilities such as bridges or dams "as well as targeting liquid natural gas, chemical and other hazardous materials facilities".

The FBI and Homeland Security Department and the FBI, citing the intelligence reports and the recent spate of bombings overseas, issued an advisory to law enforcement agencies, government officials and private-sector security personnel. A public warning was also issued.

This is a restated version of an early November warning, that spurred the Senate to vote on the 13th in favor of cargo pilots carrying firearms and stun guns in the cockpit. The measure would amend the law already in effect that allows pilots of passenger airlines to participate in the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program administered by the Transportation Security Administration. 

In probable response to the latest warnings, security has been increased to extraordinary levels at this weekend's Presidents Cup golf tournament at the posh Fancourt club. Among the high profile guests are former president George Bush, President Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and an assortment of cabinet ministers. The South African Air Force will have fighters on standby, in case of an incident.

So why all the warnings and sudden spike in Al Qaeda related activity? Much has been made about the two total eclipses of the sun that fall within this year's Ramadan celebrations. For this to happen during Ramadan is incredible rare (the next such instance will be in 2155). Of course, the radical Islamists have made much of this, citing it as a portent that bodes ill for all Infidels.

There is also an Islamic belief that two eclipses are just one of the signs of the return of the twelfth Imam (who will reappear when this world is full of sins and injustice). The total Lunar eclipse on November 9 saw a spike in terrorist attacks. The total Solar eclipse falls on November 23rd and will be visible from within a narrow corridor which traverses the far Southern Hemisphere. - Adam Geibel


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