View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, July 30, 2004

Terror in the Skies, Part III, and More Corroboration 

Annie Jacobsen has posted her third article on Flight 327, this time recounting her efforts to get the Syrian Ambassador to the US to help identify the musicians in question, and perhaps even to help put her in touch with them. It turns out the Syrian Ambassador wrote the Washington Times about the incident:

"I am responding to Audrey Hudson's article 'Scouting jetliners for new attacks' (Page 1, Thursday). We are shocked by this article. It only reflects paranoia verging on the point of hysterics. The woman mentioned most prominently in this article, Annie Jacobsen, is an advocate of ethnic profiling who survived a horrendous ordeal: a flight with 14 harmless Syrian musicians.

"After this ordeal, and despite the fact that she reached her destination safe and sound, she 'spread 3,000 bigoted and paranoid words across the Internet,' as put it.

Well, it's good to know that the Syrian Ambassador is keeping his eye on the electronic media. Who knows, maybe he even reads the blogosphere. In the event that he's Googling himself, his name is Imad Moustapha. Hello, Dr. Moustapha!

Now, it's worth bearing in mind that the Syrians learned their covert ops techniques at the feet of the Soviets. They come from the "Who, Me?" school, only they're not nearly as urbane and sophisticated as "Shoe" Khrushchev or Mr. Gromyko. I'm sure this guy fancies himself, for his straight-talking, a latter-day Joseph Choate. Maybe this is what passes for tact in Damascus.

Maybe Dr. Moustapha -- of all people in the United States -- with his long list of credentials and his diplomatic pull, might actually be able to get me in touch with these 14 members of Nour Mehana's back-up band. Maybe he could help put the lid back on Pandora's box.

I mean, could it all really be as simple as reporter Joe Sharkey from The New York Times says it is -- that these Syrian individuals simply confused how to act on a 757 jet in America with how one might act on a bus in Damascus? The same way that someone from the North Pole might think it's OK to wear a ski mask into an American bank?

Read the rest.

And read this Adobe PDF, letters from passengers which provide further corroboration that Mrs. Jacobsen wasn't out of her mind.

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