America, Land of the Un-brave, Home of the Un-free
Yesterday I got on the 73 bus from Harvard Station. This bus goes toward Watertown where two of the “terrorist suspects” were picked up yesterday. Almost immediately the driver breathlessly got on the radio and reported a “suspicious person”. “He is watching all the buses and writing down something on a clipboard”.
I thought this interesting so I got off at the next stop (which the driver missed till I reminded him) and walked back. I sat down next to the “suspicious person” and observed him. Sure enough he had a printed form on a clipboard and was watching every bus and looking at everyone on board writing something down about it. He was mid 50ish, short greyish hair, light complexion, blue slacks and a green windbreaker.
I told him, “The driver on my bus called you in as a suspicious person so you might be getting a visit from the MBTA cops in a few minutes. I assume you work for the MBTA and are counting people on the buses to help them estimate usage?”
He sighed and said “Yes that happens a lot to me. I don’t mind the hassle personally, I can deal with it, but what bothers me is seeing my America turned into a police state. They keep announcing ‘if you see something, say something’, its like ’1984′”.
I said, “This isn’t my America. My America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. And to the extent that we are no longer brave, we become no longer free. This is more like Communist China, where everyone is supposed to spy on everyone else.”
Copyright © 2010 Henry Edward Hardy
Bizarre Air Force Low-level “Photo-op” Terrorizes New York
The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN are reporting that today, April 27, 2009, an “Air Force I lookalike” and two F-16 jet fighters frightened New Yorkers with low-level maneuvers over Manhattan and New Jersey.
Many office buildings were evacuated and people who had lived through 9/11 were re-traumatized. The New York Times reported that during the exercise, the Dow-Jones dropped 40 points in ten minutes.
The Associated Press reported, “A Boeing 747 used by the president was escorted over lower Manhattan by an Air Force fighter jet Monday as part of a government photo opportunity and training mission, causing a brief panic among office workers near ground zero.”
The U.S. Air Force confirmed that an “aerial photo mission,” which involved an F-16 fighter jet, had been carried out Monday in the area of New York City by the Presidential Airlift Group, which according to the White House Web site is responsible for maintaining and operating presidential airliner Air Force One.
“This mission was conducted in conjunction with normally scheduled continuation training for assigned aircrew members,” the Air Force said in a statement. The mission was scheduled to last from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. EDT.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the maneuver wasn’t an emergency and was coordinated in advance with state and local officials. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates bridges, tunnels and airports in the area, said initially the agency had no knowledge of the low-flying plane, according to a spokesman. But several Port Authority executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to an ongoing investigation, said that the agency received a memo from the FAA, but not until sometime Monday morning.
“Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media,” the memo instructed. “Public affairs posture for this effort is passive.”
The memo specifically directed local agencies not to tell the public about the photo shoot, according to a government official. The memo detailed the nature of the event and the flight details, saying there would be a transport and fighter aircraft flying over New York Harbor.
Note WSJ story has been updated: 8th WSJ UPDATE: Airplane ‘Photo Op’ Angers 9/11 Witnesses
The White House had planned a second photo shoot of a jumbo jet used as Air Force One in Washington D.C next month. The follow-up session would have taken place May 5 or May 6, using the nation’s capital as a backdrop, according to two government officials.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Washington photo session is being reconsidered, given the reaction to Monday’s flight in New York.
I am really curious about the “photo-op” aspect of this mission. Has nobody heard of Photoshop? Was this still photography, or part of some video project? Who and where were the photographers?
What was so important about this mission that there could be no prior public announcement, and why must the planes operate at such low altitudes over a populated area?
Very odd indeed.
Update: More from CNN:
After a YouTube video showed panicked New Yorkers scrambling as a Boeing 747 flew frighteningly close to the lower Manhattan skyline, a former Homeland Security adviser questioned whether the man who approved the flyby should remain in his White House office…
Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty before flying up the Hudson River.
The YouTube video shows dozens of people standing in a parking lot, watching the plane approach. As it nears, they begin to run. Someone unleashes an expletive. “Run, run!” says one person. “Oh my God,” cries another.
Copyright © 2009 Henry Edward Hardy