A Boy and His Airplane



    Charles Bishop, the fifteen year old that flew a stolen small plane into the Bank of America skyscraper in Tampa, Florida on Jan. 6, left behind a "suicide note" that purportedly expressed sympathy for Osama bin Laden.  I say that it was a "suicide note" because, as is reported in the South China Morning Post, among many others, "The note, a few paragraphs handwritten on plain white paper, was not addressed to anyone specifically, said police spokeswoman Katie Hughes. In the note he did not mention his family in it, nor did he say goodbye to anyone, she said, although authorities interpret it as a suicide note."

    The matter as to his intentions aside, though, one very interesting note is barely touched on in the reports that I've found.  During the time that Bishop was flying in the stolen plane, he approached and then entered the highly restricted air space around Mac Dill Air Force Base. 

    National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Butch Wilson said the plane was airborne for just nine to 12 minutes, at one point flying through Mac Dill Air Force Base's airspace.  Now, here is where my idiocy radar begins to indicate problems out on the horizon. 

    Consider the extremely important fact that Mac Dill is home to Central Command, which is directing the war in Afghanistan.  To quote from the report, "Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel Rich McClain said the base was notified of the approaching aircraft when it was about 5km away from the base's airspace. One minute later, the plane entered Mac Dill's airspace and descended slightly. It left a minute later."

    "Colonel McClain said the plane made no threatening moves while nearing Mac Dill...."

    "As a precaution, two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled from Homestead Air Reserve Base, 320km [200 miles] away, but they arrived after the crash, said Captain Kirstin Reimann at the North American Aerospace Defense Command."

    This raises a number of very important but completely unanswered questions about this incident.

    First, Mac Dill Air Force Base, being the center of all command for the war against Afghanistan's population should be considered a prime target for any remaining Al Qaeda terrorists.  Any unauthorized flights into the base's airspace should have been considered a possible attack regardless of the size of the plane.

    Second, in as much as Mac Dill is an Air Force base, why didn't the base commander scramble all available war planes to intercept and, if necessary, shoot down the plane before it could be used as a weapon against the base.

    Next, why were jets scrambled from Homestead Air Base, 200 miles south of Tampa, only after Bishop had left Mac Dill's airspace? 

    What, exactly, would Lt. Col. McClain consider "threatening moves" if entering a restricted area in a stolen plane isn't enough to raise some level of alarm? 

    Even with a Coast Guard helicopter trying to convince Bishop to land the plane, once it was determined that the plane was nearing the city of Tampa, why wasn't there a keener sense of urgency about the situation?

    This episode stinks to high heaven, folks.  If security at our military bases remains this insanely lax, then someone must be held responsible.  If this was still the Clinton era, there would already be twenty different independent investigations being held.  Why is there so little response now?

    This shows that America has learned nothing from Sept. 11 save how to kill more and more innocents thousands of miles away from America (a skill long practiced and perfected).  This administration obviously hasn't accomplished anything more than the carnage in Afghanistan and the destruction of nearly all of our Constitutional and Bill of Rights guaranteed freedoms.  These bozos continue to leave the American people helpless against any further threats of attacks from terrorists or even, if the story is true, from depressed teenagers.

    This situation reinforces the overriding question that this nation should be asking itself, "Why should we believe anything that this administration says?"  It is a regime far more than administration, the latter term meaning a legitimate leadership while the former denotes a group that overthrew the American electoral system for their own gain.  Nearly every war in the past century was started over events that were either vastly blown of proportion or outright staged for the single purpose of raising the public's thirst for blood and vengeance.

    Might this event have been allowed to unfold on its own without the interference of the military power or civilian law enforcement for a far more sinister reason than the public might accept in their TV induced haze?  Might this be another Gulf of Tonkin or Panama or Iraq type of event, one which was staged by our government to get that old blind patriotism boiling?  Might the military have allowed this sad event to continue to its end solely because it needs, along with the anthrax scare and the constant alerts from the Office of Homeland Security, to keep the American public frightened enough to allow the military a free hand in murdering innocent civilians anywhere on the planet?  And why does the title "Office of Homeland Security" sound so fascist?

    You and I had best keep a very open mind whenever events of this magnitude occur.  The average American is, frankly, too stupid and distracted by the flickering images on their boob tube to question anything that makes them uncomfortable.  When this government hires a public relations executive, Charlotte Beers, and then uses her for the sole and stated purpose of "getting the administration's message out", it's time to begin wondering what happened to America.  When Colin Powell remarks that he has switched to buying Uncle Ben's rice because Beers was so successful at selling it through advertising, America is in very sad straits.  (Or, as eXile puts it, "An Uncle Tom that eats Uncle Bens.")

    Frankly, the continuing tale of ineptness and stupidity that this regime is exhibiting can only leave one wondering about just how much knowledge it had of the terrorist's plans prior to Sept. 11.  With the "intelligence" community now proclaiming that it can intercept any electronic communication that bin Laden might initiate one must inquire, "Why couldn't our so-called intelligence organizations uncover the Sept. 11 attacks, a plan TWO YEARS in the the making, in time to stop them and were they hampered by this regime in their efforts to do so"?  That question leads to the next obvious question and that is simply, "Did this regime knowingly allow the attacks to occur in order to gain a free hand in its military attacks on governments who were economically opposed to new incursions by Corporate America and in order to further the long held Republican craving to vastly limit the freedoms that Americans once took for granted?"  Me, I say that the answer to both questions are a resounding "YES!"( 1, 2, 3, 4 )



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Copyright 1/7/02