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Remember that report of the

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 21, 2001

Remember that report of the 8 (or 13, depending on what report you read) people being detained in NY soon after flights resumed due of a variety of suspicious activities? Turned out the whole thing was a load of crap, blown out of proportion by both the federal authorities and the media. Here’s a selection of an email from a relative of one of the “two men and a woman [removed] for questioning” from a JFK flight describing the situation (here’s the entire description, including an email from one of the 3 detainees):

But three of the others were:

- My son, VP and CFO of a $3 Billion company on the west coast

- An American female employee on this business trip with him (as WASP as you can get)

- An Indian National who had just flown in from Hong Kong and immediately fell asleep on the plane.

After they boarded the plane and sat in their seats a swat team stormed the plane with guns and took the three off the plane very roughly after handcuffing them. They were then put in separate detention cells and submitted to intensive interrogation before being released. Their crime: The business executive has an Arab name (he has been in the US since the age of 8 and has gone through the US education system from elementary to grad school) His only problem was his Arabic name. The lady: just because she was traveling with him. The Indian, probably because he is dark skinned and woke up in a panic when seeing the guns and stated screaming at the top of his voice, probably thinking he was being high jacked. He was slapped in the face and treated more roughly than the others because of his reaction.

My son was interviewed by the Today show and they promised to air it. It was suppressed and only the story of detaining “suspicious individual” was aired.

Except for a small article here and there, there has been no further mention or investigation about this matter…everyone seems to have just forgotten about it. What worries me about this is that the media is supposed to be following up on stuff like this. They need to be asking the gov’t questions on behalf of the American public about why this happened. But most of all, they need to apologize loudly for allowing the coverage of it to get so out of hand. If the gov’t is allowed to wildly accuse people of things they didn’t do in the name of heightened security and the media isn’t going to call them on it (and instead do pretty much the opposite and participate willingly), we might as well all grab our ankles and kiss our personal freedoms goodbye because the terrorists have already won.

This is also somewhat sickening: Arab-Americans kicked off NWA flight. The passengers on that plane should be ashamed of themselves. I hope they look back on that day with a lot of sadness and regret at having made asses out of themselves and caused their fellow citizens pain and discomfort. Not America’s finest moment, to be sure.