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The Islamic State poses a Global Airline Security Threat

metrojet flight plan

Metrojet 9268 Flight Schedule, October 31, 2015.

Saturday morning, October 31st, Flight 9268 a Metrojet Airbus A321 with 224 largely Russian tourists, and crew aboard were bound on a course for St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh on Egypt’s Sinai Red Sea. The aircraft reached an altitude of 31,000 feet at 430 knots, when something catastrophic occurred at 23 minutes into the flight. Communications with the pilot abruptly ended, the plane struggled to gain altitude and just as suddenly plummeted earthward with the tail section broken off and the rest of fuselage sent crashing into the desert and mountains were a flash was seen via satellite.

All 224 passengers and crew aboard were killed. The crash occurred less than 300 miles from the resort area at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula at the mouth of the Red Sea. The passenger remains and  aircraft debris were scattered over a wide area. All of this was recorded in real time on satellite flight status internet reports and satellite imagery. Forensic teams from Egyptian, Russian and Airbus air safety organizations were dispatched to retrieve the flight data recorders. Egyptian military and Red Crescent teams were engaged in recovery of the remains, personal effects and luggage of those killed in the crash.

Grief was overwhelming at funerals held in Russia this week with the arrival of the remains of the victims.  The immediate questions were what caused the aviation catastrophe and who may have been behind it.

Watch this CNN video on “Did a Bomb take down Metrojet Flight 9268?”:

Russian-jet-crash-sinai

Metrojet Flight 9268  Tail section. Source: AFP

If the emerging facts surrounding the fate of Metrojet Flight 9268 are confirmed this aviation disaster, possibly perpetrated by Islamic terrorists,  could well be Russia’s 9/11.  Shoshana Bryen of the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Policy Center suggested that in an American Thinker blog, “Could the destroyed Russian plane be jihadi payback?” The inference being that the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 was a deadly rebuke to Russian President Putin for his entry in the Syria conflict attempting to bolster the faltering Assad Regime in alliance with Shia extremist Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. Boaz Bismuth writing in Israel Hayom  penned an op ed about the alleged bombing with the prescient title, “ISIS aims for the global skies.”

A lot is at stake, as the Sinai had become a veritable Islamic terrorist venue with Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS echelons attacking Egyptian security forces. Sharm el-Sheik is  a major European tourist destination attracting millions of visitors annually from the EU, Russia and other countries. For the El-Sisi government, terrorist involvement in the aviation disaster in the Sinai would have a chilling effect on billions in income from tourism. For Russia it could be an un-reckoned threat arising from its entry in the Syrian conflict. It is seeking to keep at bay Caucasian and other Russian Muslims from flocking to join the self-declared Caliphate, the  Islamic State.  For the international airline industry it may have profound implications for assuring security for passengers and operations both at home and in destinations adjacent to jihadist conflict zones.  If airport or airline servicing contractors were involved, then a major security gap would be opened by this latest aviation terrorism episode.

Several theories were developed as to what caused the aircraft to go through  violent maneuvers. The aircraft may have been hit by a shoulder held air defense heat seeker missile or MANPAD, it might have suffered a high altitude structural failure which caused it to break apart or the aircraft could have suffered an internal bomb explosion. Both the MANPAD and structural failure explanations were dismissed in view of the altitude at which the incident occurred, 31,000 feet , exceeding the maximum  altitude of MANPADs, 15,000 feet. Moreover the high altitude structure failure possibility was obviated by the service record of the Metrojet aircraft indicating that it had undergone structural repairs after a 2001 incident that occurred on a rough landing.  The bombing possibility, while initially dismissed, became a palpably plausible on Wednesday, November 4th. Both UK and U.S. intelligence suggested they had intercepted electronic information indicating that an explosive device may have been secreted on board Metrojet Flight 9268 by possible operatives of ISIS groups active in the Sinai Peninsula. Perhaps they were posing as local catering and cleaning contractors with access to the aircraft. Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood  or ISIS operatives could have secreted a bomb in the rear lavatories or rear luggage holds on the Metrojet A321.

Evidence is mounting to the ultimate conclusion that this might have been  a bombing.  Shoshana Bryen  indicated that photographs of the aircraft wreckage in British media “show some of the holes in the wreckage. They are outward-facing – meaning something inside the plane moved out. A blown fuel tank – which is on the outside – would have caused inward-facing holes.” Then there were reported  forensic evidence of metal shards among the clothing and effects of the victims.  Bryen also cited reports “indicating  that security at Sharm el-Sheikh was totally lax; which helps make the case that someone inside did the job. Since Egyptian tourism and Russia are targets of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS respectively, and since ISIS came from the MB root, collaboration here is a twisted “win-win” for them.”

‘UK PM Cameron underlined the increasing evidence of a bomb plot to destroy, Metrojet  Flight 9268, saying, “It is ‘more likely than not” that a bomb brought down  the Metrojet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula”. He took extraordinary measures grounding all UK charters for a security sweep at Sharm el Sheikh airport leaving more than 3,500 British passengers delayed until given clearance. CNN cited Cameron’s  office issuing a statement saying,  “Outbound flights from the UK to Sharm el-Sheikh remain suspended and the Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, but we are continuing to work with the Egyptians to get back to normal service as soon as possible.” Similar announcements came from Irish authorities and Lufthansa.  Sharm el-Sheikh is visited by more than 1 million tourists, annually.

The Israeli resort of Eilat at the head of the Red Seas also is a major European and international tourist destination.  ISIS Sinai affiliate formerly known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis has targeted Eilat for a possible bombing attack. The possible ISIS terror bombing of the Metrojet  could have rippling effects there to assure the usual tight security arrangements of Israel international carrier, El Al, and  domestic ones like Arkia.  El Al aircraft are already equipped with electronic counter measures like the Elbit C-Music anti- missile system to foil possible MANPAD attacks. Doubtless, the Israelis may also have better security clearances for aircraft maintenance, catering and cleaning employees, as well as barriers and surveillance of the Egyptian border to thwart infiltration of MB and ISIS terrorists.

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009.

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009

The downing of the Metrojet with its innocent Russian victims  has more than just Russian, Egyptian and Israeli concerns. From investigations by the Wall Street Journal,  CNN and others, security clearances for baggage handlers, catering, and cleaning personnel with access to the tarmac and aircraft here in the U.S. is lax.

Further investigations by the Lisa Benson Radio Show National Security Task Force of America  have revealed employment of Somali refugees  by major international groups like ISS Worldwide A/S headquartered in Copenhagen. The US subsidiary  ISS Facility Services, Inc. is based in San Antonio. ISS Worldwide employs over a half million through their outsourced network of airport and commercial facilities maintenance contracts. ISS specializes in a broad range of facility management services including janitorial services, especially for airport authorities and major manufacturing  companies.

The Somali Muslim émigré population has been the source of both Al Shabaab and increasingly ISIS recruitment in the U.S.  One illustration of the inherent ISIS risk among U.S. Somalis employed at US airports was  the reported death in September 2014  of  American Somali Émigré ISIS  Jihadi

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner.

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner

Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29.  That revealed his employment as a cleaner for Delta Global Services, Inc.  that gave him security access to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Muhumed left behind 9 children in the Twin Cities to become an ISIS jihadi, before his death in Syria. Muhumed had unfettered access to jetliners at the airport, which handles 90,000 passengers a day. He also had access to the tarmac and special security clearance to other parts of the airport. Muhumed had no criminal record in the United States that would have prevented him from getting a job at the airport.

This revelation following the death of Somali émigré ISIS fighter Muhumed, should raise the concerns of both the TSA and Homeland Security regarding screening of airport and aircraft maintenance personnel at U.S. Many of who have contracts with groups like ISS Worldwide A/S and Delta Global Services, Inc.  Moreover, without active community policing programs in the major U.S. communities recruitment of Muhumed and other ISIS recruits could not have been detected.  Thus, the downing of the Metrojet in Egypt by alleged ISIS perpetrators reverberates here in the U.S.  FBI Direct James Combey has warned that ISIS jihadis lurk among us in all 50 states.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Unvetted foreigners’ working as U.S. baggage handlers

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Obama to waive Sanctions? Tweet Your State Governor to Sue the President in Federal Court!

According to reports out of Tehran, President Obama is poised to wave sanctions next week. This despite Congressonal outrage over Iran’s violation of bans against missile testing .  Note this comment in a Washington Free Beacon report:

“The ink isn’t even dry on President Obama’s nuclear agreement and Iran is already breaking rules,” Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) said on Thursday. “This should not come as a surprise to anyone since Iran has cheated on every deal.”

Iran’s missile test and disclosure of underground  sites  occurred just before  yesterday’s initiation date of October 15, 2015 for the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal. Incredulously, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said that Iran’s  missile test have nothing to do the nuclear pact. Really?  The only reason for testing precision guide missile is to launch nuclear weapons. Watch this Reuters  video of Earnest’s White House Daily Press Briefing on JCPOA ‘initiation day:”

Now, it is your turn to do something: Tweet your state Governor to sue  Obama  in Federal court for unlawful conduct.  That is what the members of the Dallas Task Force of the Lisa Benson Radio Show National Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) are doing.

Congress is on vacation and lost the opportunity to sue the President when minority Democrat Senators spiked a Republican majority sponsored resolution last month rejecting the Iran deal. Further, while the Senate has standing to sue the President in Federal court over his mishandling of the Iran nuclear pact and review by Congress, it  is unable to pass a resolution authorizing that suit as it lacks a super majority.  Noted Washington, DC Constitutional litigator, David B. Rivkin, Jr. of the Baker Hostetler Law firm, who has brought successful Federal Court suits on separation of powers grounds over the Affordable Care Act, thinks that the 30 states that passed Iran sanctions laws under Federal Law would have standing to bring a similar cause of action.

So the  Dallas members of the (NSTFA)  are sending  tweets containing  messages urging Texas  Governor Abbott , Attorney General Paxton  and Texas state legislators to  join with  Republican gubernatorial colleagues  in 14 other States to file a suit in Federal court. That might possibly  stop the clock on implementation of the Iran nuclear deal by December 15, 2015 preventing release of  upwards of $100 billion in sequestered funds . That assumes Iran gets a rubber stamp of approval from the UN nuclear Watchdog agency, the IAEA about its prior military developments. Iran suggests it only has peaceful nuclear energy applications or intentions despite enrichment of uranium and building plutonium producing heavy water reactor . They have only one purpose; providing fissile material for an arsenal of nuclear weapons.    Iran is counting on release of those funds to support global terrorism including aiming ICBMs at the US and allies in Europe and the Middle East, like Israel.  Iran already has a running start on that. The 2013 interim Joint Plan of Action released $12.9 billion in sequestered funds.  Further, Swiss Banking authorities released $60 billion in hard currency reserves of Iran that were held by member banks.  That was just a few days after the UN Security Council, including the US, unanimously endorsed, the  Joint Comprehensive  Plan of Action (JCPOA) .

Now there is further cause for action by American citizens.  Just this week Iran disclosed it violated a UN Security Council resolution  barring testing of  ballistic missile technology by launching a precision guided Missile , the Emad, or  pillar in Farsi,  with a range of 1,700 kilometers. That would have sufficient range to hit Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Egypt and NATO members in Europe.  That same guided missile would be capable of lofting a nuclear bomb in a satellite into a polar orbit.  If detonated over the US  that could trigger a devastating Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect shutting down our digital economy and power grid possibly resulting in millions of casualties.  If that wasn’t enough, we had a senior Revolutionary Guards officer threaten to attack US interests in the Gulf of Mexico.  Moreover, despite approval of the Iran nuclear deal by what passes for its parliament, the Majlis,  the  Iranian  Council of Guardians ratified  the amended law that it didn’t violate Islamic Sharia law. Ayatollah Khamenei  forbid  further negotiations with the US with calls from his hard liners chanting “Death to America”.  Iran is already in an alliance with Russia, Syria and Iraq sending funds, weapons and more than 7,000 Revolutionary Guard  to prop up the Assad Regime in Damascus, isolating America’s allies in the Middle East.

Texas has standing before Federal courts to bring a suit against the President. Texas and 29 other states  enacted state Iran sanctions laws, authorized under a 2010 Federal Comprehensive Iran Sanctions law.   Moreover, the executive order that the President  signed today recognizing the UN recommended JCPOA may be in violation of the failed Corker –Cardin Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Further  there  a 2012 federal law closing the loophole licensing foreign subsidiaries of US parent corporations barring them from doing business in Iran.

15 States, including Texas, signed a letter authored by Florida Governor Rick Scott objecting to the President’s mishandling of the Iran nuclear act negotiations that drew attention to state sanctions statutes.

As noted in the Miami Herald “Naked Politics” blog, “the [September 8th] letter focused concerns about how it would affect pension divestment policies and contracting restrictions.” The governors’ letter supported the position articulated by Washington, DC constitutional litigator David Rivkin, Esq.:

Paragraph 25 of the Iran nuclear agreement provides that the federal government will “actively encourage” states to lift state-level sanctions such as the divestment and contracting restriction laws,” the letter states. “While Secretary Kerry confirmed in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the agreement will not preempt state law because it is not a treaty, we are concerned about what steps your Administration may take to attempt to implement paragraph 25. Therefore, we wish to make it clear to you in advance of any efforts to implement paragraph 25 that we intend to ensure that the various state-level sanctions that are now in effect remain in effect. These state-level sanctions are critically important and must be maintained.’

The letter was signed by Govs. Scott, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Mike Pence of Indiana, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, John Kasich of Ohio, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Greg Abbott of Texas, Gary Herbert of Utah, and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

In our NER article on the question of states having the authority to bring possible federal litigation over sanctions relief, we noted this comment from an August 2015 Steptoe International Compliance blog post on “The  JCPOA and State Sanctions:”

The Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) does not say much about Iran sanctions imposed by US state governments. … These state restrictions can be more extensive in scope than US federal sanctions. For example, some state restrictions (e.g. in Florida) attach automatically to the parent entity of the company who engages in certain Iran activities. Laws in many states provide for the lifting of Iran sanctions when the President removes Iran from the list of countries that support terrorism; but the JCPOA does not do that, and, as a result, Iran sanction laws in most states will remain intact

Below are  what the Dallas NSTFA  will be tweeting  Texas Governor Abbott, Attorney General Paxton, every state legislator, the Texas Congressional  delegations in both the US Senate and House, as well major media in the Lone Star State.  You can do the same along with like minded citizens in the 13 remaining states. A number of us will be doing that here in Florida. All you have to do is change the name of your respective state, state officials and Google their Tweet addresses on-line. Then  get your  teams to retweet them.  Can we count on you to do the same in the remaining states of Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin?

StateSealofTexasSealSuggested Tweets for Texas National Security Task Force President Obama Signing Executive Order For Iran Nuclear Deal:

#Texas Sue Obama over Iran Deal: Gov. Abbott Sue  in Federal Court Now!
# Texas Sue Obama over Iran Deal: Iran Violated Deal before Obama Signed
#Texas Sue Obama over Iran Deal:  Texas Iran Sanctions Law Gives Standing to Sue
#Texas Sue Obama over Iran Deal:  Stop Iran Missiles aimed at US Now!
# Texas Sue Obama over Iran Deal:  Demand Iran Release 4 Americans Now!
#Texas Sue Obama over Iran Deal:  Iran  Already Received  $72 Billion  back!
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal:  Pay US Victims of Iran Terror First!
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal:   Congress Didn’t Sue but Texas Can!
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal:  Gov. Abbott Join 14 States Who Objected to Iran Deal in Federal Court
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal:  AG Paxton file Federal Court brief now!
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal:  Stop Iran Nuke EMP attack!
# Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal: Keep Iran Out of the Gulf of Mexico!
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal: You can Stop Iran Nukes  Now!
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal: Texas  Legislature Pass Resolution to  file Suit  Now!
#Texas Sue Obama over Iran Deal: Pres. violated Iran Laws He Signed !
#Texas Sue Obama Over Iran Deal: Make the Lone Star State  First to File  in Federal Court

Consult these New English Review articles and Iconoclast blog posts for further background information:

Obama Poised to Sign Iran Deal: Time for the States to Bring ...

Can the States Stop Implementation of Iran Nuclear Deal …

Could The JCPOA be in Violation of a 2012 Iran Sanctions …

Can States Prevent Release of Iran Sanctions through Federal Litigation?

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.