Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2010

A Simple Question; UPDATE: The Simple Becomes Complex!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:59 pm

Why does one tape a cell phone to a bottle of Pepto Bismol?

Oooh — I have another question. These guys didn’t know each other . . . but they’re two Yemenis, one of whom was headed to Dubai, who both happened to change their travel plans to go to Amsterdam? But they didn’t know each other?

Am I missing something??

UPDATE: OK, let’s review. The link above quotes an unnamed government official as saying the two didn’t know each other:

The U.S. does not expect to charge the men, a law enforcement official said. The two men arrested in Amsterdam — both traveling to Yemen — did not know each other and were not traveling together, a U.S. government official said.

But this link says:

Both of the detained men are friends who lived and worked in Dearborn, said Imad Hamad of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The al Soofi and al Murisi families are prominent within the Yemeni-American community in Dearborn, Hamad said.

Both men worked at area restaurants and grocery stores, and it is typical to spend several months working in Michigan and travel home once or twice a year to visit relatives in Yemen.

“When the news broke, people were surprised because they knew them as good people, respected people who always worked and worked hard,” Hamad said.

Who ya gonna believe?

I think you know where I stand.

Uh . . . we are in the very best of hands.

P.S. That second link comes courtesy of, er, “The L.A. Times Editorial Board.” Not the actual one, but rather a commenter going by that sobriquet — meaning he has a better grasp on the facts than his moniker would suggest.

P.P.S. The second link says that people who knew the pair think the whole story is so funny, that anyone could think these guys could be terrorists. Ha, ha! Uh, except: “Murad al Soofi said his brother was flying to Yemen to visit his family, but had no explanation for why he wanted to change his flight in Chicago.”

Oh, just one more thing:

Why does one tape a cell phone to a bottle of Pepto Bismol?

Did I ask that already?

Well, did I get an answer?

OK, then.

60 Responses to “A Simple Question; UPDATE: The Simple Becomes Complex!!”

  1. You know what’s disturbing? It’s not that creepy terrorists are, yet again, trying to kill a lot of people.

    It’s that the authorities are telling us they can’t connect some huge dots. I realize they are just lying, but it’s still disturbing. Why have they been doing this (for 8 years now)? It burns their credibility, and comforts only the idiots.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  2. Ed Morrissey suggests that what you’re missing is that they were late for their flights and it was the airline who routed them both to Amsterdam.

    Now… why were these two men with a common heritage both late for flights at the same time? It would take a bit more information to evaluate the probability of that.

    Gesundheit (aab7c6)

  3. I am pretty sure that just by posting this, you have confirmed that you are a bigoted Islamophobe.

    JD (d606fc)

  4. The phone has a clock with an alarm and it’s set to remind the person when to consume some of the pink stuff. Obviously.

    Anonymous (1dd84c)

  5. I answered this on the “I’m alive” thread, but it was lost in the “great Alaska shootout” with EPWJ over the election results.

    A cell phone was taped to a bottle of Pepto Bismol because you never know when ”nature is going to call”.

    Ignoring the nonsense about it being some misunderstanding over an everyday occurrence*, what I’d like to know is, was this object detected and ID’ed for what it was in a timely way that had it really been a bomb it would have been found in time, or are the passenegers fortunate it was only a drill?

    * There are many more things this administration has asked us to believe that are stranger.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  6. MD – Logical questions just highlight your bigotry.

    JD (d606fc)

  7. yeah: yer missing this link found by the Jawas…..

    and the money quote inside:
    “Both of the detained men are friends who lived and worked in Dearborn, said Imad Hamad of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The al Soofi and al Murisi families are prominent within the Yemeni-American community in Dearborn, Hamad said.

    somebody, somewhere, is lying… but who, and why?

    LA Times Editorial Board (fb8750)

  8. MD

    I am flying over there in about a week, if they’ll still have me

    Everyone start rejoicing in three… two….

    EricPWJohnson (d84fb0)

  9. Geographical location has never had any effect on your asspulls and mendoucheity before, why should it this time?

    JD (d606fc)

  10. Cell phones are tougher to lose when they are taped to pepto bottles. The only drawback is they don’t slip into your pockets as easily when attached that way.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  11. Thank you, uh, LA Times Editorial Board.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  12. Maybe the owner is “on the go” so much he only has time to make calls when sitting on the toilet.

    How long before we see it on the left wing blogs that the right-wingers want to boycott Pepto-Bismol for supporting terrorism??

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  13. You gotta admit, you wish that guy could take over for the LAT Ed Board.

    I’d buy that for a dollar.

    If your phone crapped out on you a lot, you might turn to a little Pepto taped to the battery cover in an effort to fix it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  14. They may have been testing the Xray machines.

    Pepto-Bismol contains Bismuth, which like most heavy metals, is radiopaque on medical X-ray equipment. I’ll wager it’s similar on an airport security scanner. They may have been attempting to see if the radiopaque bismuth would hide the cell-phone electronics.

    Just a thought.

    TheNewGuy (114368)

  15. Comment by TheNewGuy

    Now that was a very thoughtful comment. Thank you.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  16. most likely the “LA Times Editorial Board” is a regular wise a55 here who forgot to correct the sock name before posting their next smart aleck comment….

    but that’s just an educated guess: i’ve been at the pudding party over at AoSHQ: Murkowski the RINO conceded!

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  17. re #2: Ed Morrisey would have to explain why, if they were late, the luggage made the original plane but the passenger didn’t. unless they willfully delayed themselves in Chicago…..

    and why would they do that?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  18. The last time I flew, I taped a bottle of Pepto-Bismol to my watch to make sure I was regular and on-time.

    I also brought box-cutters to cut boxes at my job at Wal-Mart, so I had to have them with me in case some box-cutting job had to be done at the place I was going, because they are rare and hard to purchase.

    I also put these items in my checked luggage along with my .45 and rocket launcher to see what would happen.

    It had nothing to do with anything else. The guy sitting next to me was my brother-in-law. We never met, but I hear he’s a good guy.

    I like ponies.

    Signed,

    TheNewGuy

    Ag80 (2f74a7)

  19. Pepto Bismol bottle accessory solves the iPhone “death grip” problem, improves reception.

    It leaves your phone wintergreen fresh.

    Have you guys ever tried to find Pepto Bismol in Amsterdam? I didn’t think so.

    gp (ba49cb)

  20. Both of the detained men are friends who lived and worked in Dearborn. . .

    Now hold on just a gold durn second, folks: You are forgetting that during the whole Ground Zero Mosque brouhaha we have been told that our enemies are all overseas al Qaeda operatives and there there is simply no such thing as native domestic terrorists (white Glenn Beck fans exempted). If these guys are really from Dearborn then it stands to reason that they most certainly must be innocent.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  21. I am pretty sure that just by posting this, you have confirmed that you are a bigoted Islamophobe

    Thank God!!

    The world needs a lot more of them right now, just to counterbalance the clueless and/or chickensh** numbnuts.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (9eeb86)

  22. First reports I read were that the Pepto-Bismol bottle was empty – did that report change?

    AD - RtR/OS! (578e62)

  23. I hate to chime in on speculation of this kind, but imagine an x-ray beating substance, in a bottle, with a device in the middle.

    I guess there is no stopping some level of effort. This is why denying terrorists funding and personnel is a critical aspect to our safety. This is why the Iraq War saved thousands of American lives when I guess about that, by flypaper strategy.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  24. It was far easier to kill them in multiples in Iraq, than it would have been singly in (fill in American city of choice) ! And, with far less colateral damage.

    AD - RtR/OS! (578e62)

  25. Why does one tape a cell phone to a bottle of Pepto Bismol?

    To get to the other side. [Where the 72 virgins are.]

    walrus (ac60c6)

  26. I will skip the obvious jokes inherent in the Pepto Bismol/dry run connection.

    A former Army guy called into John and Ken today and said it’s typical bombmaking: You tape a cell phone to a bomb (in a bottle in your luggage), which acts as a detonator, then you call that cell number when you want to detonate it. So they were testing out the procedure.

    It worked.

    But no civil rights were violated, and that’s the important thing.

    Patricia (358f54)

  27. I’m really quite interested in the claim that it’s common for things like this to happen on flights to Yemen.

    That suggests that a significant portion of people flying to Yemen are either (a) crazy, or (b) conducting dry runs of terrorist operations.

    It’s far more interesting, although probably less believable, to assume that this claim is true.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  28. Good point, Aphrael. Good grief, these authorities (and we certainly can’t constrain ourselves to post Bush era) could wise up a little.

    If they are dumb enough to believe what they are saying, of even worse, if they are right that this is typical, I’m pretty damn terrorized.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  29. Thank God it wasn’t a pack of Menthos attached to a Coke bottle!

    Which reminds me of a line from a Sloan song:

    “And the joke is,
    When he awoke his
    Body was covered in Coke fizz…”

    Tex Lovera (30e140)

  30. Look how quickly DHS has lost all credibility in its press releases under the Obama administration.

    Not saying it had high credibility previously, but it is digging for new lows.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  31. A physicist friend of mine points out that Pepto-Bismol is full of bismuth sunsalicylate. Bismuth on the periodic table is near lead and makes a good x-ray screen.

    This was clearly a dry run and any claims to the contrary are horse manure.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. I would like to think that the only reason they aren’t going to face charges in the U.S. is because we have been assured that they will be prosecuted in The Netherlands.

    Aw, who am I kidding? They probably screamed “Islamophobia” and the cowardly bureaucrats decided to throw in the towel.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  33. The trigger is the cell phone and the bottle is the liquid explosives. They just left out the firing pin on this test run. This was a test run to determine whether or not they could contact the cell phone in the air from the ground and learn where the dead zones and live zones are. They should have traced all calls coming into that phone, but they probably didn’t do any sort of investigation.

    j curtis (64f417)

  34. Well, if the did or didn’t, that would be something that you would want to keep internal.

    AD - RtR/OS! (30a4ff)

  35. Pepto-Bismol contains Bismuth, which like most heavy metals, is radiopaque on medical X-ray equipment.

    I wonder if there’s any connection to the recent Canadian terrorist arrests:

    Police arrested Hiva Alizadeh and Misbahuddin Ahmed in Ottawa on Wednesday and Khurram Syed Sher in London, Ontario on Thursday. Alizadeh, 30, and Ahmed, 26, appeared in court Thursday. All three are Canadian…

    Police allege the men had plans and schematics to make improvised explosive devices. Police seized 50 electronic circuit boards which they say could be used as remote-control triggers for bombs. They said one of the men was trained overseas to make explosive booby traps, but did not specify which one…

    Police said Sher is a doctor in St. Thomas, Ontario, and that Ahmed is an X-ray technician in Ottawa.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  36. Certainly, Brother Bradley, our suspicions run in the same direction – that there are ops being run against the x-ray screening technologies.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  37. A Muslim had pepto!!! Oh NOES!!!

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  38. Where they muslims, libarbarian? How do you know?

    Aside from one joke about Islamophobia, no one seems to be citing that. If that’s your sarcastic characterization of the thread, maybe you should read the thread again.

    And bottle of liquid attacked to cellphone in a separate plane? Um, yeah, that’s freaking suspicious. You might as well be Gorelick.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  39. libarbarian, you have reading comprehension problems?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  40. Thank you for the idiot perspective, libabarian.

    JD (f89659)

  41. No, SPQR, I comprehended your nonsense quite well.

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  42. Yes, Dustin, it is “suspicious”. Being “suspicious” is different from being “clearly” a so-called ‘dry-run’.

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  43. And bottle of liquid attacked to cellphone in a separate plane?

    You think a pepto-bottle is shaped well to be an effective x-ray shield?

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  44. I cannot even begin to count the number of times that I forgot about taping my throw away cell phone to an empty bottle of Pepto and left it in my checked luggage.

    JD (f89659)

  45. Comment by libarbarian — 9/1/2010 @ 2:15 pm

    It depends on what you put inside a nearly filled one.

    AD - RtR/OS! (30a4ff)

  46. AD – this one is just building up to its grand final – RACIST or ISLAMOPHOBE !!!

    JD (c15e00)

  47. I vote BOTH!

    AD - RtR/OS! (30a4ff)

  48. Well, I’ve got to get off of here and go pack.
    Lime Rock and The Glen are beckoning, and the flight is at O-dark-thirty.
    Have fun everyone, see you all in ten days or so.

    AD - RtR/OS! (30a4ff)

  49. “And bottle of liquid attacked to cellphone in a separate plane?

    You think a pepto-bottle is shaped well to be an effective x-ray shield?

    Comment by libarbarian ”

    I’m sorry, it’s weird how you quote me saying X, and then incredulously freak about claim Y. It’s not an honest way to argue.

    No, I don’t think pepto bismol bottles are well shaped to obscure something taped next to them.

    So what? the cell phone wouldn’t be the hidden explosive, you nut. It would be the detonator. The explosive would be hidden inside the bottle… where it would be covered and shielded, some guess. I suppose the only question is if this configuration would arouse suspicion.

    Did you really not understand this?

    Clearly a dry run. There is no other explanation for attaching a phone to a bottle of liquid and sending that in luggage on a different plane.

    Can you name an alternative that makes any sense? No one has been able to name any alternative that makes sense, aside from dry-run. You make your argument by misstating other people’s views, instead of just explaining the phone and bottle and the rest of it.

    What’s really funny is that, at the end of the day, we all know there are many terrorists trying to kill lots of people. You’re trying to undermine a notion that was proven on 9/11. Why?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  50. Have a blast, AD. But not until you land.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  51. libarbarian, I can think of at least three purposes related to testing security for putting a bottle of a bismuth based liquid in luggage taped to a piece of electronics independant of how “good” a shape the bottle is.

    You really are a clown.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. Comment by Dustin — 9/1/2010 @ 2:31 pm

    Funny, real ….ing funny.

    Oh, Hi Jack, how’s the wife?
    …that always goes over well at airports/etc.

    AD - RtR/OS! (30a4ff)

  53. There is no other explanation for attaching a phone to a bottle of liquid and sending that in luggage on a different plane.

    Except you don’t know that he “sent” it on a different plane at all. The fact is that he “missed” his connecting flight (onto which his bags were automatically put by the airline baggage handlers). You seem to be assuming that he missed it on purpose. It IS possible, but I’ve had the same thing happen to me when I really did miss a connecting flight so I know this also happens to people, every day, by chance. When did he actually disembark from the first plane? When did his connecting flight leave? These details matter in evaluating the likelihood it was intentional. I thought my hour long “layover” in LAX would be more than plenty but it took me 50 minutes to get off the plane, get my stuff, and get to the gate for my next flight. I know lots of people who have tried to minimize layovers, underestimated the time it takes to actually get off and go to the other terminal, and missed connecting flights as a result.

    Can you name an alternative that makes any sense?
    That depends on the exact nature of the ‘package’ that was taped together. We haven’t seen it. Was it just a bottle of pepto and a cellphone or were their other things … we don’t know. I would want to actually see how the package was put together before I decided it was “clearly” a decoy bomb.

    Also, This is exactly what liberals asked when I cautioned against rushiong to assume the cabbie-stabber was an anti-mosque activist. Turns out the attack didn’t “make sense” because people don’t always make sense to one another.

    I suppose the only question is if this configuration would arouse suspicion.

    I’m sorry, but I think this isn’t a question at all; of course it would. Even if you got lucky enough to slip by some inattentive screener, it’s not like getting such a package through one time indicates that you will reliably get through without suspicion a second time with another screener, let alone another airport. The odds of raising suspicion each time is independent of one another, so all your really doing is wasting your success. Conversely, if you do get caught, however, you just blew the element of surprise for that method of attack again and just made it even harder to do it again.

    Given that international flights do cross-check the luggage with the passenger list, it makes NO sense to deliberately “send” a PHONY bomb on an international flight you don’t intend to take. You are only making sure that your phony bomb will be discovered when they invariably check it after seeing that you’re not on the plane. It might make sense to send a REAL bomb like that, if you intend to blow it up between Chicago and DC, but it makes NO sense to send a fake bomb onto a plane in such a way that you guarantee it’s discovery on the international leg of the trip.

    You’re trying to undermine a notion that was proven on 9/11. Why?

    I’m not trying to do anything of the sort. I think it could have been a (very stupid attempt at a) ‘dry run’ given the limited data we have, but I don’t think it’s “clearly” one at all. The 9/11 “dry runs” involved no weapons or anything suspicious. They were actually “dry”. This one wasn’t and, as I pointed out, would have practically invited detection by sending the phony bomb onto an international flight unaccompanied by any passenger.

    You think it’s ridiculous that I don’t jump to this conclusion. I think it’s equally ridiculous that so many commenters here think that anyone who doubts this level of certainty must be some stereotypical liberal just chomping at the bit to start screaming “islamophobe”.

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  54. SPQR,

    And those 3 are?

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  55. libarbarian, instead of telling me that it’s possible that this wasn’t a dry run, why not explain why someone would attach a phone to a bottle on airplane luggage?

    That’s right: terrorism.

    It’s possible there was some other explanation… it’s possible aliens are trying to create a wormhole using ancient pepto bismol idols that really are their gods. A lot of stuff is possible.

    But this was clearly a dry run. We’re talking about quite a mix of facts.

    Maybe I’m just missing something, but I can’t figure out how all these facts come together on accident or with a different explanation.

    I shouldn’t read into what you’re saying as attempting to undermine the idea that terrorists are out to kill us. Sorry that I took that further. But that’s the effect I see in all these folks constantly pretending actual terror problems are ‘nothing to see here’.

    It’s pointless, if someone’s intent is to undermine the threat out there. Fact is, a lot of people are trying to blow up our planes, kill our people, etc.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  56. The last paragraph in #53 is hysterical coming from the person that wrote #37.

    JD (f89659)

  57. libarbarian, instead of telling me that it’s possible that this wasn’t a dry run, why not explain why someone would attach a phone to a bottle on airplane luggage?

    I don’t know.

    Can you explain why someone doing a “dry run” would deliberately send a suspicious fake bomb onto an international flight where it would be guaranteed to be flagged and inspected as soon as the airline discovered he was not actually on the plane?

    Why would a terrorist deliberately engineer the discovery of his test device?

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  58. I think this was an attempt to see if the device would be discovered. That’s a major facet of the dry run concept.

    They may be willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause of jihad.

    I appreciate your honesty as far as not being able to figure out what they were doing, if not a dry run. I agree, maybe… maybe there’s some explanation out there. But I can only resolve the facts one way. That’s enough for me to say this was clearly what it looks like.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  59. libarbarian likes answering questions not asked. How many times have you accidentally duck taped a cell phone to an empty bottle of Pepto Bismol and accidentally left it in your checked luggage? Once? 3 times?

    This was my favorite …

    I think it’s equally ridiculous that so many commenters here think that anyone who doubts this level of certainty must be some stereotypical liberal just chomping at the bit to start screaming “islamophobe”.

    After its initial comment that consisted of …

    A Muslim had pepto!!! Oh NOES!!!

    JD (8ded14)

  60. libarbarian, it is easy to explain. The purpose of the dry run is to explore the parameters of what gets by security.

    Now that you understand that concept, try thinking.

    SPQR (26be8b)


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