News & Politics

Air travellers face further restrictions after terror attempt in Detroit


In the wake of what the Obama administration is calling a terror attempt on a Northwest Airlines jet yesterday, the Transportation Safety Administration has announced, but not released, new restrictions on airplane passengers. Not released to us, anyway. Air Canada apparently got a copy.

According to the Air Canada website, the new rules “limit on-board activities by customers and crew in U.S. airspace that may adversely impact on-board service. Among other things, during the final hour of flight customers must remain seated, will not be allowed to access carry-on baggage, or have personal belongings or other items on their laps.”

Friday’s incident involved Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, who reportedly attempted to set off an explosive hidden in his underwear as his plane approached Detroit International Airport, but was subdued by fellow passengers.

Abdulmutallab, a native of Nigeria, is the son of an affluent former government minister and banking official who recently warned the US government of his son’s “extreme religious views.” His mother is reportedly from Yemen, where Politico is reporting that he was he provided with the bomb by al Qaeda contacts.

Politico, parenthetically, broaches the news of the suspect’s well-off family as a potential blow to the idea that extreme poverty is a breeding ground for terrorism, at least insofar as that idea somehow managed to survive the middle-class comforts enjoyed by the bin Laden clan. At the very least, it would seem to weaken the link between extreme poverty and terrorism requiring multiple international plane tickets.

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