Flying in America while half Jewish and half Arab

shoshana-hebshi-atlantic.jpgThe short news items on Sunday about an airliner being escorted into Detroit by Air Force fighters on the anniversary of 9/11 — "false alarm" — didn't do justice to what actually happened. An American woman and two "Indian-appearing men" stuck in a row together apparently were reported as suspicious. None of the "suspects" knew each other, Shoshanna Hebshi thinks, nor did they speak to each other until the cops were coming toward the plane. She had never gotten up from her seat during the flight. The two men had gone to the bathroom once one after another, as people in the same row do.

The woman — a Midwest blogger/mother who's half Arab and half Jewish — was tweeting with friends and her husband about her plane being taken to the edge of the airport, then boarded by a SWAT-type team, when the cops stopped at her row. They cuffed her and the men and took them away for hours of questioning, waiting and a strip search. Here's her account. In the end, she writes, an FBI agent apologized and said there were 50 similar incidents around America that day. She quotes him:

"It’s 9/11 and people are seeing ghosts. They are seeing things that aren’t there.”

Jim Fallows at The Atlantic Wire is suitably disturbed by the stupidity of it all:

Assuming that Ms. Hebshi's account is correct, this is an important instance for recognizing what security-state, permanent-fear thinking has done to us.

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