Sam Vaknin, Ph.D., in the Global Politician on September 26, 2005, wrote, "the September atrocities [of 9/11] provoked a wave of copycats and renewed awareness of such risks."
Mentioning the January 2002-Tampa and April 2002-Milan incidents I wrote about in my "Planes into Buildings" chapter of The Copycat Effect (2004), Vaknin also cited another one: "At the beginning of May 2002, an Indian air force jet crashed into a bank building in northwestern India. Eight died in the ensuing fire."
It all began with the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers.
World Trade Center Complex; image of replica by InFocusTech (10% of sales to the American Red Cross).
Could a copycat event occur at the world's other twin towers in the future?
Petronas Towers are located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Image of replica by InFocusTech.
Were you aware there have been other possible and actual small-planes-into-buildings copycat events in the last decade?
On Monday, September 12, 2005, a father in a "too large for the detectors" wheelchair dodged a checkpoint and smuggled grenades onto a plane. The father and son hijackers surrendered five hours after commandeering an Aires airliner around midday on that Monday after it departed from the southern city of Florencia on a flight headed to Colombia's capital, Bogota. All passengers and crew were eventually freed unharmed before the hijackers, 42-year-old Porfirio Ramirez and his 22-year-old son, Linsen Ramirez, gave up and were arrested.
As to Porfirio Ramirez, one realizes that he had his own motives and reasons, but the copycat factor comes into play regarding the whole theme of my posting - he picked the day after a September 11th. I don't consider hijackers heroes, no matter their reasons or how many movies are made of them.
On the morning of Tuesday, September 13, 2005, Adane Bayu Arage, an Israeli youth attempted to get a disassembled gun and 22 bullets, hidden inside a tool, onto a plane. He allegedly planned to hijack a passenger plane, Ethiopian Airlines Flight Number 424, in the capital of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The youth was born in Ethiopia and later immigrated to Israel. The Israeli Foreign Ministry questioned whether the suspect was Israeli.
On Saturday, September 17, 2005, a man hijacked a plane in "New Zealand’s commercial capital and biggest city," in direct copycat of 9/11, which occurred in America's commerical, financial, and media "capital," New York City. The N.Z. hijacker said he was going to fly it into Auckland's tallest building, the Sky Tower (shown directly above). Instead, he crashed the plane into the sea on that Saturday night and was rescued and taken to a hospital. Not coincidentally, September 17th is New Zealand's General Election Day. The leaders of the parties were awaiting the election results in Auckland, not in N.Z.'s capital city, Wellington.
On January 5, 2002, Charles Bishara Bishop, 15, crashed a plane into Tampa's Bank of America Building (above and at top), in a copycat of the 9/11 attacks. Bishop died by suicide during that event. It can be done. A sixteen-year-old boy was arrested by FBI agents for plotting to hijack a plane as part of his own bizarre suicide bid, as reported on January 25, 2008. FBI spokesman George Bolds said the teenager was removed Tuesday night (January 22, 2008) from Southwest Airlines Flight 284 by authorities at Nashville International Airport and found with "suspicious" items (handcuffs, rope and duct tape in his bag). The juvenile was alone and suicidal. He remains unidentified.
The airliner reportedly was suppose to be crashed into the "Hannah Montana" concert performing on Friday, January 25, 2008, in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the Lafayette Cajundome (above).
On February 17, 2010, in Palo Alto, California, a twin-engine Cessna 310 crashed in a residential neighborhood (above), killing three employees of electric-car maker Tesla Motors (logo, below) who were aboard the plane. The accident caused a major power outage in Palo Alto, including at the office of Facebook, but no one was injured on the ground.
The pilot was Doug Bourn, 56, a senior electrical engineer who had worked for the electric carmaker for five years and who mentored others. The other two passengers have been identified as Andrew Ingram, 31, of Palo Alto, an electrical engineer; and Brian M. Finn, 42, of East Palo Alto; a senior manager of interactive electronics. Finn reportedly lived with his one-year-old daughter just two blocks from where the plane went down in East Palo Alto. Chief Executive Elon Musk noted: “Tesla is a small, tightly-knit company, and this is a tragic day for us.”
On February 18, 2010, Joseph Andrew Stack, flying a Piper Cherokee PA-28 (registration N2889D) plane, crashed into Building I of the Echelon office complex (above) in Austin, Texas, United States. An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) field office is located in the seven-story office building along with other state and federal government agencies. Stack had posted a manifesto dated February 18, 2010, to his business website. The pilot was killed in the incident along with Vernon Hunter, a 67-year-old Revenue Office Manager for the IRS. Thirteen people were reported as injured, two of them critically. Debris from the crash reportedly struck a Lexus sedan being driven on the southbound access road of U.S. Route 183 in front of the building and shattering the windshield. Another driver on the southbound access road of U.S. Route 183 had his windows and sunroof shattered during the impact and had debris fall inside his car yet escaped uninjured.
What should you look out for on the 10th anniversary of 9/11? Will there be more copycats?
The FBI and Homeland Security have issued a nationwide warning about al-Qaida threats to small airplanes, just days before the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Authorities say there is no specific or credible terrorist threat for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But they have stepped up security across America as a precaution.
According to a five-page law enforcement bulletin issued on September 2, 2011, as recently as early this year, al-Qaida was considering ways to attack airplanes.
The alert, issued ahead of the summer's last busy travel weekend, said terrorists have considered renting private planes and loading them with explosives.
"Al-Qaida and its affiliates have maintained an interest in obtaining aviation training, particularly on small aircraft, and in recruiting Western individuals for training in Europe or the United States, although we do not have current, credible information or intelligence of an imminent attack being planned," according to the bulletin obtained by The Associated Press.
The bulletin also says al-Qaida would like to use sympathetic Westerners to get flight training, then get them to become flight instructors.
Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, described the bulletin as routine.
"We shared this information with our partners to highlight the need for continued awareness and vigilance," he said.
Aviation security is much tighter than it was a decade ago, but al-Qaida remains keenly interested in launching attacks on airplanes, believing large attacks with high body counts are more likely to grab headlines.
Threats to small airplanes are nothing new. After the 2001 attacks, the government grounded thousands of crop dusters amid fears the planes could be used in an attack.
In 2002, U.S. officials said they uncovered an al-Qaida plot to fly a small plane into a U.S. warship in the Gulf. And in 2003, U.S. officials uncovered an al-Qaida plot to crash an explosives-laden small aircraft into the American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan.
And, of course, there were all the very real incidents above, as well.