I was listening to the late night/early-early morning January 16th/17th Episode of Coast to Coast AM where Ian Punnet interviewed Kurt Haskell. Have you ever heard of Kurt Haskell? As in the Kurt Haskell who was aboard Flight 253 on Christmas 2009 during an attempted terrorist attack? Me neither. And if his story is true, and I don’t see why Mr. Haskell would lie, it’s a shame we haven’t heard more about what Mr. Haskell saw both in Amsterdam and in the U.S.
On December 26th, Mr. Haskell, under the screen name “Pug,” left a comment up on the Michigan news site M.Live.com detailing his experiences as a passenger aboard Flight 253 in which a man U.S. law enforcement have identified as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab tried to light his underwear on fire to ignite a bomb in his pants. I guess the airline food didn’t do the trick (apologies).
Mr. Haskell’s account begins in the Amsterdam airport, where he and his wife (both partners in thier own Michigan lawfirm) were sitting on the floor in front of the check-in counter playing cards. On Mr. Haskell’s Coast to Coast AM interview he told Ian Punnet that it was very quiet. I also noted that in this interview Mr. Haskell mentioned his wife didn’t hear what he later wrote about on Mlive.com (maybe it was because they were playing cards and it had been a long day of travel):
An Indian man in a nicely dressed suit around age 50 approached the check in counter with the terrorist and said “This man needs to get on this flight and he has no passport.” The two of them were an odd pair as the terrorist is a short, black man that looked like he was very poor and looks around age 17(Although I think he is 23 he doesn’t look it). It did not cross my mind that they were terrorists, only that the two looked weird together. The ticket taker said “you can’t board without a passport”. The Indian man then replied, “He is from Sudan, we do this all the time”. I can only take from this to mean that it is difficult to get passports from Sudan and this was some sort of sympathy ploy. The ticket taker then said “You will have to talk to my manager”, and sent the two down a hallway. I never saw the Indian man again as he wasn’t on the flight. It was also weird that the terrorist never said a word in this exchange. Anyway, somehow, the terrorist still made it onto the plane. I am not sure if it was a bribe or just sympathy from the security manager.
If what Mr. Haskell is reporting is true, who was this handler, which some have labeled “The Sharp Dressed Man?” Was he an Al-Qaeda stooge who wanted to make sure Mutallab went through with his suicide mission?
The crackpot in me goes further into Mr. Haskell’s account and notes the silent behavior of Mutalleb. Was he in a trance? Was he hypnotised and the Sharp Dressed Man was needed to guide him onto the plane in his stupor? I only think of this in reaction to the conspiracy theory that some such as Robert Blair Kaiser put forth that Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian (not a Muslim as was widely rumored at the time), was hypnotized (whether by himself or through a handler) to assassinate Robert F. Kennedy.
In the Coast to Coast AM interview, Haskell also mentions that after the attempt to blow up the plane, Mutallab was pulled away from his seat and not fighting back. At the point, Haskell said he couldn’t tell if Mutallab was a terrorist or just some victim of a random fire on the plane, because Mutallab was so submissive to the people pulling him away. Is this description of Mutallab’s demeanor a sign of his being in a trance?
Or maybe Mutallab was just nervous about blowing up a plane full of innocent people. I’m just throwing my crackpot theory out there. Back to Haskell’s account.
On Coast to Coast AM, Haskell described the stressful scene of the fire and emergency landing. He also recounted that law enforcement agents entered the plane when it landed but only seemed concerned about the first class section. Ian Punnet specifically asked Haskell if any law enforcement agents went up and down the aisle, checking passports or anything else that resembled looking for accomplices. Haskell responded that nobody went through the plane checking passports. Punnet then asked Haskell if the passengers were checked against a flight manifest as they departed the plane. Haskell said this didn’t happen. Haskell also noted that folks were allowed to take their carry-on bags, which he suggested was tampering with the crime scene that was the plane.
Here’s what Haskell said occurred after everyone left the plane, again first from Mlive.com as a comment on their website:
1 hour after we left the plane, bomb sniffing dogs arrived. Up to this point, all of the passengers on Flight 253 stood in a small area in an evacuated luggage claim area of an airport terminal. During this time period, all of the passengers had their carry on bags with them. When the bomb sniffing dogs arrived, 1 dog found something in a carry on bag of a 30 ish Indian man. This is not the so called “Sharp Dressed” man. I will refer to this man as “The man in orange”. The man in orange, who stood some 20ft away from me the entire time until he was taken away, was immediately taken away to be searched and interrogated in a nearby room. At this time he was not handcuffed. When he emerged from the room, he was then handcuffed and taken away. At this time an FBI agent came up to the rest of the passengers and said the following (approximate quote) “You all are being moved to another area because this area is not safe. I am sure many of you saw what just happened (Referring to the man in orange) and are smart enough to read between the lines and figure it out.”
So, we have this Sharp Dressed Man who Haskell saw accompany a suspected terrorist to a crime scene AND another man who was detained after the bomb sniffing dogs smelled something in his bag. Who were these guys? Other members of Al Qaeda?
According to Customs there was another man besides Mutallab arrested that day, but Ron Smith of U.S. Customs claims this other man was from another plane this second arrest was “for it was a totally different incident.” If this arrest is the same one Haskell witnessed how could the individual have gotten into the secure area where the passengers of Flight 253 were detained?
Mr. Haskell says that others claim to have witnessed what he saw but would rather remain anonymous for the time being. Mr Haskell also claims that when he was questioned by the FBI on Christmas they seemed interested in his account of the “Sharp Dressed Man.” But has the FBI investigated the Sharp Dressed Man?
I can only assume that in a terrorist investigation some details would be left out of the public domain to preserve the effectiveness of the investigation, but if what Mr. Haskell saw is true then it sounds like these two mystery men would be in the public domain, especially the “Man in Orange” who was arrested. If Mr. Haskell is telling a lie–which one could assume from the lack of fellow witnesses coming forward–then why would he do that? It doesn’t seem like he’s making any cash off this story. If you go to his Law Firm’s website there’s no mention of his claims, if this were a giant ad for his business. And it seems like an awful big pain in his rear to keep rehashing this story with all it details intact.
Mr. Haskell conculded his interview on Coast to Coast AM, early Sunday morning, by suggesting the Dutch authorities release the videotape of Mutallab checking in and boarding the plane. Sounds like a good plan to me.