Like Climategate, there is another story the national mainstream media has either missed or largely ignored, and that is the story of what really happened on November 17th on AirTran's Flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston.
Much confusion remains about exactly what transpired that afternoon on a plane preparing for takeoff at Hartsfield International Airport. By every account, the undisputed facts are that a large group of men disturbed procedures and upset the flight crew to the point of causing a delay. At least one passenger allegedly refused to comply with repeated requests from flight attendants to discontinue his use of a cell phone (in compliance with FAA regulations) while the plane was taxiing on the runway, causing the pilot to turn the plane around. The entire group was asked to deplane, and TSA officials questioned them before allowing them back on the flight. The original flight crew was replaced. Twelve passengers not involved with the group of belligerent Middle Eastern men deplaned and requested another flight.
According to AirTran's whitewashed version of the story reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution,
A flight attendant had apparently asked a male passenger twice to put away a cellphone or camera, but the man had not done so. The flight attendant then took the device from the man. At the gate, the passenger -- who didn't speak English -- and a companion were asked to leave the plane, which they did without incident. When it was determined the problem was caused by a language barrier, AirTran and Transportation Security Administration officials allowed the man, and 12 others traveling with him, to reboard, and the flight left for Houston a little more than two hours later. Later, officials said the entire incident was the result of a miscommunication.
That sounds harmless enough, doesn't it? To borrow from the late Strother Martin as he famously said in the movie Cool Hand Luke, "What we have here is [simply] a failure to communicate" -- right? Well...not so fast, my friend.
The confusion begins with a widely circulated (and now partially discredited) e-mail written by a man named Tedd Petruna, who has since admitted that his e-mail was not intended for public consumption and that some details were embellished -- particularly those of his alleged heroic actions reminiscent to some degree of those on Flight 93 to San Francisco on September 11, 2001. According to Mr. Petruna's account, eleven Muslim men acted in concert to disrupt the flight. They did far more than refuse two requests to stop using a cell phone; in fact, they were using cell phones to call each other on the plane, distracting two stewardesses, and exhibiting other bizarre, threatening, and defiant behavior that terrified the passengers and flight crew.
Mr. Petruna's full account of the incident rightfully warranted more than a little skepticism. The website snopes.com, most useful for fact-checking urban legends, was somewhat inconclusive about the veracity of the disputed information in the case, warranting further investigation. Articles at World Net Daily and a few other online sources are beginning to piece together more information about what really happened.
Very interesting, read the whole thing...http://bit.ly/UuJXvx