Big Plots; Little Plots

Rich Galen
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Posted: Aug 11, 2006 9:25 AM

  • British police and MI-5 "thwarted" [a word which has not been used in conversation for the past 150 years until today] a plot to blow up between six and ten US airliners while they were crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Heathrow to JFK or Dulles or LAX.

  • The Home Secretary held a press conference in London along with the deputy top cop of the London Metropolitan Police.

  • About an hour later, the Secretary of Homeland Security in Washington had one and was joined by the Attorney General and the head of the FBI.

  • Helicopters hovered over the flats where the terrorists had lived, met, plotted and, presumably, been caught.

  • As the morning wore on great (and well deserved) kudos were heaped on the police, intelligence, and security services in the UK, the US and Pakistan for banding together to stop this horrific act.

  • Meanwhile … In Marietta, Ohio another plot was broken up.

  • You know about Marietta, Ohio 45750. It is the place where I went to college; met and married the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices; witnessed the birth of The Lad; and served on the City Council.

  • This, more or less, is what happened, as reported by Brad Bauer in the Marietta Times:

  • Two guys walked into the Radio Shack in Marietta, Ohio and bought a number of pre-paid cell phones - maybe a dozen. The two guys refused to give the Radio Shack salesman their names when they wanted to purchase time on two of the phones, which the Radio Shack salesman thought was strange.

  • So, he called the Sheriff's office and told them about these two guys and the cell phones and the name thing.

  • The Sheriff sent a car out looking for the two guys, found it, and got in behind it.

  • At some point, the two guys with all the phones but no names made a turn without having first put on their turn signal.

  • Whoop! Whoop! Traffic stop.

  • The Sheriff's deputy gets up to the car, sees about a dozen cell phones and what turned out to be $11,000 in cash. And smells Marijuana.

  • Cell Phones. Turn signal violation. Marijuana. Ohhh, kaaaayyy, boys. Why'nt cha just step out of the car, slowly, and let me see your hands.

  • The two guys, it turns out have names which happen to be Osama Sabhi Abulhassan and Ali Houssaiky (no kin to the Houssaiky or Abulhassan families from the neighboring town of Coal Run, Ohio, I'm told.)

  • It comes to pass that they lied to the deputy about what they were doing with all the phones and what with the name thing and the turn signal thing and the Marijuana thing they were arrested on a charge of "obstructing official business."

  • After the bust, the Deputies searched the car and found a map showing every Wal-Mart from Michigan to South Carolina, as well as airline passenger lists and airport security information, and so they called the Feds.

  • Abulhassan and Houssaiky admitted to buying over 600 phones in the area over the past few weeks and, further, explained how they took the phones apart and sent the chips to some other guy in Dearborn, Michigan who paid them a five dollar profit on each phone.

  • Then they explained how "they send these [phones] overseas and they use the chips against the troops detonating bombs."

  • Old Osama and Ali must'a slept through the training session on not spilling your guts about international terrorism after you've been busted on a traffic violation.

  • The Feds showed up and the charge of obstructing official business was dropped in favor of a charge of money laundering on behalf of Hezbollah which, as a former reporter and City Councilman, I don't believe is a listed offense in the Marietta, Ohio Code of Ordinances.

  • The two are now being held on $200,000 bond each in the Marietta lockup.

  • That's the way this war on terrorism is fought. CIA, FBI, MI-5 on the one hand. A Radio Shack salesman who smelled something funny and the Sheriff's department of a small county in Ohio on the other.

  • Both worked.

  • It was a good day for the good guys.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: A link to the original Marietta Times piece and the follow up by the Associated Press; a vexing Mullfoto of the day ALSO having to do with cell phones; and a Catchy Caption which makes fun of a French guy.