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Hijacked! (Documentary)

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  • Hijacked! (Documentary)

    Did anyone else catch this documentary last night on PBS? Check your listings.

    I thought it was very well done, I learned new details about the PFLP hijackings of 3 (and one more attempted) jetliners in September 1970. It was especially interesting to me to see how many things have remained unchanged since then, and how a great many others have gotten worse, like the atrocities committed against innocents. In this event it was astonishing to pull civilians into the fray - now it seems commonplace to just kill the innocents - not a good trend.

    Most notable observations, especially in hindsight:

    - The story of the failed hijacking of the El Al flight is incredible. There were 4 hijackers. Two of them had sequential passport numbers and were barred from the flight. The other two attempted the hijacking, but the pilots in conjunction with El Al security managed to thwart it using a negative-G maneuver - killing one and seizing the other.

    - The same two hijackers that were barred from the El Al flight turned around and bought first class tickets on a Pan Am 747. They were flagged there too - and frisked by the captain himself, who failed to find the grenades and pistols strapped into their crotches. The flight took off and was hijacked. Some 30 years later, apparently nothing was learned from this total failure of security.

    - How close to collapse the Jordanian government came in the 70's, when the Eastern half of the country was under Palestinian (PLO) control.

    - Nixon had ordered airstrikes on PFLP targets about halfway through the crisis, but a General or Admiral (I forget his name) lied and said the weather was a problem - he later came clean and admitted the lie, claiming that he feared starting another Vietnam-like conflict in the Middle East.

    It's amazing to me to contemplate these events and how things could have turned out differently. At times it is discouraging to see how very little was learned from this single event - Israel's non-negotiation policy proved to be ineffective - global airline security did not benefit from El Al's successes - the PFLP and PLO failed to notice that pulling innocent civilians into the fray doesn't win any favors.

    I have a feeling we'll be looking back at Sept 11 in some of the same ways - Katrina, too. The saddest thing in this documentary was seeing and hearing Walter Cronkite hoping for peace in the Middle East, telling viewers that maybe these are positive steps towards future negotiations. Not the case, at all.



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