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Passenger Says Anti-Arab Racism, Not ‘Fake Bomb Threat’ Led to Madrid-Berlin Flight's Cancellation

Photo of an Iberia Express airplane. Source: Flickr.

An Iberia Express airplane. Photo by Eric Salard via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

On 10 January 2017, Iberia Express flight IBS 3674 from Madrid to Berlin was cancelled. The official reason was a “supposed bomb threat,” according to ENAIRE, Spain's air navigation manager. All the passengers were evacuated and a “suspect” was interrogated by security forces, which also searched the whole plane looking for explosives.

Iberia Express flight IBS 3674, flying from Madrid/Barajas to Berlin, was canceled due to a suspected bomb threat.

The threat was unfounded, ENAIRE later tweeted, and several Spanish media outlets ran news briefs by the wire agencies EFE and Europa Press that recounted the official version of the “false bomb threat.” Spanish News Today, an English-language online newspaper, tells a similar tale.

Those articles, however, are scant on details of what exactly happened. A fellow passenger who was on IBS 3674 told this Global Voices author what they saw, which differs from the “false bomb threat” explanation offered by authorities. According to the eyewitness, who prefers to stay anonymous, a German-speaking passenger interrupted the cabin crew when they were giving the safety presentation and cried out that he wanted to speak with the pilot because there was a “terrorist on board.”

The alleged “terrorist on board” was a Lebanese man who was using two telephones at the same time and sending text messages in Arabic. The Lebanese passenger, who was flying from Casablanca to Berlin, was upset about what was happening, the eyewitness said, and he showed what he carried in his handbag: a laptop and a reflex camera. However, given the insistence of the scared German-speaking passenger, the plane did not take off. And despite complaints by some of the other passengers, a “security procedure” had already started and could not be stopped. The Civil Guard, Spain's paramilitary national police force, entered the plane and started searching for a bomb, the eyewitness said. They also questioned the “suspect” in the cabin and later took him away.

Some of the passengers demanded that the German-speaking passenger be removed from the plane or the company could be sued for discriminatory conduct, the eyewitness said. A Moroccan woman stood up and said she should also be detained, since she was wearing a veil. According to the eyewitness, the accuser was very restless and was eventually taken away by the Civil Guard. The rest of the passengers, according to the eyewitness, were not scared by the alleged threat, but angry with what had happened.

Later on, the commander announced that the flight was suspended because there were “problems with a conflictive passenger,” the eyewitness said, and the German-speaking accuser and the Lebanese passenger were released by the Civil Guard with no formal charges. The rest of the passengers were offered a flight the following morning, and they spent the night in several hotels near the airport.

This is not the first time a flight has been cancelled due to terrorism paranoia. In April 2016, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, an Iraqi student, was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in the US when another passenger complained that he was having a phone conversation in Arabic. In fact, Southwest Airlines has been accused numerous times of singling out Middle Eastern and Muslim passengers.

And in May 2016, Guido Menzi, an Italian economics professor, was questioned by authorities when a passenger alerted them about some suspicious symbols he was writing on a paper — turns out he was solving an equation.

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  • Heidi Katt

    First, you can’t blame people for their concerns with all the crap going on like hello. Second, being angry at a passenger for voicing a concern and possibly saving the other people’s lives, seriously this is what people get bothered by. Honestly he should have walked off the plane and not felt bad if it happened to blow up, if they are going to be that ungrateful fuck em. What ever happened to if you see something say something. You libtards are ridiculous. Don’t you realize you are part of the terrorist network, you are their useful idiots. You are helping the terrorists each time you dismiss a legitimate concern. It’s a fact that most terrorists turn out to be muslim, it’s reality and maybe you should be looking at the latter half of the quoran that instructs the little sheeple to engage in terrorist activity. The german guy may have PTSD from an actual terrorist or abuse experience that he lived through oh but having compassion for him is out of the question. Keep defending criminals libtards……if you condone it then you are guilty of it, just remember that. Won’t be long before you are treated like a threat also and I am a classical liberal….you on the other hand you are fascist libtards, you don’t get to call yourselves liberals or feminists. Those terms are reserved for people who honor the true meanings. Don’t ever call yourself a liberal or a feminist if you are going to be supporting misogynistic raping death cult ideologies.

    • Richard_Pietrasz

      Wars against predominantly Muslim countries waged by predominantly Christian and Jewish nations have killed millions, the vast majority civilians. Numerically speaking, the Christians are the worst when it comes to terrorism. The fact some of them wore uniforms with national symbols does not change the fact they were doing terrorist acts.

      You are either very ignorant on this subject or you are deliberately lying.

      • Heidi Katt

        Considering the “wars” from the supposed “christians” during the crusade days were a response to islamic jihad slaughterings, the muslims started that. The supposed “christians” you are possibly talking about might be the catholics and anyone who does their research knows that catholics aren’t really christians. In fact most supposed christians aren’t christians because they don’t follow christ’s teachings they follow the church’s. Being christian is more of a state of being than it is a religion and just so everyone is clear the knights templars don’t worship god they worship baphomet and in the old days the catholic church had a huge hissy fit about it. True christianity was squashed out in it’s early days by the catholics who wanted to seek control. Both Judiasm and islam have supremacist ideologies and both are incredibly abusive and misogynistic towards women. Both talk about raping children and essentially treating women like slaves under property law. Religious people aren’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed since the majority don’t actually learn about their religion so they don’t even know what the hell they be talkin about and they usually don’t exercise any independent critical thinking. If one was to do an actual personality profile of their precious god they would find out that he behaves much like a wife beating psychopath would and a maniacal dictator. They would also understand that the devil has aspirations to deceive people and to rebel against god and to make himself worshiped as though he were god and the devil is also a misogynist who abuses women. He is destructive and anyone with some common sense could see that either it was some really abusive men who decided to create a religion to rule over nations of dumb sheeple or it was the devil who wrote those books pedaling himself as god when he clearly was not. A loving god does not rape women and children, a loving god does not play favorites and cause division, a loving god does cause his people to falter, a loving god does not desensitize his people into a nation of psychopaths with blood sacrifices, cruelty, public beatings and killings. An omnipotent god is not petty nor jealous, nor would a healthy loving god try to remove one’s sense of identity or tell his people to not think with the brain he gave them. He certainly wouldn’t say that it is permissable to rape women and children and he wouldn’t say to beat your wife when she doesn’t obey as though she were a slave. God gave all of us free will and no human has the right to take away what god has given. We are all one, we are all connected and these pathetic religions of abuse and tyranny were creations not of god but of flawed humans seeking control over others. If god is love then there can be no rape, no beatings, no slavery and no nazi supremacist thinking because those are the opposite of love. So when you see a so called christian not behaving like christ that person is not a christian they are hypocrites. When you see a jew or a muslim not acting better than everyone else, not trying to kill those not like them, not raping and beating their wife and kids and any nonbelievers, not killing apostates or not trying to tell everyone how to think, feel and behave they are being hypocrites. Which says quite a bit about what each religion teaches. The apostates in those religions are typically the good people and they are likely listening to the christ within. Point is we will never solve our problems with the same old thinking that got us here. Christianity was hijacked almost as soon as it started. All religions have been tampered with by men seeking to control others usually through oppression and subjugation.

        • Richard_Pietrasz

          The last 40 years or so are a lot more relevant than the Crusades. Afghanistan Iraq Somalia Pakistan Syria Palestine Yemen Libya. The list is quite large and the body count likely over 5 million.

          • Heidi Katt

            I agree with you, that the last 40 years are more relevant but it wasn’t christians necessarily doing the war mongering. It’s the elites (NWO) the shadow government. These people are largely jewish bankers (Rothchilds, Soros, etc) it’s also the bush and clinton family which if you look at history the Bush’s have nazi origins and so do the Clinton’s when looking at what Billy boy erected at the Denver Airport. Look at the pizzagate (pedophelia, human sacrifice, satanism) going on with them. They own the media and people are stupid enough to buy it when they say nothing to see here folks going back to your divide and conquer strategies of race bating and social justice warrior bullshit we fed you. The other group that got on board with the NWO nazis are the islamacists because their goal is the same….one world religion to control the people, one world government (world domination), slavery of the average joe so the elites can feel special and superior. The NWO nazi’s are not christians, they have a satanic cult around the black sun. If you do enough research judiasm (zionism), islam and satanism are all essentially very similar in their beliefs and practices. The oppression of women, the glorification of pedophilia, rape, slavery, genocide (kill the non believers), murder, sacrifice (including animals), and psychological and physical abuse. The NWO openly admits that these ideologies are satanic and not of God. You humans have been deceived because part of these religions doctrines is to call it a sin to question or to think critically about your religion. This is exactly what an abuser would do, when you look at them through the lens of domestic violence and how an abuser operates it is easy to spot the deceivers among you especially since allah is the greatest of deceivers and satan is the prince of lies and has exalted himself to be worshiped as God. All religions have been infiltrated and corrupted….all of them.

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  • Heidi Katt

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