Everyone Diverted on the "Peace Plane" 
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Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Thursday, 23 September 2004

United flight 919 was diverted to Bangor, Maine Wednesday because U.S. officials learned that Yusef Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) was on board. Apparently, Stevens is on a no-fly list but was somehow allowed to board the flight that was slated to go from London to Washington.

Cat Stevens, who racked up a number of hippie favorites including “Peace Train” and “Morning Has Broken”, changed his name to Yusef Islam nearly 25 years ago.

In an ABC News report Islam’s brother claims that the singer has no involvement in terrorism whatsoever. The content of his music certainly suggest that he is an unlikely candidate however he has been an outspoken opponent of the U.S. war in Iraq. Islam criticized the September 11, 2001 attacks along with the recent school attacks in Russia yet Islam was known for his support of Iran’s death sentence for writer Salman Rushdie who wrote “The Satanic Verses” in the 1980’s.

Islam was deported back to London on Wednesday.

Questions about security on planes still abound. If Islam was on a terrorist watch list for whatever reason – right or wrong – how the hell was he able to board a United flight? Three years after 9/11 and just months after terrorists took out two planes in Russia, airport security is still a pathetic joke that allows terrorists easy access to $50,000,000 missiles filled with fuel and loaded with innocent people. With over 300 billion dollars a year going to fight a war that is proving to be hard to win in Iraq, one wonders what a small fraction of those funds would do to improve airport security and international intelligence?

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