What I know:
•Police "disrupted" a plot to bomb as many as 10 airplanes, making arrests last night.
•21 people have now been arrested. Earlier this morning it was announced that 18 had been arrested. (This is worrisome, as my daughter pointed out on the way to the airport.) They are reported to be "young British Muslims".
•The arrests were made throughout London and the Thames Valley, specifically High Wycombe (where Daughter Number Two attends school) and Birmingham. "Items of interest" were found.
•The thinking is that the bombs were to be made of liquid, possibly liquids that would be combined to make an explosive. This technology has been around since WWII.
•Scotland Yard says the plot was designed to result in loss of life on an "unimaginable scale". (Do the math; 10 x 400+ = massive.)
•There is no indication that bombs were planned for today specifically, but after the arrests were made the decision was to heighten the alert, as the arrests themselves could have motivated others to activate their plans.
•The UK is under the highest threat level, "critical", having just implemented U.S.-style threat levels a week or so ago.
•All flights into Heathrow have been canceled, with those already in the air allowed to land.
•Absolutely no hand luggage is allowed on any flight leaving the U.K., except for essential travel documents, medicine, unboxed tissues and sanitary items, in a plastic bag. Baby milk will be allowed only if a parent is willing to taste it first. No liquids, including hair gels and contact solution.
•People flying out of Heathrow are asked to cancel all non-essential flights. (My daughter decided to go anyway.)
•Tony Blair is on vacation. No word if "My Pet Goat" is on his reading list.
Despite some false alarms in the past few weeks, this has the ring of the real thing. If so, thank the gods they were caught first. Hopefully.
Daughter Number One is on her way to Heathrow. I put her on a train instead of dealing with the reported massive queues on the M25. She's to call when she arrives, and again from a pay phone after she gets through security, if she does. I silently begged her not to go, but I know she is anxious to get back home.
As I reminded her on the way, there is still a much higher chance we'd be hit by a lorry on the way to the airport than anything will happen mid-air. Just yesterday we saw a deadly crash on the M25.
If I find out more I will update.
•American, United and Continental were targeted. (Shit.)
•BA (British Airways) has canceled all short haul flights leaving Heathrow. Good for them, working to cut carbon emissions. (Daughter is almost to the check-in desk, after having been moved to a shorter line. After that she won't be able to phone except from a pay phone.)
•This is interesting: Pakistani officials claim they alerted authorities to the plot. This group may be the same one responsible for last month's Mumbai train bombing. Remember the bombs that killed 200 and were almost ignored by the U.S. media?
•But this is just sheer frightening: Liquid bombs are easy to make. I could probably make one, and I didn't even take chemistry. I'm no chicken little, but I'm seriously considering if I ever want to get on a flight to the U.S.