Accuracy in Media

Just days after the announcement in England that 24 people were detained in connection with a plot to blow up American-bound jets, a possibly related news story was breaking. A flight from London to Washington Dulles was being diverted to Boston because of the erratic behavior of one of its passengers, who turned out to be an angry leftist.

The woman, Catherine Mayo, 59, was from a city named Braintree in Vermont. She was carrying a screwdriver, certain liquids, and matches, and urinated on the floor of the plane. She spoke of putting something together that the flight crew interpreted as a bomb. She mumbled two words, an apparent reference to al Qaeda.

She was certainly troubled, as admitted by her lawyer. But she was political as well, possibly driven to her mental state by reading too many left-wing blogs. She has a background as a “peace activist” and claimed to be an anti-war journalist. In short, she appears to be the spawn of the anti-Bush political left. 

In an affidavit, one of the flight attendants described her as “biting her fingers, rubbing her feet and in a constant state of movement. She appeared very agitated.” According to the Washington Post, she wrote a note to a flight attendant that she had been in a country illegally, and that she had pictures of Pakistan. The Boston Globe reported that her ex-husband said they had been divorced for four years, and that she had had emotional problems. A passenger on the flight said that Mayo described herself as a reporter, returning from Pakistan, and trying to test airline security to see what she could sneak onto the plane.

She tested these procedures by pulling down her pants and urinating right on the floor of the plane. That is when the captain ordered her to be restrained, and they put her in plastic handcuffs. She has been charged with interfering with a flight crew, punishable by a possible $250,000 fine and 20 years in jail. According to the Post, “federal officials have said they have no indication that Mayo had any links to terrorism.”

Officially, that seems to be true. But both the Post and Times made reference to the fact that her son described her as a peace activist, and said she had traveled “often” to Pakistan since she established a pen pal there in 2001. According to an Associated Press article, she said that the pen pal was a boyfriend.

The New York Times said that she wrote columns for The Daily Times of Pakistan “criticizing the war and American policy.” The Times quoted a March 18, 2003, column: “I am an American child of the 1960’s. We defied the standards of our parents and declared that a war was unjust. And we were heard.” She added, “The folk songs of the 1960’s will never be written again because of President George Bush. He has hampered the liberties of my country in the name of Sept. 11.”

To his credit, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal.com dug deeper. He found five of her columns on that site, and came up with even more revealing quotes from one of her columns:

“I think the U.S. people have forgotten that President Bush didn’t win the election. He only got the job because they couldn’t decide what to do with pregnant chads in Florida. . . . When President Bush announced that God was telling him to bomb Iraq, my stomach turned over. He has no right to include God in his State of the Union address. It is forbidden by law; the church and state are completely separate in the United States. No politically elected person can use religion for his own ends.”

“The government of the US has changed in the last few months, and the citizens of the country haven’t noticed yet. It has become an oligarchy. Its leaders rule with a wave of their hands, laughing into their sleeves. They can create any truth they want, and then create proof that it is real. They are accountable to no one. . . .”

“The people of the U.S. don’t have power anymore. That’s what the Muslim world needs to understand. When President Bush says that he is God, the ordinary people go out and shovel the snow out of their driveways. There is nothing else they can do.”

Mayo certainly sounded lucid in her writing. And very left-wing. She had definite feelings about the war in Iraq. In July of 2003 she wrote that “Never in history has the U.S. made such a bad mistake.”

Demonstrating contempt for Bush, she said:

“America is the leader of the world. It is in charge of human rights around the world. It is in charge of the ecology of the globe so that a good life can be lived by future generations. It is in charge of the intellectual advances of the human race. Its goal is freedom for all, the freedom of each individual to live the way he chooses inside the universal moral standards of humankind.”

We don’t really know what drove Catherine Mayo to the brink of madness that day in August on the flight from London.  It could be another case of the malady Bush-Induced-Madness (BIM), which has previously infected the likes of George Soros, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan and The Dixie Chicks. The symptoms include walking around aimlessly, muttering unintelligibly, and now urinating on the floor.




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