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Radio Newscast 8-18-72: Bicyclist Hijacks Airplane (!), GOP Middle East Plank, Egypt-Soviet Tension

Excerpt from radio newscast of August 18, 1972, WOR, New York City. Anti-Vietnam War man on bicycle hijacks an airplane in Reno, Nevada. (Airport security was different back then from what it is now!) See below for more details on the hijacking. Republican Party at 1972 convention adopts a plank on Middle East in support of Israel. Says Democratic plan to cut military spending is dangerous. Tensions reported between Egypt and the Soviet Union. Time Magazine reported the story of the bicycle-hijacking: Skyjacking had never looked easier. Last week, a few hours after daybreak, Frank Markoe Sibley Jr., 43, of Stateline, Nev., pulled a ski mask over his face, slung an M-l rifle across the handlebars of his bicycle, and pedaled through a gap in the fence surrounding the Reno Municipal Airport—the same gap used by another hijacker three months ago. (Reno has applied for federal funds for a new fence, but has yet to receive them.) Ditching his bike, he slipped the rifle under his green field jacket, bulled his way into the line of passengers boarding a United Air Lines Boeing 727 bound for San Francisco, and took command of the aircraft. Sibley's demands were as unusual as his methods. Besides $2,000,000 in $20 and $50 bills and $8,000 worth of gold bars—the highest ransom ever demanded in the U.S.—he insisted upon items ranging from three Thompson submachine guns and 300 feet of nylon rope to ammonia inhalers, smelling salts, pep pills and sleeping pills. Once the passengers were off the plane, it flew to Vancouver, B.C. Told that that much U.S. currency was not on hand in Vancouver, Sibley ordered the plane to Seattle. En route, he handed the crew a four-page statement explaining his motives, and ordered the captain to have it read over radio stations in Vancouver and Seattle. "We are a well-disciplined, paramilitary organization fed up with Nixon's broken promises and deceit, which is clearly expressed by his secret buildup of forces in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia," began Sibley's statement. He went on to say that United Air Lines was a "major contributor to the war effort," and he threatened to destroy not only the plane he had hijacked but the entire United fleet. "It is those who support and encourage this war who should be prosecuted, not us," the hijacker wrote. By sunset, 40 FBI agents had coordinated an attack on the plane, which was parked at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Two agents, posing as relief pilots, boarded through the side door from a forklift truck, while others stormed up the rear gangway. Sibley, wounded in the shoulder and leg, was taken to the hospital. When it was announced that no one else had been injured in the shootout, the crowd of observers broke into applause. Story at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,906266,00.html#ixzz1DZP1tVIb
Length: 01:30

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