On Wednesday, rural airspace was reopened to small planes that operate under visual flight rules. The small private planes … many of which are used by large farms to survey farmland or do aerial spraying … typically have little contact with air traffic controllers. The planes are, however, still prohibited from flying over major cities.
While looking out for the safety of US airspace after the terrorist attack in New York, the US has also learned the prime suspect Osama bin Laden has ties to agriculture … and marketing his products to Europe and the U.S.
Court testimony in a trial of a previous terrorist attack implicating bin Laden, indicates the middle east terrorist's money trail leads to the "Blessed Fruits" farming business … which raised crops including peanuts, fruit, sunflower, and wheat. The products were run through Cyprus to avoid international sanctions against Sudan and allow for a more profitable sale to the west.
Meanwhile, the US is still giving millions of dollars in food aid to developing countries including Afghanistan … the country allowing residence to bin Laden.
Last December, just prior to his inauguration, president-elect Bush told a group of commodity industry officials he would not use food as a weapon in his foreign policy. But there is concern that food-aid programs could be employed as one of the subtle tools of retaliatory measures against last Tuesday's terrorist attack in New York City.