Friday, 11 August 2006

So much for ‘foiling’ the terrorists

Whilst I have dealt with the tourist information aspect (no hand baggage ban leaving Tenerife), resisting the temptation to opine, personally, I agree with this Australian blogger's opinion that this is all crazy hype.

The panic-ridden, reactionary and totally undignified measures imposed, banning hand luggage on flights must actually have terrorists the world over laughing heartily with joy. What they may have been thwarted from doing, our own politicians and security have achieved ...

We are now all bloody terrified!

Especially when they call it A plan 'to commit unimaginable mass murder'. Look, one murder is bad. It does not get "badder" if there are 50 or 5,000.

What is a fact, is that a natural disaster, like a tidal wave, could come up and wipe out hundreds of thousands in an instant.

The level of panic far exceeds the threat here.

Yet, the politicians talk, but won't really commit to adequate measures needed to protect the environment. The priorities just seem, suspiciously, all wrong.

Sadly, however, we can hardly expect better from many of the leaders the world has today. Their style is only reactionary. I see imposing sanctions upon or severing diplomatic ties with countries whose policies you don't like in an equally poor light. These are no better than kids deciding not to play with the girl or boy they don't like in the playground. These reactions are childish and, it is clear to me that for as far as humanity THINKS it has come, it has a LOT of collective growing up to do yet.

And exactly as pointed out from The Psychology of Terror the other day, "There is no way to overstate the abhorrence that we feel, but we must keep these events in perspective to save ourselves from the fear that they are meant to provoke."

To introduce measures that encourage mass panic, is, in my mind, irresponsible.

Some measure of security is, I accept reluctantly, necessary and, I am not at all opposed to searches. There's good that can come out of some restrictions, such as preventing drunk tourists from getting on a plane with bottles of booze.

But these current measures, however, go too far and the "terror" in it, is not actually the possibility of a bomb, it's the fact that you can NOT complain or refuse to comply, because the airline will simply refuse to carry you.

Nobody has suggested it yet, to my knowledge, but there seems to be enough "trigger happy" reaction going on that they could have you arrested under suspicion, if you objected. Is this freedom and democracy, or a dictatorship and a police state?

Those who buy the fear mongering will think it impolitic to ask, but, now what are people supposed to do if the airline manages to loose their hold luggage, as they are so fond of doing? Will airlines provide enough compensation, soon enough, now people can no longer carry on all the essentials they'll need.

There may be those who think, "Huh, she won't be saying that when it happens on her flight!" Too right, if it happens on a flight I am on, I won't say a thing, because, more likely as not, I'll be dead. And, given that the odds are probably still well on my side, I'll risk it, because right now, even that seems more free than living under a regime of fear!

The validity of the specific measures is also called into question, when you look at the details we currently have available. It strikes me as quite ridiculous, for example, that parents are being asked to taste their baby's milk, because I cannot see what good that would do, when you consider this piece of information:

US sources said that the main fear of British authorities was that terrorists planned to hide micro-bombs in false bottoms built into opaque energy drink bottles, enabling them to still drink the contents. (Emphasis added.)

Another thing which puzzles me is why it is now deemed necessary to ban all liquids from passengers. You might ask why this was not introduced in the the mid-1990s, when a plot to use explosives in bottles in attacks on aircraft was discovered.

And, I have to think, it was not done, because either or both the following conditions apply a) it was deemed sufficiently probable that such items would be successfully discovered by then current security and b) that the risks were not in danger of affecting a large enough number to justify the panic it would cause.

That, in turn, raises suspicion in my mind over the measures introduced yesterday.

They seem either ignorantly stupid, or suspiciously fear inducing for a purpose.

Meanwhile, I am sure that these same flights are still selling these same drinks on board (at a premium) and which are delivered to the plane in greater quantity than even a quite sizeable group of potential bombers could carry on board. Do we know if those are checked, if they are sealed?

What would stop a terrorist plotter from getting a job in fizzy drinks distribution to airport caterers, for example?

I'll bite my tongue on whether a threat really exists and just the response is wrong, or whether it's the UK-US warmongers willfully implanting our minds with yet more fear in an attempt to justify their illegal invasions again, but it is somewhat interesting that it comes right after Robert Pape said that "The only thing that has proven to end suicide attacks, in Lebanon and elsewhere, is withdrawal by the occupying force."

Of course, the poor man will be written off as crazy, at best, but at least one person sees the possibility, "that the raids could even have been timed to distract attention from criticisms of the government's stance on the Lebanon crisis."

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