Monday, January 4, 2010

Terrorism - How Not to Deal With It

Terrorism. An innocuous word to some, but it makes US government officials lose their collective minds. In an orgy of CYA (cover your ass) clusterf*cks, they manage to turn even the simplest blunders into terrorist activities.
Let's first reflect on the actual DANGERS of terrorism. As I wrote about a few months ago, there are more deaths, on average, EVERY MONTH on US roads, than in every terrorist attack targeting at least one US Citizen from 1994-2005 combined, and that over the same period, mother nature - in the form of tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, snow/ice and even plain old heat – killed twice as many over the same time period as the dreaded T-word. also breaks down air-based terrorist incidents by miles travelled, time travelled, and number of passengers involved. Their results?

one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.
one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 miles flown
one terrorist incident per 27,221,877 hours airborne.

the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade
You can read their source data and maths on their article.
So, on Christmas Day, we have 'an attempted bomb plot' (which is included in the figures above) that ended up fizzling. This is 8 years after the complete overhaul of air travel 'security' to prevent it from happening. After it happened, there were more TSA CYA's, including a security directive which went out to over 10,000 people worldwide. When it was made public by two different bloggers, the TSA came down on them. For making public a government document. 'Strangely', after that was made public, both the directive, and the subpoenas served on the bloggers have gone away. That indicates that there was fear of the public reaction – fear of the exposure of their tactics and methods.
Then there was the lovely incident yesterday, at Newark airport. Someone got from the public side to the secure side, and caused the entire airport to go into lock down. The 'best' part of all? Hours later they still don't know who. It is nothing more than a clear case of TSA incompetence, and lack of common sense.
What makes it even more of a farce was the White House's weekly address, published a day earlier.

Let's never forget what has always carried us through times of trial, including those attacks eight Septembers ago.

Instead of giving in to fear and cynicism, let's renew that timeless American spirit of resolve and confidence and optimism.
Fear is the entire reason the TSA exists; and it is what has been carrying the US through the last 8 years. It's been the rational for a lot of legislation over the past 8 years, and it's the bread-and-butter of both this Administration and the last one. The US Federal code even defines (18 U.S.C. §2331) as using violent acts to, amongst other things -intimidate or coerce a populace. Brandishing weapons, detaining people - both can be considered violent acts. By the circular reasoning, that the US Government loves, it gets even better. The THREAT of a terrorist act is in fact a terrorist act. If you say “unless xyz happens, there will be an attack”, that is a terrorist threat.
Now we're down to how the Department of Homeland Security was created, and that's a whole other story. I leave you with something I saw on twitter, 're-tweeted' by my good friend, and political blodder, Aaron Landry, from the KARE news station in the twin cities.

RT @solace: RT @kare11: NWA flight diverted because of Christmas ornament really? this isn't an Onion headline?
No, it's just the state of "Anti-terrorist" paranoia in a climate of security theatre, and that's pretty sad.

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