He Tried to Blow Up the Plane with a Condom Bomb & Why Getting Hysterical About Airport Security is Wrong
Flickr photo byrofl indy
Sheer hysteria or the illusion of hysteria dominates the conversation in the media right now.
The public is being subject to fear that those in power hope will trickle-down and influence Americans as they continue to grapple with the thought that a bomber carried explosives in his underwear on to an airplane.
Americans continue to be fed moving images of a political freak show starring Republicans who if you didn’t know better would lead you to think they were drawing from a secret admiration of Vlad the Impaler as they suggest what should be done to the underwear bomber, chide Obama for what measures he has taken similar to Bush that weren’t as draconian as the party wishes they would have been, and fan the flames of fear that the terrorist industrial-complex wish to keep alive so they can sell more body scanners to airports around the nation and the world.
Americans continue to be fed less than satisfying details on the future as Democrats and Obama push an expansion of detection procedures and terror watch lists as a pragmatic way forward or a compromise between the insanity, which will put greenbacks in the pockets of security industry lobbyists who constantly go in and out of the revolving door of Congress, and the unpleasant sanity of wholly rejecting the homeland security complex (a complex which must bring joy and delight to members of al Qaeda cells all over the world).
The tip of the iceberg is that Americans in airports are now becoming engulfed in situations that make them feel like they are in an Indian marketplace after a school shooting. Except, it doesn’t take them long to figure out that there really wasn’t any shooting at all. Nobody died. The reason why everything has been brought to a standstill really is unexplainable.
Americans do not stop to think of how security corporations are pleased that the political climate of hysteria is being replenished.
But, the climate isn’t just hysterical. It’s satirical. It’s a farce of epic proportions.
Pick out the stories that you think have and have not happened since the underwear bomber failed to bring down America with his condom bomb of mass destruction:
-Joan Rivers deemed a danger to national security, a man detained on a plane for unruly behavior or spending too much time in the bathroom
-A German family’s vacation canceled after the father in the family joked about having explosives in his underwear
-An airport in Newark shut down after a man wandered the wrong way through a checkpoint
-A man late for his flight opts to take all of his clothes off and go through security nude to hopefully ensure that he won’t be subject to a gratuitous search that will lead him to miss his flight or be stalled by a Nigerian or Muslim in line in front of him
-And, a California airport experiences a scare as five Gatorade bottles carrying honey are discovered and the bag the contents are being carried in test positive for TNT and two TSA agents open one of the bottles and become nauseated from the fumes and are both treated and released from a local hospital
Joan Rivers was put on a terror watch list (perhaps, because the NSA wiretapped a prankster claiming future attacks from al Qaeda will be carried out by individuals wearing latex Joan Rivers masks).
A man was detained for spending too much time in the bathroom (apparently, al Qaeda has made it so that man no longer has the right to relieve his self of chronic diarrhea and read Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader during the time he spends relieving himself as he is flying on the airplane).
A German family’s vacation was canceled when the father joked about having explosives in his underwear. (Had he been alone he might have looked the security agent in the eye and said, "Is that a PETN explosive in my pants or am I just happy to see you?")
A Newark airport was shut down after a man wandered through a checkpoint the wrong way. (If you see Uncle Al, please leave me a message. He has a really bad case of dementia and probably didn’t know how to react to all the security. We miss him and hope we are reunited with him soon.)
And a Californian airport in Bakersfield did experience a scare as TSA agents mobilized to investigate a man, Francisco Ramirez, a Milwaukee gardener, who was returning home with honey in five Gatorade bottles that were carried in a bag that tested positive for TNT. Two TSA agents did become nauseated from the "fumes" coming from the honey and go to the hospital (so it’s a good thing Winnie al-Pooh won’t be hijacking a plane anytime soon).
A sheriff involved actually had the nerve to say, "Why in this day and age would someone take a chance carrying honey in Gatorade bottles? … That itself is an alarm. It’s hard to understand."
Sir, what’s hard to understand is why you can’t let a hard-working man just take his damn honey back home with him without having his balls busted over some bitter-smelling but probably delicious honey. What’s hard to understand is why in the name of fighting terror he would have to leave his honey in Bakersfield and give up the opportunity to make a good batch of honey biscuits when he got back to Milwaukee.
Who needs MTV entertainment shows like Jackass or Punk’d or VH1 reality shows like Kim and the Kardashians when you can pull up a chair and watch the freak show unfold without cable television?
Help! I’m an American, Get Me Out of Here!
Unfortunately, such an assessment that compares what is occurring to a show on MTV, VH1, or some other network dismisses the fact that this hysteria has been deceptively whipped up again in the same way that hysteria was whipped up deceptively to support the ignition of a war in Iraq, in the same way that hysteria was whipped up deceptively to support the looting of America’s treasury by bailouts to American banksters, and in the same way that hysteria was whipped up deceptively to support the passage of a health care containing an individual mandate poison pill that will make consumers slaves to private insurance companies.>
-End of INTERMISSION-
Americans are being sold a problem that is creating a solution which is cementing a change in society that will give Americans the delusion that something has been done to benefit the average American but which is really being executed on behalf of corporations and other interests who have been profiting enormously from the "war on terror."
But, this problem isn’t even really a problem at all. Procedures and systems aren’t failing anymore than they did after they were instituted following 9/11.
The terror watch lists were working as good as they could and as good as they will ever work for they will always feature individuals who may be dead or who may have already attacked the United States, heads of state like Bolivian President Evo Morales, common names like Robert Johnson and John Williams that lead to interrogations of people who share these common names every time they go to the airport, etc. And, the list will forever be a product of intelligence similar to the intelligence used to determine there were WMDs in Iraq will inflate the list to hundreds of thousands of names.
Detection procedures were working just fine. The "problem" is there is no limit to the failures airport security may experience. Software failures, hardware or equipment malfunctions, human errors, and inabilities to detect terrorist acts of sheer ingenuity, creativity, and imagination are all inevitable.
And, a list of countries similar to Obama’s list of countries were tried once before as a way of preventing terrorism. Citizens from countries on the list faced an increased amount of security procedures happened before with Bush’s NSEERS program, a program that targeted individuals based on their ethnic origin, race, nationality, religion, or gender. [See the following report from the American-Arabe Anti-Discrimination Committee for more details.]
How many attacks were prevented thanks to the NSEERS program? According to a report on the Rachel Maddow Show on January 5, 2010, none.
"It Takes Your Enemy and Your Friend, Working Together to Hurt You to the Heart"
The countries on Obama’s list (if you haven’t figure out) all have one thing in common. Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen all are countries that are most likely to have populations with unfavorable viewpoints toward past American military interventions.
One can ask why these countries would even have "terrorists" in the first place who were looking to attack America. We could ask what forces would be motivating "terrorists" to act out against the U.S. But, that negates clues that the official story of the now infamous underwear bomber doesn’t really add up.
Read Tom Burghardt’s well-researched article, "The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab," and tell me you believe Americans have gotten the full story on the underwear bomber.
Look at this Metro Detroit News report which covers a Flight 253 passenger who saw a "sharp-dressed man" aid terror suspect Abdulmutallab as he was trying to get on board the plane.
We Americans may never know what really happened with the botched Christmas bombing that has sent the ruling elite into a frenzy that may or may not be a charade (some of these politicians I believe are paranoid about terrorism and should use their government health care to get psychiatric help immediately).
But, we can seek out the truth and keep digging through information on the web. We can keep the conversation about what we actually know when talking to friends and family and keep the focus away from why we should be afraid and whether we will actually prevent terror or not with these new measures.
We can take this moment to maturely consider how and why government is choosing to simply apply the same reaction to intelligence failures and homeland security problems that they have applied in the past to address the issue of terrorism.
We can objectively address what is transforming airport security and vehemently oppose it without letting the stigma of terrorism get in the way of common sense. And, we can take this as an opportunity to truly call out the "war on terror" for what it is.
When you are creating a system of security that may ultimately employbody scanning technology that would require a society to rewrite its child porn laws, I think it’s time to consider whether one is willing to trade certain freedoms and liberties for a tiny amount of safety or not.
I mean, who wants to create a job that will have pedophiles lining up to get a job with airport security because they can now view body scans of children, experience multiple erections throughout the course of their work day, and at the same time earn a minimum wage?
It’s time to take seriously the words of congress people like Ron Paul who have said time and time again that the U.S. is "doing exactly what bin Laden planned."
It’s time to say to ourselves when columnists like Glenn Greenwald, Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedges, Andy Worthington, and James Ridgeway provide research and detail on how the "war on terror" is brutalizing innocent civilians, turning a population of Americans into passive infantile people content with being in a state of civic adolescence, and enriching those connected with corporations tied to America’s wheelings and dealings in the bipartisan and pragmatic "war on terror"—
It’s time to say we will no longer go along with the perversely insane and fascistic course this nation is taking with national security.