"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”" ~~~~Samuel P. Huntington

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The TSA's Panic Searches & PETN: Quite Simply There Are More Ways To Blow Things Up Than You Could Ever Possibly Prevent

H/t: Professor Juan Cole, Informed Comment, for this post

Just in case anyone was wondering what the TSA's panic mode search procedures are all about...
Quite simply there are more ways to blow things up than you could ever possibly prevent.

Your government doesn't want you to know that.

Further, there only seem to be two solutions to the dilemma of non-state actor terrorism.

A: Learn to live in a totalitarian police state.

B: Do something (anything!) to ameliorate the reasons WHY someone from that region of (or anyplace in) the world would want to blow up airliners with civilians on board or commit other terror acts.

I fear most Americans will opt-in to the do-nothing method... "A", than sacrifice an inch, a second, of affluent lifestyle...

...a lifestyle BTW that could not possibly last very long under a totalitarian regime and an economy necessary to prevent terror attacks.

Your government doesn't want you to be aware of that last little detail either.

Something ELSE their friends in the Homeland-Security-Industrial Complex don't want you to be aware of...

The scanner companies have DRAMATICALLY increased their spending on convincing your elected representatives that THEIR vision of a police state is a safer state:
"As the national debate over airport screening practices intensifies, little attention has been paid to the increasing lobbying power the manufacturers of full-body scanning machines have in Washington.

USA Today reports L3 Communications has spent $4.3 million on lobbying, up from $2.1 million in 2005. L3 has sold nearly $40 million worth of machines to the federal government. Lobbyists for L3 have included Linda Daschle, the wife of former US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Meanwhile, Rapiscan Systems has spent more than $270,000 on lobbying so far this year, compared with $80,000 five years earlier. The company made headlines last year when it hired former US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has become a prominent proponent of body scanners. The CEO of Rapiscan's parent company, Deepak Chopra, recently traveled with President Obama on his three-day trip to India."

(And, no, not that Deepak Chopra. The New Age guru would determine your terrorist potential by evaluating your aura, no machines or strip-searches necessary.) [Source]

Let me state this ANOTHER way..

From a comment I made to the professor on his post:
JC: Al-Qaeda is about using small numbers of men and low-tech techniques to paralyze a whole civilization...
Auntie Imp: Sort of like the CIA, right?



AFAICT, they're doing a GREAT job of supplying our Foreign Policy rationale for Central Asia, "where the Gas Pipes are", and the Middle East, "Where the Oil Wells are" and perhaps should STILL be on the CIA's payroll for doing that yeoman's work if they were ever actually relieved of duty.

(Removing tongue from cheek now)

TSA Checkpoint
Looking for PETN, Scanning Grandma at the Airport, and the Future of Air Travel

Posted on November 22, 2010 by Juan

In all the furor about the new TSA scanners and pat-downs at airports, what surprises me is that there is very little discussion of what exactly the inspectors are now looking for and why they are shifting tactics.

The old scanners and procedures designed to discover metal (guns, knives, bombs with timers or detonators) are helpless before a relatively low-tech alternative kind of explosive that is favored by al-Qaeda and similar groups.

The inspectors are looking for forms of PETN, or pentaerythritol tetranitrate, which is from the same family of explosives as nitroglycerin and which is used to make plastic explosives such as Semtex.

Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, used PETN, as did Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the crotch bomber, last year this time over Detroit. PETN was in the HP cartridges sent by a Yemeni terrorist in cargo planes recently. And, a suicide bomber put some up his anus and used it in an attempt to assassinate the son of the Saudi minister of the interior (which does counter-terrorism). Yes, he was the first ass bomber, and he missed his target, though he no longer cares about that, what with being dead and all.

The problem with PETN is that it cannot be detected by sniffing dogs or by ordinary scanners. But if you had a pouch of it on your person, the new scanners could see the pouch, and likewise a thorough pat-down would lead to its discovery.

The TSA guys are trying to look more systematically for PETN. That is why they have adopted these more intrusive methods. And, there has been chatter among the terrorist groups abroad about launching attacks on American airliners with this relatively undetectable explosive.

None of us likes the result, which is a significant invasion of privacy.

But if al-Qaeda and its sympathizers could manage to blow up only a few airliners with PETN, they could have a significant negative effect on the economy and could very possibly drive some American airlines into bankruptcy. Al-Qaeda is about using small numbers of men and low-tech techniques to paralyze a whole civilization, which was the point of the September 11 attacks.

Since the Bush administration hyped the ‘war on terror’ trope half to death, many in the American public no longer want to hear about this danger. But it is part of my business in life to deliver the horrific news that the threat is real.

The question is really what level of risk Americans are willing to live with. On the one hand, studies suggest that the crotch bomber could not really have brought down the airliner over Detroit last year, even if he had been able to detonate his payload. And, 500 million Europeans decline to take off their shoes when they travel by air, but there haven’t been any successful shoe bombings over there, nevertheless.

On the other hand... [In full...]
(The comments are well worth reading as well)


Panic Attacks said...

I think the question is really what level of risk Americans are willing to live with. So there is no doubt about that. Therefore this is very helpful blog.

Razer said...

Yer lucky "Panic Attack". Normally I don't publish posts from sites that are created to offer things for sale. Thanks for the compliment.

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