U.S. Exports Terrorism Fears

To New Zealand:

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has warned the New Zealand Government about the latest terrorist threat known as "body bombers."

[...]

"Do we have specific credible evidence of a [body bomb] threat today? I would not say that we do, however, the importance is that we all lean forward."

Why the headline of this article is "NZ warned over 'body bombers,'" and not "Napolitano admits 'no credible evidence' of body bomber threat" is beyond me.

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 6:17 AM • 55 Comments

Comments

Clive RobinsonMay 15, 2012 6:27 AM

@ Bruce,

I know it's a serious issue, but....

... however, the importance is that we all lean forward.

When I read that I had. to laugh, it just reminded me so much about the "PR consiquences" of what another "Ass Bomb" that have been discused so often.

As was said in the film Evolution "theres always time for lubricant".

Ricky BobbyMay 15, 2012 6:35 AM

Another threat just in!
"Ninjas are being trained by terrorists, because their hands are lethal weapons!"

But no credible evidence at this time exists, so we must shackle all passengers just in case it is true.

Samuel LeslieMay 15, 2012 6:42 AM

My reading of this is that the threat does not exist, however, we shall announce the possibility of such a threat in case it is not being actively worked on, and subsequently implement targetted measures to protect against it in the event it does become a genuine threat outside of our imagination.

Or in summary, we are back where we started, sans large sums of money.

Move along.

OrinMay 15, 2012 7:06 AM

Given that NZ gave up it's air force because there wasn't a credible threat, I'm reasonably sure they won't bother with this tripe.

Steve JonesMay 15, 2012 7:12 AM

@Ricky Bobby
I heard a rumour that the TSA wanted to ban anyone who'd watched the Karate Kid, or similar movies. Obviously, anyone who even thought about Bruce Lee would immediately appear on the no fly list.

On a serious note, I suspect that someone with good martial arts training could easily have done the 9/11 thing, without bothering with their knives.

Also, even now they could easily overpower an air marshall and take their weapon(s) off them. How many passengers would they have to execute before the pilot opened the door? All of them, presumably. For the terrorist, that is a good exchange, especially as they consider their death to be martyrdom.

There is no defence against someone who wants to die and believes they will be rewarded with a place in heaven. TSA is powerless and just burns billions of dollars for nothing.

Wesley ParishMay 15, 2012 7:16 AM

Gee, and after I went to all the trouble of sending it up!

It wasn't their fault, as he himself had pointed out to an over-inquisitive reporter in a phone interview just a few minutes ago — it was hardly their fault that terrorists had developed ever more effective means of camouflaging themselves, and so the inspections had to become ever more intrusive. One did not expect women to be so fanatical that they would replace their saline and silicone inserts with plastic explosives. But someone had written a short story about such a thing happening, and it had been made into a movie, so they were doing their duty in protecting the public by...damn, he was going to have to put that reporter on the no-fly list, wasn't he! Obnoxious little puppy, he should've been drowned at birth!

http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/10063/20111005-0029/www.antisf.com.au/the-stories/a-public-touch-up.html

Some people just don't know when to stop providing us satirists with material, so they?

Smoking HotMay 15, 2012 7:38 AM

What an utter load of pants. lf all these terrorists existed, the actual TSA security and all the queuing departure passengers would've been targeted. Then you'd get wholesale resignations from the TSA because the last thing they want is to come across actual terrorists.

You'll have noticed that there is very little spoken, if any, about the Moscow Airport bomb. The reason being is that it is virtually impossible to stop a suicide bomber who targets an airport.

epic failMay 15, 2012 7:52 AM

Newark liberty airport

security manager Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole

Read it on google news

Dave SillMay 15, 2012 8:04 AM

"Why the headline of this article is "NZ warned over 'body bombers,'" and not "Napolitano admits 'no credible evidence' of body bomber threat" is beyond me."

Fear sells papers.

cMay 15, 2012 8:08 AM

@bruce: Why the headline of this article is "NZ warned over 'body bombers,'" and not "Napolitano admits 'no credible evidence' of body bomber threat" is beyond me.

Surely not, Bruce. If I can figure it out, you can too.

MarkMay 15, 2012 8:09 AM

Unfortunately we do pander to the Americans whenever they ask anything. Just look at Kim Dotcom as an example... or our copyright law.

There's only been an terrorist attack on NZ soils, and that was in 1981 I believe. One reporter died.

But I know John Key wouldn't let facts like that get in the way of a chance to have a Free Trade Agreement...

No OneMay 15, 2012 8:35 AM

New plan: Spread rumors that the terrorists are infiltrating the TSA. Maybe they'll start looking inward and be so focused on screening the screeners that we can be left alone.

Snarki, child of LokiMay 15, 2012 8:43 AM

@epic fail: "Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole..."

how very apropos!

How hard would it be for AQ to infiltrate the masses of low-paid/high-turnover TSA screeners, and worm their way higher in the organization?

Guess we'll find out.

Captain ObviousMay 15, 2012 9:06 AM

I recall this being tried before, to little effect.

The whole point of a hero diving on a grenade or bomb is to save everyone around them. We meat sacks are great at absorbing lots of energy, so any attack using this strategy will likely just be a mess.

EricMay 15, 2012 9:07 AM

Bruce, its not beyond you. Its done to drum up fear and drama to sell papers.

boogMay 15, 2012 9:25 AM

@Steve Jones: "Also, even now they could easily overpower an air marshall and take their weapon(s) off them. How many passengers would they have to execute before the pilot opened the door? All of them, presumably."

Good luck. It seems unlikely that an air marshal would carry enough ammunition to dispense all passengers, and more likely that after the first execution the terrorist would be clobbered and beaten to death by the remaining passengers (fighting skills and martyrdom prospects notwithstanding).

MuffinMay 15, 2012 9:31 AM

Why the headline of this article is "NZ warned over 'body bombers,'" and not "Napolitano admits 'no credible evidence' of body bomber threat" is beyond me.

Or how about "Napolitano pulls shit out of ass, finds it's not a bomb"...

The real reason is that body scanners are produced by US companies, and the USA wants to sell them. And in order for others to buy, it first has to convince them there's a need for them.

Steve JonesMay 15, 2012 9:54 AM

@boog: Depends on a lot of factors, but human psychology being what it is, if you cause enough terror, people are easily controlled. Some nationalities are more gung ho than others, of course, so the terrorists would have to choose a more malleable people. For example, grab a baby and rip it's throat out, then grab another one. That'd likely cause enough "shock and awe" to take control. Just thinking out loud really, ready for my next movie plot.
BTW, I'm assuming the air marshals have very limited ammo, to stop it falling into the wrong hands.

ArminMay 15, 2012 10:15 AM

@boog: You've obviously never been to the cinema. As everyone knows all the terrorist needs to do is to shoot into a window and shatter it and everyone will be sucked out in a maelstroem of air being sucked out of the plane......

boogMay 15, 2012 12:53 PM

@Steve Jones: True; if the terrorist resembles a wound-up psycho who's finally snapped (complete with messy hair, twitching eye, and foaming mouth) even the bravest passengers might keep their distance while baby is in hand (being serious: of course, if they know they're all about to die, they'll probably attack him anyway- but no, that doesn't make for a very interesting movie).

@Armin: Not me, I strictly obey the fasten-seatbelt light. ;)

But assuming physics works as depicted in Hollywood (which we already know it doesn't), what's the point of using a gun? Wouldn't it be more effective to just casually open the emergency exit? Granted it's not as "cool-looking", but it would get the job done.

JeremyMay 15, 2012 12:54 PM

It obviously isn't "beyond" Bruce. He is just reiterating how annoying it is that the media uses fear for personal gain.

FigureitoutMay 15, 2012 12:59 PM

Napolitano:

"Do we have specific credible evidence of a [body bomb] threat today? I would not say that we do, however, the importance is that we all lean forward."

First, as has been said a billion times, but reiteration is fun and sometimes necessary for younger people and newtimers; substitute the [body bomb] for [Boogie Man] for a funny game of Mad Libs.

Second, hmmm, "Lean forward"...sounds a little like the MSNBC slogan. Look it up yourself, connect the dots and implications of state-controlled news.

Third, as commenter "Steven Jones" concluded, "There is no defense for someone who wants to die"--and I've tried to point out previously here and elsewhere that when you have extreme economic imbalance like we are seeing today and in turn people who have little to nothing to live for...they may gain a desire to die and subject their misery on as many people as possible...

Bruce, why the headline is what it is, is not beyond you. You know damn well, as do many others. Stories are crafted by "Public Relations Firms", who plant stories that are "suitable" to their clients. Being the (typically correct) cynic all the time gets old and too depressing for most. They can't handle the truth.

DavidMay 15, 2012 1:02 PM

"The importance is that we all lean forward."

... while you all bend over.

Dirk PraetMay 15, 2012 2:14 PM

Has anybody been doing some recent research on money ties between Napolitano and one Michael Chertoff ?

rlmrdlMay 15, 2012 3:37 PM

On the other hand, we are spending millions at the moment because our agricultural border security has been downgraded (to pay for the non-existent human threat stuff?) and 10 days ago we found one, yes ONE, Male Queensland fruit fly in Auckland.

It is now costing us a fortune to find out whether it was the only one or whether there are more, especially females.

If they turn out to have immigrated here it could cost us billions.

While our "leaders" have been distracted by the idiotic and pressurised by the paranoid, not to mention pushed towards buying useless but expensive US screening tech to stop detonating underwear, the actual threats are not being prevented.

Pretty much the same everywhere. The reason we never see the Black swans is because we are too busy cowering from our fantasies.

rlmrdlMay 15, 2012 3:38 PM

BTW bruce. When I tried to post my comment, I got a warning in Chrome that your Site Security Certificate is not trusted.

Might be worth checking.

Rhys GibsonMay 15, 2012 3:49 PM

It's OK. Don't worry. We pretty much ignored her. All we care about is faster ways through US customs & immigration lines.

SimonMay 15, 2012 4:12 PM

@Orin Don't be so sure. Our PM, John Key, is a major arse kisser when it come to the U.S, in the vain hope he'll negotiate a free trade deal.
He's the most corrupt leader we've ever had. He changed the labour laws when the studio threatened to film the Hobbit elsewhere, and he's attempting to change gambling laws to allow more pokie machines (one armed bandits) in our biggest casino in return for the casino building a multi-million dollar conference centre.

pBMay 15, 2012 5:49 PM

The reason for the headline, is most likely because that is how the Dept. of Homeland security will have written the press release for the meeting.

The NZ news media do little more than publish press releases as received. I'd wager Napolitano would have had a media briefing and press kit all ready for the junket hungry NZ press corps.

KeithMay 15, 2012 5:54 PM

New Zealand has no physical security for domestic air travel. None.
It's simple human intel around the airport. There's no air/land side in the airports' domestic terminals, anyone can walk all the way to the gate, then the agent just checks that they have a ticket.

There's no threat, so no need for ridiculous security.

(Int'l flights, on the other hand, have to have int'l required security, so that's different)

Clive RobinsonMay 15, 2012 6:04 PM

@ David Traver Adolphus,

I've been leaning forward all day and I feel much safer. My back is starting to hurt, though. How long do I have to do this?

Have you not had the "sense of intrusion" you would normaly only receive from qualified medical personel?

No? then things must have backed up at the TSA check point, or they've run out of black rubber gloves, or they are still cleaning up after somebody ahead of you in the que that dropped their guts...

This has "PR consiquences" (in the medical sense) and as I said at the top,

As was said in the film Evolution "there's always time for lubricant"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq1FNIGap-0

SteveNZMay 15, 2012 8:47 PM

@Keith, while that's still true for some small domestic flights (say 18 seater planes) or smaller airports, at Wellington or Auckland, every domestic jet I've been on in the last 10 years has had x-rays of carry-on bags, and metal detectors prior to boarding.

NobodySpecialMay 15, 2012 9:11 PM

@orin "Given that NZ gave up it's air force because there wasn't a credible threat,"

They should learn from Canada - after deciding that their fleet of F18s were no use against terrorists they decided to spend $10Bn updating them to a new fleet of $20Bn stealth fighters at a cost of a mere $30Bn (*)

*-the government also just got caught keeping 2 sets of books, an official "public" price and a real price of 2x as much, in fact the final bill now looks to be 3-4x as much as they admit.

pfoggMay 15, 2012 10:54 PM

Look at the bright side: as long as there's no real threat, the countermeasures will be 100% effective.

I seem to recall a related joke about polar bear repellant but I can't remember the details....

MarkMay 16, 2012 3:00 AM

@Keith

NZ does have security for domestic flights out of both Auckland and Christchurch. I can't remember if they're there in Dunedin or Wellington.

Flying from Invercargill, my hometown, to anywhere, there isn't anyone scanning anything thankfully.

The international flights have the same stupid rules as elsewhere.

RobertTMay 16, 2012 3:39 AM

I'm honestly pleased for the US, they started this whole Home land security FUD, so it stands to reason that they should be the ones to profit from this investment and develop the Export markets.

I for one would hate to be blown up by an "a55 bomb" I mean how would you ever explain that to the grand children, even Grandma got run over by a raindeer.... would be preferable.

My only reservation is that its a little bit cruel to be selling this concept in NZ, everyone schoolboy knows that wrt bombs NZ needs to be better protected from foreign government agencies than from terrorists. So please leave the Kiwi's out of this and sell your FUD on the other-side of the Tasman sea.

sMay 16, 2012 5:07 AM

I don't think there is a strong likelihood of terrorism in NZ. The French Government blew up a Greenpeace boat in 1985, but that's about it.

Short of racial profiling against the French, I don't think there's any point wasting any more money on countermeasures.

NZ generally has nothing much worth invading for, and is too small for anyone to really care. Which is fine by me.

Z. ConstantineMay 16, 2012 5:09 AM

@boog: Wouldn't it be more effective to just casually open the emergency exit?

You can't do that casually - the doors open inward and the pressure differential makes opening the doors a task for heavy equipment.

Clive RobinsonMay 16, 2012 8:40 AM

@ s,

I don't think there is a strong likelihood of terrorism in NZ.

WHILST i would agree the incidence is low they have had a few home grown "terror" issues.

One that was foiled (I can't find an Internet refrence) was if I recall coorrectly a 14year old "republican" boy who decided to assassinate the (UK) Queen on a visit. His weapon of choice was a 0.22 rifle and he had gone to a lot of trouble working out angles and ranges so that he had "zeroed" the weapon correctly. If he would have actuall made the attempt or would have succeeded had he tried is a bit of a mute point after the amount of work he had put in...

There have been one or two other internal "terror" events for political reasons in the past either supposed or real (NZ playing Rugby in SA and vice versa during apartheid kicked up a few issues).

@ RobertT,

My only reservation is that its a little bit cruel to be selling this concept in NZ, everyone schoolboy knows that wrt bombs NZ needs to be bette protected from foreign government agencies than from terrorists

I think the Kiwi's need more protection from their own "hair brained" politico's than the "foreign government agencies" that the political idiots invite in...

boogMay 16, 2012 9:39 AM

@Z. Constantine: "...the doors open inward..."

Are you sure about that? I'll buy that the exit over the wing might open inward, but it seems a quick image search for "airplane door" reveals many counterexamples. (although your comment about the pressure differential may still be valid)

That said, I meant for my comment to be presented entirely within the context of Hollywood and terrorism-fear physics and airplane design; if they want doors to open outward, then doors open outward.

NobodySpecialMay 16, 2012 10:57 AM

@boog - some models of Airbus don't have plug doors as such - but the hinges and locks do use pressure to passively lock them so you still can't open them in flight.

terrorlivesMay 16, 2012 4:24 PM

Ask a religious Muslim to participate in a tree lighting ceremony; ask about marriage laws in Muslim countries, ask about liberal democracy spreading to the Muslim countries replacing authoritarian autocratic dictatorships who enforce their power through religious police. Sounds a little like the Roman Catholic Europe we liberated ourselves from a few hundred years.
Except now a new version has emerged to exploit our pluralism and multiculturalism, accepted without examination or thorough analysis. The battle rages and yet the minds are as naive and closed as ever in their sheltered little homes beyond the glossy computer screens. Maybe $6 gallon gas will clue-out the sarcasm.

Unix RoninMay 16, 2012 5:44 PM

I don't have any credible evidence, but I have it on excellent authority that the world is going to be eaten by a giant mutant space-goat.

Clive RobinsonMay 16, 2012 7:12 PM

@ Unix Ronin,

I don't have any credible evidence, but I have it on excellent authority that the world is going to be eaten by a giant mutant space-goat

Man, it's not been good for this world, after all I've got it on excellent authority it started by being sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkalceasure.

[For those of a younger generation or three who don't get it CDon't Panic" just go and read the works of the late Douglas Adams, I'm sure you will appreciate them as they give you a different way of looking on the world.]

WealMay 16, 2012 9:16 PM

@ terrorlives:

Why would a tree lighting ceremony be the test? What about marriage laws, and the rest of your meaningless questions? I can flip the coin and use your logic against any other religion. Find a better argument!

JonMay 20, 2012 11:11 PM

@ Clive Robinson "I think the Kiwi's need more protection from their own "hair brained" politico's than the "foreign government agencies" that the political idiots invite in..."

The DGSE were not invited.

JonMay 20, 2012 11:19 PM

@ Clive Robinson

"There have been one or two other internal "terror" events for political reasons in the past either supposed or real (NZ playing Rugby in SA and vice versa during apartheid kicked up a few issues)."

I'm rather surprised that you would equate protest with terrorism. But then, when one's MO is to turn yourself into an instant expert on everything courtesy of Wikipedia and Google, I suppose the results are about what one would expect.

Clive RobinsonMay 21, 2012 7:19 AM

@ Jon,

The DGSE were not invited

Nor did I say they were, however "the lady who leans forwards" however almost certainly was.

With regards the SA/NZ rugby the history of it as reported in quite a few places indicates that by todayss standards terrorist tactics were used against the protestorss.

Oh and the root of "terrorism" actually indicates state against the people.

Wesley ParishMay 23, 2012 3:23 AM

>I seem to recall a related joke about polar bear repellant but I can't remember the details....

@pfogg at May 15, 2012 10:54 PM

The Mullah Nasruddin lives in Kurdistan; he was asked by a friend one morning, "Why are you throwing breadcrumbs around your house?"

"I'm keeping the tigers away," he replied.

"But there aren't any tigers within a thousand miles of here!"

"See! It's working!"

I forgot to add, "leaning forward" is the means of arming the implant bomb in the story in the story of mine I quoted above. Leaning forward puts pressure on the conductive plastic of such bombs in such a location. Napolitano should be investigated on the grounds that she could be instigating terrorism by such implant bombs - you now, the secret message placed by the crypto-(communist? Terrorist? whatever) in the government. Complete with the obligatory "You prove your innocence first, then maybe we'll believe you ... ?" we came to know and love in The Prisoner ...

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