Good Article on Airport Security

The New York Times wrote a good piece comparing airport security around the world, and pointing out that moving the security perimeter doesn't make any difference if the attack can occur just outside the perimeter. Mark Stewart has the good quote:

"Perhaps the most cost-effective measure is policing and intelligence -- to stop them before they reach the target," Mr. Stewart said.

Sounds like something I would say.

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 9:45 AM • 45 Comments

Comments

ParkerJuly 6, 2016 1:12 PM

Good, then you go stand in the airport terminal and point out all the bad guys. And you better not make any mistakes.

Kimbo SliceJuly 6, 2016 1:30 PM

"Perhaps the most cost-effective measure is to avoid radicalizing them by bombing their countries and families with drones and cluster bombs"

There, fixed it.

Back To BasicsJuly 6, 2016 2:05 PM

pointing out that moving the security perimeter doesn't make any difference if the attack can occur just outside the perimeter

And here, little old non-genius me imagined the whole point was to keep the crowdstrike target from being the big ass plane, or whatever the (weapon of mass destruction sized) plane crashes into.

Kyle WilsonJuly 6, 2016 3:31 PM

@Back To Basics: that problem was dealt with when they armored the cockpit doors and told the flight crew not to give in to demands. Now they can still kill a planeload of people, but whether that bunch is on a plane or waiting to pass the security checkpoint is the question. I would expect that a crowd farther out actually makes it possible to get a larger explosive device closer and thus kill more people in the queue.

Back To BasicsJuly 6, 2016 3:34 PM

Now they can still kill a planeload of people, but whether that bunch is ... [somewhere, or somewhere else]

But getting back to basics, the question is whether or not the general expenditure of security capital in that direction is justified for the sole effect of variating somewhere vs somewhere else.

MeJuly 6, 2016 3:47 PM

Yup, the purpose of airport security is to prevent people from weaponizing planes. People only imagine that there is more that can be done.

Back To BasicsJuly 6, 2016 4:06 PM

@me

Well, that's not strictly true. Enough money can't be spent (already is?) to effectively make airports "green zones". The question is whether or not that is fair to innovators who might imagine there are overall transportation solutions that aren't cheaper/better/etc. Though that is obviously a rather naively libertarian view of things.

irrationalJuly 6, 2016 4:45 PM

This article, along with the fact that over 30k people die every year due to automobile related accidents should really put terrorism over focus and spending into perspective.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/02/us/oregon-shooting-terrorism-gun-violence/

Hell, the terrorists have already won. They've got the government in on the action trolling their own citizens.

Reminds of biological responses in a body where the initial infection isn't that serious, but the inflammation and immune system over-reaction become life threatening.

Dan3264July 6, 2016 5:01 PM

@Kimbo Slice,
That will only solve part of the problem. It will reduce the number of sympathizers with the Islamic State. Their propaganda would still be a problem, but reducing the number of reasons for the people there to hate the U.S. would be a good start. It would be very nice if we started sooner rather than later.

Back To BasicsJuly 6, 2016 5:20 PM

@Dan3264

That will only solve part of the problem. It will reduce the number of sympathizers with the Islamic State.

Your first reaction to focus your thought on a specific religion is IMHO a large part of the wider problem. If someone's sibling or friend or neighbor is droned to bits, and ends up spouting some nonsense and committing a crowdstrike, is it really of benefit to focus on the specific brand of nonsense if it is the same brand that is most dominant in the crowdstriker's hometown? I'm not claiming to have a good understanding of the bigger picture. I'm still trying to figure out that whole christian obsession with jews or judaists or some retarded thing being god's chosen people or whatever.

daJuly 6, 2016 5:27 PM

@Bruce

"most cost-effective measure is policing and intelligence -- to stop them before they reach the target"

Exactly what kind of "intelligence" are you referring to? Sweeping up all possible data into as big of haystacks as you can perhaps?

Since when are police supposed to stop all crime before it happens? Are they supposed to predict everyone's future actions and throw us all in prison for crimes we haven't yet committed? Or constitutionally must police be restricted to reacting after a crime is committed? You know, the quaint old "innocent until proven guilty" thing?


@irrational

"Reminds of biological responses in a body where the initial infection isn't that serious, but the inflammation and immune system over-reaction become life threatening."

Nice analogy. So our government has a life-threatening allergy to terrorism!

yJuly 6, 2016 6:42 PM

In my opinion the whole point of airport security is to prevent terrorists using planes to kill 3000+ people and causing large buildings to collapse. As long as we can stop that I think airport security is doing it's job. Terrorists attacking people inside or outside airports can't very easily be prevented just like we can't completely stop terrorists from killing people at cinemas, bars and other public places.

Comrade MajorJuly 6, 2016 7:04 PM

@da
Exactly what kind of "intelligence" are you referring to?
I think its old-school detective work.

@irrational
This article, along with the fact that over 30k people die every year due to automobile related accidents should really put terrorism over focus and spending into perspective.

No, you wrong. You missing a very important aspect of terrorism - its a crime against state (government), not the people. People caught in the middle, but they're not the target. The target is a political regime (demokratura of United States in this case).
Demokratura is in danger!

ZithJuly 6, 2016 7:10 PM

For people saying the point is to avoid the planes-as-weapons scenario, we fixed that with hardened cockpit doors, good cockpit protocols, and a change in our hijacking incident response (on-board passenger resistance, and I expect we made changes at the air traffic control and military levels). I think we did some things to address the lax security around pilots on the ground, too, but I may be misremembering that one.

Nothing else makes a difference to the hijacking problem.

Comrade MajorJuly 6, 2016 7:13 PM

@irrational

Plus, if we admit that terrorism is a regular crime like, lets say, murder, theft, ransom etc, then politicians won't be able instill moral panic on this issue.

This means that they will lose a very powerful political tool.

Also, terrorism is good for TV rating - its a greatest show.

Do you really want to make terrorism a regular crime?

Some GuyJuly 6, 2016 7:13 PM

Moving the perimeter further out could have a benefit. One issue is that the security queue is now a target. The huge investment in security technology and design of many airports creates the queues. So many people, so few places to enter, so little capacity at the security points creates the queue.

The bottlenecks are already physically designed in. Not enough space to expand capacity with the currently selected equipment.

How about encouraging checked baggage instead of allowing airlines to discourage it. Reduces queue time and allows a less stressed checked bag inspection.

With fewer bags, how about moving to magnetometers moved further out for people without bags and funneling those with bags and selected/random others. You trip the magnetometer or get selected, you go there. More space, less time to inspect, shorter queue. Little loss of either security or 'valuable' security theater. Wider dispersion, smaller target.

How about adjusting the airport tax structure to focus less on takeoffs and more on flow of people into and out of secure areas. Time/date dependent taxes. Lexus lanes for a fee for late arrivers (or the rich). The taxes are needed to pay for the air system and security system. Maybe even add credits if you have no bags to encourage shipping by UPS/USPS/FedEx with at airport drop off.

Just crazy ideas to address security, security theater, and the horrible wait times.

FransJuly 6, 2016 7:50 PM

There are more ways to obtain added security on Airports. A research team at the university of Zürich has recently published a study titled "who's the thief?"

From the abstract:
'Our study investigates if people are able to recognize thieves based on their nonverbal behavior prior to committing the crime. We implemented authentic closed-circuit television footage from thefts committed at an international airport into a computer-based test.'

Although mainly focussed on early detection of thieves, they also studied other cases of typical behaviour, like someone leaving luggage unobtained (planting an explosive device)
According to this study there is good evidence that this kind of mass-observation achieves notable results.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282505257_%27Who%27s_the_Thief%27_The_Influence_of_Knowledge_and_Experience_on_Early_Detection_of_Criminal_Intentions

FransJuly 6, 2016 8:04 PM

Correction: I should add that the experiment with the left lugagge was an added staged experiment, that did not involve any real explosives. Aka a dummy.

Some Other GuyJuly 6, 2016 8:21 PM

@Some Guy

Just crazy ideas to address security, security theater, and the horrible wait times.

Here's another crazy idea- Let's focus on minimizing the damage that our civic leaders can do during the timeframe before the inevitable obsolecence of airports and 747s due to the advent of transcontinental personal drone pod travel.

Dan3264July 6, 2016 10:04 PM

@Back To Basics,
In this case, the specific "brand of nonsense"(which is a phrase that sums up my views on this matter very concisely) can be important. Assuming that a terrorist group is competent at terrorizing, the group can make new members of that group much more competent at terrorizing then that person would be working alone. And yes, you are correct. We (as a general term) should not say the problem is just the Islamic State(It would be more accurate to call it the Extremest Faction because it is not recognized as a state by any country as far as I know. I might also like to call it 'BS', where 'B' is the regular meaning of 'BS' and 'S' stands for 'State'. If there are more 'States' like that we could add a number to the end to specify which BS State we are talking about).

...or some retarded thing being god's chosen people or whatever
That also sums up my views very concisely. I am not a big fan of religions in general.

Some GuyJuly 6, 2016 10:21 PM

@Some Other Guy

Until the masses figure it out and demand change, I'll focus on dealing with the current challenges caused by the stupid airport theater. At this point, risk reduction and throughput increase.

People are scared and are acting like it. Perception is reality and fear sells, whether a haunted house, NBC news, or political marketing. People perceive reality based on experience and this nonsense has become part of that experience.

Back To BasicsJuly 7, 2016 12:26 AM

@Dan3264

First, let me disclaim that subsequent borderline animous sentiment is likely not directed at you specifically, as opposed to, this is what happens when we talk religion and politics at the dinner table...

In this case, the specific "brand of nonsense"(which is a phrase that sums up my views on this matter very concisely) can be important. Assuming that a terrorist group is competent at terrorizing, the group can make new members of that group much more competent at terrorizing then that person would be working alone.

The problem I see with what you say so far here is that this is like the way I look at 'gun/weapon control' and how it relates to the topic of regulating hammers. Basically, what you said could be paraphrased also as "given any competent group, the group can make new members much more competent than they would be alone". Religion is all about that. It's all about passing down wisdom from generation to generation. That wisdom empowers people. Some who end up with bad intentions are empowered to be more effective terrorists. Many end up empowered as more effective human beings in the good sense. Unfortunately many end up rather messed up, and often do their parts messing others up, in non-chemically-explosive, but still socially corrosive ways. In terms of hammers, we simply don't spend many resources preventing hammers from being useful for murder, because they don't murder people very fast.

And yes, you are correct. We (as a general term) should not say the problem is just the Islamic State(It would be more accurate to call it the Extremest Faction because it is not recognized as a state by any country as far as I know.

I think you missed my point insofar as the original sentiment from Kimbo Slice I believe is about a cycle of extremist murder that predates ISI[SL]/whatever. The old argument that ISI[SL] only exists as a product of the foreign policy of the W administration. To look at the problem with the right perspective IMHO, one must get back to basics, and seriously dwell on the concepts of human rights and the seperation of church and state. Specifically how the U.S. foreign policy towards Israel has colored generations of citizen's views towards those concepts. Personally I find the concept of any state, with an overt religion, that does not guarantee it's citizens freedom of religion, and freedom from state discrimination based on religion, to be abhorrent. When I see the star of david on the israeli flag, I imagine how I would feel if there was a crucifix on the U.S. flag. No matter how much such a state might profess to be a democracy protecting freedom of religion, I just wouldn't buy it.

I might also like to call it 'BS', where 'B' is the regular meaning of 'BS' and 'S' stands for 'State'. If there are more 'States' like that we could add a number to the end to specify which BS State we are talking about).

Oh how bitter any respect for the wisdom of the constitution of the U.S. an african american must taste.

Clive RobinsonJuly 7, 2016 12:30 AM

@ Some Guy,

People perceive reality based on experience and this nonsense has become part of that experience.

It's a bit more complicated than that. The fact that people are dying from terrorist acts in the western world is not a "nonsense". Likewise people dying on the roads is not a nonsense.

Deaths on the road far far outnumber the deaths by terrorist activities yet people overly react to one and under react to the other.

There are quite a few reasons for this and analysing it in more depth would be desirable.

Not wishing to be nasty but we are still controled quite a lot by our primitive monkey brain. It's wired to either send us scurrying up a tree every time we sense danger or if not possible to flee to fight it.

The biological system was designed to have both limits and rewards. The reward mechanism is hormonal in nature and is one of the reasons "horror films" are popular, you get a small scare and a small buzz from the hormonal response. But if the concious mind believes that it's not real, a small scare does not cause a psychological response, in anything like the way it does if the concious mind believes it is real.

As part of the process of minimising over response, the body in effect puts limits on what we conciously sense over and above our biological limitations. Our ears, eyes and nose are realy quite pitiful when compared to other creatures by two to five orders of magnitude, but our own brains further limit this, thus our concious minds realy only perceive what is within a few feet of us and unless we focus our attention usually less than a hundred feet.

Thus our perception system is great if you live by foraging and limited hunting, but is not in any way designed for our modern world.

Only a little over a hundred years ago did we get news from more than a few miles away, thus our experiences of disaster and tragidy was via the very limited "word of mouth" or it's written equivalent. Neither of which was particularly visceral, even pictures in newspapers were limited. Thus news did not have a fealing of being real even at the concious level.

Today that is nolonger true, 24Hour real time broadcasts in high definition video and audio makes it very real and visceral, and we feel it deep down. Our bodies and minds can not cope with it as we end up more and more in fight or flight mode.

Worse what we see on television news is distorted and false. Our subconcious still works in that hundred foot limit, but we bring very rare and exceptional events within a couple of arms lengths day after day.

Thus our perception gets distorted badly and thus our sense of perspective. Whilst road incidents happen all the time we only occasionaly see them within our hundred foot limit. rarely do road incidents get reported on the news and then almost always in a non visceral or distant way and for a few seconds. A terrorist attack whilst generaly brief in the real world, will get repeated over and over again not just for a couple of hours but almost endlessly for days. Thus we can not help but have our perception distorted, the likely hood of a terrorist event is very rare compared to road incidents which in themselves are quite rare on an individual basis. But worse it is also distorted to it's severity.

With such distortion it's comparatively easy for both terrorists and politicians to manipulate things to their own advantage.

Thus perhaps the first steps to getting a sense of reality back is to deal with the likes of 24Hour News reporting.

Back To BasicsJuly 7, 2016 12:52 AM

And of course continuing the thought on bitter ironies- I keep you women and your lack of represenation in the office of the presidency in mind daily. Oh we homosapiens have such a very long way to go still...

Wunder-YJuly 7, 2016 6:38 AM

I can't seem to find a source to explain why airplanes and now airports are considered such a prime, almost obsessive, target by Islamic terrorists.

Anyone have an idea?

Seems to me a mostly overlooked issue at airports is luggage and bags. That's where the weapons and explosives are transported. So, separate people from luggage early in the process, even if large conveyor systems would be required.

Of course, I still agree boots on the ground intelligence and traditional police work is the way to really stop the attacks. Governments have political reasons for collecting all of our personal electronic communications however, and need the SECURITY excuse to cover their true motive, which is domination and control of the peasantry. Corporations are motivated by profits to do the same.

One last factor that's overlooked is terrorism is an absolutely wonderful excuse to relieve the people of their civil, constitutional and fundamental human rights.
Works every time, everywhere.

Some GuyJuly 7, 2016 7:00 AM

@Clive

Great analysis.

The death and destruction is real. There threats are real. The portrayal of the threats as theater for profit and political gain is nonsense. The responses to the threat for political gain rather than for security is nonsense.

PeteJuly 7, 2016 7:28 AM

The solution is cheap and easy.

Hand out 8inch knives to everyone as they board any aircraft. We'd be allowed to bring our own knives too. ;)

In my travels around the world, I've seen all sorts of airport security and in-security. In Nepal, I wasn't allowed to enter the airport because I didn't have a paper boarding pass. The image on my smart phone wasn't sufficient to get inside the door. OTOH, once inside, I was included in much reverse discrimination - being a middle-aged white guy - and taken to the beginning of most lines and when I beeped going through the metal detector, wasn't asked to try again. They just let me continue.

In Prague, I was completely groped, twice, when trying to leave the country. All the extra security checks only happened to me just outside the gate, not my 2 travel buddies. These checks took so much extra time they held the plane until I could get on. I'd arrived 2 hrs early, sat in the lounge until 45 min prior to the flight, then we headed to the gate. Was traveling "Sky Priority", so unlikely to be a risk. The only reason they didn't do a cavity search was because they didn't have room for split groping. There was a Russian couple being groped next to me. The Russian was not happy - seems he'd been groped a few other times on his way to Prague already.

8 inch knives for everyone. That's the solution. Plus it will make everyone more polite towards each other. Exceptions for drunks and anyone having more than 2 drinks - they forfeit their knives.

daJuly 7, 2016 8:51 AM

@Comrade Major
"...what kind of "intelligence"...
I think its old-school detective work."

I think we should be very clear then that that's what we mean, every time we say it... otherwise just saying "we need more intelligence" can easily be taken to promote a surveillance state, no matter how "unintelligent" more and more surveillance may seem to some of us...

@Clive Robinson
"perhaps the first steps to getting a sense of reality back is to deal with the likes of 24Hour News reporting."

I agree. Maybe turning that stuff off once in a while? Go on a "news vacation" and see if it relaxes you? I bet it does... you won't want to return from that vacation (or "holiday," for you British).

albertJuly 7, 2016 11:59 AM

@Clive,

"...Our ears, eyes and nose are realy quite pitiful when compared to other creatures by two to five orders of magnitude, but our own brains further limit this..."

Humans have much better sensory systems than most realized. We have extraordinary abilities in detecting motion against a static background, for example. Age doesn't seem to affect this as much as it does for physical vision.

"...Thus our perception system is great if you live by foraging and limited hunting, but is not in any way designed for our modern world..." -

This is why we have brains to think with!
We're smarter than the average bear, if we're -educated- and -trained-.

Education and training. This simple concept applies to hunters, trackers, soldiers, cops....and automobile drivers. Auto accidents in the US are seldom caused by mechanical failures; it's mostly driver error. How many folks do you know who are truly free of anxiety and stress? Many studies have been done that illustrate the dangers of driver distraction (and not including driver intoxication).

Yeah, yeah, we've heard it all before, but the deaths continue.

We are overwhelmed by 'noise' of every kind, from technology (machines) to technology abuse (MSM propaganda and meaningless BS, i.e., 'entertainment')

Critical thinking is becoming more difficult. How does one find the truth when everything seems to be a lie?

Has Diogenes lamp been extinguished?

Take your Xanax -before- you drive to the airport:)

. .. . .. --- ....

Anonymous CowardJuly 7, 2016 1:24 PM

@Wunder-Y

I can't seem to find a source to explain why airplanes and now airports are considered such a prime, almost obsessive, target by Islamic terrorists.

Anyone have an idea?

Ideas I have plenty of, though I claim willful ignorance as far as research goes. Though that will was most certainly influenced and I would dare say coerced by US propaganda that makes me feel like I would risk being locked up with pedophiles if I tried to research and try to really understand the motives of Islamic terrorists.

To that ignorant end, I've always presumed that the obsession with the world trade center involved the 'world trade' labeling of the building. I myself have spent much thought on the ethics of international trade, especially with nations that I consider to be wanton violators of human rights. And this was years prior to seeing collateral murder on wikileaks alongside gitmo and abu ghraib.

But of course there are obvious factors as well. Public places, lots of foot traffic of random people close together. Though at this point I'd almost speculate that it's directly related to 9/11. Any successful attack against an airport gets the terrorist 'win' of triggered neural connections to 9/11. All the moreso based on security theatre overreactions.

But again folks, really, compare the number of automotive deaths, versus terrorist deaths at airports and... yup, the terrorists won and managed to sexually assault, er, I mean TSA grope, all of us. I really fucking hate those people.

Anonymous CowardJuly 7, 2016 1:40 PM

Another optimistic idea I have is that it's about internationalism in general. Obviously these are not crop-duster local only airports that are being targeted. It seems plausible that religious fundamentalist terrorists would have an exceptional sense of threat from the encroach of internationalism that modern technology is bringing us. Basically there are lots of religious fundmentalists that can probably see which way the global winds are blowing, and understand vaguely how the mid-term future is going to play out. And a few of those are not quite so non-violent and would prefer their beliefs to 'die hard' as it were.

Douglas Niedermayer, Antiterror ROTCJuly 7, 2016 2:52 PM

Perhaps the most cost-effective measure is policing and intelligence --

because we need to shoot more black guys in the back and torture some more wogs.

Anonymous CowardJuly 7, 2016 3:27 PM

@Moderator

fyi, I noticed weird behavior where when I refreshed, the post from albert below da and above Anonymous Coward above was apparently inserted in non-intuitive temporal fashion.

Anonymous CowardJuly 7, 2016 3:46 PM

And further, I _did_ have firefox pdf prints of the before and after refresh, but I stupidly botched archiving them, so, if you want evidence- I'm using a rhel6 system more or less on ext3. I just effectively did

evince prerefresh.pdf
evince postrefresh.pdf
tar cvjf prefresh.pdf postrefresh.pdf savethis.tbz

oops.

But I swear, I visually looked and noted the pete-da-ac jump to pete-da-albert-ac

Dunno if the subsequent 'glitch in the matrix' comment was related.

Oh well.

Anonymous CowardJuly 7, 2016 4:24 PM

and for the record, though I was technically 'on drugs', I wasn't so innebriated that I couldn't notice an unexpected scroll bar jump upon refresh, then verify with, perhaps slightly crazy/hoarder access to excessive firefox pdf prints, and then attempt to archive for further use if it ever matters. Of course with a minor, sadly not the first time in my life, epic failure of that last trivial thing. Shaka, when the walls fell.

Anonymous CowardJuly 7, 2016 4:43 PM

and more accurately, what made me notice was not so much the scrollbar jump, as seeing my own nearly-bottom-of-thread comment within frame disappear, requiring me to scroll down (not up) to see it. Then I compared with prerefresh pdf print. And of course, this is 99.9999% likely to be evidence of my system having been hacked, rather than Schneier's. I'd immediately reinstall the OS, but considering the system overall, I'm in a state of learned helplessness regarding various bios and firmware blobs that I lack much confidence in. (10+ year old system, last bios update distributed with md5 checksum on download file at best)

Back To BasicsJuly 7, 2016 5:09 PM

@Douglas Niedermayer, Antiterror ROTC

How about better policing and intelligence. Indeed, throwing money, guns and state surveillance tools in the hands of people that beforehand weren't making the hiring cut, will have / has had some unpleasant consequences. Education. Cross cultural and inter cultural communication. I think those things will help a lot.

mrpizzaJuly 8, 2016 7:13 AM

Terrorism can be reduced by meditation - you would not believe it but the science is there.
We are not seeing this as most stakeholders do not have a genuine interest in reducing violence as they profit from both more power and control and the sales of weapons and fear ...

http://www.worldpeacegroup.org/War_on_terrorism.html

ianfJuly 8, 2016 7:33 AM


@ mrpizza

“ […] research carried out into the impact of Super Radiance on terrorist outbreaks. (What is Super Radiance?)

Scientific research shows that terrorist activity declines dramatically in the vicinity of highly trained groups of specialist meditators known as TM-Sidhas. The impact occurs immediately the group of meditators forms. The larger the group of meditators the wider the impact.

Where enough TM-Sidhas have meditated together to create a global Super Radiance effect, they reduced terrorist activity across the whole world.” […]

Interesting. It seems to me, however, that were this calming technique equally effective everywhere, you wouldn't have to rely of message dissipation via Schneier's blog, but could have conveyed that DIRECTLY to our SPIRITS using your own independent, dedicated and proprietary TM-dissemination channels. On the other hand, don't mind me, keep doing what you do, the less people there are in the line of fire, even such of the NewAgey kind who could have benefitted from transport to Otherworldly Realms, the better.

In other words (and Eric Idle's voice, him of the Monty Python's fame): SAY NO MO, SAY NO MO!

12345July 8, 2016 11:14 AM

@mrpizza

"Terrorism can be reduced by meditation - you would not believe it but the science is there.

From your article: "Each peace project had approached or exceeded the then threshold of 7,000 TM-Sidhas needed at the time to create the global Super Radiance effect."

I think that is interesting. I do not know 7,000 people. I may start with a few people I know. Have you seen this?

Fact Sheet: FY 2016 Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grants
Release Date: July 6, 2016
https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/07/06/fy-2016-countering-violent-extremism-cve-grants

A total of $10,000,000 will be awarded to a projected 60 grantees through a competitive, panel-reviewed application process. Grants will range in size from $20,000 to $1,500,000, and will be distributed across the focus areas:

Developing resilience ($3,000,000)
Challenging the narrative ($2,000,000)
Training and engagement ($2,000,000)
Managing intervention activities ($2,000,000)
Building capacity ($1,000,000)

albertJuly 8, 2016 12:16 PM

@Anonymous Coward,

A while before I tried to post that comment, I had an internet glitch and lost the connection. 'Preview' worked because it is apparently local, but I got an error message when I tried to post. The post was OK, but the message (besides the usual warnings about omitting the required items) said my comment may have been awaiting moderation. Reposting produced the same message. After that, I took no action.


@ianf,

[as long as I have a comment open] It's "he of Monty Python fame".

. .. . .. --- ....

ianfJuly 8, 2016 12:29 PM


@ Wunder-Ycan't seem to find a source to explain why airplanes and now airports are considered such a prime, almost obsessive, target by Islamic terrorists.

A source, and then just one at that? Besides, what's there to explain when (the activity that we colloquially refer to as) terrorism is nothing but the theater of the real. Other people said so previously, but my source is John Le Carré, in his under appreciated 1983 novel “The Little Drummer Girl," that 20 years later was called “the best RECENT novel about terrorism” by a leading terror writer/ researcher.

    Theater, as in: there's a stage, a script, a plot, a narrative to tell, a mise en scene, and, presumably, a take-home message for the audience. Except it's all for real, and the objective is that of implanting fear into those who otherwise wouldn't even look at us, be it at the price of actors' own and the bystanders' lives. This explanation highfalutin enough for you, or should I go all hoity-toity?

Besides, if there's a visible obsession about "airports and airplanes," then it's hardly any longer on the Jihaddists' "radar," or “death wish lists,” but on those of the security services tasked with these objects' protection. The Brussels Airport attackers never expected to be let near an airplane, nor did the Atatürk Airport ones… theirs was a strike-and-destroy fellow travel hopefuls suicide mission both in the airport and, in Brussels as in London 2005/7/7, also on the subway leading to it. But it could have been any other populous venue (="the stage" in the terrorism-theater-of-the-real [TTotR] parlance). Any "Islamic" terror label in either was more of a veneer for added postmortem media interest. Because, apparently, "Islam," won't be taken seriously in the West until its manifestations are accompanied by blood of the Infidels. Or something.

Perhaps, emotion-wise, it's too soon yet to analyze e.g. the 13th November 2015 Paris attacks as a mere "stage play," but let's look at them with a bespectacled eye:

  1. some producer decides to stage it
  2. research of suitable targets is conducted
  3. general model of attacks is chosen
  4. routes of access and escape for the "actors," and the "show runner" are drawn up
  5. testament videos etc are recorded
  6. equipment for the execution of the play is acquired
  7. actors and their "props" are transported to the stage(s)
  8. the play commences

See? (do not cable back if not).


[…] “a mostly overlooked issue at airports is luggage and bags. That's where the weapons and explosives are transported. [what about inside human body cavities?] So, separate people from luggage early in the process, even if large conveyor systems would be required.

I don't know if the Learning Annex/ Adult Education Community Centre/ equiv. in your vicinity has Basic Logistics 101 course on offer—probably not, which is a pity—but if they do, I implore you to attend it BEFORE you ever again let your fingers caress a keyboard on the subject of airport goods ebb and flow. Because, if what you suggested had any hope in hell of working, it'd have been attempted already. Except it hasn't. Learn to read the meaning of absence of tracks in the sand.


@ Anonymous Coward […] “has always presumed that the [presume the 2001/9/11 hijackers] obsession with the World Trade Center involved the 'world trade' labeling of the building. He himself has spent much thought on the ethics of international trade, especially with nations that he considers to be wanton violators of human rights.

Ah, Ye Deep Thinkers with Ye Magnificent Logickal Eggheads: try "air-to-surface sideways target footprint." In the wake of GroundZero attacks, a number of air captains went on record "how easy it is to fly a Boeing 767" etc. Because they, with thousands of hours onboard and in simulators, certainly could. Except that, bar one of the hijackers, none of the others were experienced passenger jet pilots. Thus contrary to common wisdom, it's not easy to hit a target even the size of a WTC tower when you're steering an airliner with plenty of inertia near its top speed in stressful conditions. Also when you worry whether you've lived pious enough life to enter the promised Paradise and claim your 72 soon-not-to-be-virgins-anymore.

    The WTC towers were almost self-written as targets for the hijackers because (1) they were the biggest eyesore objects out there in southern Manhattan (to the left of the Hudson River that the hijackers used for visual navigation); and (2) there were 2 of them, ergo twice the chance of hitting either. That they happened to be named WTC was more or less a coincidence; they could have been Mickey & Minnie Mouse Apartments and been selected anyway.

Of course, this is largely conjecture, but not entirely uncorroborated via peripheral evidence – that of the attack on the Pentagon. There, hitting the epicenter of it in the middle would have resulted in much higher damages than what ensued. Apparently precisely steering a flying bomb of that volume and not overshoot or otherwise miss the target wasn't the easiest of tasks that day: that's why the airliner essentially hit the boundary between the parking walkways and the façade, which together proved sturdy enough to absorb the impact.

Osama Bin Laden, if that was he, who selected the targets, was a son of a master builder, and himself enough of a building engineer to understand those things… that's also why he must've instructed the WTC pilots to hit the towers at least halfway up, and let jet-fuel-stoked fire do the dirty, not attempt to topple either by low impact alone, and perhaps give the New York Finest the chance to extinguish any blazes (remember that in 1993 "he" exploded a truck full of TNT in the basement garage of one, damaged the supporting columns, but the WTC stood its ground.)

albertJuly 8, 2016 1:41 PM

@ianf,

"...lived pious enough life to enter the promised Paradise and claim your 72 soon-not-to-be-virgins-anymore...:

:)
:)

You've got 72 virgins. If one waits the required 11 days (according to ancient wisdom; I don't know what Islam says about it), that's 11 * 72 = 792 days. Of course, one could use up all 72 in less than 72 days.

What do you do for the rest of Eternity? Do the un-virgined virgins become re-virgined"?

It IS Paradise, after all.
. .. . .. --- ....

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