There is no doubt in my mind that the issue of airport security is very contentious. There are many reasons for having proper security in place. However, there is also a need for a common sense approach to the whole matter.
I am not in the security business, and I have never been in the security business. My views are my own but they are also based upon experience. I have no problem with the implementation of security measures that are necessary. However, I do have a problem with keeping unnecessarily restrictive measures in place when these measures do nothing to enhance the traveling experience of the public.
Let me focus for a minute on why these measures were necessary in the first place. Islamic terrorism. Over the whole of my lifetime, the majority of the terrorist actions throughout the world have been performed by Islamic terrorists. Yes, I know about the IRA and I condemn them as well, but the traveling public did not have to fear the IRA plotting to blow up aircraft or to take hostages, or to push disabled passengers off the deck of a ship. Yes, there have been a few other exceptions over that period of more than 50 years. However, the overwhelming majority of these actions have been performed by Muslims – not Hindu, not Christians, not Jews, and definitely no Buddhists or even Atheists.
A turning point in how the world responds to these acts of terror took place when 19 Muslims hijacked several aircraft in USA air space, and then two of those aircraft were slammed into the World Trade Centre, plus another slammed into the Pentagon, and yet another was diverted and plunged into a field in Pennsylvania, thanks to the bravery of the men on board that flight. These 19 men had been living within the USA and were secretly preparing for their actions that day. Several of them took flying lessons from a school in Florida. On the day of September 11, 2001 they boarded their flights in readiness for their dastardly deed, which was the most horrific in living memory. These men were fanatic Muslims associated with Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
To my mind, the events of September 11 were inevitable, not because of the reasons cited by those who are into blaming America, but because it had been obvious after the first attempt on the World Trade Centre that Muslims had declared war on the United States of America. Even if one wants to buy into the reasoning of : “they were angry because of the missionaries”, I think that there are good reasons to come to the conclusion that the actions were inevitable. A point to consider here is the weakness or strength of the sitting POTUS as perceived by other world leaders. Bill Clinton had acted with weakness in dealing with two events: (1) the OKC bombing on the Murrah building. The fact that the FBI failed to investigate John Doe #3 is reason enough to consider the USA as having a weak belly for “going there”. (2) the failed bombing of the WTC was an invitation to try again.
Looking at those events though, I think that the system had failed because of the inability to detect the activities of the extremists who murdered close to 3000 people that day. There seems to have been a lack of surveillance of these foreign nationals, and in particular a lack of surveillance of the activities of the mosque that was headed by the Yemeni-American Anwar al Awlaki. Is it so surprising that several of these terrorists actually attended Awlaki’s mosque in Virginia? Is it a shock to learn that Nidal Hassan the Fort Hood mass murderer attended the same mosque under Anwar al Awlaki?
The response to the attack on September 11, 2001 was both appropriate and inappropriate. It was appropriate to ensure that people passed through a security checkpoint before boarding a flight. It is quite appropriate to check for things like guns and knives. However, the banning of knitting needles, nail clippers and a number of other items was quite inappropriate. Women who knit on their flights are not going to attack the pilots and force them to fly into buildings. Neither are they going to attack other passengers. Most people would not drag out their nail clippers on a flight anyway. Confiscating nail clippers and knitting needles is in my view totally absurd, and it will not stop any terrorist.
After the events of September 11, we have in fact seen an incredible rise in the number of terrorist acts around the world. All of them have been perpetrated by Muslims. Why is that? Well the answer actually lies within the mosque. On the Friday prayer day the imams stir up the people, sometimes whipping them up into a frenzied anger… and then they go on the rampage. Trying to keep these actions in perspective is of course very difficult, but let’s turn for a moment to the various events around the world that have caused a stunning loss of life:
the railway bombings in Spain: death toll more than 100 people died. As a result of those bombings the Spanish government was defeated. The Spanish then pulled out of Afghanistan or was it Iraq. In other words Spain succumbed to the bully tactics of Islamic terrorists.
Bali bombings: more than 200 people – indigenous Balinese (Hindu) and mostly Australian visitors were killed in these bombings (there were two separate bombings).
London subway bombings, and one bombing on a bus. It was a co-ordinated attack. More than 100 died and were injured. Some folk were left with horrific injuries that day.
As you can see, there is a trend here: railways are very vulnerable to attack by the Muslims.
At the same time there had been several plots that were thwarted or they outright failed including that of Richard Reid the shoe bomber, the Christmas Day underwear bomber, and the liquids plot. Now in the USA, security was beefed up after these failed plots were discovered. It is this response to the situation that I find to be ridiculous. My reason is that all of these plots were by people living in Europe or elsewhere at the time. Richard Reid boarded his flight in London. The Nigerian boarded his flight in Amsterdam. In fact there was a critical breakdown in security when it comes to how this man even got onto a flight to the USA.
The shoe bomber was caught and he is in prison, so why do innocent people have to take off their shoes to go through airport security in the USA? It is highly unlikely that there would be a repeat attempt because the shoe bomb was a failure anyway. In Australia we do not have to take off our shoes to go through security. To require people to take off their shoes is farcical. No lives have been saved by this measure. The horse had already bolted.
The liquid plot was one hatched by Pakistani Muslims living in the U.K. They were under surveillance and he plot was thwarted. We have gone through several years now of putting up with yet another silly restriction. No PETA has turned up in any liquid item taken on board a flight since then. None has been detected through security screening. The restriction should be lifted.
The latest outrage is that of the scanning machines. In Europe there are scanners that do the same job as the Rapiscan but without the invasiveness of showing the nude frame. The UK however has been using the same scanners, and I might add that airport security personnel have been irresponsible in their actions by printing out the nude image of an Indian actor. However, there is something that is more of an outrage than just the scanners. It is alleged that these scanners use a small dose of radiation that is not harmful, but this is debatable and many people do not believe that information. They are given a choice, either go through the scanner or have a very invasive pat-down.
The invasive pat-down procedure is truly outrageous. It involves a member of the TSA touching very intimate parts of a person’s body. If anyone refuses they are threatened with fines, and with being arrested. The TSA have deliberately ensured that people have missed their flights because they have refused to do as the TSA has requested. In truth most of these TSA procedures are simply not needed.
If the USA was carrying out proper surveillance procedures, concentrating on the group that is the most likely to hijack aircraft or blow up aircraft then most passengers could be left alone to go about their daily business. However, the current Regime has endorsed a politically correct attitude. This has meant that they have adopted the stance of “we don’t do profiling in the USA”. Thus, ordinary citizens are singled out and humiliated in public by the TSA whilst the ones most likely – think the flying Imams – are allowed to sail through security without further checks. What is even more ridiculous is that the Administration wants to capitulate and waive the burqa wearing crowd having to go through a pat down – hello those burqas are capable of hiding a bomb belt!!!!!
The measures that have been implemented since September 11 are largely a waste of time and money. The TSA has not caught one potential terrorist. They have introduced regulations that causes massive inconvenience and hold-ups for travellers. They fail to assess the efficiency of such measures, with the intent of removing those that are no longer required. Instead they are being allowed to become more officious.
If there really was a known threat to the travelling public then the way to deal with it is to have a warning system, placing people on high alert and then beefing up security. Otherwise, people should be left alone and there should be an end to the random checks. It should be either check everyone or none at all, but the Muslims should not be granted immunity from such checks.