Saturday, August 19, 2006

Join the Queue

I find it curious that my earlier blog on the question of security profiling, i.e. my story of the detailed search of a very blonde mother and her equally blonde young children at Heathrow, last time I was there, attracted such rabid criticism elsewhere. Since then, it appears that the government, if only to get Heathrow back on its feet again, has concluded that a certain amount of profiling is both pragmatic and inevitable, with all the civil liberties and minorities problems that go with it.

One thing though, you might like to read this story on whether the whole binary explosives plot was feasible in the first place or simply a figment of Hollywood and our Home Secretary's imagination. You judge.

I will say that the most sense I’ve heard in the last week has come from the very direct CEO of Ryan Air, Michael O’Leary, a man who doesn’t waste his words and doesn’t suffer fools gladly either. I wonder if Ryan Air ran trains, whether they would run on time?

Meanwhile you can see what happens when a pot of cold cream, a prohibited substance, is discovered in a passenger's hand luggage, forcing the aircraft to return and make an emergency landing at Stansted.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, at the moment at least all terrorists here are Muslims.
So Muslims (who are not prepared to effectively police their own group ) must realise they are a legitimate search target as the people most likely to be terrorists.
If they get rid of the young radicals in their own ranks then they can in time get rid of the problem of being frequently stopped and searched.
How we can take the risk of employing ANY Muslims at airports is beyond me!
Just too risky, although I am the first to agree that it is only a tiny extremist proportion who are likely to be a problem.
Unfortunately the rest of their brethren must suffer as a result of the actions of a few.
Unfair but there you go! Its not a perfect world.
Of course one way they could avoid being so obvious is to integrate a bit more and wear western clothing instead of their traditional clothes which in any case are hardly suitable for most of our weather.
After all they chose to live here, let them live the way we do - or of course they could always be free to leave.
I think few of us would object.

Anonymous said...

All terrorists here are Muslims???
Bwahahahaahah!
Thanet is such a great place!

Anonymous said...

I note with interest that the link you have supplied seems to be having a problem loading. Can't imagine why.

Anonymous said...

Blimey, if Muslim dress isn't suitable to wear in the UK because of the weather then how about the cold mountainous heights in Afganistan? Let me tell you mate, if you pulled all the Muslims out oh Heathrow nothing would fly. You'd have no loaders, drivers, caterers, porters cause they take a lot of the crap jobs your average Anglo Saxon type doesn't want. I know, to stop them mixing up explosives lets throw them into camps, that should teach 'em. Duurrr.

DrMoores said...

The link appears to work fine at my end.. try tying in www.theregister.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Read the linked article, very interesting.

I note it says

"TATP, a white crystalline powder resembling sugar, difficult to detect with conventional bomb sniffing gear."

So is sugar banned?

If not - why not?

Anonymous said...

It makes sense to profile on age,sex, creed, ethnic origin, travel history, address etc. The present terrorist threat is fortunately limited to a very small number of people who consider self immolation a fast ticket to paradise.

It is interesting to see the Conservative Mr Mercer (their homeland security spokesman) accusing the passengers on a flight from Malaga of behaving "irrationally" because suspicions had been aroused by two men of 'arab' appearance. Mr Mercer is clearly pandering PC style to the UK's muslim community.

Fellow passengers were carrying out profiling and even if suspicions proved groundless and two innocent guys were inconvenienced, let's not forget that Reid the shoe bomber was caught about to detonate his little bomb by suspicious fellow passengers.

'Irrational?' 'Hysterical?' 'Racist?' Not at all. Would you be happy sitting on the top deck of a London bus watching a guy of muslim apperance sweating and muttering to himself whilst fiddling with something in his filled rucsac on his lap? I suspect that this was the last thing some victims of last July's bombings saw.

Anonymous said...

"sweating and muttering to himself whilst fiddling with something in his filled rucsac on his lap? "

Sounds like half of the Thanet population.

Anonymous said...

Michael O'Leary is a highly successful businessman. He has a product - cheap air travel - that many of us want. He also charges potential pilots £50 for the privilege of attending a job interview . He only pays his staff for the time they are in the air, and even then does not pay well. He makes new recruits pay for their own training. He makes his staff pay monthly for their uniforms. Of course there is no shortage of applicants willing to sign up to these terms and conditions, but does this make them (the conditions) right and his treatment of his workforce fair and acceptable?

Given this, I would question why you appear to be such a fan of his, Dr Moores.

Your earlier post suggesting it was wrong for airport security to search a young white woman wearing a laura Ashley frock and with children in tow attracted criticism on this site as well as quite appropriate - or to use your term rabid - criticism on EASTCLIFF RICHARD'S site. Your suggestion that such individuals should not be searched whereas - by implication - anyone black or brown should be regarded as fair game was and is unacceptable. The Governmnent have not urged this approach, and are not therefore, in line with the Ku Klux mentality that so many poosts on this site demonstrate and that you encourage.

And are you suggesting that the Home Secretary alone dreamed up the recent security scare? I guess the police, the security services, the same in other countries to name but a few had nothing to do with it? What nonsense.

DrMoores said...

No I simply suggested that he might make the trains run on time and you know exactly what I mean about profiling. You can read it just as easily on the BBC or in the nationals and it appears that the consensus is in favour of such measures as a necessary practical step.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.34 - Whatever the p c ehics are of searching white ladies with kids etc it would seem to be pretty much a waste of time which might be more profitably spent by increasing searching of more probable terrorists.
Hence I support profiling, but mixed with a random element just in case a terrorist has planted a device in the white lady's pram.

DrMoores said...

Seems sensible to me. After all, it's a matter of probability and odds at the simplest level of interpretation. What odds would you give me that a white middle class female with two small children might be carrying a bomb?

It has happened I grant you, with a single female unknowingly carrying a device bound for an El Al flight but in line with something I vaguely recall as the "Odd Man Hypothesis" suicide missions are preferntially given to young unmarried males,as those with the highest probability of carrying them through.

In the present unhappy circumstances,the odds favour the profiling or at least a second look at young single males of a particular ethnic background - like it or not - until Al Qaeda or anyone else starts to recruit succesfully from a source other than those that follow them at present. Would you agree?

Mr Friday said...

I said the day after the alleged "plot" was discovered that I would be very interested in seeing what actually came out of it as it just didn't ring true to me at all. Everyone called me delusional and a conspiracy theorist !!

Anonymous said...

Simon your mention of the odds of a bomb on a plane reminds me of the story of the Irishman who always took a bomb on the plane with him. When asked why he said that as the odds of having a bomb on a plane were a million to one the odds of having 2 bombs on a plane were a billion to 1 so he was making travel safer for everyone by taking one on with him.

DrMoores said...

Nice anecdote! I took the trouble earlier this evening to have a chat with the security supervisor of one of the largest transatlantic carriers. He tells me that they have been profiling for some time anyway and told me what charcteristics they look for in potential suicide bombers. Sadly that was in confidence and I can't share it here.

Anonymous said...

The two young men speaking arabic and wearing thick clothing that attracted the attention of fellow passengers returning to Manchester with Monarch airlines should be thankful that they only had a delayed return home.

I find it odd that the Tory Home Security spokesman condemns the passengers of this flight for their hysterical home-spun profiling.

Didn't a chap with thick clothing and of foreign appearance have his head blown apart by London's 'Boys in Blue' last year for just getting on a bus and then going onto the Underground? Whose response was more hysterical and grossly erroneous?

Anonymous said...

Mr Friday, I share your scepticism about 'the plot'. Digging around the bushes as thoroughly as the police have,in any Park in the land, is likely to turn up some items of a criminal nature!
The best evidence released so far is 'copies of martyr videos'. If you poke around in many hard drives including mine, you will find evidence of a similar nature; curiosity is now evidence of support of terror? I await with interest the full findings of almost every SOCO team in Southern England. My own experience in Ulster was that if you couldn't find evidence of a weapon or bomb making kit in the first hour or two inside a house, there wasn't any to find.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.22 - I am not totally sure its OK to have martyrdom videos on your hard drive, even if its through curiosity.
Is it acceptable to have paedophile porn on your hard drive just for reasons of curiosity or socalled research, as some defendants have claimed?
When I was a kid I used to make fireworks, don't think I would try to do it now,would doubtless arouse suspicion, actually quite lucky I didn't blow myself up then.
These are times when it pays to be very careful not to be seen to do lots of things which would have been OK before.

Anonymous said...

No problem with the law about downloading child porn, although I disagree with the thinking behind that legislation.
As far as I am aware viewing videos and having certain literature on terrorism is not against the law but might be relevant if linked to timers and detonators!

Anonymous said...

That bloke with explosives in the soles of his shoes, he wasn't the sweaty Muslim type, was he?

And when the Irish were bombing us, we didn't go around arresting everyone with an Irish accent, did we? Oh, sorry, forgot, yes we did lock up a few innocent people, you know, the Guildford 4, Birmingham 6.

Still, that was in the bad old days when it was only middle-aged, middle class, white Anglo-Saxon men from the Home Counties running our security. It's all changed now!

Anonymous said...

Hehe. Yeh now it's middle class,white Anglo Saxon men of all ages!

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that no space whatsoever has been given on this site to the news that very serious criminal charges have now been brought against several of those arrested for their part in the alleged explosives plot.

Doctor Moores, in this item and others, and several correspondents seemed to feel that the whole plot was dreamed up by the Home Secretary. Of course this ignored the involvement of the police, the security services, from this country and overseas, and, now, the Crown Prosecution Service. Hardly the work of just one man, John Reid! The evidence found now and the charges brought firmly dismiss the ill-founded, ill-informed, and frankly fantasy-based cyncism that has pervaded this "alternative newspaper".

The link on here to a highly spurious site "The Register" seeks to promote the notion that liquid explosives are a Hollywood invention. Perhaps, Dr Moores, you should present this (again, baseless) view to the family of the passenger who was killed some years ago as a consequence of a liquid explosive being detonated on an airliner that almost crashed as a result (which would have killed everyone else).

Surprised? No, not really. An "alternative newspaper" that deals less in news and fact than bias, bigotry, and stories chosen so, so carefully by the editor would hardly be objective, now would it? But at least commentators can still provide some balance.

DrMoores said...

Your'e writing rubbish again my friend! The Register is hardly spurious as one of the most popular technology newsites on the web. Nobody suggested the plot was without foundation or at least I didn't. The methodology was however called into question!

Anonymous said...

"Nobody suggested the plot was without foundation or at least I didn't.".

Untrue.

In the second paragraph of this item, you encourage readers to look at "The Register", and judge "whether the...explosives plot was feasible in the first place or simply a figment of...our Home Secretary's imagination". I acknowledge that you are inviting your readers to judge for themselves, but in publicising the link, and in phrasing the invitation in the way you have, you are clearly signalling your own "doubts".

Under an earlier item - "Don't mix your drinks" - you should reflect on the posts from Mr Friday and Pedagogue, for example.

I always try to ensure that my comments have foundation and are "researched". You may disagree with them, as I and others disagree with some - not all - of yours, but please do not brand them as "rubbish". That is unnecessarily offensive.

Anonymous said...

As for "The Register", the description of it on Wikipedia - for example, I haven't yet looked further - doesn't portray it as a weighty and authoritative site. That was the basis of my "spurious".

Anonymous said...

Well 7.40pm and 5.42 am, I thought this strand had died!
According to my newspaper, we have a mother charged for not disclosing on her husband; a brother for not disclosing on his brother; a 17 year old with info on bomb building and some martyr videos, and 8 men planning to smuggle an ied onto an aircraft. I suspect that many components in my shed could be made into an ied and bomb making info is avail on the web. We have some serious anti-terror legislation that is a severe curb on freedom and until I see a jury find these people guilty I am allowed to presume thay they are innocent. I find it extraordinary that the most hysterical response to last July's atrocities has actually come from our security services and police and quite frankly locking up a mother for alledgedly not grassing on her husband is dodgy in the extreme.

As a history student I was horrified at the hysteria following the Papist Plot(Guido Fawkes et al); the Star Chamber and a seriously nasty piece of work called Titus Oates; there are echos in Britain today. A British subject today is not allowed by law to openly state that he regards Hamas and Hisbollah as legitimate freedom fighters and not terrorists as this could be seen to be supporting terror! Our muslim fellow citizens might well have valid concerns that their position is similar to that of Roman Catholics 300 years ago. My concern is that they have most to fear from our state apparatus and recent ill considered legislation and little to fear from the general public in spite of Monarch airlines passengers.

DrMoores said...

I think you're right. It's what the LSE, FIPR and Privacy International have been worrying about for ages. The rot started with RIPA, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

Anonymous said...

Now another 'terrorist' has been charged with non disclosure! That is now 3 out of 12(25%) charged with a catch-all offence. No comment in the media about this disturbing trend.

Anonymous said...

Well thank goodness for the "alternative newspaper" of Thanet, then, eh?

Anonymous said...

Does it not worry you 6.11pm that the state will now be holding on remand for possibly 2 years a young mother of an 18month old child and two other men for no reason other than it is alledged they did not grass on their husband or brother respectively. The Guildford 4 and Birmingham 6 did not have all their families locked up for 2 years on remand and all suffered a serious miscarriage of justice. Whilst I fully support catching those who wish to self immolate prior to them setting off a bomb I am not so sure I am happy seeing their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, in-laws,....... honorable third cousin removed, all on remand and charged with a "terrorist" offence of withholding information!