Wednesday, December 30, 2009
"Conservatives,..... embrace big government at their peril. The silliest thing Dick Cheney ever said was a couple of weeks after September 11: 'One of the things that's changed so much since September 11 is the extent to which people do trust the government -big shift- and value it, and have high expectations for what we can do.' Really? I'd say September 11 vindicated perfectly a decentralized, federalist, conservative view of the state: what worked that day was municipal government, small government, core government- the firemen, the NYPD cops, rescue workers. What flopped-- big-time, as the vice president would say-- was federal government, the FBI, CIA, INS, FAA, and all other hotshot, money-no-object, fancypants acronyms. Under the system operating on that day, if one of the many Algerian terrorists living on welfare in Montreal attempted to cross the U.S. border at Derby Line, Vermont, and got refused entry by an alert official, he would be able to drive a few miles east, attempt to cross at Beecher falls, Vermont, and they had no way of knowing that he'd been refused entry just half an hour earlier. No compatible computers. Yet, if that same Algerian terrorist went to order a book online, Amazon.com would know that he'd bought The A-Z of Infidel Slaying two years earlier." (When doing a web search forget about Google. Instead use startpage.com. They do not record your IP address) "Their 'We have some suggestions for you!' box would be proffering a 30 percent discount on Suicide Bombing for Dummies. Amazon is a more efficient data miner than U.S. Immigration. Is it to do with their respective budgets? No. Amazon's system is very cheap, but it's the nature of government to do things worse, and slower.Fast forward to Christmas day, December 25, 2009 when a young Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the son of one of Nigeria's most important figures boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit -opted to make his impact on the terror hit parade list by attempting to detonate 80g of explosives sewn into his underpants as the plane landed in Detroit.
Here is another example of Dick Cheney's government-- the one we 'trust and have high expectations for'- from the morning of September 11:FFA Command Center: Do we want to think about scrambling aircraft?Most of what went wrong on September 11 we knew about in the first days after. Generally it falls into two categories:
FAA Headquarters: God, I don't know.
FAA Command Center: That's a decision somebody's going to have to make, probably in the next ten minutes.
FAA Headquarters: You know, everybody just left the room.1. Government agencies didn't enforce their own rules (as in the terrorist's laughably inadequate visa applications).or2. The agencies rules were out of date--three out of the four planes reached their targets because their crews, passengers, and ground staff all blindly followed the FAA's 1970's hijack procedures until it was too late, as the terrorists knew they would.The next time a terrorist gets through and pulls off an attack, it will be for the same reasons: there'll be a bunch of new post -September 11 regulations, and some bureaucrat somewhere will have neglected to follow them, or some wily Islamist will have rendered them as obsolete as his predecessors make all those thirty-year-old hijack rules. That's an abiding feature of government: 90 percent of its ever-proliferating agencies just aren't good, and if you put your life in their hands, more fool you.
But, on the fourth plane, they didn't follow the seventies hijack rituals. On Flight 93, they used their cell phones, discovered that FAA regulations weren't going to save them, and then acted as free men, rising up against the terrorists and, at the cost of their own lives, preventing that flight carrying out on to it's target in Washington. On a morning when big government failed, the only good news came from private individuals. The first three planes were effectively an airborne European Union, where the rights of the citizens had been appropriated by the FAA's flying nanny state. Up there where the air is rarified, all your liberties have been regulated away: there's no smoking, there's 100 percent gun control, you're obliged by law to do everything the cabin crew tell you; if the stewardess's--whoops, sorry--if the flight attendant's rude to you, tough; if you're rude back, you'll be arrested on landing. For thirty years, passengers surrendered more and more rights for the illusion of security, and, as a result, thousands died. On the fourth plane, Todd Beamer and others reclaimed those rights and demonstrated that they could exercise them more effectively than government. The Cult of Regulation failed, but the great American virtues of self-reliance and innovation saved the lives of thousands: 'Let's roll!' as Mr. Beamer told his fellow passengers.(1)"
Every single fact that has come to light since the attempted bombing on Christmas Day on that Northwest airlines flight directly indicates that the bomber was deliberately allowed to board the plane and that his attack would have succeeded if not for the alert and brave reactions of the passengers and flight crew.
The 278 passengers on the eight-hour Delta Airways flight from Amsterdam were first alerted that something was wrong when they heard what was described as "a firecracker in a pillowcase".Once again American citizens reclaimed their rights and subdued a would be terrorist.
One passenger, Jasper Schuringa, who was the first on the plane to tackle and subdue the suspect, told CNN: "I basically reacted directly. when you hear a pop on the plane, you are awake. I just jumped. I didn't think, I just went over there and tried to save the plane – and we did."
Mr Schuringa, who had burns to one of his hands, added: "A fire started under his seat. I was calling for water, water. But then the fire was getting a little worse. So I grabbed the suspect out of the seat, because, if there was any more explosives on him, that would have been very dangerous. And then the flight attendants came. We took him to first class and stripped him to make sure he had no more weapons on him. "It was very quick. Everyone was panicking," he said of the scene on the descending aircraft.
Mr Schuringa also said that when he first grabbed the suspect he saw a burning liquid dripping on to the floor.
Mutallab was a known security threat who was on the terror watch list. He is barred from entering Britain after being refused a new visa due to applying for a fake university course. Separate reports said that he did hold a valid visa, which begs the question, how can someone on a terror watch list be allowed to fly?
"On the one hand, it seems he’s been on the terror watch list but not on the no-fly list," he said. "That doesn’t square because the American Department for Homeland Security has pretty stringent data-mining capability. (Oh, Really? Maybe they should contact Amazon.com, Google or Verizon, Steve). I don’t understand how he had a valid visa if he was known on the terror watch list," Dr Magnus Ranstorp of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies told the London Independent.
It has also been revealed that Mutallab’s father contacted U.S. intelligence officials a month ago and warned them that his son was a threat, but nothing was done. Sound familiar? It seems that the lessons of 9/ll have not been learned.
On March 11, 2002, six months to the day after Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi died flying their respective planes into the World Trade Center Tower One and Tower Two, their flights school in Florida received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service informing it that Mr. Atta and Mr. al-Shehhi's student visas had been approved. Even killing thousands of people wasn't enough to impede Mr. Atta's smooth progress through a lethargic bureaucracy. And the bureaucrat's defense- which boiled down to: don't worry, we're only issuing visa's to famous dead terrorists, not obscure living ones- is one that Americans largely have to take on trust. A furious President Bush insisted that the INS take decisive action against those responsible, which it did, moving Janis Sposato 'sideways' to the post of 'Assistant Deputy Executive Associate Commissioner.' I don't know what post she was moved sideways from- possibly Associate Executive Deputy Assistant Commissioner. Happily, since them, the INS has changed it's name to some other acronym and ordered up a whole new set of business cards, extra large if Ms. Sposato's role is anything to go by.(2)
As a result of the failed attack, new security directives have been introduced for anyone traveling into America. Intense body and hand-luggage searches and sniffer dogs have been beefed up at departure gates and passengers have been ordered not to stand during the final hour of the flight and are not allowed access to any of their hand luggage during the final hour.
There can be little doubt that whatever the nature of this incident, it will be exploited to the maximum in order to further tighten the stranglehold of police state security measures that are increasingly finding their way out of the airport and into our everyday lives. Homeland Security proposals to use a mandatory shock bracelet that will be fitted to all travelers will now move closer to implementation, as will the increased global roll out of x-ray scanning machines that produce naked images of passengers.(How nice!)
However, if you’re a suspicious looking man on a terror watch list with no passport, carrying explosives, you should breeze through security with no questions asked.
The next time a terrorist gets through and pulls off an attack, it will be for the same reasons: there'll be a bunch of new post -September 11 regulations, and some bureaucrat somewhere will have neglected to follow them, or some wily Islamist will have rendered them as obsolete as his predecessors make all those thirty-year-old hijack rules. That's an abiding feature of government: 90 percent of its ever-proliferating agencies just aren't good, and if you put your life in their hands, more fool you.
1. Mark Steyn, America Alone, The End Of The World As We Know It (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2008), p.183-185.
2. Ibid., p.186.