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SB_Mig:
Whack Job...

First off, I am not ignoring the writer's assertion about the behaviour of the individuals in question.

I just wonder if the same attention would have been paid to a group of "non-ethnic" looking men/women. Having the pleasure of being ethnically profiled while surrounded by "non-ehtnic" types, I find it insulting that nowadays the automatic assumption is: Middle-Eastern looking, not acting "normal" = terrorist/troublemaker.

That is the very issue that I take with our "war on terror":

"...the overwhelming majority of those trying to kill us are Arab males between 20 and 50 and act accordingly"

First off, the "us" you speak of would be (and pardon the assumption on my part) Americans. If you are naive enough to believe that "the Ay-rabs" are out to get "us", I think you are losing the battle before it starts. Muslim extremists are out to get us and believe me, Muslims come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. That is why we have soldiers fighting the war in places like the Philippines, Indonesia, and parts of Africa.

Second, I am not advocating across the board budget changes to defend our home turf by placing a guard at each mall entrance. I am only suggesting that our perception of what a terrorist is needs to change, 'cause they sure as hell aren't  going to keep sending people our way that "look" the part.

On this I believe we agree..."Most self-defense experts strongly suggest that people should listen to their intuition about danger." Absolutely. I just take issue with people narrowing their intuition to a field of vision that only includes "Arab males between 20 and 50". I would hope that people are educated in their vigilance, and not be UNABLE TO SEE THE WOODS FOR THE TREES.

Thoughts?

Miguel

rogt:
Whack Job,

The only reason Japanese-Americans (and not German- or Italian-Americans) were placed in prison camps during WW2 is because Japanese people have a distinct look.  White people like Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and KKK members all qualify as terrorists, yet surely you would consider it absurd to allow such profiling of white people.  As Miguel points out, profiling of Arabs would not be a bug-free solution even if we could do it.  Plenty of Muslims as white as Geroge W. Bush are potential AQ recruits.  
The fact is that a terrorist attack could happen anywhere, anytime, with no warning.  This was just as true before 9/11 as it is now.  We should take whatever reasonable security measures we can, but even turning the US into a virtual police state wouldn't make as any safer than we are now.

Rog

Whack Job:
All:

"First off, I am not ignoring the writer's assertion about the behaviour of the individuals in question."

Sorry if I missed where you paid attention to it , , ,

"I just wonder if the same attention would have been paid to a group of "non-ethnic" looking men/women. Having the pleasure of being ethnically profiled while surrounded by "non-ehtnic" types, I find it insulting that nowadays the automatic assumption is: Middle-Eastern looking, not acting "normal" = terrorist/troublemaker. "

Forgive me, but too bad so sad.  It is an emminently reasonable thought to have.  15 of the 19 on 911 were Saudis.

That is the very issue that I take with our "war on terror":

"...the overwhelming majority of those trying to kill us are Arab males between 20 and 50 and act accordingly"

"First off, the "us" you speak of would be (and pardon the assumption on my part) Americans. If you are naive enough to believe that "the Ay-rabs" are out to get "us", I think you are losing the battle before it starts. Muslim extremists are out to get us and believe me, Muslims come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. That is why we have soldiers fighting the war in places like the Philippines, Indonesia, and parts of Africa."

Forgive me, but the naivete is yours.  To be precise, it is not the 'Ayrab' who are out to get us, but the religious fascist killer nuts amongst them. As for those in the Philippines and Indonesia the same so-called discrimination you lament would apply to them as well.

Anyway, before moving on to another article I found on all this, because the tone behind typed words often miscommunicates I do want to take a moment to underline that all I say is in a spirit of respectful disagreement.

Now, here's this:

Whack Job
====================

More on airline security.  Is there nothing that can be done that is not too intrusive for the public safety?  When the next airline hijacking is completed, what do we do?

 

Scouting jetliners for new attacks


By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
 

Flight crews and air marshals say Middle Eastern men are staking out airports, probing security measures and conducting test runs aboard airplanes for a terrorist attack.
    At least two midflight incidents have involved numerous men of Middle Eastern descent behaving in what one pilot called "stereotypical" behavior of an organized attempt to attack a plane.

    "No doubt these are dry runs for a terrorist attack," an air marshal said.
    Pilots and air marshals who asked to remain anonymous told The Washington Times that surveillance by terrorists is rampant, using different probing methods.
    "It's happening, and it's a sad state of affairs," a pilot said.
    A June 29 incident aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles is similar to a Feb. 15 incident on American Airlines Flight 1732 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.
    The Northwest flight involved 14 Syrian men and the American Airlines flight involved six men of Middle Eastern descent.
    "I've never been in a situation where I have felt that afraid," said Annie Jacobsen, a business and finance feature writer for the online magazine Women's Wall Street who was aboard the Northwest flight.
    The men were seated throughout the plane pretending to be strangers. Once airborne, they began congregating in groups of two or three, stood nearly the entire flight, and consecutively filed in and out of bathrooms at different intervals, raising concern among passengers and flight attendants, Mrs. Jacobsen said.
    One man took a McDonald's bag into the bathroom, then passed it off to another passenger upon returning to his seat. When the pilot announced the plane was cleared for landing and to fasten seat belts, seven men jumped up in unison and went to different bathrooms.
    Her account was confirmed by David Adams, spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), who said officers were on board and checked the bathrooms several times during the flight, but nothing was found.
    "The FAMS never broke their cover, but monitored" the activity, Mr. Adams said. "Given the facts, they had no legal basis to take an enforcement action. But there was enough of a suspicious nature for the FAMS, passengers and crew to take notice."
    A January FBI memo says suicide terrorists are plotting to hijack trans-Atlantic planes by smuggling "ready-to-build" bomb kits past airport security, and later assembling the explosives in aircraft bathrooms.
    On many overseas flights, airlines have issued rules prohibiting loitering near the lavatory.
    "After seeing 14 Middle Eastern men board separately (six together and eight individually) and then act as a group, watching their unusual glances, observing their bizarre bathroom activities, watching them congregate in small groups, knowing that the flight attendants and the pilots were seriously concerned and now knowing that federal air marshals were on board, I was officially terrified," Mrs. Jacobsen said.
    "One by one, they went into the two lavatories, each spending about four minutes inside. Right in front of us, two men stood up against the emergency exit door, waiting for the lavatory to become available. The men spoke in Arabic among themselves ... one of the men took his camera into the lavatory. Another took his cell phone. Again, no one approached the men. Not one of the flight attendants asked them to sit down."
    In an interview yesterday with The Washington Times, Mrs. Jacobsen said she was surprised to learn afterward that flight attendants are not trained to handle terrorist attacks or the situation that happened on her flight.
    "I absolutely empathize with the flight attendants. They are acting with no clear protocol," she said.
    Other passengers were distraught and one woman was even crying as the events unfolded.
    The plane was met by officials from the FBI, Los Angeles Police Department, Federal Air Marshal Service and Transportation Security Administration. The Syrians, who were traveling on one-way tickets, were taken into custody.
    The men, who were not on terrorist watch lists, were released, although their information and fingerprints were added to a database. The group had been hired as musicians to play at a casino, and the booking, hotel accommodations and return flight to New York from Long Beach, Calif., also checked out, Mr. Adams said.
    "We don't know if it was a dry run, that's why we are working together with intelligence and investigative agencies to help protect the homeland," he said.
    Mrs. Jacobsen, however, is skeptical the 14 passengers were innocent musicians.
    "If 19 terrorists can learn to fly airplanes into buildings, couldn't 14 terrorists learn to play instruments?" she asked in the article.
    The pilot confirmed Mrs. Jacobsen's experience was "terribly alike" what flight attendants reported on the San Juan flight.
    He said there is "widespread knowledge" among crew members these probes are taking place.
    A Middle Eastern passenger attempted to videotape out the window as the plane taxied on takeoff and, when told by a flight attendant it was not permitted, "gave her a mean look and stopped taping," said a written report of the San Juan incident by a flight attendant.
    The group of six men sat near one another, pretended to be strangers, but after careful observation from flight attendants, it was apparent "all six knew each other," the report said.
    "They were very careful when we were in their area to seem separate and pretended to be sleeping, but when we were out of the twilight area, they were watching and communicating," the report said.
    The men made several trips to the bathroom and congregated in that area, and were told at least twice by a flight attendant to return to their seats. The suspicious behavior was relayed to airline officials in midflight and additional background checks were conducted.
    A second pilot said that, on one of his recent flights, an air marshal forced his way into the lavatory at the front of his plane after a man of Middle Eastern descent locked himself in for a long period.
    The marshal found the mirror had been removed and the man was attempting to break through the wall. The cockpit was on the other side.
    The second pilot said terrorists are "absolutely" testing security.
    "There is a great degree of concern in the airline industry that not only are these dry runs for a terrorist attack, but that there is absolutely no defense capabilities on a vast majority of airlines," the second pilot said.
    Dawn Deeks, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, said there is no "central clearinghouse" for them to learn of suspicious incidents, and flight crews are not told how issues are resolved.
    She said a flight attendant reported that a passenger was using a telephoto lens to take sequential photos of the cockpit door.
    The passenger was stopped, and the incident, which happened two months ago, was reported to officials. But when the attendant checked back last week on the outcome, she was told her report had been lost.
    Recent incidents at the Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport have also alarmed flight crews. Earlier this month, a passenger from Syria was taken into custody while carrying anti-American materials and a note suggesting he intended to commit a public suicide.
    A third pilot reported watching a man of Middle Eastern descent at the same airport using binoculars to get airplane tail numbers and writing the numbers in a notebook to correspond with flight numbers.
    "It's a probe. They are probing us," said a second air marshal, who confirmed that Middle Eastern men try to flush out marshals by rushing the cockpit and stopping suddenly.

SB_Mig:
"First off, I am not ignoring the writer's assertion about the behaviour of the individuals in question."

Sorry if I missed where you paid attention to it , , ,

That would be Paragraph 2, of Section 2 in my response:

The author writes, "For the next hour, the men congregated in groups of two and three at the back of the plane for varying periods of time." Gee, I've never seen this on a plane, especially near the bathroom.

All I'm wondering is if this behaviour would have seemed suspect coming from anyone else (a group of nuns/football players/computer geeks/midgets) or if the current "Arabs bad, others good" thinking should automatically kick in.

As to your response:

Forgive me, but too bad so sad. It is an emminently reasonable thought to have. 15 of the 19 on 911 were Saudis.

Again, that is the main point of my writing: Tunnel vision in regards to the terrorist threat. Does it concern me that strange behaviour has been displayed by Arab men on planes? Definitely. The problem that I have is NOT "racial profiling" but our (notice the "our", not "your") collective inability to look at places besides the Middle East as training/breeding grounds for terroristic thought.

Forgive me, but the naivete is yours. To be precise, it is not the 'Ayrab' who are out to get us, but the religious fascist killer nuts amongst them.

I didn't say the Arabs are coming to get us. Those were your words. Unfortunately the sarcastic tone I applied in using the word "ay-rabs" doesn't quite translate on the page. And again, those religious fascist killer nuts come in all shapes and sizes.

I appreciate a vigorous discussion as much as the next person, I only wish that the written word worked better when I put it on the page. A shortcoming on my part, I am sure.  :wink:

However, I will say that no one has responded to my notes on behaviour by both passengers and crew.

1) Shouldn't you be as concerned with the behaviour of a white male on a plane, mumbling to himself while stroking a Bible as you should a Middle Easterner doing the same while holding the Koran? Being vigilant means looking at everyone.

2) Shouldn't the crew not tip off passengers as to the presence of Air Marshalls? Again, I find that fact more disturbing than anything else.

3) Are we as a society so dumb as to believe that terrorists will act with stereotypical behaviour? Look, these people scouted, planned, trained, and pulled off one of the most audacious acts of terrorism that I can think of, right under our noses. Just as we have think tanks to find out their hows/wheres/whys, they have think tanks to figure out new unobstrusive ways of getting at the U.S. again. So let's broaden our field of view so that we are not caught with our pants down again.

4) When you are out and about, do you pay attention to the people around you? Having worked in various fields that require some type of crowd surveillance/control/security/organization, you often find that the person "least likely" to cause trouble if often the very one who does. I call it "the boy next door" syndrome. All I ask is that people get to know their neighbor, fellow passenger, co-worker even if with a few words of hello. You'd be surprised how far that will get you when it comes to noticing unusual behaviour.

Again, I solicit thoughts from the masses. And Whack Job, I  honestly appreciate your thoughts on the matter. That is what ultimately puts us miles ahead of so many nations in the world: honest, open discourse.

Best,

Miguel

Whack Job:
SB:

"The author writes, "For the next hour, the men congregated in groups of two and three at the back of the plane for varying periods of time." Gee, I've never seen this on a plane, especially near the bathroom. "

My point is that this needs to be seen in conjunction with their boarding and sitting separately.

SB, I agree that sundry issues are raised by the article concerning improving security. I have no problem with the idea that not all terrorists are Arab muslims.  I totally agree that environmental awareness and knowing one's neighbors, etc are good things.  To the best of my ability I practice them.  That said, one can overload and screening mechanisms to trim down the volume are rational.  

Lets take a trip down memory lane with a quiz sent by an Israeli friend:

=============

Subject: Profiling in the U.S.
Take the short quiz, read, reflect and forward.

 
Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following Multiple
Choice test.... no need to keep score. The events are actual cuts from
past history. They actually happened!
Do you remember?
 
1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred
by:
a. Olga Corbitt
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzeneger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
3. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:

a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
4. In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year-old
American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair
by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
6. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a U.S. Navy diver
trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
7. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
9. In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed
by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild
Bill's women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
10. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as
missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two,
one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed
by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
11. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan
against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
 
Nope, I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?
 
So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics
intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, Secret agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winning former Governors, and leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 & 40 alone because of profiling.
 
Let's send this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldreds
and other dunder-headed attorneys along with Federal Justices that want
to thwart common sense, feel doubly ashamed of themselves if they have
any such sense.
 
As the writer of the award winning story "Forrest Gump" so aptly put it,
"Stupid is as stupid does."
==============

You mentioned in a prior post being offended by profiling.  My intent here is the opposite of offending--it is to persuade you (and those reading) that there is good reason for profiling.  If you understand this, perhaps the sting you perceive will be removed.  

Whack Job

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