When I was very young we lived near a farm that raised chickens. That’s when I saw chickens running around with their heads cut off. It was the practice of the farmer’s wife to chop off the heads of chickens and then let them run — perhaps to let the blood drain out? Whatever the reason it was a horrible thing to watch, but children back then weren’t shelter from the nasty bits of life.
Also another country saying is “closing the barn door after the horse has escaped”. The meaning of that saying is pretty obvious even for the generations of people who have never set foot on a working farm.
Both of these old sayings have meaning in our modern world in the way the Politicians have responded to the newest breach in Airport Security. The politicians response seems to be always to find ways to making flying even more time consuming and invasive for innocent passengers and they again make it easier for the bad guys to figure out ways around the “security”.
The majority of Americans haven’t traveled overseas. Finding the exact numbers of Americans who have set foot outside of the US is difficult. Until recently Americans traveling to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean have not been required to have passports for re-entry to the US. There are travel statistics which sets the number of individuals who have traveled outside the US at 21%. This number could be misleading — does this number include the frequent travelers or does it stand for the number of individuals who have traveled beyound America’a boarders just once.
To understand how the rest of the world operates and how many non-Americans see Americans one needs to spend time in another country. There are certainly Ugly Americans — the rude, loud pushy individuals doing their best to make all Americans look bad in the eyes of the world. But other countries have different systems and rules which are part of their culture. What happens in other countries view of airport security is that to make Americans feel safe ONLY Americans need to go through security checks. The petty minor official loves to line people up and make people wait. That way he can make it look like something important is happening.
Some of the smaller island Nations can be very educational in understanding exactly how a Rich, well educated, well traveled person like the Crotch Bomber (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) managed to get on an airplane bound for an American city. There is an almost universal understanding that extreme wealth gives certain individuals rights and privileges that common folk don’t deserve. The bad guys know this — apparently they are better at observing human behavior than the so called political security experts in the US.
There are similar privileges of rank in both the military and in small nations with a few individuals of extreme wealth. I’ve watch both high military officers and very wealthy individuals get similar treatment at security check-points in a wide range a situations. Growing up on military bases and sitting for hours in airline terminals of Foreign Countries helps to sharpen my observational skills. On military bases the guards often say that they salute the booze leaving the base in the trunk of the officer’s cars. In Airports overseas the rich and powerful VIPs are escorted past the security check-points.
This was the weak point that one group of bad guys apparently noticed and they’ve probably made a few trial runs to make sure that their patsy was able to get through enough checkpoints to scare the American politicians in charge of security. This hole has been so obvious to those of us who travel overseas — but then who would listen to a few worried Nellies fretting that the rich kids were getting away with breaking more rules?
It took another near tragedy for at least one reporter Jon Gambrell of the AP to do some investigation and discover that Body scanners sent to Nigeria went unused for the purpose of detecting bombs (article is on Yahoo.com news, AP doesn’t want links to their stories). These scanners were used for suspected DRUG runners etc. The head of airport security wasn’t aware that scanners were even present in the airport — that he was charged to keep safe. (Chicken with head cut off #1, 2, 3, & 4).
Then a local reporter in Nigeria, Ruben Abati of Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper, observes that those with wealth and political power are able to by-pass security check points at the Nigeria airport. He points out that with money anything can make its way into an aircraft. This may be an International rule of human behavior.
There will always be different rules for the very wealthy, then people like the Crotch Bomber will make life more difficult and time wasting for the average person of moderate means. (Chicken with head cut off #5)
The scanners installed by the US in mid 2008 in the Nigeria airport were supposed to be used to detect bombs and other illegal packages. Apparently Nigeria is a prime transit point for Afghan heroin and South American Cocaine. If someone fits the drug runner’s profile — these are the individuals who spend time in the body scanners. (Chicken with head cut off #6).
The Crotch bomber probably didn’t raise any red flags as far as being a drug trafficker was concerned. But he sure should have raised flags because of where he had traveled (to Yemen) and the fact that the UK banned his entrance to England based on suspicion his claim to be attending classes at a bogus school. Then the other red flags was that he paid cash ($2,831) for an airline ticket. This was probably dismissed because he is a rich kid and this is how the rich do business in Nigeria. How typical is it for someone to fly such a great distance and not check luggage? (Chicken with head cut off #7)
The Dutch tell reporters that the Crotch bomber raised no suspicions? But now these same Dutch are doing full body scans on ALL passengers to the US. (Chickens with heads cut off #7-99).
I’ve watched Caribbean “security” going through the luggage of poor old folk (white) on a regular basis. These people triggered which red flags? (besides being easy targets for intimidation). And I’ve watched the Caribbean rich and powerful walk through security check points without even slowing down.
When did we enter the virtual reality of a science fiction writer? There is a story plot about immortals who play board games — but their game pieces are real living beings on distant planets. Every time one of the game pieces figures out the new rules the immortal game masters change the rules.
In the current version of the game the bad guys somewhere in a cave, in Yemen perhaps, are sending out probes and finding the weak spots which they will exploit in their own time and their own way. Meanwhile the chickens with their heads cut off will react blindly and run around flapping their wings, causing havoc among the people who can see what is happening.
One of Nigeria’s two main intelligence agencies has blamed the other for failing to share key information two months ago about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young man who allegedly went on to try to blow up a plane over the United States with nearly 300 people on board.
The reported failure by one part of the Nigerian government to share information with other parts of the administration could also, of course, have had potentially catastrophic consequences – although, in the event, Mr Abdulmutallab allegedly failed to completely detonate explosives on the plane.