Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Go and kill the yellow man

All these whackaloons who are calling for, "can we just start profiling now" are your basic, "Why can't we just be racist like we used to be," types. No. Shut up. They are.

Why? What does a Muslim look like? No, I'm serious. Do you think they get it tattooed on their foreheads? I've known followers of Islam who were more bunt-cake, flour-white, suburban kids than Bill O'Reilly (which, since we're profiling here, put down the whiskey, Bill, get back to work, don't give the Irish a bad name, again, and disavow your IRA ties now, before we come for you). Are we going to make them wear yellow crescent-moons sewn into their garments so we can tell them apart from the other God-fearin' 'Mericans (50 extra bonus points if you get the Godwin reference here)? Are we going to profile "araby types" because that would have missed Umar Abdulmutallab who is a black Nigerian (a little too swarthy if you get my meaning). It also would have missed Richard Reed, the other "I've got a bomb in my clothes for you, baby" guy. Are we going to get sly TSA officials to ask the questions when you go through port control like the bridge guardian in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

"Those who wish to cross the TSA line of demarcation must answer me these questions three, 'ere the boarding area they see. What is your name?"

"Umar Abdulmutallab."

"What is your quest?"

"To destroy the imperial west."

"Are you a radical muslim?"

"No. I mean, yes. ARGH!"

Really. If it's not racism, I can't figure out what it would be. Because the only other answer is that these people, who hold positions of some prominence, are clinically brain dead.

Think profiling will stop the terrorists? Nope. John Walker Lindh. Remember him? The American Taliban. Probably as white-bread as you can get. Timothy McVeigh? The other white meat. As Wednesday said in the movie The Adams Family when asked what her costume was supposed to be, "I'm a serial killer, we look just like everybody else."

Now, there are some ways, but they're not fool-proof. If you're highly trained enough you might be able to spot some tell-tales. I usually can spot someone who has been in the military from the way they walk (well, that and their clothes, etc). I can even make a reasonable guess at the branch and relative rank. But here's the thing, since I know what I'm looking for, in my own case, I intentionally break all those tell-tales. No b-line on me buddy boy. No precision in step. Nothing to really give me away. And that's the problem. You can train against that kind of screening.

Back-scatter x-rays? There's these things called body cavities. You can hide some interesting things in them (ask your local prison inmate or drug mule). Poof machines? Worked well in the lab, but strangely enough when in the real world with real conditions such as air movement from HVAC systems and the perfumes and other things normal people wear, not so well. Maybe if they pray at the airport with prayer rugs? Hey, remember the 9-11 report that talked about the guys being instructed to go to strip-clubs to throw off suspicion? And if all that remains is pulling people over for having scraggly beards, whell, there's a Gillete razor for that.

Nothing is fool proof. As we used to say, we have to be lucky 100% of the time, the terrorists only have to be lucky once. Terrorists, they're the new Red Scare Communists. Get 'em while they're hot.

3 comments:

vince said...

Terrorists, they're the new Red Scare Communists. Get 'em while they're hot.

I love that phrase, and ain't it the truth.

Stupid simpleton idiots thinking that real terrorist can't make sure they don't like like "terrorists."

John Byrnes said...

We don’t need profiling to identify Individuals like the Christmas-Day Bomber!

Virtually all media outlets are discussing whether we should be profiling all Arab Muslims; I will in the one-page explain why we don’t need profiling. Over 15 years ago, we at the Center for Aggression Management developed an easily-applied, measurable and culturally-neutral body language and behavior indicators exhibited by people who intend to perpetrate a terrorist act. This unique methodology utilizes proven research from the fields of psychology, medicine and law enforcement which, when joined together, identify clear, easily-used physiologically-based characteristics of individuals who are about to engage in terrorist activities in time to prevent their Moment of Commitment.

The Problem
Since the foiled terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national on Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit, the President has repeatedly stated that there has been a systemic failure as he reiterates his commitment to fill this gap in our security. This incident, like the Fort Hood shooting, exemplifies why our government must apply every valid preventative approach to identify a potential terrorist.

The myriad methods to identify a terrorist, whether “no-fly list,” “explosive and weapons detection,” mental illness based approaches, “profiling” or “deception detection” - all continue to fail us. Furthermore, the development of deception detection training at Boston Logan Airport demonstrated that the Israeli methods of interrogation will not work in the United States.

All media outlets are discussing the need for profiling of Muslim Arabs, but profiling does not work for the following three reasons:

1. In practice, ethnic profiling tells us that within a certain group of people there is a higher probability for a terrorist; it does not tell us who the next terrorist is!

2. Ethnic profiling is contrary to the value our society places on diversity and freedom from discrimination based on racial, ethnic, religious, age and/or gender based criteria. If we use profiling it will diminish our position among the majority of affected citizens who support us as a beacon of freedom and liberty.

3. By narrowing our field of vision, profiling can lead to the consequence of letting terrorists go undetected, because the terrorist may not be part of any known “profile worthy” group – e.g., the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh

The Solution
Our unique methodology for screening passengers can easily discern (independently of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, age, and gender) the defining characteristics of human beings who are about to engage in terrorist acts.

The question is when will our government use true “hostile intent” through the “continuum of aggressive behavior” to identify potential terrorists? Only when observers focus specifically on “aggressive behavior” do the objective and culturally neutral signs of “aggression” clearly stand out, providing the opportunity to prevent these violent encounters. This method will not only make all citizens safer, but will also pass the inevitable test of legal defensibility given probable action by the ACLU.

As our Government analyzes what went wrong regarding Abdulmatallab’s entrance into the United States, you can be assured that Al Qaeda is also analyzing how their plans went wrong. Who do you think will figure it out first . . . ?

Visit our blog at http://blog.AggressionManagement.com where we discuss the shooting at Fort Hood and the attempted terrorist act on Flight 253.

Steve Buchheit said...

Vince, thanks. I'm kind of proud of that line.

John, I think I pretty much discount your profiling methods in my original post. True, in general someone about to commit violence shows some tell-tales. However, someone actually trained to do that and specifically trained not to betray themselves will slip pass any screen (not to mention the often missed vulnerability of striking before screening inflicting damage in the backup because of slow processing). And if your screening is designed to find the person just about to commit the act (point of commitment), then your screen would have been a few hours late in the case of the Failed Xmas Bomber as that point would have occurred on the flight. And the attempt of getting past screening with the bomb might show similar tell-tales (point of commitment to smuggle bomb), but again, see earlier comment on terrorists being trained.

Any test can be beaten. And you may wish to look at Police Training techniques on body-language and how to use them. I, myself, know how to look disarming and non-threatening enough to get close to a target before revealing myself (which, at that point, it would be to late as my plans would already be in motion, it is also in my training that once that happens, very little can be done to stop it by any force that could be brought to bear at the point of my attack).

Since the link to your site is on-topic, I'm going to leave it up, even though I don't feel your methods would be successful and that your just trying to get a government contract.

However, I will agree that disarming the aggression before it manifests into action is the best course. However, to be very effective and having a chance of success it would necessarily be a long term goal that will leave many people feeling unsafe in the short term as an effective campaign of doing so would be seen initially (by, IMHO, those in our own pundit and political sphere who would trigger a positive in your methods) as weakness and contrition.