The War on Terror is a marketing campaign for
security industries and terrorism experts. The latter are pulling in the consulting
fees, and the former are rapidly inventing new products that enable "our"
government to watch our every move and to know our location at every moment.
Although it should be working
on its corporate ethics, BAE Systems is working on an "Onboard Threat
Detection System." The system consists of tiny cameras and microphones
implanted in airline seats. The Onboard Threat Detection System records every
facial expression and every whisper of every passenger, allowing watchful eyes
and ears to detect terrorists before they can strike. BAE says its system is
so sophisticated that it can differentiate between nervous flyers and real terrorists.
Think about this for a moment. Aside from the Big Brother aspect, the Onboard
Threat Detection System is either redundant or the security authorities have
no confidence in the expensive and intrusive airport security through which
passengers are herded.
We have reached the point where we can no longer fly with more than three ounces
of lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorants, because the government pretends
that we might concoct a bomb out of the ingredients. Three ounces of shampoo
is safe, but three and one-half ounces blows the airliner to smithereens.
We must shed coats, shoes, and belts to pass through airport security. We are
wanded and patted down. Luggage is x-rayed and searched. IDs and boarding passes
are endlessly checked as we proceed from check-in to gate. And we still need
an Onboard Threat Detection System to monitor our expressions and words.
Other firms are developing chip implants that identify a person to scanning
machines and allow our movements to be monitored by GPS systems. Still others
are developing ID cards that have retina scans and our DNA. No doubt we will
be required to have both.
All of this is to protect us from terrorists.
No thought is given to whether the intrusion from the protection is a greater
threat than possible terrorist acts by foreigners protesting American hegemony
over their own lives. If American hegemony has this big a price, I can do without
Some of us remember when it was possible to read a book in an airport while
waiting on a flight. Today it can't be done without ear plugs. TVs blaring
the latest propaganda compete with incessant repetitive terrorist warnings interrupted
by announcements of flight cancellations and gate changes. The cacophony of
sound is maddening. If only we could go back to the days of crying babies and
Once a terrorist warning is produced, it lives forever. Every US airport endlessly
plays the same ancient warning from decades ago instructing passengers to carefully
watch their luggage and not to accept items from other people to carry aboard
flights. This warning dates from pre-security days when the explosion of an
airliner in flight was blamed on a passenger accepting a parcel from a stranger
to carry to a person waiting at the flight's destination. Allegedly, the
parcel was a bomb.
To hear this warning today thirty or forty times after passing through security
makes a person wonder about the efficiency of airport security. Were all those
warrantless searches pointless?
The greatest problem confronted by marketers of anti-terrorist products is
the shortage of terrorist attacks. The only terrorist events Americans have
experienced are the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As for
9/11, we still don't have a good explanation of how so much security failed
in one morning.
To prime the market for anti-terrorism products, the Bush administration used
9/11 to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The Bush administration has been attempting
to occupy both countries for several years at a cost to taxpayers estimated
at one trillion dollars.
The main result of the military action has been to stir up resentment among
Muslims in the hopes that the resentment will find expression in terrorist acts
in the US. We have been made less safe in order that entrepreneurs can make
big bucks protecting us with new security products. It would have been much
better just to give the trillion dollars to the security firms and not invaded
the two countries.
Keep that in mind when you are being monitored in your airliner seat and are
blinking too much because you still wear the old hard contact lenses or are
suffering from allergies. Excessive blinking is a telltale sign of stress and
means that the blinker is about to commit a terrorist act. When you are arrested
don't bother arguing with the foolproof Onboard Threat Detection System.
Just be thankful that your senators and representative received enough campaign
donations from security firms to be concerned with your security.