An Incongruent State of Terrorism

by  —  October 31, 2008

As a preface: this article shouldn’t be mistaken as me being wistful for terrorist actions; i am ~infinitely more glad to have the lack of terrorist activity in the geographical places i love than i am pained by yet something else not making sense in the world.

As much as i would wish quietude on my thought processes and to simply enjoy the silence, there is something nagging which i’m unable to shake: there’s something suspicious concerning the state of terrorist attacks in the US and in Europe — an equation which doesn’t appear to add up when written out.

There are certain terrorist groups which advertise themselves as being quite angry at the US and at European countries; voluminous rhetoric in written, aural and visual form is easily encountered on the internet, for example. Judging from their widespread messages, as well as their claimed actual acts: these same groups don’t appear to be of lazy people, nor people without financial means, nor people without access to instruments of destruction.

Meanwhile, in the US and Europe, the public face on anti-terrorism efforts seemingly verges on buffoonery; whether it be employing rules after the fact1, or instituting policies largely ineffectual in capturing people of forethought2, the resulting impression is of a force by which no determined person of moderate intelligence could be deterred.3

In addition to force in numbers at organized country entry points, there exist the tremendously permeable land and sea borders. Historically, these haven’t succeeded as obstacles to traffickers of humans/drugs/cigarettes/alcohol/…; if any given country can’t stop these traffickers at its borders, then there’s very little reason to believe that these same borders aren’t porous to any other type of arriving party.

So, we have angry groups of people already displaying a propensity towards violent acts against certain other peoples; at the same time these other peoples both live in a very travel-open space and display Clouseau-esque defense postures. And yet: there have been basically no terrorist attacks in these countries over the past 7 years.4

What’s going on with this apparent imbalance? It could be that the advertised ineptitude is simply a ruse engineered by what is actually a very savvy and wired-in intelligence community, though continued policy decisions in other branches5 would have to mean that the ruse is a coordinated effort across several generally notoriously independent government offices.

As a bigger picture, it all continues to make little sense.

  1. From training the stink eye on shoes only after someone tried to blow their’s up, to banning a very arbitrary amount of fluid only after it was found that people had nefarious plans that employed fluids, and so forth. []
  2. Such as confiscating media storage devices at borders, when any person serious about getting terrorist data (i don’t even know what this would be) into a country would simply put said data on an internet connected server and then walk physically-empty-handed into the country. []
  3. For further reading: Bruce Schneier has written and spoken extensively about the logically inconsistent, and unsafe, policies instituted by the TSA in the US. []
  4. I don’t mean to minimize the impact the London and Madrid attacks have had on the lives of people, but if we were to spin some custom metric of unit ‘(potential-area)(person)/(time)’, it would be damn small. []
  5. For example, choosing a bizarre moral stance over security as a national policy. []

Marked as: Governmental PoliciesTechnology  —  3 comments   (RSS)

3 Comments so far
  1. redaction November 8, 2008 1:37 pm

    In 2002, Pittsburgh reporter Carl Prine investigated the security provided to chemical plants and railways. I saw this televised on PBS, and if I remember correctly, he made a sticker that read “This Could Be A Bomb”, stuck it on the side of a chemical tanker car outside the plant, and followed the train on its course. His sticker made it, undiscovered, all the way to the train’s destination.

    This rather long, dry report has a spooky photo in it: a railway tanker car with the words “Chlorine – Inhalation Hazard” parked 4 blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building. The report also mentions Mr. Prine.

    It’s really disturbing that the “official government reports” seem to be so glibly speaking out both sides of their mouths about an issue as important as national security.

  2. dhex November 19, 2008 9:59 am

    “As a bigger picture, it all continues to make little sense.”

    imagine an animal with thousands of arms.

    now imagine that animal running a bureaucracy.

    now imagine this animal has to justify its existence to get more money each year.

    the animal with a thousand arms will make a lot of promises it can’t keep, and say a lot of things that don’t make sense, taken as a whole.

    did i mention the animal is at war with itself?

    anyway, i think it makes perfect sense, but my expectations of government action, licit and illicit, are as impossibly low as the expectations of many voters was impossibly high.

    the single best bit of this past election was both chocolate jesus and captain foreverwar promising that no one would ever lose money on their homes, like, ever and forever. LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!

  3. christina April 1, 2009 12:11 am

    Someone should hand a “Rodney King” over to the terrorist groups.
    Seems like every WW3 story I ever read had everyone dead at the end.
    Seems I couldn’t fit in with any of these groups as I am two eccentric.
    So far I’m following the Helter Skelter Model.
    Select Part Five From Boyd Rice Debates Bob Larson 4 my best advice .
    Seeing how I am religious , I have even more adventurous ideas than that.
    So, Boyd does mention letting the system give itself a good workout.
    Supposing that’s what this person would probably guess the clever are doing.
    Something like the Ultimate Fighting Championship, gone really, really wrong.
    Summed up to say, not adverse to self-defense, yet it can be most dangerous.
    Surviving The Game.

Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© 2007-2015 Process Media Labs and the respective authors. This WordPress theme began as a public work by Speckyboy.