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Posts Tagged ‘airport security’

In Russia, Moscow’s Domodedovo airport was hit with a bomb explosion earlier today. Officials are saying that at least 30 people have been killed, and hundreds have been injured in a terrorist bombing attack.

“Russia Today” has raw video footage of the immediate aftermath of Russian airport bombing. WARNING, there are bodies strewn everywhere.  Also available at http://tinyurl.com/4p5my3k

This is not the first terrorist attack in Russia and likely it will not be the last.

Moscow suffered its worst attack in six years in March 2010 when two female suicide bombers from Russia’s volatile Dagestan region set off explosives in the metro, killing 40 people.  Russia is battling an Islamist insurgency in the Caucasus and deadly attacks on government and police officials in Dagestan as well as neighbouring Chechnya and Ingushetia are an almost daily occurrence.

In 2004, two suicide bombers were able to board planes at Domodedovo by buying tickets illegally from airport personnel.  The bombers blew themselves up in mid-air, killing all 90 people aboard the two flights. via http://www.iplaycod.com/forums/110-news-room/7862-moscow-airport-bomb.cod

Here is a time line of terror in Russia from the BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12268662

• Oct 2010 – Six people killed as militants storm parliament in Chechnya, North Caucasus

• Mar 2010 – Suicide bombings at two Moscow metro stations kill 40 people; attack blamed on North Caucasus militants

• Nov 2009 – Bomb blast hits Moscow-St Petersburg luxury express train, killing 26; North Caucasus Islamist group claims responsibility

• Sept 2004 – Chechen rebels seize school in Beslan; 334 hostages, including many children, killed in ensuing battle

• Aug 2004 – Suicide bomber blows herself up at a Moscow metro station, killing 10

• Aug 2004 – Two Tupolevairport airliners blown up in mid-air by suicide bombers, killing 89 passengers and crew

Reports say the blast happened in the baggage reclaim area of Domodedovo airport

Airport spokeswoman Yelena Galanova is telling Interfax: “The explosion occurred in the international arrivals hall in a public area, to which people who are not passengers have free access.” 

FREE ACCESS, imagine that. Airports in the U.S.A. have free public access to arrival halls and baggage claim areas as well.   Take a look at the Las Vegas Airport for example.  Think any subway systems, any bus terminal, any department store.  Anyplace, anywhere.

McCarran International Airport Baggage Claim, just 3 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, 16 baggage claim carousels serve the airlines operating from Terminal 1.

The last time I few through Vegas, someone actually double checked to see if my baggage claim ticket matched the ticket on my suitcase and there were security personnel about, but there was plenty of public access to the area.  Smokers going in and out, people looking for friends, looking for a taxi, etc.  As in the case with the Moscow airport, a whole bunch of airports are set up the same way.

When entering the airport we are now patted down and x-rayed before boarding.  That in and of itself a whole rant.  The balance between security and “Amendment IV” of the Constitution that says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”  The article, “Airport Degredations,” does a fine job of ripping the TSA to shreds at  http://sagharboronline.com/sagharborexpress/our-town/airport-degradations-11004

Whatever one’s belief on the pat down and security screening process, it should not be rocket science to have some additional security in place where there is public access.  Where are all those bomb sniffing dogs we keep hearing about anyway?    

The Political Commentator, http://politicsandfinance.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-light-of-moscow-airport-bombing.html makes this point-

Remember Chris Liu, the pilot based at San Francisco International Airport who caught heat from the TSA for posting a You Tube video of the security breaches at the airport? Remember how his license to carry a weapon was pulled?
Remember his concern that while pilots, flight attendants and passengers needed to go through security checkpoints, other airport personnel did not?

It’s a pretty good guess that some jack wad took a cab, walked right on in with no security check and blew himself up, killing and injuring innocents.  From BBC Live, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/9372022.stm

1655: Aviation expert Chris Yates backs the theory that suicide attacker was responsible for the attack, telling the BBC: “Quite an amount of shrapnel has been found in the arrivals hall – ball bearings and other things that could be packed into a suicide belt. We could be talking about a walk-in suicide attacker walking in and blowing themselves up at that critical moment.”

1722: Interfax quotes unnamed security sources as saying the head of the suspected bomber has been found: “We have found the head of a man of Arab appearance who is about 30 to 35 years old. He presumably set off the explosive device.”

1737: According to eyewitnesses quoted by Russian TV’s Vesti news programme, the bomber shouted “I’ll kill you all” before detonating his explosives

1740: Russian affairs analyst Andrei Ostalski tells BBC World Service: “The attack was so professionally engineered, it was done in such a brutally efficient way there are not too many groups in Russia that have this kind of practical experience of setting up such devices. So of course everybody is thinking about Chechen groups and insurgents who have been trained to do that kind of thing.”

Trained to do that kind of thing?  Despicable. 

The Moscow News, http://themoscownews.com/society/20110120/188351490.html?referfrommn  only days ago, reported:

Akhmed Azimov, chairman of the Moscow branch of the Russian Congress of Caucasus Peoples, told The Moscow News that his organisation is calling for a calm reaction to the nationalist riots, and is advising young Caucasus natives to stay away from counter-protests, such as the abortive attempt to hold a rally near Kievsky Station in mid-December.
“We’ve tried our best to calm down the youth from the North Caucasus – we’ve asked them not to react in any way to the provocations from the ultranationalist movements,” Azimov said.

The balance between safety and security is not going to go away anytime soon.  Prison Planet outlined it like this today, http://www.prisonplanet.com/americans-are-just-as-likely-to-get-struck-by-lightning-than-killed-by-terrorists.html

Roughly the same number as those unfortunately killed in today’s suicide bombing will die on America’s roads today, as well as tomorrow and in fact every day of the year – an average of 115 Americans are killed in car accidents daily, about one every 13 minutes, but you will never see it make the national headlines never mind gain global attention.

And why is that? Because every time we climb into our cars we subconsciously accept the price of freedom – which is the chance of being injured or killed. We take the same gamble every time we board an airplane, cascade down a ski slope or go up in a hot air balloon. We do so because the benefits of being a free human being are infinitely more rewarding than living in constant fear and demanding omnipresent “security,” which is never achievable anyway.

I wish the media would show a little freedom of the press, and show his cowardly blown off head.  That would be a deterrent.  

The BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12269632 has a picture gallery from the Domodedovo airport should one care to witness more carnage from some deviant bastard. 

Sound off with a comment!

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Body Scanners

The Dutch government says it will immediately begin using full body scanners on flights to the United States to prevent future terrorist attacks like the Christmas Day attempt by a young Nigerian. http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20091230/NEWS01/312300004/1001/NEWS

So what’s been the hold up in America?  There is no head of the TSA, they are more worried about the Union than security, and the ACLU and other civil liberties groups are having a hissy fit.  For one of the first times I can ever recall, I am all for more government regulating who gets to fly and am willing to give up some privacy to ensure the safety of air travel.  OMG, is it the year end holiday brain mush that just wrote more government??

 

From 2004.  “The Bush administration has decided to scale back and delay the debut of a vast airline passenger screening program until after the presidential election, federal officials said yesterday. The decision comes after months of meetings with airline officials and lawmakers who pressed the administration to drop more controversial elements of the program, known as Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening Program, or CAPPS II. ” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53320-2004Jul15.html

For 6 years this technology has been out there, ready for use and could have prevented the uni-bomber and the underwear bomber from trying to blow up airplanes! 

On October 1, 2009 – “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has revealed plans to install 150 body scanning machines for primary security screenings at airports across the country. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly opposes the expanded use of this invasive technology, which amounts to a virtual strip search and reveals strikingly graphic images of passengers’ bodies, including intimate medical details like colostomy bags or evidence of mastectomy. ….  By expanding the use of body scanning technology, the TSA is backing away from numerous assertions that it would use these machines only for secondary screenings. There are no laws or regulations limiting how the TSA uses these virtual strip searches, only policies they choose to adopt, and nothing to prevent the TSA from making it mandatory for all passengers to submit to these invasive and embarrassing searches, having their privacy stripped away in order to board a plane.

 The following can be attributed to Christopher Calabrese, ACLU Legislative Counsel for technology and privacy.

 “This new body scanning technology is a frontal assault on personal privacy, with virtual strip searches revealing private body parts and intimate medical details. This degree of examination amounts to a significant – and for some people humiliating – attack on the essential dignity of passengers that citizens in a free nation should not have to tolerate. Passengers expect privacy underneath their clothing and should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies in order to fly.
via http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/10/01-16

Having a scan seems more friendly than a body cavity search.  If you find it humiliating to have a body scan simply don’t get on a plane.  Drive or stay home, one more seat for someone else on these over booked flights.  Take all the pictures you want of me when I fly.  So what if I got a glass eye, a pacemaker, a big penis with piercings, man boobs, a fat ass, a bag to pee in or all of the preceding on my body, whatever.  Get over yourself, you are a human and only God is perfect.  All of us have some kind of weird thing about ourselves, none of us should have the capacity to blow up a plane over the non use of technology that can stop this from happening.  Mandatory or selective, this is one case where I could care less- so long as it prevents the plane my family is getting on from falling from the sky.

The Associated Press says that “At least 19 U.S. airports have the scanners,” at http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1963465,ohare-airport-full-body-scanners-security-122909.article noting that Chicago’s O’Hare will be getting them mid-year. 

I would prefer not to have my fat, x-ray-ed ass posted on the Internet though.  Some sort of deterrent for illicitly copying and distributing the photos should probably be in order, with penalties severe enough to serve as a deterrent.  I wonder who stores the scan at the end of the day, is it now a permanent record, would an agency need a search warrant to use it in a court of law, etc., still some questions linger.  

I do see how the Pre-screening programs could be opportunities to find criminals.  Um, if that is a by product of better technology- so what?  Behind thousands on your child payments? A bad guy out on parole an not reporting?  Wanted on a felony?  Too frickin’ bad, don’t get anywhere near an airport unless you are a law abiding citizen.  Flying is a privilege not a right.   We’re not talking about an overdue library card or a bunch of parking tickets.  Look, finding criminals is not the intention behind scanning some one’s behind for problematic devices, but if it gets them away from being another potential public threat- then so be it. 

Take the extra billions in stimulus and stimulate the economy by making it safer.

Smile, someone takes your picture every time you walk into Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s, etc.  Got a Sam’s Club Card- your picture is on that.  Our local grocery store, in order to cash a payroll check, now requires not only a photograph but a fingerprint of two fingers, on two hands.  Every parent/grandparent/guardian/teacher and janitor at our local school is required to undergo a background check and be fingerprinted before walking in the door.  

If the private sector can match up your face to what you buy, to how often you visit, then the government ought to take every preventable measure to stop terrorism in it’s tracks  NOW, or hire the programmers at Wal-Mart to do it for them.

UPDATED August 5, 2010.  Now we know who stores the scan at the end of the day, the TSA!  The U.S. Marshals Service too. 

The TSA apparently requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for “testing, training, and evaluation purposes.” (PDF)

A 70-page document (PDF) showing the TSA’s procurement specifications, classified as “sensitive security information,” says that in some modes the scanner must “allow exporting of image data in real time” and provide a mechanism for “high-speed transfer of image data” over the network.

The TSA maintains that body scanning is perfectly constitutional: “The program is designed to respect individual sensibilities regarding privacy, modesty and personal autonomy to the maximum extent possible, while still performing its crucial function of protecting all members of the public from potentially catastrophic events.”

HT- http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20012583-281.html

Related- https://ahrcanum.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/body-searches-ordered-by-tsa-dhs-after-airline-attack/

https://ahrcanum.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/al-qaeda-plane-intel/ neglegence?

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