Wir erliegen der Terrorhysterie

The soon-to-be ubiquitous 'nude scanner.'



Financial Times Deutschland, Germany

We Have Succumbed to 'Terrorism Hysteria'


"Take note: absolute security is only possible if we're completely nude and without luggage when we board aircraft, and of course, after security personnel have inspected all of our bodily orifices."


By Andreas Theyssen



Translated By Stephanie Martin


December 30, 2009


Germany - Financial Times Deutschland - Original Article (German)

Troubled Youth: Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab has been charged by the United States with attempting to blow up an aircraft which was enroute from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Nigeria Minister of Information and Communications 'embarrassed' by suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, Dec. 30, 00:01:01RealVideo

There are many ways to encapsulate the state of the world. When rational people scrap perfectly good cars, then we know: There's an economic crisis, and governments are trying to boost the economy with scrapping fees and by stimulating the stinginess-is-cool gene.


When bankers head out at night and withdraw cash from five different ATM machines, then we know: There's something rotten in our financial system.


And when even the U.S. president is informed that some passenger has repeatedly gone to an aircraft toilet, then we know: The world is degenerating into terrorism hysteria.


It was Sunday evening shortly after 9pm German time [Dec. 27], when several news outlets flashed the breaking story around the world: according to a statement from the White House, Obama had been informed about a conspicuous passenger aboard a flight to Detroit. Just imagine: the most powerful man in the world is being bothered during his Hawaiian vacation with information that an African on Northwest/Delta Airlines flight 253 was suffering from nausea and couldn't be dragged out of the toilet by the crew. Silliness rules the world.  




On Christmas, another Nigerian, student Umar Faruk Abdul Mutallab, wanted to turn himself into a torch with a homemade incendiary device aboard the same Northwest/Delta Airlines flight [two days earlier], thereby causing the jet to crash over Detroit. He didn't succeed - but he was successful in that the world has been turned upside-down since his botched suicide attempt.


We're hearing everywhere that security must be raised: at airlines, at airports and among politicians. That's always very laudable and the reflex is more than understandable. However, in their effort to preclude a future attack ŕ la Abdul Mutallab, security regulators are off course. It's true that the arrangements they're crafting will get on the final nerve of passengers, although they can also be easily circumvented by potential attackers.


Take the toilet ban, for example. On transatlantic flights, restrooms will be locked an hour before landing. After all, Abdul Mutallab had locked himself into one of these little “retreats” for 20 minutes to assemble his incendiary device. And what does this “security measure” achieve? From now on, there will be a sharper odor on U.S. flights and attackers will be going to the toilet 1.5 hours before landing. 


Or take the ban on blankets. In the future, these will have to be locked in the overhead luggage compartment an hour before landing. After all, Abdul Mutallab ignited his incendiary device beneath a blanket. And this achieves what? More passengers will leave well air-conditioned aircraft with a cold - and bombers will just place a suit jacket over their lap instead of a blanket.


Or take the ban on liquids. In the future, carry-on luggage may contain no liquids whatsoever; no deodorant, no nail polish, no aftershave. But above all - no nasal drops, which are used by anyone suffering from congestion to try and prevent their eardrums from being turned inside out by cabin pressure during take-off and landing. Even so, such measures couldn't have stopped an Abdul Mutallab: he had the components of the incendiary device sewn into his underpants.   


The new regulations for U.S. flights don't bring the tiniest bit more security, and regulators know it. But to do nothing after this type of attempted attack - that's not possible given the usual spiral of hysteria.   


Mere mortals like us holler for more security. Politicians call for tougher laws. Security experts always want more security than there already is. And out of this cacophony arise monsters like this toilet ban.  



The Independent, U.K.: Scanners Wouldn't Have Seen 'Underwear Bomb'

Ad Dustour, Jordan: Christmas Day Terror Plot Looks Like a Set-Up

Nachrichten, Switzerland: Terror in the Sky: Christmas Isn't What it Used to Be

Daily Independent, Nigeria: After Terror Scare, Nigerians 'Unduly Stigmatized'

Le Figaro, France: Al-Qaeda: Obama Must Walk in the Footsteps of Bush

NRC Handelsblad, Netherlands: Terror and the Illusion of Complete Safety

The Daily Sun, Nigeria: Christmas Bomb Suspect's Family Issues Statement

Elaph, United Kingdom: America Should 'Hire Private Jets for Muslims'


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Let's take note: absolute security is only possible if we are completely nude and without luggage when we board aircraft, and of course, after security personnel have inspected all of our bodily orifices. However, justifiably, we don't want that. After all, we're already hot under the collar about so-called nude scanners that the E.U. wanted to favor us with at check-in. Nevertheless, a nude scanner would have detected the components of Abdul Mutallab's incendiary device.   



That some ordinary airport staff might see us almost exactly as God created us - that doesn't suit us. Although it's true that we go to the Freie Korper Kultur nudie beach, use the sauna and the communal showers after we exercise and don't object to getting undressed at the doctor's office. But the fact that airport staff might see us nearly naked - that's not acceptable. Now we've suddenly discovered our privacy - and would rather be prohibited from peeing prior to landing. This no longer has anything to do with logic - only hysteria.



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Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Jan. 2, 6:55pm


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