Archive for January 7th, 2010

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A United EU response to the new security measures for the USA?

January 7, 2010

BRUSSELS (AP) — European nations were sharply divided Thursday over the need to install full-body scanners at European airports, with some EU members playing down the need for beefed-up security measures.

Quite rightly.  Knee jerk reactions are all very well to satisfy the American Press and paranoid percentage of the population.

Italy on Thursday joined the United States, Britain and the Netherlands as nations who have announced plans to install the scanners following a Nigerian man’s reported attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner flying from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.

Not quite true.  Britain, sadly, already has a few of these scanners in London and Manchester airports.  The only official statements I have read regarding this from Gordon Doom, state the UK would “gradually” introduce them……just as Gordon is gradually being removed from office…….so don’t hold your breath for safer skys for flights coming direct from the UK to the USA anytime soon.

Washington is seeking enhanced security measures on all trans-Atlantic flights heading for the United States. That’s a huge task, however, since European airports carry thousands of passengers on over 800 flights a day across the lucrative North Atlantic route.

A huge and completely unrealistc task.  There will not be enough of these cheap, easy to fit and easy to monitor scanners sat on the shelves to make a difference in the next 6 months………I know sarcasm is the lowest for of witt.

But as EU aviation security experts met Thursday on the subject of scanners, Belgium’s secretary of state for transport, Etiennne Schouppe, described such enhanced measures as “excessive,” saying security requirements at European airports are already “strict enough.”

One of the few statements originating from Belgium I have not hesitation in agreeing with.
 

Spain too has expressed skepticism about the need for body scanners, and the German and French governments remain uncommitted.

If France and Germany are not convinced then it won’t happen.  Either everyone does it or it is pointless.  I have issues with both Merkle and Sarkozy but neither strike me as particularly spineless when it comes to telling any other nation to p*ss off!

Until now, the EU has allowed member states to decide on whether to use body scanners at airport checkpoints. In 2008, the EU suspended work regulating the use of body scanners after the European Parliament demanded a more in-depth study of their impact on health and privacy.

Until now?  These nations are independent sovereign States.  Thanks to McDoom and the lack of referendum on the Lisbon Treaty……a tragedy in a litany of broken promises……are we to lose the command of our own security aswell and have it dictated to us by Brussells?

Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport has 15 of the scanners and the Dutch have vowed to buy 60 more. They are also retrofitting the scanners with software that projects a stylized human figure onto the computer rather than the actual body image to address privacy concerns.

And more power to their elbow…….but it won’t change anything.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is pressing for Britain to add more scanners than the few they have been testing at London’s Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest, Manchester and other sites.

No, he said they would gradually be implimented……but of course, expect a U turn if telling the US the UK won’t do it will win a few more votes.  No doubt the metaphorical finger has been licked and trust into the air to see which way public opinion goes.

In Italy, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Thursday that full body scanners will be installed at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport, Milan’s Malpensa airport and possibly in Venice within the next three months. In all, about 10 scanners will be purchased.

“The right not to be blown up on an airplane is a more important right” than privacy, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.

Not learned anything about dictatorships and autocratic government from Mussolini I see.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which uses 40 scanners throughout the United States, has announced plans to order dozens more.

Jolly good, keep the big business of the War on Terror generating cash and government expenditure.  It would seem a tad late putting the scanners there though.  After all the terrorist is already in the USA by the time they walk through a US scanner, so why not just detonate themselves in the terminal building?

Since the attempted terrorist attack on Dec. 25, the EU has been reevaluating its security regulations. Aviation experts now must assess whether body scanners can fit into EU legislation, officials said.

“We have to reach agreement together with the (European) parliament and member states,” Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice President, said Thursday. “It’s best to have a European solution than having individual member states deciding on their own.”

Any significant action on the issue would have to be taken by the European Commission, and approved by the EU parliament — a process that could take several months even if all member states agreed on the need.

Thankfully there is little chance of agreement then!

Schouppe agreed on the need for a united European Union approach.

“We must have a common position for all European Union members states so that there is a real transparency between measures taken on the European side and the U.S. side,” he said in an interview with AP Television News.

“I have the feeling that (the Americans) are exaggerating. I don’t know what kinds of controls they were using previously, but here, in Belgium and in the large majority of European airports, security controls were strict enough,” Schouppe said.

Seems he also thinks there is little chance of agreement too!

Some experts have questioned the technical effectiveness of body scanners.

“I’m struggling to discover the logic for adopting the scanner technology,” said Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, an independent watchdog on surveillance issues.

“Any security expert knows this is a red herring, a diversion from the real issue,” he said. “The biggest failure in this case was a failure of intelligence. That’s the Achilles heel of an effective counterterrorism strategy.”

A fact already admitted by Obama and the administration.

EU spokesman Fabio Pirotta said no decisions would be taken at Thursday’s meeting of aviation experts.

Hardly surprising.

U.S. officials say a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to destroy a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day by injecting chemicals into a package of pentrite explosive concealed in his underwear. He failed to ignite the explosive.

Abdulmutallab, 23, was indicted Wednesday on charges including attempted murder and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill nearly 300 people.

And rightly so…….although I thought a weapon of mass destruction was something a little more alarming than attempting to blow his knackers off inside his underpants……….well Tony Blair had me believe a weapon of mass destruction was something far greater! 

Where do the likes of Russia and Ukraine fit into this……and others?  Neither are EU, both have direct flights to the USA and one cannot afford a portion of chips with scraps on……and the other is not known for capitulating to knee-jerk reactions or the whims of the USA.

Doomed to failure if it is not a “one cap fits all measure”………so it is doomed to failure.  Very nice for the company which developed the security system though eh?

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Reversed Polarity……..The East/West shift

January 7, 2010

Well dear readers, before I start, it is Christmas Day here today……..so Новорічними святами та з Різдвом Христовим for the Ukrainian readers……..and Счастливого Рождества for the Russian readers…….and of course the rest of us have already had it…….so I will refer you to my post of 25th December!

Now, with the seasonal greetings complete…….apart from my Muslim and Chinese readers which are yet to come…….I will ramble on a little about what is becoming ever increasingly obvious to me.

Many of us are unfortunate to live in a bubble of sorts and are therefore unable to look from the outside in for a sustained period of time.

I am a British subject of Her Majesty (God Bless her…….and I actually mean it…….an outstanding monarch) but have left the shores of the UK many, many years ago, eventually spending a few years in Moscow and a lot of years in Ukraine.  Regrets? – None whatsoever!

However, this does give me some perceptions about life in the FSU and Blighty…….granted they are lacking in clarity and probably in definition and example…….but indulge me dear readers, today is Christmas Day and what brain cells I have which are capable of any function are somewhat subdued in nature this morning.

I am not writing about global warming and the confused and seemingly unsubstantiated claims by one scientic school of thought or another……..as for me the case is neither proven or disproven by what us mere mortals are allowed access to in the public domain.

No, dear readers, in my less than compus mentus state, I am talking about the shift, over the past decade or so, I have noticed in freedoms, politics and ideology of the FSU States and the “West”.

I will meander a little here, and state, for those of you who may come into contact with the odd American…….no not “odd” as in strange or peculiar but “odd” as in not commonly found in your part of the planet……unless you are American and sat in America reading this, when off course I will refer you to the “odd” as in strange or peculiar…….When you speak to an American about Ukraine or Russia…….if they know where Ukraine is of course……..they all to a person have warm thoughts towards it’s peoples.  If you call them FSU nations, the attitudes of some become much colder.  If you say ex-USSR or former USSR……then for some Americans, everyone here is a “goddam commy, pinko lefty b*as*rd”…….despite when being called Ukrainian or Russian…….they are “wonder people, great culture”.  Strange how the force fed psychy from the Cold War lives on eh?

What has this got to do with reversed polarity between East and West?…….(Admit it, I know you are asking)

Well, everything and nothing I suppose…….as we are talking about mass media fodder for the Sheeple and psychological preconditions and changes both nationally and politically.

Let us consider what we were told when younger about the USSR, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany et al.

Spying on neighbours, authoritarian regimes, cradle to the grave planning for each individual, the stiffling of accademia and intelligencia, controlled and manipulated press, freedom of expression and movement curtailed extensively…….the list goes on and on…….and of course much of it was true.

……..Just out of interest dear readers, I spent many, many years in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, quitting after Kuwait……but spent most of my service……outside of tours of Ireland, Falklands et al……..training to fight the Red Army…….which happened to contain my father-in-law and many in-laws, some of whom volunteered and were not conscripted.  Now the only in-law I would coinsider killing is the mother-in-law…….how spooky is that?

Back on topic, we in the West of course, enjoyed freedom of movement, trade, speech, innovation, expression and everything which was diametrically opposed to the “East” or USSR.

Some of the more enlightened of you can now see where I am going with this……..especially if you did not have a Christams Eve like I did yesterday and have the clarity of thought this post is sadly missing!

Back in Blighty, we now have the Terrorism Act 2000…….which has been apparently misinterpreted by the law inforcement agencies and “Street Wardens”…….never seen one of those, I have been gone so long…….to stop people taking pictures of Section 44 buildings……like almost every tourist attraction in London is……..despite there being no power to do so according to ACPO.

We have over 4.2 million CCTV cameras for a nation of about 62 million people…….almost 1 camera for every 15 people.  No need for STASI sponsored spying some would argue.  We have AML which can follow your every financial move……if unscrupiously apllied…….and of course given the banking and security sectors recent faux pas’ over the years……..this would imply a case of lack of supervision.

We have CCTV cameras being used to convict people of rubbish violations in council areas for over filling bins or not seperating their rubbish properly. 

Even the dear old BBC lost its independence from political bias on many fronts.  I am now forced to read The Times, The Independent and the FT and collate and sift each story within to guesstimate a non-partizan article.

Nudy cams for air travel, frisking, “other measures” for flights to the USA……and probably others…….as a result of one man getting on a plane and summarily toasting his gentialia. 

News Flash – There is no such thing as 100% security…….just as the biggest secret is that there are no secrets……at least no secrets for very long!

News Flash – Suicide bombers were around long, long before Iraq, Afghanistan…….and probably Yemen by the looks of it. 

Al Qaeda did not invent suicide bombers to annoy the West as a cunning deviation from history.

If some members of the Muslim faith are prepared to die for their “cause” then that is what they will do…….regardless of nudy cams, CCTV, road blocks, satellites, technology, huge force applied against them or any other measure taken against them.

The UK, with the Terrorism Act 2000, had in place an Act which had not been required during the bloody times of the Irish situation.  There was thought to be sufficient statute to cover those incidents.  In 2000, Aghanistan and Iraq were both still over the horizon and yet to be any form of actual threat in the UK. 

Blair had not even mealy-mouthed and misinterpreted any dossier about WMD at this time.

Was it an Act penned to assimulate all previous and scattered laws on the statute books regarding terrorism into one convenient Act?

I have no idea…….but I hardly think it likely when there are still Acts on the statute books which allow a Scotsman to be shot with a bow and arrow from the city walls of York……or for a man to beat his wife on a street called Whipmawwhopmagate in the same city on a Sunday.  A cleaning and collation of ancient statutes?  Hmmm

Without going into too much detail, nations like the USA and UK have brought into law what could be seen as quite draconian measures to combat what is really an astronomically small chance of death or injury to it’s nationals.

Of course, I agree that a Government has to protect it’s citizens, but those actions should be comensurate to the threat and with the blessing of the people.  When a Government takes measures removing accepted freedoms be they constitutional or unwritten the question comes about as to whether the State owns the people or the people own the State.

I will also grant that security is now big business be it in implimentation, design, technology, systems et al.  There is much to consider as to who gains most from the “threat” of terrorism.  Business or the terrorist?

Consider the two biggest things force fed to the sheeple by governments over the past decade.  Global warming and terrorism.  Both are now multi-billion dollar industries…….with even derivatives like AAUs, ERUs, CERs and CDMs being bought and sold in the market for “clean air”.   How long before we can find a method of selling terrorist derivatives as well?  

…….Yeh OK, maybe that is a stretch too far…….but nothing surprises me anymore.

In contrast……and returning to the reversed polarity of East and West……Russian and Ukrainian people have never had it easier to travel.  The press is more free than it has ever been……although to say it is unbiased is too much…….as the oligarchy bought up/took control over the media when it stole/aquired all the assests worth having when the USSR collapsed……but that said, the oligarchy have different views of the future…..so there is much more diversification in the FSU nations press.  Let us also not forget knowing a foreign langauge here no longer gets you thrown in a gulag…….so that plus the internet at the very least gives people here access to another nations biased press.

There is almost no CCTV cameras to be found in any of the FSU nations in public places. 

There is no requirement to carry an ID all the time as once was……unless driving.

People from East and West meet openly and speak about everything from politics and religion.  Political correctness has not invaded or interferred in public life in anywhere near the way it has in the West.  In fact it is quite common to see the politicians having a brawl on RADA TV.

The only people who chase ambulances here are those trying to hang on the back and get a free ride from one street to another.

The fear of being sued for malpractice or saying something which will upset someone is almost non-existant.

Nobody sh*ts themselves when they see an unattended lunch box on a park bench. 

I regularly eat breakfast, and somewhere on the 70 something TV chanels, at 8am in the morning I will find a lady will her fun pillows hanging out on mainstream TV almost dangling in my cereal.

Dead bodies are dead bodies and shown on TV in the news.

Liberties and freedoms are getting easier and easier……..even in Russia.  (Despite what you may think of Mr Putin…….a man who I actually bumped into at the Kremlin in May 2006……..no really I mean physically bumped into……..but that’s another story).

Protests in the streets are not marshalled by the police to the point of it becoming the police gang verses your gang…….no, not even in Russia.

This is the polarity reversal I am referring to.  The West and the East seems to be moving to their opposed positions of 40 years ago on very many levels.  The rate of transformation, under current political momentum, will have the bizarre effect of my freedoms being greater in Ukraine and Russia than they would be in the UK and the USA if the trend continues.

Everything is cyclical it seems!

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