In two days I am travelling to Canada for a little vacation and a leadership workshop. The thing is I have to fly there and what I am hearing about the whole ‘no liquids’ thing makes me mad. Can I take a tamale for lunch? Please let it be so cause now they don’t feed you on planes what are you supposed to do starve?
Bruce Schnier is a great communicator when it comes to security issues. I saw him twice at RSA this year and found his talks to be informative and entertaining.
We have a ‘security theater‘ situation happening and I hope the performance can end soon. What was most awful was reading all the streeter quotes from people in the paper saying things like…well “I had to through out my $150 box of contact lenses but I am so happy they are making us safer”. Like someone actually said that!What a mind control thing they got going it makes me really worried for the future.
Hours-long waits in the security line. Ridiculous prohibitions on what you can carry onboard. Last week’s foiling of a major terrorist plot and the subsequent airport security graphically illustrates the difference between effective security and security theater.
None of the airplane security measures implemented because of 9/11 — no-fly lists, secondary screening, prohibitions against pocket knives and corkscrews — had anything to do with last week’s arrests. And they wouldn’t have prevented the planned attacks, had the terrorists not been arrested. A national ID card wouldn’t have made a difference, either.
Instead, the arrests are a victory for old-fashioned intelligence and investigation. Details are still secret, but police in at least two countries were watching the terrorists for a long time. They followed leads, figured out who was talking to whom, and slowly pieced together both the network and the plot.
Please believe me I am the last person I would imagine saying yes to more spying and investigation but after seeing Syriana, reading Bob Bears book and the article in the New Yorker (based on this guys story [God I hate old media. I want an real article to link to not an interview and an option to buy a DVD]). I am convinced that our government for its own internal political conveniences cut back on real human intelligence gathering and investigation. This systemic failure is why the ‘terror’ network are functioning so well and why we have a threat today. If we had invested in understanding and infiltrating these islamic networks as they formed instead of ignoring them… (Seeing no Evil) things would be different.
Systemic surveillance of our electronic systems is not going to make us safer. It brings us closer to the possibility fascist state. I do hope more of us working in this industry can speak up publicly about this danger and not just watch in silence as it forms around us. A state that is highly invasive into all our personal activities to make us safer. Meanwhile off somewhere in the middle east “they” are making plans in real human face to face networks that we can not spy into using these new electro gadgets.
Speaking of ‘they’ – who are they? I just watched a film from Netflicks – Death in Gaza. It was of two documentary film makers one of whom died while shooting the film. I spent the summer of 2000 in Jerusalem for 10 weeks I lived and worked there and did what I call “NGO tourism”. I worked at one of the worlds foremost human rights organizations – BTselem the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories and then also worked at the PCATI the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (while there I got my education in what torture is going on and how it affects people – really awful). My fellow international interns and I would spend our weekends traveling about going through the Westbank and up to Nazareth, and Haifa over to Televiv down to Hebron. One time we got to go to Gaza for 2 days. One of the interviewers for B’Tselem was traveling there so the two of us got to go with him. We got hooked up with two guys who worked in an NGO in Gaza and went on a tour for a day… from one end to the other … inside the camps and everything. It was amazingly powerful. Just like in the movie I saw the little kids the ones who are 5 and 6 happily playing away not really knowing there life circumstances yet. Then the older boys would glare glints of anger in there eyes. They are 10-13 years old knowing what they don’t have. The get that it is not normal to have open sewers in the streets. It is not normal to have 10 people living in one room. It is not normal to be growing bunnies up stairs that you kill to have food or a donkey living in your living room. Why do they know this…there are satalite dishes…basically everyone has a TV and can see what life is like in Isreal, and America and the rest of the normal arab world. When you think about that maybe some of this makes a bit more sense. It is not normal to feel like going to school you could get killed (as they young girl in Death in Gaza talks about). It is not normal to have your school playmates killed by gunfire (like the little boys have happen to them in the movie). Or bulldozers coming to plow your house down in the middle of the night (like threatens to happen in the movie ) How can you feel peaceful in this kind of environment?
I know after witnessing what I did that day I was shaken. I really felt my soul had been shaken up like my body was still and it was moving. It was eerily like the feeling I had after exiting the memorial museum at Hiroshima. The thing was…what I had witnessed that day was happening to real people ‘now’ not a historical event from 60 years ago. The depth of suffering is quite intense and the failure to connect with people as people and to really resolve the conflict continues to cause suffering. More bombs and planes and threats of nuclear weapons going off doesn’t make the situation better. It makes it worse. Send in armies of compassionate empathetic listeners. Make public peoples family stories and histories. Find some way through. There are some amazing stories of reconciliation that have happened in Israel/Palestine. They prove it is possible. I do have hope but not if everyone just sees an enemy instead of people, families and societies with real human and community needs.
I was sorting through my stuff over the weekend and found something from B’Tselem. They still send me the reports the write. It was a 11×17 fold over about the wall situation in Jerusalem. Just really disruptive to normal peoples lives. The whole of the Westbank is oriented around the trade flows through main cities. The most main one being East Jerusalem. The fact that they want to cut the Palestinians off from their main economic hub is just mean. People don’t like people who do mean things. Why is this so hard to understand!