By Bernard E. Harcourt, a law professor at the University of Chicago, is the author of the forthcoming “Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing and Punishing in an Actuarial Age.” (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 25/08/06):
The profiling of behavioral cues to identify terrorists is the latest trend in American airport security. The Transportation Security Administration began experimenting with the technique last December at a dozen airports, and after this month’s reported bomb plot in Britain, agency officials said they wanted to train and redeploy hundreds of routine screeners at airports across the nation by the end of next year.
There’s no question we’d all like to improve airport security.… Seguir leyendo »
By Kathryn Hughes (THE GUARDIAN, 22/08/06):
Apparently it will not be long before uniformed Spot operatives are patrolling our airports. Although this sounds like a parody of a parody - one of those weak jokes referencing Austin Powers that a certain kind of middle-aged man still insists on making - Screening Passengers by Observation Technique is already up and running in the US.Trained by the likes of Paul Ekman, the professor who helped turn face-reading into a science back in the 1980s, Spot operatives are wizard at picking up "micro-facial expressions" that give away what we're really feeling. This means that would-be terrorists who blithely tell check-in staff that they haven't got any sharp objects, radio-controlled devices or hair gel in their hand luggage will give themselves away with a fleeting grimace that lasts barely 1/25th of a second.… Seguir leyendo »
By Tim Hames (THE TIMES, 21/08/06):
Michael O’leary, chief executive of Ryanair, must have many talents to have reached his position in life, but I had not appreciated until last week that a flair for ironic cheek was one of them. Mr O’Leary appeared at a press conference to publicise his threat to sue the Government if it does not remove the recent restrictions on hand luggage by Thursday; a Union Jack was draped behind him and a Winston Churchill impersonator sat next to him. All of this was done in order to “keep Britain flying”.
This was exceptionally audacious. Mr O’Leary and his company are not British, but Irish.… Seguir leyendo »
By Glenda Jackson, a former transport minister, is the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate (THE GUARDIAN, 17/08/06):
On April 17 1986, a young woman presented herself at Heathrow's gate 23 for that morning's El Al flight to Tel Aviv. She had cleared the airport's own security check-in procedures, but to El Al's security staff something didn't appear right. A search of her hand luggage revealed 1½ ounces of Semtex and a detonator, hidden in a calculator.The young woman was Anne Murphy, a white, Catholic girl from Dublin. The explosives had been planted by her boyfriend, Nezar Hindawi, a terrorist with links to the Libyan government.… Seguir leyendo »
By Simon Jenkins (THE GUARDIAN, 16/08/06):
A stick of lipstick is a killer. A tube of toothpaste is high explosive. Baby's milk is poison. A nailfile is key to mass destruction. For the first time since the Spanish Inquisition a book is a proscribed weapon of war. Such is the infinite delicacy of western society that nothing, absolutely nothing, can be tolerated if it carries the slightest element of risk. Lesser breeds in distant lands can continue their slaughter and mayhem. We may not consort with the great god of chance.
I had once thought that "health and safety" would do for aeroplanes before terrorism did.… Seguir leyendo »
By Martin Samuel (THE TIMES, 15/08/06):
"This is the busiest airport in the world at the busiest time of year," said Heathrow’s chief executive officer Tony Douglas. “To suggest we could continue as if nothing had happened is frankly ludicrous.” Except, actually, nothing had. Not at Heathrow, anyway. No suspected terrorists were apprehended at or on the way to the airport, no bomb-making material was found on airport land. It never is. Look at the clear plastic box on display at every security checkpoint. Nail files, scissors, corkscrews, pen knives. No guns or bombs. Shortly to be joined by paperback books, cuddly toys and a litre of Buxton’s finest.… Seguir leyendo »
By Eugene Robinson (THE WASHINGTON POST, 11/08/06):
When unsmiling agents at the airport take away your contact lens solution, your toothpaste, and your cologne or after-shave, remember Osama bin Laden. Remember the real war on terrorism that the Bush administration and its allies decided not to fight, preferring cowboy-style military adventures.
The revelation yesterday of the elaborate plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic Ocean with liquid explosives reminds us of the real threats we face -- as opposed to the phantom threats that George W. Bush and Tony Blair have conjured to justify their disastrous war in Iraq.
The airliner conspiracy seems to have all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda extravaganza: careful and sophisticated planning, the intent to shock the world with simultaneous detonations, cold-blooded determination to murder innocents by the hundreds, and a timeline that comes suspiciously close to the fifth anniversary of the Sept.… Seguir leyendo »
By Michael Clarke, professor of Defence Studies at King's College London (THE TIMES, 11/08/06):
For all the time jihadi groups spend fantasising about ways to commit mass murder, there is a pretty conventional terrorist mind-set behind most of the plots that materialise.
The security services anticipate all manner of possible terror attacks on Britain — chemical, biological, radiological, and cyber attacks, and cunning assaults on key infrastructure. There is a great deal of loose chat among would-be jihadis about such exotic homicidal possibilities. Kamel Bourgass, the Wood Green “ricin plotter”, intended to smear deadly poison on strap handles in the Tube and on door knobs in London’s Jewish neighbourhoods.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Marc Carrillo, catedrático de Derecho Constitucional de la Universidad Pompeu Fabra (EL PAÍS, 02/08/06):
No corren buenos tiempos para el Estado de derecho en algunos de los países democráticos de referencia. Los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001 consiguieron un objetivo de largo alcance: disminuir las garantías de los derechos fundamentales, que son una de las señas de identidad constitucional de la forma democrática de gobierno. La aprobación de la Patriot Act 2001 por el Congreso de los Estados Unidos supuso el inicio de una serie de medidas claramente lesivas de los derechos de libertad garantizados por la Constitución de 1787, que han encontrado emulación en otros Estados europeos, en especial en la Gran Bretaña.… Seguir leyendo »
Santiago Grisolía, bioquímico (ABC, 17/05/04)
Sin duda, lo único que no podemos evitar son los impuestos y la muerte, pero lo que no es de recibo es adelantar la muerte por el terrorismo. Era difícil comprender el sacrificio humano de los kamikazes pero el actual ejemplo de los jóvenes de ambos sexos, que no solamente se sacrifican sino que también sacrifican a los demás al actuar como bombas humanas es aún más difícil de comprender y de tolerar. Y no quiero hablar de los asesinatos dirigidos como medida de represión estatal. El mes de marzo fue fatídico para Julio César, pero como todos los españoles, acabo de conocer el vandalismo y me faltan palabras para definir el atentado terrorista de este 11 de marzo en Madrid, como la gran escalada terrorista que vivió el mundo con el terrible ataque el 11 de Septiembre del 2001 a las Torres Gemelas de Nueva York.… Seguir leyendo »