Responding to The Threat of Terrorism–Reactive or Proactive Pt. 2


In the first part of this article I dealt with the manner in which the USA has been reactive to the threat of terrorism, rather than being proactive. The end result of being reactive has been a series of measures, such as forcing people who are not likely to be terrorists to take off their shoes prior to entering the metal detector, as well as forcing many to undergo the indignity of searches that are akin to sexual assault.

In this part I will deal with the current threat being made against Germany, and how the German government has been proactive in dealing with a unknown but real threat of terror prior to the end of November. The details of this outline can be found in the following Der Spiegel article:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,727970-2,00.html

As a response to the intelligence received that there is an imminent threat in Germany, the security people there have done the following:

1. heavily armed police are to be seen at the Brandenburg gate;

2. increased security at airports;

3. bomb-sniffing dogs at the railway stations.

It should be noted here that the Germans successfully stopped a previous plot to blow up either railway stations or trains. It should also be noted that they have seen no reason to introduce measures that inconvenience their citizens that use trains on a daily basis. This is a direct contrast to the reactive restrictions and rules that have been introduced into the USA. However, I note that Germany uses the pornographic x-ray machines.

Der Spiegel notes the following:

The signs that Germany has increased security in light of a recent warning that terrorists may be planning an attack on the country are everywhere.

And it could stay that way for some time. Rainer Wendt, head of a major German police union, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Friday that the “state of emergency” is likely to be maintained until the end of the year. He also said that, with hundreds of traditional Christmas markets, which could be potential targets, set to open soon, police in many German cities have had their vacations cancelled.

“All security agencies are in agreement,” Matthias Seeger, head of Germany’s federal police force, told the mass-circulation tabloid Bild on Friday. “On a scale of one to 10, with one representing no danger and 10 standing for acute risk of attack, we are currently at nine.”

The drastic intensification of security measures comes following German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière’s statement on Wednesday in which he said that the German government had “concrete indications” that Islamists were planning an attack and that Germany could be a target.

The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes, in reference to Körting’s comments and demands to intensify German law:

“The demands (to strengthen German law and keep an eye on your neighbours) are akin to robbing ourselves of that which terrorists would like to take from us. It’s like destroying our free and democratic societies to prevent their destruction from terrorist bombs.”

“Terrorists won’t have won if they turn the world into a crime scene and a train station, Christmas market or subway into a battlefield. Rather, they will have triumphed if they occupy our heads, control our thoughts and write our laws. The security which we demand from the state is a valuable commodity, but it isn’t the state’s primary purpose. It is a condition for freedom: We need security in order to be able to live in freedom. But those who want to live in freedom must accept that freedom can never be had without a certain amount of risk.”

and

The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

“For anyone who had hoped to maintain calm in light of the allegedly heightened terror threat in Germany, there are apparently several others who are countering that effort.”

“One German politician, however, cannot be blamed: Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. During his term in office so far, he has acted with restraint, has not stoked fear unnecessarily and has avoided sounding alarmist. And he has declined to use the apparent threat to push through tougher laws. His behaviour makes both him and the warning he delivered more credible.”

“Politicians, security personnel and investigators must do everything in their power to prevent an attack. A public warning is part of that effort. Such warnings can work as signals to potential attackers — at best they can delay or even prevent an attack. Such a warning should serve public safety — and should not be politically abused.”

Rather than doing nothing when there is an uptick in the chatter, the Germans have put the nation on alert.

When the terrorists in Yemen attempted to send some bombs via air cargo, these parcels moved through Germany without being spotted. One of the packages was picked up by UAE and the other was nearly missed in the Midlands Airport in England. If it had not been for the co-operation between the various Secret Services, and that the English were told to have another look, there might have already been an air disaster once again over England.

As a result of that particular threat, packages being sent from Yemen and Somalia have been stopped. However, what is the point of putting into place a restriction that packages more than 1lb will not be flown by air from Japan? This is yet another silly policy that has been implemented because Al Qaeda attempted to send some bombs via UPS and FedEx in Yemen through to an address in Chicago. What gets me about this case is that there had been a dry run in September. U.S. intelligence must have known about the dry run, so why did they not put in place restrictions upon sending parcels from Yemen and Somalia prior to that attempt? Instead they have been reactive because the bombs were placed in toner cartridges, thus the restriction upon the size of the package.

The kinds of restrictions that have been put in place are unnecessary because they are closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Let’s face it:

  • Richard Reid was caught before he could ignite his shoe bomb. You could say that the shoe bomb was a failure.
  • The Underwear bomber managed to singe his balls with his underwear bomb. That bomb attempt was also a failure.
  • The Times Square bomber was interrupted by the vigilance of a street vendor. Quick thinking saved everyone in Times Square at the time.
  • The plotters in the U.K. who were planning to use their children to place bombs in baby drink bottles were discovered prior to carrying out the plan. No one else has wanted to imitated them.  There is no need to restrict liquids being carried in flight.
  • People with prosthetic limbs are unlikely to be bombers.
  • People with small children, and the children themselves are not likely to be bombers.
  • Young attractive women are unlikely to be suicide bombers. It might be true if they are wearing a burqa.

One thing should be noted here: the Arabs and Somalis and other bombers have been dressed in the same way as westerners. Richard Reid had fair hair but he also had a Muslim alias. 

Once an unsuccessful bombing attempt has been made it is unlikely that it will be repeated. These Islamists will try to find other ways to carry out their plans, just like they did with the World Trade Centre. The first bombing attempt failed. However, taking over aircraft and then sending the aircraft into the twin towers worked: they succeeded in bringing down the WTC.  There must be a lesson that can be learned from this fact. So far everybody has failed to learn from the lessons regarding the first and second attacks on the WTC.

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About Aussie

Married with children. Bachelor of Economics and Commerce, Melb 1975
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