Monday, January 04, 2010

Profiling by stealth 

Maybe you've all been talking about it behind my back, but I just saw the list of countries from which travelers will face enhanced security screening starting next week. One of them is not like the others:

Starting Monday airline travelers coming to the U.S. from 14 countries face tougher rules.

The nations are, Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The interesting question is whether the TSA actually thinks travelers from Cuba are newly threatening, or if they just included Castro's island so there would be a non-Muslim country on the list. If the latter, then you have to admit the irony is a little fun: The Obama administration put the left's favorite model for distributive justice on an "enhanced screening" list in order to distract the transnational progressives -- Obama's political base, if he has one -- from what would otherwise be blatant religio-ethnic profiling.

I don't care who you are, that's funny.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jan 05, 06:30:00 AM:

Cuba is included because it is a state sponsor of terrorism.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Jan 05, 07:11:00 AM:

If, from here, we can finally arrive at the blistering need to be interviewing ALL single males between the ages of 20 and 35 -especially Muslims - then the current new foolishnes will be worth it.

As an aside, I heard a funny comment the other day that professional pilots refer to the TSA as "Thousands Standing Around".  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jan 05, 01:57:00 PM:

What's the definition of "coming from"? Will a Saudi national arriving on a flight originating in London receive extra screening? Scheduling separate round trips seems too easy a means to game the system.

Also notice who's missing from the list: Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, India, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Chechnya, and Albania. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This stupidity wouldn't happen if we stopped the madness of political correctness and screened every Muslim, period. To those who say "what about peaceful Muslims", I say so what? Do you have a reliable means to tell which Muslims are "peaceful" and which are not? Do you have a reliable means to distinguish which Muslims support jihad in deeds, which support it in words and money, and which do not support it at all? Do you have a reliable means to tell which "peaceful" Muslims will later become jihadists and which won't? If your answer to these questions is "no", and I am certain it is, then you have to screen everybody. This is no different than presuming every Russian on foreign soil in 1975 was a Communist spy. It was true that not every Russian was a spy, or even wanted to overthrow the West, but you'd be foolish not to be suspicious.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Jan 05, 04:12:00 PM:

Discrimination by religion? Good luck with that. I challenge you to pick out the western dressed Muslims on a flight from Jerusalem. Then the Christians, and then the Jews. Then the Muslims who dressed like Jews and Christians to avoid the attention in the airport. Then the Christians and Jews who dressed like Muslims to avoid attention on the ground.

i.e. Abd Allah and other, similar names are used as a name by both Christians and Muslims. Musa = Moshe = Moses. John = Yehya. Yakov = Yaqub = Jacob. Dawood = David. Mary = Miriam. Aaron = Aharon = Haroun. Et cetera.

It would be even more fun for a flight from India, where Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus are congregated, plus a smattering of Jews, some of whom have lived in India for more than 2,000 years.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Jan 05, 08:01:00 PM:

"I challenge you to pick out the western dressed Muslims on a flight from Jerusalem"

If the Muslim reign of terror on airline travel continues unabated without reaction from the mainstream "Muslim Community", then rational legislatures around the world should insist on stricter requirements for Muslims to obtain passports and visas...including extensive background checks and fingerprinting.

If a community of people allows its extremists to terrorize the civilized corner of this planet for a long enough time without taking action against them...which is the current case...then they are simply complicit....and should accept the consequences.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Wed Jan 06, 02:52:00 AM:


"If the Muslim reign of terror..."

I lol'd.

If you asked any American-born Muslim teenager what they think of the terrorists, you might find that they hate the terrorists more than you do, because they made the white people freak out against their entire demographic. Just because their name is Kabir and they're 18-24, they get put on a flag list, despite living in Queens or New Brunswick their whole life. They are the mainstream in this country, and the only reason you can't hear them is because moderates aren't loud. You might notice Fred Phelps and other extra-"pious" Christians get more attention than the church down the block. But you probably knew all of this already, so maybe I'm just being Captain Obvious.

That's why profiling by country of origin is much better than by race or religion, because you won't waste your time with the friendly neighbors who identify as American more than Muslim.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Wed Jan 06, 02:55:00 AM:

Oh yes, whether or not one thinks it might be necessary, assuming every member of any demographic is a murdering scumbag is, itself, a scummy thing to believe. I suppose since serial killers tend to be middle-aged white males, we should profile all of them, eh?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 06, 04:01:00 AM:

Or we could do the kinds of behavior profiling that El Al does. With a nation that is about 20% Muslim, they cannot profile on the basis of religion -- there would be too many people. So they have trained observers who watch how passengers act. Their record seems pretty good.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Wed Jan 06, 07:43:00 AM:

Israeli's have a travel host interview each passenger while boarding. If something doesn't click, he is pulled out for further inquiry.

Virtually every incident of terror over the past 10 years has been perpetrated by Muslim males between the ages of 18-35, half of them named "Mohammed".

Yet...we don't flag these people for any kind of rational screening. Instead, we frisk old ladies and two year olds!

You may laugh out loud, Tiger Teen, but our current system is nothing short of insanity...the suicidal kind.

...and the excuse that the Muslim community doesn't register their complaints because they are "quiet" IS, in fact, laughable.  

By Anonymous Hust Because I'm Paranoid ..., at Wed Jan 06, 09:32:00 AM:

We're not dealing with the "bomb on a plane" threat rationally. Implicitly, TSA assumes that every passenger is a potential perpetrator. This is a valid assumption for El Al, but do the math -- it doesn't fit our threat. If El Al let down its guard, there'd be no end of local Palestinians buying one-way tickets and then getting "strapped." I have to believe that El Al has a method to clear its frequent travelers. I doubt they're putting Israeli businessmen through half-hour interviews for the 99th time. I'd bet El Al has an interesting clientele profile, because of this ... mostly de facto business class ... like the New York - DC shuttle.

TSA is a great example of DC-created bureaucratic idiocy. It's got a $7 billion budget and is nearly totally ineffective. It's a metaphor for our times.

The critical factor is "ordnance." You're not likely to find the "ordnance" with any kind of mass TSA screening -- there'll always be a work-around. Suicide bombers with sufficient pedigree to board a Western plane are rare creatures, thankfully. They do tend to fit a profile.

Ask a real street cop -- they all "profile" -- but it's not "discriminatory" It's all based on context -- intuitive pattern recognition. Two white kids in a car with Jersey plates in a minority neighborhood near the GW bridge says drug buyers, for example.

New York City used to have a lot of crime and it was thought intractable. Murders for example were 2,200 a year at one point. We're down to around 500 -- we can't get much lower as there will always be irate wives beating their sleeping husbands with golf clubs. The reduction in crime was due to several factors -- Freakonomics credits legalized abortion, the crack epidemic burned out -- but you have to credit aggressive (often unconstitutional) pat-downs to get guns off the street ... and CompStat. The NYPD uses a data system that's tied to "Six Sigma" - like "business" practices. It works.

9/11 might have been preventable but we had a data management failure. I'm not hanging that on Bush-Cheney ... it's more of systematic problem with federal bureaucracies. They're too removed -- and aren't accountable. We've just seen it happen again. Government doesn't have to be idiotic. But almost anything at the federal level will be.

"Bombs on a plane" is thankfully a small risk in the scheme of things. While I'm happy to see Obama get beat up over anything, "bombs on a plane" should be a sideshow.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Wed Jan 06, 01:28:00 PM:


I really doubt that old ladies are getting frisked just as often as people named Zayne Abudagga. They screen basically everyone who looks like they're from the Middle East, let's get real.

And saying that moderates aren't loud IS a valid argument. Isn't that basically the idea behind "the silent majority"? And if you're Christian, I suppose you don't feel the need to distance yourself from the crazier sects. Likewise, Muslims in Europe and America feel like they *shouldn't* have to prove to scared, middle-class white people that they're not a terrorist, and they DO get ticked off when they have to. Refer to my comment above to figure out what your average American Muslim thinks of the extremists. It's like how most sects of Christianity view Mormonism. (:D I jest. But only sort of.)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 06, 03:25:00 PM:

I suppose since serial killers tend to be middle-aged white males, we should profile all of them, eh?

Do serial killers have a common ideology? Do they seek to recruit others into that ideology? Is there a serial killer prophet proclaiming he has been made victorious through terror? Do serial killers believe they have a divine mandate to subjugate the planet under their ideology? No?

Just in case you don't know what that ideology is, I'll tell you: Islam. Not "extremist" Islam. Not "hijacked" Islam. Not "isolated nutcase" Islam. Islam. Full stop. There is no moderate Islam, but there are Islamic apostates. We all know Muhammad's command regarding them: execution. No truly devout Muslim is a moderate, because the Quran commands Muslims to give their loyalty only to Islam and other Muslims. The Quran commands that a Muslim can show friendship to an unbeliever only outwardly, but never in the heart. Finally, Muslims are commanded to expand the sphere of Islamic rule until none oppose it. Since one cannot serve two masters, devout Muslims make for disloyal Americans.

Would you give a presumption of innocence to somebody claiming to be a disciple of Mao or Stalin? I suspect you'd argue that Mao was evil, and anybody claiming to agree with him deserves whatever suspicion comes their way. Jihadists expound at length about the divine justification for their acts, in Quran, Sunna, and Sira. Should their co-religionists escape suspicion just because it's a "religion"? When you lie down with dogs, you don't get to complain about the fleas.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Wed Jan 06, 03:54:00 PM:


Moderates are only apostates according to fundamentalists, and you can apply that to ANY religion. The kind of people who kill in the name of God will always view the pacifists as weak and not-pious-enough. You're also a short step away from activating Godwin's Law, which is kinda funny.

I say that both you and JPMcT only hear the negative side of Islam because that's the only side that gets any press. I guarantee that the mosque down the street is not plotting the overthrow of the West and the return of the Caliphate. They're probably praying and helping out at the soup kitchen, something Christians do all the time. Maybe the most subversive thing they're doing is sending money to their families in Palestine, but if your family lived in a refugee camp in a desert, with no income and a Mafia (Hamas) to be worried about, you'd send them money too.

Surely you must realize that the ideology itself is not evil, the people using it for their own goals are. They'll spend an eternity in the ninth circle of Hell for killing in the name of God, so be happy. :D Meantime there's no reason to go around making enemies. If you think moderate Muslims should be in the majority, try finding a few and suggesting this to them.

You know your God is manmade when He hates the same people you do.

Here's another thing. Al Quaeda and other extremists have a pretty nice situation going for them. Even if they fail in their plot (blow up a plane or fly it into something to blow THAT up), they actually succeed, because it gets the white people more agitated and afraid, causing more prejudice, in turn causing more hate all around, in turn causing a Death Spiral that accomplishes their goals ANYWAY. Even if they lose, they win. Don't let fear control you.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Wed Jan 06, 04:24:00 PM:

Also, if you believe that you can only interpret the Quran literally, then I guess you can only interpret the Bible literally, too, and any who read it metaphorically are bad Christians.

If your suggestion is correct, that Islam killing in the name of God is bad, then perhaps we should ban all religions that kill in the name of God (almost all of them), and kill the adherents. Who knows when they might go on a rampage, right? Surely if only the Quakers and Buddhists were left, everyone would get along a lot better.

Except that that is a brutal, repressive, commie, evil thing to do, it is the logical end of your line of argument, which assumes living in peace between these religions is impossible. Well, I propose that if we want to stop death and destruction, we have to change our interpretation of that religion, and that can happen literally overnight.

All it takes is the Pope meeting with the primary religious leader of Islam (whoever that is) and say that a) Nations come before superstitious Immortality Systems (this means that religious law should be respected only by the religious, and enforced only by God) b) Mutual respect must reign supreme and c) Killing in the name of God is the worst sin in the world.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Wed Jan 06, 04:35:00 PM:

Anyone under the age of 21 who is conservative has no heart...


Anyone over the age of 21 who is liberal has no brain.

No sense in arguing, TT...time will show you the way.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 06, 08:50:00 PM:

Moderates are only apostates according to fundamentalists, and you can apply that to ANY religion.

You are mistaken. Fundamentalism is normative in Islam. Every orthodox school teaches it. If you want to graduate university in an Islamic country Islam classes are mandatory, and you can't get your degree if you fail. That's why well-educated Muslims are near universally fundamentalists. Only Muslims that are ignorant of the content of the Quran, Hadith, and Sira are likely to be "moderates". The problem is that they can be convinced by more educated Muslims that "moderation" is in opposition to Allah's teachings. if Islam really were a religion of peace, that couldn't happen.

I guarantee that the mosque down the street is not plotting the overthrow of the West and the return of the Caliphate.

Not personally, perhaps. There are more ways to overthrow the West than direct combat. Money and words, for example. I guarantee the mosque down the street asks its worshippers to give money to Islamic charities in the Middle East, even though it is public knowledge that most are terror front groups that are in fact plotting the overthrow of the West. They probably give money to CAIR, the Muslim American Society, or the Islamic Society of North America, to support their media efforts. We call that "propaganda" around here. The first is a branch of Hamas, the Gaza subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood, the latter two are direct subsidiaries of the Brotherhood.

Surely you must realize that the ideology itself is not evil, the people using it for their own goals are.

This is simply PC ignorance. I suggest you read a good translation of the Quran, like Pickthall's. Then start reading a good Hadith collection, by Muslim or Bukhari. Subjugating the world under the rule of Islam is no mere "goal", at odds with Allah's teachings. It is entirely congruent with Allah's will as expressed in Quran and Hadith. It's the whole point of jihad. They actually believe that when their holy texts say to conquer the world, they have an obligation to do it.

They're probably praying and helping out at the soup kitchen, something Christians do all the time.

Not really. Islamic "charity" is forbidden to be given to unbelievers. Christians help everybody.

Also, if you believe that you can only interpret the Quran literally

It is not I who believe that. It is Muslims who believe that. Every orthodox school of Muslim jurisprudence teaches it. Literalism is not aberrant or extremist, it is normative.

it is the logical end of your line of argument, which assumes living in peace between these religions is impossible

It is impossible. Islam has been at war with its neighbors for more than 1300 years. There have been periods of comparative quiet, but do not mistake that for peace. In islam, peace with non-Muslims must hold only so long as Muslims do not hold the upper hand. The moment they believe they do, any and all agreements and treaties with unbelievers are null and void. This is per Muhammad's personal example, which Muslims are commanded to follow.

We have to change our interpretation of that religion, and that can happen literally overnight.

We are going to do no such thing. It is Muslims who must change, and they will not. I would argue they can not, Islam is a one-way trap of the mind.  

By Blogger Mike, at Thu Jan 07, 09:32:00 AM:

TT -

Assuming people's good intentions is a smart place to start, but don't get blinded by political correctness either. In fact, I went to school with an 18-24 muslim in New Brunswick, who bombed the World Trade Center a few years later.

I don't necessarily follow the chain of logic as far as JPMcT, but neither do I dismiss his thinking too easily.  

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