Thursday, September 07, 2006

nothing to fear

do we really know what terror means? The Palace want raps filled against the "terror expert" who claimed he traveled across the country to test our country's lax of security. While this action by the government is the right thing to do, when you strip everything away, the underpinning message this expert has to say is no less important.

methods and methodologies can be tested within the framework of the law. in this case, there is no present justifiable reason why it can not be done. a security audit should have been called for from the top level of government in the first place--- to accomplish the same action, in a safe, controlled and equally revealing test--- one that the intended targets i.e. airport security wouldn't even know until after the study has been conducted but with explicit approval from someone with authority. to execute such a move without authority is insanely vigilante in nature. we've got smart people and often smart people get frustrated when the guys running the show often do idiotic things. while this "terror expert" may have had good intentions, it underscores just how idiotic our life has become. his actions are as reckless in method as those hellbent in irresponsible constitutional change. it also underscores the fact that people running our government--- administration and opposition have mediocre performance and we should really be focusing on working on improving ourselves rather than useless press releases.

if you had done a similar thing on a computer system--- laws would land you in jail. it just isn't ethical. this action also underscores this prevailing cancer in our society--- our reckless righteousness. just because we can do a thing, doesn't mean we should. just because we have the power to call on the police and the military to quash a perceived rebellion, doesn't mean we should exercise it.

Samson Macariola should be charged appropriately, tried and if found legally liable, be punished accordingly. Executive Secretary Ermita was quoted by the Inquirer saying: “He made a fool of our security experts. It is not good for our international image to have something like this. He just wants to get the limelight at the expense of our security forces". limelight or not, being pissed off at the guy is the worst reason to send him to jail. it just seem to be "too personal," and not enough facts or legality come to mind and brings us back to this country's overt recklessness in just about anything. and while we're on the subject of image, as a tourist in malaysia and hong kong about two years ago, i didn't notice any security checks in the malls there yet here we do, is there a difference? such comment of Secretary Ermita is a good sound bite though.

all this doesn't take away the fact that much of our lives have differed since 9/11. go to a mall and the security staff would use all sorts of gadgets on vehicles, even so much as opening the trunk going to the parking lot. sometimes they forget that you could simply be hiding a similar equipment under the seat of the car. why don't these people use technology to do the scanning?

it is often funny to think that "terror experts" say that these bombers and militants often use home made gadgets. it is understandable that malls for example would let you pass through metal detectors but then when you really have to think about it, wouldn't a bomber hellbent in killing people in a mall assemble the same thing by buying stuff from inside the mall? kinda defeats the purpose doesn't it?

what am i getting at? a number of things that i'd lay down in an obvious manner. first, to catch criminals and so called militants, one needs to improve human intelligence and electronic intelligence. use all these assets in place and use them smartly. second, hasn't it occurred to anybody that the sheer fact governments are "scared" that people run "scared" around, the mere fact our daily lives have so much changed and not for the better, these so called militants have accomplished a goal--- we are terrorized everyday? we might as well wave a flag of surrender to bin laden and his ilk.

the words of FDR come to mind and though his words were from another time, another circumstance, and for a different people, we may learn from the wisdom of its entirety and not just from this tiny passage: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

personally i have no problems with monitoring cameras in public places. security forces can watch for people, the least bit intrusive. it makes them hidden, and doesn't hassle the normal, peace loving citizen. in the same manner that monitoring conversations through legal measures is likewise justifiable. similarly, we should all be concerned, concerned in the manner that if someone has left a package, we should let the proper authorities handle it, or if you notice someone doing crazy things, they ought to be flagged--- in the same vein we all do trying to avoid criminal activity. there must be some limit, some standard of stability because total liberty is just as unstable as not having it at all.

militants by their very nature have some cause. they have a reason to their madness, otherwise, wouldn't it be really terrifying if just about anybody, could create chaos? a really insane, determined person or group of people could simply detonate bombs all over a city for example for no apparent reason--- now thats scary. which brings us to the fact that there must be some reason behind it even if we do not understand it. in her book, Seeds of Terror, Maria Ressa wrote about "terror cells" in Singapore and she wrote that the members of the cell were accomplished, smart and well off individuals so different from the radical rebels in say, the southern Philippines. When you think about it, Bin Laden himself is rich and yet what are their goals?

we often hear governments, world leaders not just in the Philippines that these acts of violence are acts of terrorism. do we really understand what that word really means? the United Nations--- a body that should define what the word means, has no definition. how can we fight something, if we who are all allied together can't even determine amongst ourselves, what it is? look up in the sky and see all those stars? there is probably just about as many definition of the word, just as there are stars in the universe. as politically and emotionally charged the word terrorism may be, one man's terrorist maybe another man's hero. to label someone a terrorist is pejorative.