An explosive state
Tue 05 Jan, 2010
We know airport security is a problem when European governments are planting plastic explosives on travellers, says JASON WALSH
SUSPECT DEVICES in Ireland are usually the sole preserve of traditionalist republican microgroups but the discovery of explosives in Dublin’s Dorset Street today was the start of a rather more bizarre story…
No, it wasn’t a black op, nor was it the latest underpants bomber. This haul of explosives arrived in Ireland courtesy of the Sloviakian state security forces.
Apparently the Slovak authorities thought it would be a good idea to test its nation’s airport security by hiding plastic explosives in the luggage of eight unwitting travellers.
Seven were detected as the authorities had hoped but 90 grammes of research development explosive or RDX was put in the luggage of a Slovakian electrician who lives and works in Dublin. The 49 year-old man then unwittingly brought the material to Dublin when he returned from Christmas holidays on Saturday January 2. Slovak authorities got around to informing gardaí of their antics today, causing a serious security alert in central Dublin.
It’s a funny story – hilarious, in fact – but there is a darker side to the events.
Since the September 11 attacks airport security has become a nightmarish process and now, after the remarkably inept attempt by Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab to use explosive underwear to bomb a plane, things are only going to get worse. (1)
Given that terrorist outrages on airlines are remarkably uncommon one could, if so inclined, argued that this kind of bizarre and misguided ‘security’ operation is a greater danger to travellers than the spectre of angry men who talk to god.
The state, or for that matter airport authorities, tampering with passengers’ luggage is simply not acceptable. Had the unfortunate electrician been travelling to Britain or the United States and the RDX been detected he would now likely be languishing in solitary confinement.
As is traditional in Ireland, the entirely wrong lesson is being taken from the debacle. Charlie Flanagan, Fine Gael’s security spokesperson is now demanding greater inconvenience for travellers to Ireland.
“Why are the security systems at Dublin airport so lax as to allow a significant amount of explosives to enter the country undetected?” he asked.
More to the point would be asking why Slovakia is using the Keystone Kops as a security force – and why anyone thinks that airport security actually works. After all, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab would has succeeded in his plan to bomb his flight if he had stayed in the plane’s toilet rather than returning to his seat in order to set his smalls on fire.
(1) Flight unfree, Rob Lyons, forth, December 30, 2009
(2) Fury over Slovakia ‘smuggling’ explosive on flight, Ireland Online, January 5, 2010
“Why are the security systems at Dublin airport so lax as to allow a significant amount of explosives to enter the country undetected?”
DUH! Because it’s usually embarking passengers who are screened not disembarking, in Dublin Airport or any other airport in the world. Instead of asking idiot questions Fine Gael surely would be better focused on asking why the Slovaks were so devil-may-care with their “security exercise” in the first place.
Airport security like any type of security is never, can never, be invulnerable. Someone, somewhere will always get through.
The best form of deterrent to Islamic terrorism (or any other kind) is good intelligence - catching the would-be bombers in the planning stages - not as they walk through airport security with various bits and pieces of a bomb secreted on their person waiting to be assembled in mid-flight.
Good prevention not detection is what is required.
Of course it would help if the United States and her allies got the hell out of Afghanistan, Iraq etc. And we finally got the Israel/Palestine issue settled. But that is probably as much a pipedream as believing the bombers will never get through if we just have that one extra security guard or that one extra scanning machine.
By Séamas Ó Sionnaigh on 2010 01 06
Maybe Dermot Ahern should charge the Slovaks with blasphemy. “Blasphemy is a blast for me.”
By Misha Lemass on 2010 01 07
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