Thursday, August 17

Installing a Plot Device

Item:
British Argue 22 Suspects Should Be Kept

By MATT MOORE Associated Press Writer

August 16,2006 | LONDON -- British investigators argued at a closed-door hearing Wednesday that suspects arrested in an alleged plot to blow up as many as 10 trans-Atlantic jetliners should be kept in custody without charge....

Experts say the primary reason police could use nearly a month to complete a probe is because of the complexity of investigations into the alleged plot to smuggle liquid explosives hidden in hand luggage aboard flights.

"You've got laptops, you have to bring in translators to translate all the documents in there, and sometimes it's inopportune to release all your suspects -- particularly terrorism suspects -- while all that is being downloaded and translated," said Cliff Knuckey, a retired police detective who has worked on terrorism investigations.....

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, who commands the anti-terrorist police branch, said officers had found terrorist training videos spliced in the middle of normal Hollywood films, meaning hours spent scrutinizing videotapes.

Wait a minute, uh, chaps...you had these guys under surveillance for a year, you've gotten international help, including vital help from the US of A, according to our former President, where we've been tracking this stuff for five years now without regard for, well, much of anything, really, and you still need a month to fast-forward through somebody's videotapes looking for naughty bits?

Say, by any chance did you happen to get all your information from some no-account on the lam from the UK who the Pakistanis tortured ?

Item:
Liberal agonies

Tuesday August 15, 2006
The Guardian

Reports from Pakistan suggest that much of the intelligence that led to the raids came from that country and that some of it may have been obtained in ways entirely unacceptable here. In particular Rashid Rauf, a British citizen said to be a prime source of information leading to last week's arrests, has been held without access to full consular or legal assistance. Disturbing reports in Pakistani papers that he had "broken" under interrogation have been echoed by local human rights bodies. The Guardian has quoted one, Asma Jehangir, of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who has no doubt about the meaning of broken. "I don't deduce, I know - torture," she said.

Wow, the whole case may rest, ultimately, on what was tortured out of someone? That sort of thing could give even La Shawn Barber pause, couldn't it?

Item:

08.15.06
Let the Ethnic/Religious Profiling Begin!
Since the people murdering and maiming others are overwhelmingly young men of Middle Eastern descent who also happen to be followers of Allah, isn’t it wiser, safer, smarter, and more efficient to keep a heavier eye on these types of individuals?...

Sure. I mean, it's not like it was a couple of white guy patriots who blew up the Murrah Building, right? Neither was it some right-winger with a security clearance who was mailing anthrax around the country. And even if it had been, those types would never attack a plane.
Karol Sheinin guest-blogging at MM links to a Guardian story that reports torture was used to foil the terror plot. Last year I wrote :

I believe exerting pressure on enemy combatants in order to extract information is sometimes necessary. What I mean by that carefully-worded statement is that yes, I “support” torture as a last resort method to save lives.

Still do.

This, then, is the principal difference between an electronic device and a human being: electronic devices only rarely get stuck in the ON position.

It's not about torture per se, it's about the unreliability of the evidence thus obtained. You twit. By which I simply mean, kindly curb your bloodlust for two seconds, huh?

I'm a little short on free time these days, but since last week's foiling of the Facepowder Plot my mind has occasionally wandered of its own accord to my school days. Somewhere between seventh grade health class and the high school Health and Safety class everyone took at summer school after Driver's Ed just to get the damned requirement out of the way, the Man had discovered The Drug Menace. (In the idyllic days junior high the great threat was homosexual molestation, apparently. One day they divided the boys from the girls, and marched us off, with all the gravitas a junior high gym teacher can command, to watch a film. I remember they brought in the gym teacher specifically to herd us, the regular teacher being female. The movie was short on plot and really short on action; some guy lured a couple of boys off the playground and into his suburban-type house. Then it was Behind the Green Door, except you were on the outside. For all I knew then or now it could have been about Commies. I remember the teacher snapped, "Any questions?" after he snapped on the lights, and I resisted the urge to say, "Yeah, what the fuck was that supposed to be about?"

I never found out what the girls watched. Breakfast at Tiffany's, maybe.

Oh. My best friend in those days was in another class, and his group was shepherded by the football coach, who he reported as being more talkative than my own instructor. "If somebody tries to stick his thing in your butt just shit on him," was his advice, culled from many years of showering in locker rooms, no doubt.)

The Drug Menace struck Middle American squarely in the 70s, and there was a paucity of available classroom film studies. We got two, as I recall, one which was pure Reefer Madness, including implied wanton sex after those inhibitions had been loosened (that scared us straight!), and the other which was late-40s JD stuff with black leather and DAs and a pusher in a Panama hat ("First taste's free!"), and our budding hooligan gets hooked on the weed and looks into a mirror and sees a werewolf or something and goes insane. Based on a true story. Later that year there was another film shown at an all-school convocation conducted by the Sheriff's Dept., a hip updating of the anti-Drug message hosted by Sonny and Cher, whom the hippest among us could actually remember.

And they passed out pamphlets which would help us identify any dangerous drugs we might come into contact with, which had a glossary in the back in case we wanted to fit in or do some undercover work or something, and the glossary was obviously a combination of Harlem street slang from the Mezz Mezzrow era and pure crapola the cops had been sold by some poor unfortunates in their clutches ("Yeah, officer, if you want to buy two marihuana cigarettes you ask for a Gemini, and when you smoke one down to where you can't hold it without burning your fingers, that's a Goojie."). I baffled a generation of hippies by asking sotto voce if anyone had any Muggles.

I'm not really sure why I made the connection. But I do remember last week, driving somewhere, listening to NPR, when their Terror Expert said that while, no, there wasn't any direct link to al-Qaeda, the "complexity of the plot" was certainly al-Qaedaish. "Jackson," I heard myself say out loud, "that's the Aces, Gate."

5 comments:

R.Porrofatto said...

Any day now I expect Cheney et al, as they did with the illegal NSA surveillance, to exclaim that 9/11 would have definitely been prevented had we been able to freely torture a few people. Who knows, maybe a little "c'mon Mr. President, are you gonna do something about the threat in this PDB or do you want another dunk on the waterboard?" might indeed have produced something worthwhile. Even if W. just made up incriminating shit about Richard Perle it wouldn't be a total loss.

The second half of your post is brilliantly hilarious. I recall sitting in the living room with the old man when those "10 signs that your child is on drugs" bits came on the news. With my purple-lighted room, 24-hour mirrored sunglasses hiding irises immune to the effects of light, and the smell of burning leaves so infused in my clothes that I was doing a walking impression of "Autumn in New York" you'd think I'd be easily pinned by all "10 signs." But these were invariably laughable versions of what you describe, and since I didn't have the shakes, the heebie jeebies, or a monkey on my back I was safe.

KathyR said...

Well, I don't remember the entire plot, but I do recall that the egg had earrings and the little winning sperm dude had a bow tie.

teh l4m3 said...

Was it this?

chauncey said...

This phony British terrist plot story has just about run its course. Americans seem to be experiencing shorter attention spans when they get threatened by dark-skinned people and the dutiful media warns that we REALLY DO need to be fearful.
Oh, well maybe...hey, look at that! JonBenet Ramsey's killer was arrested! Good deal. That will make a fine distraction. FOX will have several full-time 'Correspondents' working that one.

HP said...

Boys Beware, at the Prelinger Archives.