October 06, 2006

Devil's Brigade censorship: not so bright PR

Still more on the wow, is this dumb front, today:

"As part of its latest secrecy push, the Defence Department on Tuesday declared that releasing information showing Canadians fought with the famed Devil's Brigade during the Second World War could harm national security. Also censored from the records, released to the Ottawa Citizen under the federal access law, are the locations where the Devil's Brigade fought in Europe in the 1940s."

Some of the back story on this one, which may also serve to suggest something like a a possible reason why JTF2 might have chosen to classify this material, can be found here.

Posted by BruceR at 04:28 PM

Airplane bombs: good article, this

Apparently the TSA did extensive tests that help to confirm an initial thumbnail estimate made here based on historical example, that a 0.1 kg (3 ounce) container of any explosive liquid cannot bring down a plane. Good for them.

Interesting that the tests are described as focussing on an unnamed "common household substance" mixed with peroxide and then presumably detonated soon after, which would seem to rule out the obvious choices of nitroglycerine, HMTD, and TATP. I honestly can't imagine what that might refer to. Of course, if I did, I probably wouldn't print it here, either. Still, best guesses welcome by email.

UPDATE: Good old Dick Destiny provides what he sees as the most likely answer: that the "plot" was to mix large quantitities of peroxide and acetone in an uncontrolled manner, probably in a sink or lavatory toilet. It's really more of a violent chemical reaction than a detonation, per se. How much liquid would we talking about here? Well, the Times piece says allowing a total of a quart (1.13L) of liquid per person gives airlines a huge margin of error: let's say a fivefold margin, perhaps. It also says allowance was given for multiple-terrorists all smuggling liquid on the airplane, so let's say four persons were involved in their "most dangerous" assumption. That's up to 20 litres of liquid (the largest civilian toilet bowl holds no more than 10L, but maybe we're talking the toilet *and* the sink) required for this crazy notion to actually endanger an airplane in flight.

Which suggests to me two things: one, that after realizing after their extensive testing the whole idea was incredibly unlikely, the scientists went back to roughly the threshold value for smuggled nitroglycerine: deciding that about 0.1kg (coincidentally, about 3 fl oz, the new limit on individual containers) would not be a plane killer. Second, that the plot in question was nowhere near fruition (it had obviously never even been tested by the plotters), that there was no rush in pursuing it, and no terrorism-related reason for the draconian measures or resulting mass hysteria that followed.

I said no "terrorism-related" reason.

Posted by BruceR at 01:18 PM

No-fly list: wow, that's dumb

I love this story:

"I did see Osama bin Laden, both with an "O" in the first name and "U" in the second…I was glad to see that.

Thank God we have been keeping American civilian aircraft safe from people who are either stupid or crazy enough to claim they are Osama Bin Laden when boarding a plane.

What, it was supposed to catch something else? How, exactly?

Posted by BruceR at 12:25 PM

Enshrining idiocy for posterity

After reading this thread on the Torture Bill at the NPR site, I just want to add what little Google-strength I have to immortalizing a couple Americans as the crypto-Fascists that they are, for the benefit of their descendants, who although crippled by their genetic inheritance, might still have some chance of turning out okay, and also for posterity generally.

Jeff Morgenthaler of Boerne, Texas, writes:

The injustice of being wrongly confined in a military prison pales in comparison to the agonies that the battlefield visits upon combatants and noncombatants alike...

Jeff Morgenthaler of Boerne, you're a blithering idiot. Any casual read of the facts would indicate most Guantanamo inmates were picked up far from any "battlefield." If you haven't taken the most basic, minimum effort to inform yourself on these issues before mouthing off on them, I'm afraid you're too much of a twit to be allowed on a computer anymore. Hopefully someone will realize this and take yours away soon.

Lt. Col. Stevan Rich, of Riverside California:

"We get upset over the lack of criminal trials for the enemy and imply that we should release them under a writ of habeas corpus. Release them!??! No! NO! NO!! They are our enemy and they are trying to kill us."

Lt. Col. Rich, I'm afraid you are far too stupid to hold the military rank you have risen to. I pity your men and your colleagues. There are walruses on Baffin Island more qualifed than you to discuss current affairs. Your belief that people who support habeas corpus are attempting to achieve the release of real terrorists is quite possibly the most idiotic thing written on the Web to this point, and that's saying something. But for the benefit of anyone who's confused by the excessive stupidity waves emanating from your address at Riverside, let's be clear. Proponents of the right of habeas want to release The. Innocent. People.

Allen Weber of Burleson Texas writes:

The question is how to balance the additional safety provided by a program that captures real enemies with the cost to those wrongly held. If the proposition that this war is a real war is unacceptable, then it would be very hard to accept the guilt of imprisoning the innocent and harming America's image. But if this is a genuine war, history teaches us that we must take hard actions and learn to accept the consequences along with the victory.

I am quite confident that Allen Weber, the moron, does not and will never feel any "consequences" of the "victory" of Guantanamo Bay. For if there was any chance he had the micro-ounce of human compassion required to lose one second of sleep on the issue of eternally imprisoning the wrongly condemned in the name of his security, he'd be like the rest of us doing what we can to shed light on the issue. Fortunately, he lacks that essential requisite of humanity, so he'll never need to get his fat ass off his Cheetohs-laden couch.

Glenn Smith of Kannaraville, Utah, writes:

Steve Inskeep did not seem to understand that the new rules applied to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield. Of course we are not going to use the same rules as someone arrested on the street. You hold them until hostilities cease and then you sort it out.

Fresh after being voted the dumbest man in Kannaraville, Glenn Smith pronounces on the issue at hand. It has obviously never occurred to him that the "War on Terror" can never, will never end, because one can never accept a surrender and declare it V-T Day. Does anyone honestly think that if Bin Laden turned himself in tomorrow, that Guantanamo would empty the next day? After all, will they not still be dangerous men? No, they are trapped there together, forever, mostly guilty, some innocent. And the new Torture Bill is going to add to the numbers of both. Indefinitely. Ad infinitum. Forever.

Decades from now, I sincerely hope that Googling the names of Jeff Morgenthaler of Bourne, Stevan Rich of Riverside, Allan Weber of Burleson, and Glenn Smith of Kannaraville, may still lead someone to this page, and that they will realize that the guy whose nice picture is in the family album was, in fact, proven by their own words, to be officially a pompous Fascist dimwit.

Posted by BruceR at 11:26 AM