Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thoughts on UPS Suspect Packages Yesterday

Those in the know are saying it’s the work of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Suspect packages are still being investigated in Newark, N.J., Philadelphia, Pa., and New York, N.Y., as well as East Midlands, England, and Dubai.

What’s worrisome is that (so far) only one of the suspect packages seems to have had real explosives, and it’s not yet clear that it’s even a viable device. Why is this of concern? Because coming from Yemen, a hotbed of Islamist terrorism and the origin of many recent AQ attacks (successful or otherwise),  they are obviously going to be under much more scrutiny. Any packages coming from Yemen with obviously visible wires, printer toner and white powder will noticed. In that it’s multiple targets simultaneously, that smacks of AQ. Yet there appear to have been no significant resources (personnel, explosives, detonators etc) involved. It’s almost like they wanted these packages to be found. This sounds to me like one of the following scenarios in play:

  • a “we’re still here” psychological operation;
  • a distraction to cover another operation elsewhere;
  • a probe to test reaction times and procedures.

If it’s the first then there’s nothing to be worried about, business as usual. The other two are much more sinister. They indicate a deeper, longer term plan coming to fruition.

So what can we do? Refuse to be terrorised. If we go about business as usual, then we win.

If we allow them to scare us into changing how we live then they win, even if nobody gets hurt.

Posted via email from John's posterous

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Where Are The Real Leaders?

We’re in tough times.

In Ireland the government is about to sink several more dozen billion euros to bail out AIB, with more cuts to follow in the next budget. In France, the “coffers are empty” says the president, just before giving himself a 140% pay increase (this was just before the financial crisis, granted, but France was already in an economic funk). In both Ireland and France elected representatives have a complex system of expenses and are, in effect, fed, housed and transported by the state when on government business (& I won’t even get into abuses of these privileges).

In these tough and difficult times, leadership by example becomes de rigeur. So where are the brave souls in government taking paycuts, or giving up accomodation, food and transport allowances, even on a temporary basis?

Where are they? Where are the real leaders?

Sure, certain persons (notably heads of state & senior cabinet members) have legitimate security concerns in terms of exposure to the public, but steps can be taken. If in both France and  Ireland this were to happen, it could help to reduce the immense anger brewing in the streets. It wouldn’t solve the economic and financial crises, but it would certainly make any more cuts (if indeed there’s anything left to cut) less inflammatory. At the very least, it would show that they’re willing to “suffer” along with the rest of us.

There’s real anger simmering in both countries. Real leadership is needed to bring it off the boil or things will get REALLY bad before they can get better.

Posted via email from John's posterous