Re: TERRORISM: looking for solutions

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 22:19:33 MDT

('binary' encoding is not supported, stored as-is) >Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 23:21:27 -0400
> Mike Linksvayer <> Re: TERRORISM: looking for solutionsReply-To:
>On Tue, Sep 11, 2001 at 09:07:07AM -0700, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
>> So, in memory of today's sad events I would like to challenge the
>> members of the Extropian community to think long and hard about
>> what ways might be used to create innovative solutions to
>> terrorism that would increase trustability and personal security
>> without imposing restrictions on freedoms (in other words, please,
>> please lets not make it a debate about guns).
>I don't know that there's anything particularly innovative about
>these two ideas (and one involves guns, sort of), but anyway:
>* Arm and train all flight crew in antiterrorism measures. If the
> entire crew has handguns, you'll need a large number of terrorists
> to hijack a flight. The political hurdles facing this policy
> should be relatively low, as we're not talking about arming
> private individuals, rather airline employees, who would only be
> armed while on duty.
We would have to get rid of curvy ditsy stews and instead have martial arts and weapons specialists who could not only pack and use their pieces, but also keep them if several people tried to take one away and use it - which brings to mind the other problem. Bullets flying around a pressurized aircraft with windows, containing thousands of pounds of fuel, and depending upon functioning electronic systems to keep it flying under control, just doesn't sound healthy, either. I would be more in favor of installing those low-power x-rays that can distally body-search people, perhaps programmed with software that would recognize knifelike and gunlike shapes, even if they are constructed with plastic to circumvent metal detectors.
>* Make the cockpit, and perhaps the entire plane transparent to
> the outside world in realtime: audio and perhaps other feeds
> would be continuously be sent to the ground. Any abnormality
> detected would immediately alert human monitors, who could take
> appropriate action, from negotiation to shooting the plane down.
> In the worst case, where the terrorists still succeded in some
> fashion, we'd at least have a wealth of information about what
> happended and who did it, much more than we have now from a few
> chance cell calls. I'm not generally a fan of surveilance,
> but I think privacy issues are of less concern on a plane since
> you're already identified and subject to search, and if applied
> only to the cockpit, only the privacy of airline employees would
> be compromised, not that of private individuals/passengers.
What about installing a bomb aboard each aircraft, detonatable only from the ground by a beamed coded security key different for each plane and changed every few days, as we changed our IFF security keys in the military? Would you feel comfortable flying such a plane, realizing that such a device would only be used in the event of a hijacking with overheard plans for crashing it into targets, thus insuring your demise anyway? I would. It reminds me of the electronic countermeasures we used in my days as a suicide jockey in H-2 Seasprites in the '70's. Covert sources obtained for us the frequencies, pulse repetition frequencies, and waveforms of radars for each potentially hostile aircraft, ship, sub and ordnance (missile). The idea was to doppler and triangulate the source, calculate when it was in receive mode, and then send out a megapulse that would fry its crystals, thus blinding it. If the signal was from fired ordnance, however, we had another switch, that would ma!
ke our heo electronically ten miles wide to the missile, homing it in on us instead of the ship from which we flew our antisub missions. We were given no survival gear, and we knew that there was only about 300 miles worth of fuel in the helo, so the choice was between dying sooner and saving the ship's crew, and dying a little later after the crew died.
>Note: although I fly somewhat regularly, I'm completely ignorant
>of airline operations, so I suspect the above ideas are unworkable
>for reasons I'm unaware of.
>I've also barley followed the transparency and gun debates here,
>but the above made a "solution" to both pop into my head: Everyone
>has a choice between being armed and privacy. Anyone may be armed
>(broadly speaking -- include guns, weapons of mass destruction)
>but while armed, they must be completely transparent/monitorable
>in realtime. I don't advocate this policy and see many obvious
>problems, but it could make an interesting story.
It's important that the flight data and cockpit recorders be reengineered so that they are powered by an energy source that is not interruptable by the simple popping of a few circuit breakers, as is now the case, and that continuous radio broadcast (with perhaps video feed also from a hidden camera in case of signing terrorists) be also installed with similarly uninterruptable power sources, to giveground personnel the info they would need to make the terrible decision to down a rogue (hijacked) aircraft.
> Mike Linksvayer

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