Monday, January 18, 2010

Government-made Terror-Mule

The Slovakian government is completely insane and highly dysfunctional.  Apparently they planted enough plastic explosives on an unknowing airplane passenger's luggage to blow that plane out of the sky.

This was supposedly part of a Slovakian government-run "unconventional security operation" where eight different items were planted on people to test if those items were found during airport screening.

It was not found.  The seven others apparently were - but not the RDX planted on this particular unnamed traveler.

Interestingly when the Slovakian authorities finally contacted the Irish police - three days later - and told them of the test - they fell on the innocent man unwittingly used as a government mule like ravenous raptors, raiding his apartment in Dublin, arresting him, interrogating him, and charging him with being a terrorist.

The Slovakian government then had to convince to the Irish police of the innocence of the man.  Clearly the Irish police took their frustration for being left out of the loop on such an operation out upon the poor man who was used as a stooge by his own government.  Remember - after the Slovakian government contacted the Irish police and had already explained the situation they still charged the man in question rather than merely confiscating the explosives.

While the Irish and the Slovakian authorities try to figure out the legality of such tests - it is left for the rest of the Citizens of the World to wonder what our own governments might end up planting in our luggage.

I have, for example, had Italian cookies stolen from my luggage by security inspectors (I had specifically purchased a sealed container for the purpose of travelling home with it & declared it on my paperwork when coming into the country so the word "confiscated" does not apply.  They did not inform me of it either.) and I have found an umbrella that was not my own in my luggage after it had been searched - making me wonder how many bags are opened & searched at one time where they can mix up people's property.

The best solution to this problem is the same one I propose for all luggage-related issues when flying : ship your bags ahead of you via Federal Express or UPS.  Take nothing on the plane except what fits in your pockets.  The baggage handlers/throwers have no respect for your property to begin with and what you are allowed to take onto the plane can shift so rapidly that you will be required to throw your property in the garbage at the security checkpoint.  I recently saw a pile of discarded laptop cases for example.

In times of old people used to ship their wardrobes ahead of them in steamer trunks.  In the modern age I think that this practice might come into vogue again - if only to minimize the hassle at the security checkpoint.

What is interesting about this practice though is that it actually makes you stand out to the security staff when you travel with no bags.  So there is no real 'win win' scenario, but at least if you have no bags your government can not plant things in them without your knowledge.

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