Monday, August 19, 2013

Short Note on terror "threats"

There was supposedly a terror act against US embassies imminent a few days ago, but nothing happened. Today we learn that al Qaeda might be planning to attack express trains in Europe. At least bild alleges that the NSA claims that some unnamed terrorists supposedly talked on the phone about such a plan, after everybody who is able to turn on the TV anywhere knew that the NSA is probably listening in. Well, trains have been attacked in Europe, still the timing is very strange. I am almost as scared as I was when I learned that there was a "credible" "breast implant suicide bomb threat" at Heathrow airport.

I think there are three possible explanations, I will start with the most likely one:

  • Somebody is making this nonsense up. It could either be the tabloids themselves since this will produce clicks and therefore revenue, or it is somebody, who believes that eavesdropping on everybody needs to continue.
  • Al Qaeda is trolling the NSA. This is actually what I would do. Get on a phone/skype account on which it is likely that somebody is listening in; and just make terror plots up. That tactic could even be used to frame totally innocent people that you don't like. Want to get rid of someone? Just write him an e-mail from a NSA infested account like GMail, for good measure attach an easily decrypted file with a fantasy terror plot about large breasted women blowing themselves up in airliners. That person does not even know that he is now being watched and about to be captured and then tortured.
  • Terrorists are idiots, and they actually do discuss their plots on the phone. The problem with this explanation is that bin Laden stopped to use a phone for anything long before Snowden's revelations. In fact it was supposedly a phone call which later led to his execution attempted capture, anyways. So every terrorist with half a brain should have known for two years now, that phones should not be used by them.
 In the end it does not matter if this is a real terror plot or not. Even if it is true the damage caused will not be higher than the one a Spanish engineer's cell phone call was responsible for. Terrorists have not been able to disrupt anything. They were nothing more than an excuse by western governments to install a surveillance network to better fight against whom they are actually scared of: law abiding citizens, who are sick of the corruption and the lying of government officials. People like Noam Chomsky and Glenn Greenwald's family (here they went even further and held the boyfriend for nine hours due to some law which supposedly targets terrorists).

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