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    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    On Racial Profiling and Hijackings...

    Stardate 4583.5

    Wikipedia defines Racial Profiling as "the use of race as one consideration in suspect profiling or other law enforcement practices".

    The question of the day seems to be whether or not current trends take this too far. Perhaps a police officer can use racial profiling to a certain degree alongside other factors when stopping suspects. For example, just because a person is Vietnamese doesn't mean he is in a Vietnamese gang, however, if he also sports certain tatoos, or other signifiers, then the use of profiling enhances the police officer's ability to apprehend gang members. If the police officer simply stops everyone who is Vietnamese, then the profiling is going to far. Not only this, but the police officer is not doing his job the way he should in my opinion.

    Using such profiling techniques at airport security is the issue at hand. Now it may be a given that the majority of airline hijacking is done by muslim extremists or so they say. A search shows that of recent hijackings, many were done by various other groups, including, East Indians, Japanese, Africans, Americans and Chinese. Most of the hijackings prior to the 1990 listing in this article were done by Lebanese or Palestinians (likely due to the ever present conflicts with Israel). So now, finally, an attack occurs with hijacked planes on US soil. This time, the hijackers are mostly from Saudi Arabia. Arabs. Or are they Muslim extremists? What you call them is not important. However, the fact remains that there was no profiling to the extent there is now, before these attacks. I would also suggest that just as many hijackings were done by other ethnic and religious groups, even Americans!

    So now let's go back and look at the airport security issue. Some people want every Arab searched like he was entering Fort Knox even though 99.9% of them are absolutely innocent of everything except being an arab. This sounds a lot like discrimination to me. It goes back to the police officer not doing his job. He should have research, surveillance, contacts... espionage. This goes for government agencies and airport security. They are taking the easy way out, and an entire ethnic group (if not more than just arabs) is paying the price with their equality.

    Historically, certain events have happened similar to this. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese people in California were forced over 200 miles away from the coast for national security reasons, and every piece of land and property was seized (The Alien Land Law). This put national security ahead of the great American democratic ideal of racial equality and in the end, long after the war, reparations were made to the displaced American citizens. The law says that in times of War, racial discrimination is justified in the name of national security.

    Currently, the US is not officially at war with any nation. The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the Saudi-led attacks of 9-11 and the "War on Terror" is only a war in name. In fact, it is becoming one of the great paradoxes of the 21st century. The longer the "War on Terror" goes on, the more attacks will come, and the stronger the resolve of the muslim extremists...

    So if the US is not at war, they should not be using racial discrimination to profile people. The numbers show that of recent (since 9-11) hijackings, most were done by non-arabs.

    2005 - 1 - Columbian - old man in a wheelchair and his son.
    2004 - 3 - China, Sudan (Eritreans from Ethiopia), Norway (mad axeman was a refused asylum seeker)
    2003 - 7 - China, Turkey (Guy wanted to see his girlfriend in Russia), USA (DC-3C; ethnicity not known), Turkey (guy wanted to fly to Germany to join his father), USA (Cuban), Australia (irate passenger), Algeria (wanted to fly to Geneva)
    2002 - 5 - Columbia (leftist guerillas), Ethiopia, Sudan (Saudi Airline), Turkey (denies hijack attempt), France (mentally ill patient claiming to be an Al Qaeda man)
    2001 - 0 - After 9-11.
    2001 - 5 - Before 9-11; Sudan (hijacker wanted to go to Saudi Arabia), Saudi Arabia (suspected destination of Afghanistan), Columbia (wanted to go to Spain), Bangkok, Djibouti (wanted to go to Iraq)
    2000 - 23 - UK (Left Kabul for London for political asylum), Columbia (armed prisoner), China (Wanted to go to Taiwan), Egypt (Destination Afghanistan), Papua New Guinea (robbers), Phillipines (robber), Jordan (political asylum), UK (political asylum), USA (demanded to go to Antarctica), Hong Kong, Turkey, Peru, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Iran (go to France), China, Jordan (political asylum), Spain (Nigerian man being deported), Iraq (men wanted to make political statement), Israel, Iran (23 hijackers demanded to be taken to USA), Congo, UAE...

    So we can see that since 2001, there has been a marked decrease worldwide in hijacking attempts, but I would submit this is because of overall increased security... Also, you can see that even without knowledge of the ethnicity of some hijackers listed, many, if not the majority were either non-arab or in other parts of the world like South America or China. All of this data is taken from the Aviation Safety Database. The listings may or may not be complete.

    So does the continued discrimination of Arabs or Muslims for that matter make a difference? Why not search Chinese people? Or Columbians? It would make sense to me. Better check out all of the passengers, since that is really what security is supposed to do anyhow...

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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