Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Archive for December 2009

The illusion of security guards our airports

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The failed terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 shows just how bad our air security is and not a system that “worked” as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to spin on CNN’s State of the Union show on Sunday morning. She back-tracked  the next day by saying what she said had been taken out of context.  Nonsense.  It showed just how broken the system is and how luck coupled with an incompetent would-be terrorist saved all those lives.

I fly a lot.  An awful lot. Rare is the week that I am not on a plane somewhere.  And frankly I am sick of having to play the game knowing that security at our airports in North America is little more than an illusion designed to make the travelling public feel like the authorities are doing something to protect us from those who would attack our very way of life.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the TSA in the US and CATSA in Canada began a series of ridiculous procedures that served no actual security result.  But they certainly inconvenience the travelling public.  And, I should probably say that at least the TSA has the veneer of competence.  Not so much for CATSA.

I can’t count how many times I have had my laptop randomly selected for and EDT (Explosive Detection Test) done with a swab or having been randomly selected for a physical search, a pat down head to toe after I had cleared the magnetometer screening. This picture says it all:

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be using metal detectors.  Nor am I suggesting that elderly folks should not be subject to screening.  What I am saying is that we should not be focussing 100 % of our attention on 100% of travellers. It isn’t hard to figure out what our enemy looks like or, and most especially, what he acts like.

The Israelis have been using Predictive Profiling for years and have done so with remarkable success.  They do not waste time ensuring everyone is treated the same.  They know they are under a constant threat and proceed accordingly.

Notice I didn’t say Racial Profiling.  The 19 9/11 lunatics and the Christmas Day Pantybomber, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, do not look the same relative to racial profiling which is at best, politically problematic and at worst, ineffective.

Predictive Profiling is based upon knowing how the terrorists behave and focus their efforts on how they work not who they are.  In other words, to be effective it is more important for airport security to find the bomber not focus on finding the bomb.

This is done by training security staff to engage folks in conversation and asking open questions designed to keep them off balance and highlight behaviours that are suspicious.  Then those suspicious individuals are put under further scrutiny.  The average traveller is allowed to proceed normally.

But this requires leadership and common sense.  Something not apparent in the TSA or Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the Pantybomber episode.   Making people sit in their seats for the final hour of their flights is plain stupid.  As is limiting access to laptops and iPods in that final hour before landing.

Equally, physically searching every passenger at the boarding gate borders on insanity.  It is ridiculous to spend all that time, effort and energy and inconvenience the whole of the travelling public because the TSA and DHS will not use Predictive Profiling in the security process because of the political connotations of the term Racial Profiling.

Knowing who the enemy is and how they behave is the first line of defence but only if the information is used at the first point of contact, the airports used to enter the country and move around within it.  Ignoring the incredibly obvious for fear of offending someone who may be a threat is offensive to all of us.  One need only look at the massacre at Ft. Hood to see where that can end up.

Security need not be overly complicated.  But it does need to be thorough.  And thorough has nothing to do with physically searching everyone getting on a plane.  That’s plain stupid.  Which is how Janet Napolitano looked on CNN.  Which in itself, may explain rather a lot.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

December 29, 2009 at 2:01 am

Posted in 1, Crime & Punishment

Killer asks Court to give society a lump of coal for Christmas

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It is Christmas and I am filled with the joy of the season.  But only to a point.

On the day before Christmas Eve, a 19 year old Manitoba man was in court asking to have his remaining two years in custody changed from “closed” custody to “open” custody.  The change in status would allow the corrections system to release the man on unescorted releases for days, weeks or months.

The man is serving a six year jail sentence – the maximum allowed under the Youth Criminal Justice Act – for the inexplicable and brutal rape, murder and defilement of the body of his 79 year old grandmother. He was 14 at the time and is afforded all the protections of the YCJA.  Which of course means that he cannot be identified nor can his victim for fear that may identify him.  But more importantly, the police cannot warn the public as they can with an adult offender that Corrections Canada unleashes prematurely on the community. Despite the fact he is now an adult.

Now, lest you think this poor miscreant was “just a boy” and has learned the error of his wayward youth through the generous treatment he has received in the youth prison system and has thus earned the right for early unescorted absences from prison, uh, no.  That would not seem to be the case despite the protestations to the contrary of workers in the broken corrections system.

Elana Soloku who is the probation officer for the granny killer said, “I think he’s learned a great deal about managing his risks. Have they disappeared? No.”

I am ever so glad to learn that “he’s learned a great deal about managing his risks.”  But I am much more concerned that his probation officer acknowledges he is still a risk yet is backing the request for unescorted absences.

“He’s not just going through the motions (in jail). He’s actually going beyond expectations,” she concluded.

Really?  In prison he has been caught possessing explicit pornography that he downloaded while taking online educational courses provided by the corrections system.  Great education.

But he also seems to get his kicks out of masturbating in open view of female staff is what can only be described as an aggressive challenge to the prison system.  And, just to top it off, he has even discussed revenge rapes on females he believes has wronged him. I’m glad to know that he has “learned a great deal about managing his risks.”  What about the risk he represents to women in the community?

But his probation officer  says he is going beyond expectations.  Well, I guess he is.  I expect that he will not threaten to rape any female.  I also expect that when the system is offering him counselling for his vile, evil actions and education that he actually pays attention and tries to change.  I don’t expect him to use the facility and opportunity to download porn and keep it to watch over and over while wanking and laughing at female staff.  Perhaps from that perspective he has exceeded expectations.

But clearly, he is not yet safe to foist upon an unsuspecting public who, because of our ridiculous laws, the police cannot even warn of his pending, dangerous presence.

The system cannot come to grips with the fact that some people are irretrievably  damaged and will never be well-adjusted contributing members of the community.  This man is one of them.

The judge in the case has yet to make a decision even though the decision seems clear enough to me.  But, even if this demented man is not given a change in status from closed to open containment, he will be released in two years.  I fear for his next victim.

After repeatedly sexually assaulting his grandmother after she died brutally at his hands, he spray-painted then stuffed her bleeding, naked body into a closet.  He may have been only 14 at the time, but this is one seriously broken human being.  And there is nothing that can fix that.

I wish I could tell you his name or talk about the life he snuffed out.  But I cannot. At the end of the day the system is being asked to give this man a chance to find another victim.  And I cannot understand a justice system that would even consider that.

Merry Christmas.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

December 25, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Climate of Doubt

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In the wake of the costliest gabfest in the history of man that has just concluded in Copenhagen and  that achieved absolutely nothing but a $100 Billion shakedown of America and its allies, I found myself in plane from Toronto to Vancouver. Flying over the frozen prairie of the North American west,  I was staring down at a frigidity only known to those hearty enough to choose to reside there. I was also privileged enough to have borne witness to history last Sunday at the Edmonton Airport as I travelled to catch a flight and the temperature was a bone-rattling minus 46 with a wind chill that took it to minus 58. I thought I was developing Taurette’s Syndrome. When I went out I had an inadvertent reaction: F***, F***, F***!

Now admittedly, I am not a scientist. I’m an old time cop, investigator and professional cynic.  In that role I know that there are always three sides to any story and people will always “guild the lily”  to achieve maximum personal benefit, whatever the circumstances in which they find themselves.  And, I have to also state that I neither stake a claim to being a Global Warming believer nor a ‘denier,’ to use a phrase coined by the  wild-eyed, foamy mouthed, true believers.

Do I believe the climate is changing?  Yes, certainly.  Just as it always has.  Is it warming as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN creation designed to fleece the wealthy western democracies, uh , sorry, to orchestrate global reaction to climate change?

But, as the leak of emails from the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University – now dubbed Climategate – has demonstrated the “science” is anything but settled.  In fact, were I to don my investigator’s hat along with my omnipresent cynic’s hat, I might suggest that among the 2000 pages of emails shared among the climate debate hijackers, is evidence of fraud.  Straight forward fraud.

But what do I know? I’m just an old time cop.  I’m not Al Gore, inventor of the internet and current resident of the only house big enough to be seen from outer space.  I just look at evidence and then draw a conclusion.  Which, I might add, is diametrically opposed to Phil Jones, Michael Mann and the rest of the so called ‘scientists’ outed in the Climategate emails.  They seem to have drawn a conclusion then set out to find evidence, which proved a tad difficult as depicted in an email of Oct. 14, 2009 from Kevin Ternbeth, one of the authors of the 2001 IPCC Synthesis Report, to Tom Wigley a previous director of the CRU.

Said Ternbeth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”  Well, a travesty I suppose, in that the socialists won’t be able to extort the Western democracies.  Because, at the end of the day that’s what this is all about isn’t it?

Damn the luck!  They had a great theory supported by the loony lefty members of the United Nations and spear-headed by that avowed social re-inventor Maurice Strong. He of the Oil for Food scandal who, some say, sleazed away to China to avoid prosecution.

As in the Oil for Food scandal, one only has to follow the money to understand what this  is all about.  Follow the grants, transfers and demands and ask the age old question for homicide investigators:  Cui bene? Who Benefits?

Of course the climate is changing.  It always has and always will.  But the attempt by the socialists to hijack climate change as their latest tactic in their crusade to transfer the wealth of the richer Western democracies to the socialist third world has failed for the most part.  This time.

But stick around.  Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Barack Obama, David Suzuki, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, the CBC and the editorial board of the Toronto Star haven’t finished yet.  Hold on to your wallet.

We only just escaped from Copenhagen. Barely.  We may not be so lucky next time we have to defend against the socialist hordes at the gates.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

December 19, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Posted in Crime & Punishment