POLICE chiefs were last night under intense pressure to use racial profiling in the battle to prevent further terror strikes.Hurrah! The tabloid practice of pretending that something they're doing is in fact something general that's happening and they're only reporting on it. Who's putting police chiefs under intense pressure? The Express! I should really produce a cut out and keep Tabloid Bingo card. I will, if I can ever be arsed.
Anyway, here's why the Express says it wants racial profiling to be introduced:
All the suspects in the latest failed attacks are young adults of Asian or Middle Eastern descent. But officers carrying out spot checks at key sites have been told not to target people based on their ethnicity or age.You'd think the flaming fucking car would tip the police off more than the fact that the drivers were brown, wouldn't you? Jesus wept, this is dumb headed.
The last couple of failed attacks were done by 'young adults of Asian or Middle Eastern descent'. But what about the last successful ones? Let's look at the last five. What joy!
- January-February 2007. Letter bomb campaign. Perpetrator - Miles Cooper. White dude.
- 7 July 2007. London bombs. Three perpetrators of Asian or Middle Eastern descent. One of Afro Carribean descent. Whoopsie! I think you just let a terrorist through.
- 3 August 2001. Last Real IRA bomb in London. Almost certainly white dudes to a man. Very white dudes.
- 6 May 2001. Another Real IRA attack. See above.
- 4 March 2001. Real IRA again.
- 17 - 30 April 1999. Nail bombings across London. Perpetrator - David Copeland. White dude and far-right extremist nutter. Bizarrely not counted as terrorism. Mattered little to his victims.
It means searches are unfocused, with even elderly white couples being stopped. The policy has led to accusations that police bosses are more worried about upsetting minority groups than protecting the country.There it goes again! 'Accusations that the police are worried'? Yeah. Accusations made by the Express.
Still, the paper's main point here is that even elderly white couples are searched. Elderly white people can't be terrorists, right? Maybe not. From yesterday's Guardian, 'BNP men planned bombs for "race war"':
Two British National party members plotted to make bombs in readiness for a "civil war between races", a court was told yesterday. [...]62 years old. Pretty elderly. Qualifies for a bus pass in London. Oh, and white too.
However, the hoard amassed by Robert Cottage, 49, of Colne, Lancashire, came to light when his wife told her social worker she was scared that Cottage and 62-year-old David Jackson were planning to test chemical weapons in the local countryside.
That this story gets no wide coverage in the national press is nothing short of disgraceful. We've had tons of screaming headlines for days covering arrests of alleged Muslim terrorists who end up having nothing. Here we have a couple of white dudes who actually possess what's been described as the largest haul of explosive chemicals ever found in a UK home, and they're not even arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. There's more on this at Empire Burlesque.
That aside, here we have more examples of people who would be missed if the police used racial profiling and never checked elderly white people. Doesn't matter that they're not officially described as terrorists. I doubt their victims would care, had they managed to set off any bombs.
One frustrated officer last night said: "In these extreme circumstances the rules need to be changed because otherwise we are wasting our resources."Which officer? Did the Express make him up, or are they just a numpty? There's more from him to come:
He said: "You can only stop a percentage of cars at any one time and once the cars have slowed down to a point where you can see the occupants it would make sense for us to be able to use profiling and stop people based on appearance.The car that got to Glasgow airport was on fire, for fuck's sake. Do you really need to stop and search a car that's on fire to check if something's wrong? Do you let flaming cars past that are driven by elderly middle class white couples? And as for the middle class, elderly bit - David Jackson is also a dentist. I'm guessing the mystery officer would have done nothing more for him than offer him a light. Except he wouldn't need one if he was driving a flaming car.
"At the moment we are stopping middle class, white pensioners and while we are searching their vehicle another car with four men of Middle Eastern or Asian appearance goes sailing past towards the airport and we have missed them."
Tory MP Philip Davies said: "I agree with him completely. It makes my blood boil. In a nutshell, what police officers are being told is put political correctness above the security of people in this country."Tory MP Philip Davies would have his own square on the Tabloid Bingo card. Twat.
And still more:
Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation which represents rank and file officers, said: "I have supported the idea of profiling. It seems absolute common sense. [...]Always, always, always question anything ever that would seem 'absolute common sense'. Always. It's absolute common sense that the world is flat. Anyway, why is it ludicrous? Why? If all an Asian or Middle Eastern terrorist needs to do to get past security is to slap on a bit of make-up and a blonde wig, why is it ludicrous to say that profiling is rubbish because terrorists will change their profile? If you'd been using your profiling, one of the July 7 attackers would have been missed. Providing you hadn't stopped him to see if he'd nicked his car, what with being black and everything.
"Some will say it is racist and that the terrorists may well decide to change their profile to overcome that. But it seems ludicrous that we are not allowed to use profiling to target the common risk in this "current climate."
And more from Officer Numpty:
"We are stopping people we know could not possibly be linked to terrorism but once we have waved their car down we have to treat them according to the rules. That means interviews, searching the car, examining luggage. That can take up to 30 minutes and then there is 30 minutes of paperwork as well.How do you know the people could not possibly be linked to terrorism? Four words. David Jackson, 62, dentist.
The last word of this article is given over to something sensible, but this is masterful use of the 'Withdrawn!' tactic. The paper has already told us what to think about racial profiling before we get to the reasons why its rubbish.
And rubbish it is. But I'd like to reiterate why and add a couple of things.
1. Not all potential terrorists are of Middle Eastern or Asian descent. One of the 7/7 bombers even wasn't.
2. It's relatively easy for someone of Middle Eastern or Asian descent to change their appearance.
3. It wouldn't be in the realms of impossibility for terrorists to change their MO if they're sure they'll be stopped.
4. St Paul's riots. Bristol, 1980.
5. Brixton riots. London, 1981.
6. Toxteth riots. Liverpool, 1981.
Strawman buster - I am not saying that racial profiling will lead to rioting. I am saying that racial profiling will lead to further feelings of alienation among the section of the population that some terrorist organisations recruit from, which is a bad thing. I am also saying that strains within different sections of the Asian population may also be stretched if every Asian Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Christian or Atheist is stopped because the police think they might be a Muslim terrorist. Or South American electricians. This will also further alienate the group of people terrorists recruit from. Given that the terrorist recruiters actually target that feeling of alienation and persecution to win converts to their cause, do you think that exacerbating it is wise?
But still - it's something nasty to do to brown people. What can the Express do but support it?