Friday, November 25, 2005

New Zealand Terrorists

A right-wing blogger supports profiling:

For example, why would the Customs officials ask indepth questions of 16 year old schoolgirls with English sounding names? They aren't the one's committing acts of terrorism. Neither are suited young Pakeha and Maori businessmen carrying laptops and they travel on business. Or Rabbis and Presbyterian clergymen for that matter.
Is anyone going to tell him that the all fatal acts of terrorism in New Zealand in the last 25 years have been carried out against left-wing targets? Or do you think his reaction would be slightly different if profiling was directed against right-wing nutcases?

Which, of course, it won't be. The purpose of profiling is to maintain the power structures in society. The victims don't matter as long as you make rich people feel more safe and poor people feel less safe.


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  2. I think you miss the point Maia.

    NZ's security concerns are not based on what happened with the Rainbow Warrior, but what has happened in NY, Spain, Bali, London and the near disaster in Australia.

  3. I saw the post, went to look at it, left a comment and came back to check what you'd said and I think it was actually quite similar! I wonder if Aaron will deign to let it reside.

  4. > Or do you think his reaction would be slightly different if profiling was directed against right-wing nutcases?

    Maybe it wont BUT IT SHOULD BE (assuming you can classify those groups acruatly enough to make it worth your time of course)

  5. I see two potential problems with ethnic/religious profiling. One, a sufficiently determined terrorist will find a way, and profiling sounds like a particularly easy tool to fool. They will recruit, for instance 16 year old school girls with english sounding names, and suited pakeha and maori businessmen (hell, maori-looking businessmen will be in trouble - after all, how many movies has Cliff Curtis played arabs? Not to mention the profiling radar is so efficient that no Brazilian in London is safe).

    The second problem is that by targetting a people who fall into a particular ethnic/religious/class grouping in society for no other reason than they are part of that group (and therefore 99% of the time will be completely innocent of anything), you run the risk of alienating them - and maybe turning into exactly the thing you fear.

    Profiling seems to be the answer when you are too cheap and lazy to invest in things like verified intelligence ... and maybe dealing with the root causes of terrorism in the first place.