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Hardcore weaponry on passenger planes

Monday 19 January 2004

The Department of Homeland Security is planning to study the possibility of arming passenger planes with an anti-missile force, MANPADS (man portable air defense). It would prevent possible missile attacks, which they claim is one of the biggest threats to commercial planes these days. The study alone is already scoring in the 2 billion dollars and the installation of such devices would cost between 20 billion and 30 billion dollars.

You might ask when a missile attack on a passenger flight was actually carried out. For all I know, in the last few years, only once: on an Israeli plane above Kenya in November 2002, which failed to hit the plane. Missile attacks have mainly been used against cargo ships and military targets.

Some "critics" (check the quotes) argue that this money could be spent on improving airport security. Obviously there was no mentioning that this amount of money could be used to considerably reduce terrorism by approaching the root of the problem. This is not an easy and clearly identifiable task, but the unrest caused around the world by US foreign policy (as well as other powers’) could be something to be looked at.

"They" would probably answer : "It is not only about fighting terror, there has been considerable damage to the airline industry (which employs people, bladibla...) which is loosing trillions of dollars as we speak because of the potential risks involved with flying". And let’s not even approach the problem in terms of the environmental costs involved with encouraging the commercial suffocation of airspace.

As corporate profit-making is expanding into public domains such as schools and hospitals (hear GATS), the arms industry needs as well to continue its capitalist expansion, since selling weaponry and equipment to dictators we later blow away proved apparently to be insufficient.

But now, in the next missile attack on an american passenger plane, the MANPADS equipment and the ennemy missile might both come from the same US factory!


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