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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Lufthansa: A September 10th Mindset

Lufthansa is Europe's largest air carrier. The fly dozens of routes each day that are intercontinental. One would think in a post-9/11 world that they would be going out of their way to take every precaution necessary for the safety of flight crews and passengers, correct? Not so says German air marshals according to a Der Spiegel exclusive.

Hat-Tip: Captain Ed

The sky marshal remembers the first time he had problems. He was about to board a Lufthansa flight where his task was to thwart any terrorist attack. He had on a Hugo Boss suit, purchased from his clothing allowance so he wouldn't stand out in business class. A black Samsonite briefcase completed the image of a regular businessman.

But when he pulled his boarding pass out of the check-in machine, he saw that something had changed. He'd been seated far back in the aircraft. Lufthansa knew that a sky marshal belonged up front, close to the cockpit. It was the first time that the airline appeared to want to deny him -- an elite policeman in the air war against Osama bin Laden -- an expensive business-class seat.

The officer swore an oath of secrecy on becoming a sky marshal, so his name can't be revealed -- in fact no sky marshal has spoken about his work since the German government created the jobs in October 2001, shortly after 9/11. "Inspektion 6," the sky-marshal unit of the Federal Police Authority at Frankfurt airport, is the most secretive German police organization next to the elite GSG9 force.

But the situation for sky marshals has never been as depressing as it is now, says the officer and a one of his colleagues. Official figures claim that 200 police officers travel constantly on German passenger jets to prevent 9/11-style attacks with civilian aircraft. In fact, there are only 112 (as of Nov. 1 2006) -- and they aren't flying as much as they used to, according to the two officers.

The men say Lufthansa keeps cancelling first- or business-class tickets that would put them close to the cockpit -- and sometimes bumps them off flights entirely. "They don't want to give out expensive seats anymore," complains one of the officers.

The head of Germany's police union, Konrad Freiberg, finds the notion alarming. "If the price of a ticket is more important than a central security task, then the balance has shifted in the wrong direction," he said.

Indeed. The notion that the airline decides to switch things up in favor of the almight deutsch mark or euro is preposterous. Lufthansa has opted to put a price on the safety of its passengers and crew. I am sure the people that fly Lufthansa on a regular basis appreciate the fact that they have bsaically been relegated to coach class when it comes to security.

I am surprised at this for the sheer fact that less than four months ago, British authorities broke up a plot to detonate liquid chemical explosives on board planes bound for the United States. An operation dubbed by the blogosphere as "Operation: Bojinka II." That was police work on the ground that took that cell down.

But what if they had succeeded in getting into the air? It would seem prudent to have had marshals in the air nab them before they had a chance to turn themselves into martyr's correct? Evidently not in the view of Lufthansa. And apparently not to another airline that goes unnnamed due to security concerns. That carrier refuses to allow ANY marshals on ALL of its flights. The airlines, apparently, do not like having to shell out for those tickets. And Lufthansa is under the impression that a first-class seat is simply too costly.

And trhe costr question comes into play more often than not as they have taken to refusing to allow any marshal on board a flight if they can seel the flight out. So, the marshals are relegated to taking flights that are not full. Nevermind the fact that bin Laden's al-Qaeda try for the biggest body count they can, which would make a full plane a much more enticing target.

Our own air marshal service is nothing to brag about. We still do not have marshals on every flight, and it was not until recently that they withdrew the dress code requirement for these marshals. Before, they stuck out like a sore thumb--easily identifiable by their sharp business suits, minus a briefcase. Can anyone say "dead giveaway?" Now they are at least allowed to wear street clothes to maintain their cover, but we still do not have enough on board the hundreds of flights a day going from one side of the country to the other, and even abroad.

But this foolishness from Lufthansa makes me reconsider any flights Thomas and I may ever take to Europe. (I have always wanted to visit Rome and the Vatican.) But it appears as though no such trip wil be taken unless we find a flight that will have an air marshal on board. These people are on the planes to protect flight crews and passengers. We would hate to see a replay of 9/11 again, and have the responsibility of preventing the terrorists from succeeding falling to the passengers. Those on United Flight 93 knew what they were doing, and knew what was going to happen. The chances of survival were slim, but they did what they had to do.

The marshals were put in place to avoid having to have civilians do the dirty work. But it looks like Lufthansa believes that since no al-Qaeda, or other terrorist groups has succeeded since 9/11, the marshals now, quite literally, take a coach seat to their profits. Maybe they will reconsider that if their planes become the target of a hijacking, and are turned into cruise missiles.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Queda operatives know exactly what's going on. They know how to lull choice target areas into complacently. They have a great deal of patience. They plan. and there is another danger. We are hearing more and more about home grown terrorist that may ally themself with Islam and not a terrorist group. Our FBI caught one the other day but how many more are out there? Rawriter

11:24 PM  

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