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US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 8:12 AM

I offer as proof of my claim that a scientifically trained mind is a dangerous weapon (sheesh!) the following story about "earth science majors" being considered security risks by US Dept. Of Homeland Security.

Maybe they were going to create an eartquake? Prove that there is/is not global warming? Now there is a threat!

Or perhaps we should consider this as proof that the "pro's" at DHS are reading- and Michael Crichton's "State of Fear" is the book that they are reading.

Here's the story:

Eight MIT graduate students with student visas were denied a key credential by the Department of Homeland Security. After their department appealed the decisions on their behalf, the DHS declared at least two of the students "security threats."
The troubles stem from a new homeland security program called the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a plastic card which, like an MIT ID, contains personally identifying information and can be read wirelessly. Without the credential, the students will soon have a harder time boarding and leaving ships at U.S. ports, including the three research ships at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, where the students work.
The situation was well-known to WHOI, but it only came to MIT's attention yesterday, when a German student forwarded to colleagues in the Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences Department a letter from the Department of Homeland Security. The letter said in part: "I have personally reviewed the Initial Determination of Threat Assessment, your reply, accompanying information, and all other information and materials available to the TSA. Based upon this review, I have determined that you pose a security threat and you do not meet the eligibility requirements to hold a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)." A British graduate student received a similar letter, said James A. Yoder, dean of WHOI.

Here's the link.

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/washington/13tsa.html

milo

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#1

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 8:38 AM

Ah, yes, but we have the finest idiotic bureaucrats in the free world -- maybe in all the world.

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#13
In reply to #1

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 2:49 PM

Nawww Bill, I think us Brits can claim that title

John.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 3:48 PM

As we say here in Oklahoma, "We've got the best politicians money can buy."

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#151
In reply to #14

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/23/2008 2:57 PM

And the best lawyers that money can bribe.

And the best oilmen that money can hide.

Yeh I'm from Oklahoma too.

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#152
In reply to #151

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/23/2008 3:12 PM

As a former Tulsa resident (for those not familiar with the state, yeah, 'nother Okie!), I can but (sigh...) agree.

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#19
In reply to #13

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 4:14 AM

Am believeing they're both in a competition for the honour.

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#28
In reply to #1

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 10:02 AM

Perhaps we need to do a more thorough screening of the politicians before they are granted a TWIC card. That way we could keep them at their desks and doing their jobs rather than taking taxpayer supported junkets around the world. Most politicians have only shown themselves to be idiots anyway; most have little concern about their constituency except to further their own wealth.

The growth of US government salalries "for elected and appointed officials" has significantly outpaced the rest of the countries inhabitants except corporate CEOs and some areas of medicine.

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#36
In reply to #28

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 2:25 PM

Given the current crop of politicians, I think the last thing we want to do is keep them at their desks doing their job!

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#2

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 8:54 AM

I have a TWIC card so I must be an upstanding individual!!

Actually, the TWIC only provides for "unescorted" access to marine facilities. As long as someone with a TWIC is escorting these guys it should not be a problem for them to get on board at Woods Hole.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 9:29 AM

It would be interesting to find out the reasons why they were deemed security threats.

I highly doubt the deciding body would ever divulge their reasoning. The capability to be able to reason and being in a position of authority in such matters tends to mutually exclusive sets.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 9:31 AM

brilliant analysis!

milo "set theory- too cool"

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#6
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 9:52 AM

And of course if one appealed against such a ruling it would confirm their opinion that you are a troublemaking, left-wing, bolshi, jihadist (and probably gay as well) with no respect for authority, and you should all be rounded up and given a damn good spanking, I mean, a damn good spanking neverhurt anyone, should probably be forced to wear rubber underwear too, it never did me any harm, filthy students, nothing but sponging troublemakers the lot of 'em, bring back conscription I say, running arount in their hoodies with their knives and guns...they should be in the Army that'd teach 'em to run around with knives and guns...

Del

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#7
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 10:01 AM

"And of course if one appealed against such a ruling it would confirm their opinion that you are a troublemaking, left-wing, bolshi, jihadist (and probably gay as well) with no respect for authority, and you should all be rounded up and given a damn good spanking, "

Or they could be a cat.

I'm impressed, 110 words more or less ignoring run ons, and eleven commas, thats a .10 comma to word ratio. perhaps a new record for CR4. who tracks these things?

milo

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#8
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 10:12 AM

What is most impressive yet is the null value for "off-topic". Someone does track this stat and the record was eleven held by Del.

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#9
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 10:21 AM

Off Topic! How dare you.

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#10
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 10:27 AM

Del

I just decremented your OT score by one and gave you a GA!

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#37
In reply to #10

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 2:28 PM

and I gave it back!

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#32
In reply to #8

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 1:33 PM

Yes, and the post here is so impressive, I guarded against it being downgraded with a GA vote! I'd give it more if I could...

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#11
In reply to #6

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 1:53 PM

Del, do you mean something like this?

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 2:19 PM

That is great! LOL! I loved the last line! Giving you a couple of OT points for that one!

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#16
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 5:53 PM

That's the ticket old chap...

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#33
In reply to #6

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 1:46 PM

Yes, and if that doesn't persuade them to give up their troublemaking ways, we'll expose them to another good berating from Del, as patriotic an American as I've seen lately, even though a Brit, who'll scald their behinds even THROUGH that damnable rubber underwear, scald them, I say, with as firey a rhetoric as can be deployed without licensing it, regardless of whether it's done by the military or not, which, by the way, would be too GOOD for these miscreants, they don't DESERVE as good a treatment as the military would provide them, what with the state of things as they are today, no, what they need instead is jobs, and not some mushy white-collar jobs, but good old-fashioned honest WORK, like ditch-digging, or rock-piling, or breaking scrap iron with sledges for the furnace, you know what I mean?

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#15
In reply to #4

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 4:21 PM

I can tell you exactly why. They are not from the US!

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#3

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/16/2008 8:57 AM

It's red under the beds all over again....

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#17

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 3:01 AM

They should put all scientist in camps so they can be watched 24/7 for unamerican behaviour!

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#35
In reply to #17

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 2:23 PM

Yeh!! Those scientists are too smart for their own good. (And ours too).

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#18

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 3:18 AM

Hi all,

For those US and UK colleagues that claim to have the most stupid

bureaucrats, let me send my two cents of Latin point of view:

According to ancient romans, "Estultorum numerus infinitus est" And romans didn't know the Cantor theories about the transfinite numbers!!!!

Even I've read recently that latin phrase dedicated to some Spanish people, followed by the sentence "But ignorants number is even higher"

You wouldn't be surprised by things like that, it happen all around the world: What do you think is the NÂș 1 enemy of politicians?... Wise men, because they can't be manipulated as easily as ignorants.

Wise men of the world: Spread your knowledge.

Kind regards

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#20

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 4:59 AM

Catch 22 is alive and kicking.

"You are a security risk"

"Why?"

"Can't tell you."

"Why?"

"Because you are a security risk. Discussing security with a security risk is risky."

"But what proof do you have that I am a security risk?"

"You are on the list."

and so on.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 5:15 AM

Fear & confusion are the toe-holds of totalitarianism.

Dictators need not be left wing.

Fascism is from the ultra right wing.

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#23
In reply to #21

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:41 AM

I prefer the words "tyrant" and "tyranny". Dictatorship in their original meaning was a Roman Republic Senate non permanent way to fight against any real threat to the republic itself. Something like present "emergency status".

Tyrants don't mind left or right, the only take care of getting more and more powerful. Was Hitler a good guy because he fought Stalin? Was Stalin a good boy fighting against Hitler?

No, both were tyrants the words could be different but their goal was similar.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:18 AM

How about invented or inflated threats?

Would a period of 99yrs qualify as 'temporary'?

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:57 AM

Of course not.

I was talking about the original sense of Roman dictatorship, which was strictly temporary. There are examples in the Roman Republic history. When Caius Iulius Caesar "suggested" the Senate to be appointed dictator, the things weren't as before. After "dictator" he was appointed "imperator" and gave the origin to the Roman Empire. But I wouldn't qualify Tiberius, Caligula, Nero... as "dictators", they were simply tyrants.

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:30 AM

Yes, and this reminds me a novel from Stanislaw Lem I read many years ago, its name is "Memories found in a bathroom" and deals with a supposed far future in which some archaeologists found the diary of a secret agent found in what he called "the third Pentagon" (the very real center of Defense and Intelligence of the US).

This diary explains the tribulations of such agent who is called for a secret mission, so secret that nobody can explain it!!!

BTW in this novel appears one document distribution system that reminds me some I've seen in the real world: The stochastic distribution: that means when you issue any document you distribute it in a random basis without taking consideration on which are really those interested... They supposed that those really interested will do the necessary to find it!!! Haven't you find this?

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#25

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:52 AM

And of course all of the genius bloggers here know all the answers. They know without any data other than these guys were denied credientials that they are pure as the driven snow. The big bad government is always wrong and everyone else is perfectly innocent. Why those ragheaded fools just wanted to learn how to fly airplanes, they are only misunderstood. Wake up you idiots, these guys are not playing games, they want to kill you. They have said so openly and often. Back off and let the experts do their jobs.

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 8:06 AM

Back off and let the experts do their jobs.

With politicians we have no choice, we do it. In fact from some days ago I let my fancy ties at home when going to the company offices. Our Energy and Industry Minister have found the final solution to the oil crisis: Men have to wear no ties while working to save air conditioning energy.

I'm waiting for another great (even tiny) proposal coming from that side

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 10:05 AM

Come now...

Denying credentials to scientists for un-escorted access to a 100 ft ocean research vessel is putting the security of the USA at risk? If we have become that paranoid, then we have a serious problem...

There is no doubt that there are certain elements of the world population that would like to see an end to the US, but if we let them scare us to death, then they have accomplished their goals without lifting a finger.

I say in the US we need to make sure we don't back off, and we hold the expert accountable for their actions. The alternative is decent into totalitarianism.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 11:00 AM

Not to nit-pick, but some stuff done at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is highly classified. The nautical equivalent to Los Altimos.

Some of the work done at Woods Hole would constitute a security risk.

Goggle it for details.

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#38
In reply to #30

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 2:36 PM

If the work is classified, surely goggling, or even googling, won't prove or disprove the point. I can call my saddlechariot a top secret military device, but that doesn't make it one. The point is that the prosecutors define the crime, and can't of course tell the criminal what they have done because they are a security risk, but they can still bang them up for decades.

Now if only the good guys still wore white hats.......

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 2:45 PM

OK, I'll spell it out for you guys! C.I.A. U.S.N.

Alvin DR/V WHOI

The WHOI facilities have collaborated with these agencies in the past.

See the section on DSV-5 Nemo and "other government agencies".

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 3:09 PM

Ok, So based on the fact that Woods hole may or may not have a pre JFK submarine, or its successors, earth scientists can't be allowed to pursue their studies or be allowed access to research vessels as part of their studies.

Are they afraid the german ocean program will discover that we can have an acryllic window on a submersible?

The CIA and NAVY boys have ways of keeping prying eyes off their really good stuff, the need to just deny the foreign earth scientists easy access to their assigned research vessel at the port is ...?

Perhaps, just perhaps, as a society, we don't deserve to have good science???

Forgive me, it was just a fleeting thought.

milo

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 4:12 PM

Deserve it or no, if we keep up this kind of attitude, we won't HAVE it! But there's still no further info on why/how the decision was taken to outlaw these folks. Likely won't be either...

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#43
In reply to #40

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 4:56 PM

I don't know or care about your personal situation. Which country you are from? I do care about our security.

We trained middle-easterners how to fly jet planes. They rewarded us by flying these same planes into our buildings and killing our citizens.

I remember what they did to the U.S.S. Cole (and the US Navy does as well).

We are demanding that our government protect the homeland and they seem to have taken notice. This is a good thing AFAIK.

Rumor has it that the "other government agencies" allowed WHOI to deep dive for HMS Titanic as a cover for a covert search for one of our nuclear submarines that was sunk by one from the former USSR.

So now we should turn over this technology to Mr. Bin Laden. NOPE!

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 5:17 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble, man, but the USS Cole was hit by a missile that "We" sold in that region!

The transponder told the Cole that it was 'one of ours' so the defenses ignored it.

Maybe we should not have merely 'allies of convenience'?

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#48
In reply to #44

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:32 PM

No response possible. Guest claims "member" of "class" ""we"" but gives no location.

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#53
In reply to #48

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:54 PM

Location : New England, USA! (a notoriously independent region)

Political affiliation: Registered 'Republican Party' for the last 35 yrs.

Political belief: US Constitution offers best promise of any system yet known.

Political fear: Private agendas will disrupt the proper evolution of the Constitutional process.

Political desire: That the USA will 'walk the talk' & show the world that our system can work very well (example req'd, not more BS!)

Photo remembered vividly: Ronald Reagan gladhanding Saddam Hussein; congrats for job well done in region.

Scenario recalled: MujaHadin supported by CIA, led by one O. BinLadin.

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#58
In reply to #53

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:09 PM

Oh, hi Bricktop.

Yes, all true.

But does that mean we have to keep f**** up.

NO!

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:17 PM

"But does that mean we have to keep f**** up.

NO!"

Wholeheartedly agree!

We will need to stop & re-think our priorities though. Else we might...

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#125
In reply to #58

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/20/2008 8:41 AM

That's funny that you should associate me with such a statement, eriew.

However, I never have and never will hide my views behind "Guest".

That said, I do agree with the above comment.

I'm a registered independent. At present, I don't wish to be a member of any of the lame-ass political parties that we have around today.

I could embark on a long winded rant here, but I'm not.

Presently, I'm sitting in an internet coffeeshop on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, enjoying a Heineken and a "smoke", waiting for my friends to finish up their e-mails. The rain seems to be letting up, so, perhaps, we may be able to play frisbee in Vondel park after all.

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#133
In reply to #125

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/20/2008 6:27 PM

Nice!! I wish I was there too. I didn't realize that there were more than two independent people left if New England. Good to know though. BTW, I'm voting for Obama not that anyone cares or needs to know.

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#46
In reply to #43

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 5:49 PM

I hate to be pedantic but any search for HMS Titanic is doomed to failure. The ship you are probably thinking about was RMS Titanic. RMS stands for Royal Mail Steamer, HMS is Her or His Majesty's Ship.

I would also question "which country are you from?" In the final analysis, Africa appears to be the source of the human race. I believe the majority of US citizens are not Native Americans, so the odds are that the answer is Ireland, China, Japan, Africa, Russia and quite possibly the Middle East, birth place apparently of one Jesus Christ.

I do care about people's personal situation, and deciding that foreigners are a threat is a sad state of affairs for a nation that used to say,

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

2


A lot of us believe the US of A is not only the major superpower, but a defender of liberty. We want to keep believing it.

Simon

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:12 PM

Have given you a + answer on this, would give another if i could.

National Origin = not necessarily a great deal when it comes down to desiring real freedom. I.E.: Folks in a restrictive regime would crave autonomy! Those folk in free environs would be drawn to the security offered by tighter controls.

The thing to realise is that personal freedoms, when relinquished to a gov't entity, VERY RARELY make it back into a private sphere

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#49
In reply to #46

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:40 PM

RMS, HMS whatever. The point is that the technology from WHIO is quite impressive to be able to find her. BTW, I thought it wasn't supposed to sink. I know, lets give the bad guys the blueprints to Titanic and keep the Alvin plans to ourselves!! Toooooo funny!!!

You then ranted on about Africa, China, Jesus, and something else. I have no idea what any of this has to do with "de facto security threats" so I won't waste my time commenting.

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#81
In reply to #49

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 9:15 AM

"You then ranted on about Africa, China, Jesus, and something else. I have no idea what any of this has to do with "de facto security threats" so I won't waste my time commenting."

This was my response to your opening question. "I don't know or care about your personal situation. Which country you are from?"

If you ask a question accusing those who answer of ranting is unproductive.

And while you get hot under the collar about terrorism, remember all those years when the USA donated money to those good old boys the Irish Republican Army who blew up Irish women and children, British women and children but were careful not to blow up Americans. We are all talking now and although the Irish question will never go away while Guinness still flows, we do at least appreciate the virtues of dialogue over explosions. I will happily mix with any Irish people, regardless of religious and political divides, and it is the courage of the irish themselves, in opening the dialogue across years of bombs and bullets that has brought peace.

Locking yourself in a ghetto and keeping everyone out is no future, and gives no safety, especially if those you are excluding, include so many who would be friends.

Simon

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#82
In reply to #81

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 9:23 AM

There is only one way to solve the "Irish" problem. Take away their beer.

But I ask you, how is that possible?

God, we have two pubs on every block here in Boston, full most of the time with their lot.

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#93
In reply to #82

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 3:44 PM

If even the Boston Irish are un American, who do you consider the American people consist of?

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#99
In reply to #93

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 4:57 PM

Generally those that assimilate. That is was the concept.

The micks had an advantage in that they spoke the language.

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#100
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 5:01 PM

Ahhh, PC means "personal computer" to you, right?

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#69
In reply to #43

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 11:07 PM

I am from USA. Just watched my daughter graduate from The finest service academy in the land.

whether or not you care about my personal situation is of no consequence. Its my situation, just as yours is yours.

Caring "more for our security" than for our freedoms, sense of fair play, justice or common sense is problematic.

Demanding that our government protect the homeland doesn't seem to require the bureaucratic folly and problems described in my original post.

I have no flippin idea what you mean by AFAIK.

I am not prone to discussing rumors, I try to provide facts. But does the fact that the rumors exist merit the folly of denying science students access to their research vessel.

Letting earth scientists do their thing is now semantic equivalent of turning over technology to MR.Bin Laden?

How about who ever from the govt who approved their visa Being responsible?

Appreciate your passion Eriew, but do not share your "means are justified by the desired ends of security regardless..." views.

milo

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#101
In reply to #69

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 5:07 PM

my daughter graduate from The finest service academy in the land

Congratulation Milo. I wish your daughter good luck. Yes, the Naval Academy is a fine school.

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#105
In reply to #101

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 7:04 PM

Nice jab there eriew.

USMA. West Point.

We thank you for your best wishes.

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#102
In reply to #69

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 5:12 PM

I have no flippin idea what you mean by AFAIK

flippin

Watch you mouth son!

AFAIK

As far as I know. Most engineers know about acronyms. Connect the dots.

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#106
In reply to #102

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 7:10 PM

I must have had lab that day, eriew.

And everybody knows old guys don't text.

I learned 'flippin' from andy capp, GReat Britains finest export in the 1970's

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#51
In reply to #39

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:47 PM

Uh, a TWIC card does not get you into any kind of secured area.... A TWIC card only gets you unescorted access to a marine facility and only if you are authorized.

If your spooks are not keeping their stuff secure, we have still bigger problems....

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#55
In reply to #51

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:57 PM

Thank God!

Steve, where where you?

Good, Milo can wash up the ship deck. Keep him (them) away from the good stuff!!

I can sleep safely now. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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#57
In reply to #55

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:09 PM

I am traveling back and forth from Houston to Malaysia for the next couple months, until I finalize the move in September.

I guess I should update my location..... But I am and will continue to be a US Citizen.

I also work in the off shore oil business, so that is why I have a TWIC...

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#45
In reply to #30

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 5:44 PM

'wood' you be meaning: "Los Alamos"?

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#50
In reply to #45

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:45 PM

Not particularly Milo. Would you like to go play in the sand box???

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#71
In reply to #50

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 11:46 PM

I do not post anonymously Eriew. I've been in my MBA econ class all night. Guest is someone else...

milo

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#52
In reply to #30

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:51 PM

BTW I have been to Los Alamos, and Sandia too... My TWIC card would not get me into either place....

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#56
In reply to #52

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:00 PM

Steve:

Good, I guess. But it was not you I was worried about. It was Milo, aka "guest".

We know where you live.

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#42
In reply to #29

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 4:52 PM

I couldn't have said it any better Steve S.

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#54
In reply to #42

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 6:54 PM

Steve said

As of now, Steve still thinks "Alvin" of WHOI is limited to 100 foot dive depth.

I'm sure when he catches up on this thread, he will reconsider.

Not many people know much about WHOI. I do. It's in my backyard. Then there is MIT Lincoln Labs, Mitre Corp, Raytheon. Shit... I just remembered, I am bound to ...... I can tell you more, but then I would have to kill YOU!!!

Bond

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#60
In reply to #54

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:21 PM

Again, the problem is issuing a TWIC card, not access to sensitive areas. The purpose of the TWIC card was to do a basic background check and determine if a person would be a risk in a marine facility. The idea is to prevent someone from planting a bomb in a oil terminal or on a ship.

From the TWIC web site:

"The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is a vital security measure that will ensure individuals who pose a threat do not gain unescorted access to secure areas of the nation's maritime transportation system.

TWIC was established by Congress through the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and is administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Coast Guard. TWICs are tamper-resistant biometric credentials that will be issued to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports, vessels, outer continental shelf facilities and all credentialed merchant mariners. It is anticipated that more than 1 million workers including longshoremen, truckers, port employees and others will be required to obtain a TWIC."

Read more here:

http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/twic/twic_faqs.shtm#disqualifying_offenses

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#31

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 1:31 PM

Hmph - I'd like to know a bit more before making a judgement, but it does seem to me that Germany and Great Britain are more or less our allies these days. One of the biggest problems with "security" is monitoring it. Documents can be classified 'top secret' for no other reason than the wrong guy had hold of the stamp, but it is next to impossible to ever correct, because the reviewers who could change it don't have the clearance, and those who have the clearance don't know about the topic. I've actually seen that happen - it's fortunately rare, but it happens.

I can see much the same thing happening in this scenario. Somebody set up a classification system to determine who was a risk. It gets blindly applied to people who meet too-broad criteria. They protest, which raises red flags; obviously anyone who would protest a government action is suspect. So now they really ARE a risk, because they are protestors against the government.

And yet, they might actually BE suspicious characters - who knows? I recall a previous thread in which all engineers were described as potential subversives - why? Because it takes engineers to build bombs, of course! I'd rather rely on more pertinent criteria myself, but not wanting to be seen as a possible protestor, I shan't attempt to second-guess Big Brother.

No, siree, not me sir!

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#34
In reply to #31

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 2:15 PM

Enviroman and Steve S>

One of the reasons I posted this is that in the absence of any other evidence, It validates the point that those of us who can build devices, control circuits, batch process chemicals and understand phase diagrams of fissile materials,are in fact "Dangerous" in the eyes of the security community. By definition, because of what we know.

Add to that foreign citizenship, as a negative bias -er and it seems to me that there will be a BIG CHILL on doing first class science, when those with the brains are denied access to the tools.

And without first class science, well, To me THAT is a security risk, on a national competitive basis.

Thanks for your comments Enviroman and Steve S.

To the guest who suggest that the pros are doing fine, well, if these guys are such a threat, Why did they get only a letter?

I've dealt / we've all dealt with Federal / State Provincial government monopoly agencies, and I don't think any of us would recommend their processes nor describe tham as particularly effective.

milo

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#61

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 7:52 PM

i would say hackers are more dangerous than scientist, Scientist like to tinker while the millitairy think, oh this is nice device to blow up half a continent.

It is just that scientis think strangly, they have thing like ideals and morals, millitairy does not understand that

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 8:01 PM

"military think, oh this is nice device "

Once turned loose, their idea is: "win @ any cost"; unfortunately at risk is the cultural advancement of the last 5 millenia.

Have seen this on both sides of conflicts. If you win, but are back in the 'stoneage', what really do you have?

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 8:06 PM

No worries about politics and engineering and only worry abot where your next meal is coming from?

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 8:11 PM

Along with with which of your neighbours will bash your head in over your dinner?

This is an improvement??

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 8:29 PM

Depends, it is a change of lifestyle

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#66
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Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 8:33 PM

Have always believed that co-operative ventures offered more possibilities!

Best Wishes to all!

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#108
In reply to #61

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/19/2008 2:20 AM

No, not hackers... Politicians and crooked politicians at that. Politicians that would push to have a "presidential directive" such as PD51 passed along... Or politicians that openly embrace "my enemies enemy" even if they are potentially our enemy... Think of Hussein, bin Laden, Musharaaf etc. Hugged them and supplied them with stuff that they needed and then they turned on us in one way or another... Or how about corpoate america? Selling out the country every chance they get? For what? PROFIT! Scientists have created some crazy things that can do a lot of harm...but for the most part it would seem that a majority of the inventions do not fall into this category, or am I missing something here?

Ferris

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#67

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 9:52 PM

Oops, now anyone with a European passport is suspect....

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080718/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/terror_threat

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 10:50 PM

It's probably not just the fact that they are European, but Muslim as well. The Muslim population in Europe has grown fast, and many European Muslims are sympathetic to Osama Bin Laden. Of course, I will say that not all Muslims hate the US or the West, but many that do, know how to blend in with the moderate Muslims, or even to appear to be non-practicing Muslims. Also, there are many in Europe that hate America for other reasons, usually politcal (neo-Nazis, communists).

Someone who had a connection to a suspected group, or a connection to a member of a suspected group, becomes a suspect themselves.

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#70
In reply to #68

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/17/2008 11:31 PM

It is not only Muslims that hate the US administration that is why any one who can think is a security threat. Also to say that many in Europe hate America for other reasons is wrong. Very few people in the world hate America or Americans but many people who can think for themselves hate the American administration including many Americans. America has the most fearful and paranoid administration in the world to them any one who is not as paranoid as them is a threat. The American people on the other hand are mostly great guys and every one knows that. The question is why do they keep on voting dopey politicians into office?

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#73
In reply to #68

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 7:34 AM

BINGO!!!

As long as they (Muslims) stay in Europe, we here in the US will be very happy indeed!

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#74
In reply to #73

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 8:06 AM

"As long as they (Muslims) stay in Europe, we here in the US will be very happy indeed!"

You are not speaking for me, my family, or my friends.

I am pleased to have Muslim friends and access to Medical care provided by "Muslims."

My happiness is not based on people being excluded based on religion, ethnicity or anything else.

I would like to see all people operating at their highest and best use. Especially those working in the sciences, and especially if they can improve our knowledge of the environmental issues that are being used as a blunt instrument to demolish our technologically based way of life due to agitprop images of appocalyptic doom rather than fact based science.

I am pleased that the doors were open when my forebears arrived to this land of opportunity. I have nothing to fear by others seeking freedom and a better way.

If someone is a terrorist, arrest them based on evidence. But if we don't like the cut of someone's jib, or where their mommy was when they were born, we need to get over it.

This American welcomes all who can contribute to Mankinds Material Progress.

milo

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#75
In reply to #74

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 8:29 AM

You are not speaking for me, my family....

Correct. I am speaking for myself. I watched those planes take off that day (9-11-2001) from Boston and learned 45 minutes later that they were not coming back again ever.

Me, my family and.... did not particularly appreciate what these people (more likely animals) did on that day.

We do appreciate that new security risks are being denied access.

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#76
In reply to #75

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 8:40 AM

Yup.. quite right.
But...I supose that Afghan wedding party bombed by the US the other day were rather fed up as well.

By the way...do these incidents get reported in the USA.?.. or does you media/government censor it and just give you propaganda?

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#78
In reply to #76

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 8:44 AM

Hmmmmm puts all this talk on this thread into perspective doesn't it??

John

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#80
In reply to #78

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 8:56 AM

into perspective

Actually not. Maybe. It depends.

O.K. My final answer is "may I please borrow your looking glass to take a gander".

BTW

You have yet to comment on the Neil Entwhistle case nor has Del. Please do so.

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#85
In reply to #78

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 11:27 AM

Sort of - I think it's almost intuitively obvious that it is difficult if not impossible to live a normal life while in a war zone. While it may have become a local "tradition" to fire AK-47's into the air to celebrate a wedding, is it reasonable to continue that tradition during armed conflict, or should a reasonable person think, "hmmm, someone may think we are shooting at them in anger and take exception to that"?

No, that bombing was NOT excusable, but neither was the bombing of civilian targets during any other war. Not completely anyway, although some of our most respected leaders have said it was. ALL of us have had leaders who have taken such decisions. Were they ALL wrong? Some, probably; all, not likely. Was it right for the Greeks to lay siege to Troy? The Romans to persecute Boadacea? Wellington to defeat Napoleon? The Confederacy to shell Fort Sumter? The Allies to firebomb Dresden?

Right or not, these things happened; it is far too late to make the changes required to have them NOT happen. Better to plan for the future, to try to make such action unneccesary than to wallow in misery over the fact that they did. Does this desire make ME a security threat? Then so be it!

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#86
In reply to #85

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 11:38 AM

See ya in gitmo, Baby!

There will be a lot of us science I mean threat guys to pick up...

milo

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#88
In reply to #86

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 12:45 PM

The threat does not have to be a physical one, just knowing a fact can get you in the stew. Just how did these guys get so much power over our daily lives???? We are supposed to have a diplomatic Corps of people out there making friends.

I mean our diplomats would not bomb an Afgan wedding would they??? Perhaps our esteemed leaders are actually killing all sources on happiness. I mean knowledge is power, and one of the foundations of personal happiness and self esteem. When you are happy and filled with knowlege you have the sense of freedom.

Ah ha: that must be it, freedom is the thing that must be the threat?

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#89
In reply to #88

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 2:47 PM

It's pretty obvious that there are some who feel seriously threatened by the freedom of the rest of us! Not to name names or point fingers...

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#91
In reply to #85

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 3:25 PM

While it may have become a local "tradition" to fire AK-47's into the air to celebrate a wedding, is it reasonable to continue that tradition during armed conflict,

If it is their tradition ...in their country and you are there to 'protect them' ... and protect their freedom...
Then surely it is?

Don't you jealously guard your right to bear arms?

or should a reasonable person think, "hmmm, someone may think we are shooting at them in anger and take exception to that"?

Or should a reasonable person think..
"No one in their right mind will open fire on a wedding, which is an event known to all and completely open and above board, after all the Americans boast of their marvelous technology that can see a man from outer space and fly a missile through a window... a wedding party must be safely visible".

It is this reality gap which leads much of the world to see American armed forces as 'gung ho'....(No don't shoot at me...I'm just telling you the uncomfortable truth which answers the question oft asked...why does the rest of the world dislike us?? The answer is generally dismissed as unpalatable and ascribed to jealousy of your wealth and power)

Most people find individual Americans to be great folk, generous and affable...but the image sent out to the rest of the world is something else.

I don't mean to offend any one with this...but I'm afraid it's the truth.

Del

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#92
In reply to #91

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 3:37 PM

No offense taken Del.

you make several excellent points.

milo

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#95
In reply to #91

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 3:52 PM

And I for one am GLAD to hear the truth, no matter how spotty or potty it makes us look! For my part, I (being an American by generations of birthright going back before our War of Colonial Separation) find most of my fellow citizens to be right good company on most days. But when I apprise "us" as a people, I often find MUCH to be wanting. And I'm not a dang bit afraid to face up to the fact that others see us with the same jaundiced view. I KNOW why some of the rest of the world will never like us, and why all of the rest of the world will sometimes not like us.

But as to it being their tradition, country, rifles, etc. - what do any of our Continental bretheren have to contribute to this discussion? Were the Dutch, Belgian, Italians, and French upset over the Allied troops invading their fields and towns because their countries had been co-opted by an aggressive interloper back in the '40's? We seriously impacted their ability to hold weddings, etc. by sending in soldiers to protect their freedoms. And some of their civilians were sacrificed in the effort, as I recall.

So there are at least two defensible positions (the Al-qaida attacked us/the Americans disrupted our lives), and at least one (the Taliban gets the boot) not so defensible position on this, all competing for the moral high ground. I don't think they can all be right, but is it possible they all can be wrong?

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#103
In reply to #91

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 5:22 PM

Why not set up a neutral zone for the purpose of holding the traditional Afgan wedding? I volunteer to engineer such an enterprise.

Every time this happens, I am saddened by it. The wedding day should be special. But, this has been going on near to five years now. Good God, someone intervene here.

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#79
In reply to #76

Re: US science folks are de facto security threats?

07/18/2008 8:51 AM

Yes Del,

One cruise missle can ruin your whole day. Furthermore, these missles should not be deployed at weddings under any conditions.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bush is an idiot. I (we) (them) (us) (US) no longer try to make excuses for this idiot.

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