from 07 september 2003
blue vol II, #95
Opinion Archive

Professional Paranoid

by William Stone III

There are no terrorists in the United States. There never have been, there aren't any now, and there aren't likely to be any in the future.

You have nothing to fear from terrorists: they're a figment of the imagination of those in power. The real enemy is those who would manufacture nonexistent terrorists in order to further their own ends.

And I can prove it.

In my "day job" I am an information systems security specialist. My job is to be a professional paranoid. My clients pay me to think up ways that an individual might compromise sensitive data, and then to mitigate against that risk. This ranges from physical security to network security to procedural security. I've been doing this kind of work for something like ten years, now, and I don't mind saying that I'm good at what I do.

In my capacity as a professional paranoid, I have occasionally turned my mind to notions of more general physical security. I have marveled at the occasional stupidity of America's few terrorists. From a tactical perspective, Timothy McVeigh was a low-grade moron. Someone with my training would have bombed a much larger building and never been caught. Catch me sometime in person, and I'll explain what someone could have done to the Sears Tower with the same material, yet by simply catching the El to O'Hare could have been on a plane to South America when Upper Wacker Drive collapsed onto Lower.

Since September 11, the FedGov has used the claim of terrorists insinuating themselves into every fabric of American life to justify all manner of draconian "security" measures.

As to the "security" of these measures, in my professional opinion, they're worse than useless. One cannot reliably place access controls on public places short of putting a cordon of armed guards around it with orders to shoot everyone who tries to breach it. Anything less - such as "airport security" - is a waste of time, from a security perspective. Similarly, "enhancing" security by violating individual rights as the FedGov has done achieves nothing but further accustoming individuals to the notion that they have no rights save those granted by government.

In any case, as I've already stated, there are no terrorists in the United States, and the proof of this is simple.

The United States - despite all the efforts of the FedGov to enslave it - is still the most free society in the world. No doubt our freedoms will continue to be curtailed, but for the moment, there is nothing to prevent terrorists from existing.

Nor, frankly, should there be anything to prevent their existence. In a free society, one of the accepted dangers is that it's possible for individuals to harm one another. The great lie about laws is that they exist to prevent behavior that would cause harm. In fact, laws exist to punish or exact restitution from individuals who've already harmed others. The only way to PREVENT harm is a total police state in which individuals are allowed no freedom whatsoever.

Consider the following, then: given that the United States is reasonably free; given that in a free society, it is possible for individuals to harm one another. Now, as an intellectual exercise, let's add a given: the FedGov's paranoid fantasies are all true, and terrorist organizations dedicated to destroying America are hiding behind every rock, shrub, and tree.

Here's where my training as a professional paranoid comes into play. Given these notions, imagine with me that you are a terrorist bent on destroying America. How would you go about doing so?

You wouldn't do it through direct military confrontation. The United States military has become an enormous group of individuals carrying out the Unconstitutional policies of those in power. Direct confrontation against the military is simply an involved way of committing suicide.

Similarly, because individuals are in many areas of the country still allowed to carry deadly weapons, attempting any kind of military victory in even a small town is suicidal. The local residents will kill you the moment some 12-year-old with a .22 calibre rifle lines you up in his sites.

What options have you? Guerrilla and terrorist tactics.

Terrorist tactics seem the most likely to succeed, given the limited funds and personnel of a secret terrorist organization. The next problem becomes, what sort of weapons will you use?

The options are fairly broad in today's era: traditional explosives (bombs, rifles, pistols, etc.), nuclear weapons, biological, and chemical weapons.

Remember, one of the goals of a terrorist organization would be to remain secret. This being the case, it has a shortage of trained technical personnel, as well as a shortage of specialized materiel. Remember, too, that nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons are expensive, difficult to obtain and refine, and are rife with all manner of toxic side effects. They're additionally very difficult to transport and deliver with any degree of accuracy and success.

Given all this, it seems likely that the average terrorist will choose simple, cheap, easy-to-manufacture, easy-to-hide, easy-to-deliver explosive-based weapons. In fact, this is what we find worldwide: terrorists use explosives rather than nuclear or biological weapons.

Now, I realize that there are some among my readership who will object to what I'm about to do. I'm going to give a very specific example of something a terrorist COULD do with explosives if they were inclined to. The objection raised will be that this example is "giving information to the enemy".

Trust me: if there were an enemy, they'd've done this - or something very like it - already. I may be a professional paranoid, but I don't spend the majority of my time looking for terrorist targets. They do.

I'm a South Dakotan, so when I turn loose the professional paranoid inside me, I look to South Dakota's beautiful Black Hills. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit every year, concentrated around Mount Rushmore. This makes it a perfect target for terrorists.

As a major tourist attraction, Mount Rushmore has no access controls. Access is granted to anyone who has the trivial amount of money to pay the parking fee. Access is then entirely open, and anyone is free to wander the visitor's center, the huge amphitheater used for the evening lighting ceremony, and the hiking trail to the base of the mountain's debris field. There are no real access controls to prevent individuals from leaving the hiking trail, though in short order they'd probably be noticed.

The highest concentration of people at Mount Rushmore occurs during the evening lighting ceremony. During this ceremony, the area is dark to facilitate a DVD display in the amphitheater. During tourist season, the ceremony plays to packed crowds. There aren't even enough seats, and individuals sit, stand, and watch shoulder-to-shoulder in some cases.

It is the PERFECT terrorist target - like hundreds of thousands of other all over the United States.

There would be nothing - absolutely nothing - to prevent a terrorist from filling a small knapsack (of the kind worn by hundreds of tourists) full of pipe bombs. Such explosives are identical to those used at the Olympic Park bombing and are simplicity itself to make. For a few hundred dollars, one could fill one's garage to bursting with them, and it requires only a trip to the local hardware and sporting goods stores to obtain the materials for them.

If there were hundreds of thousands of terrorists in this country, there would necessarily be thousands of basements filled with cheap, easy-to-make pipe bombs to choose from for the job of terrorizing Mount Rushmore's tourists. They would throw a few into a knapsack, spend a few extra dollars for a timed detonator, and rent a car in Rapid City. They'd then arrive at Mount Rushmore in time for the lighting ceremony, take a seat in the center of the crowd, and quietly slide their knapsack under the concrete bench in the amphitheater. They'd then leave, ostensibly to go to the bathroom (if an excuse is even necessary), get in their car and drive back to Rapid. With appropriate timing, about the time their car hits the town of Keystone, the explosive will go off, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. They'd then return the rental car in Rapid and disappear back into obscurity.

That's just one possible scenario. As I mentioned, there are hundreds of thousands of potential targets such as this throughout the United States. If one allows one's paranoid fantasies free reign, one realizes that if terrorists existed in the United States, there should be a news story every single day about how some public place was bombed somewhere in America.

There is nothing - literally NOTHING - preventing the devious terrorists the FedGov claims exist from performing such acts every day. And yet, such acts never occur. Not today, not yesterday, and not ever.

Terrorists aren't stupid - the ease with which they took advantage of the way the FedGov immorally disarms airline passengers proves this. If they wished to plant a bomb in the middle of the evening lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore, they'd have done it long ago.

How can we account for this discrepancy? How can there exist terrorist in the United States - each capable of coming up with schemes far more nefarious than my paranoid musings - and yet, no terrorist acts of this type have ever been committed?

The answer is simple: there are no terrorists. If there were, we'd see their acts every day. Terrorism wouldn't be confined to US-occupied countries like Iraq, they would literally occur every day somewhere in the United States, in a manner similar to - or worse than - that which I outlined.

They don't exist. Terrorists in the United States are a stark, raving, paranoid fantasy - at best. More likely, it's a cold, calculated attempt on the part of those in power to terrify Americans into rash actions that they otherwise would never take.

There is no war on terrorism because there are no terrorists in the United States. There is a war on your freedom, being waged from the office of the President, his cronies and accomplices all through Washington, DC, and in every Federal building in every town and city in America.

You have nothing to fear from terrorists: they're a figment of the imagination of those in power. The real enemy is those who would manufacture nonexistent terrorists in order to further their own ends.

–   William Stone III

William Stone, III is a computer nerd (RHCE, CCNP, CISSP) and Executive Director of the Zero Aggression Institute. He seeks the Libertarian Party's nomination for the 2004 Senate race is South Dakota.

© William Stone & Associates,   All Rights Reserved.

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