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Anonymous reply to terror attacks and protecting infrastructure



[Anyone who's ever explored the steam tunnels under a university can attest 
to this! --Declan]

---

Declan,

This discussion prompts me to offer a thought I've had for some time.
I belong to an Australian ad hoc group of 'urban infiltration'
enthusiasts. We explore civil infrastructure of all kinds - whatever
we can find and get into, regardless of its supposedly 'off limits' status.
There are branches of our group in most major cities in Australia.
Naturally, we keep records of what we find, to share with other people
with like interests. We also communicate with similar groups overseas.
It is quite a common passtime, both in the USA, and Europe, and doing
a google for 'infiltration' 'draining', 'souterains', 'urban exploration',
etc will turn up many web sites of such groups world wide.

Anyway, getting back to the point. Over the years, it becomes
glaringly obvious to explorers such as ourselves, that almost all of
the critical infrastructure of large cities is _totally_ vulnerable.
Electricity, water, gas, communications, sewage, drainage, rail - all of
them could be shut down over wide areas for days or weeks by simple acts
of vandalism, at remote and unguarded locations. If several different
services were taken out at once, in ways requiring significant effort
to repair (not difficult to arrange), it might be very hard to organise
the restoration of services within a timescale compatible with maintenance
of social order within a large city.

We joke among ourselves that its lucky we just like looking and taking
pictures, because if we wanted to it would be child's play to totally
shut down virtually any city. There are just _too_many_ critical services
exposed in too many places, almost all of them with little or zero
security (and virtually impossible to provide security.)
In the present 'crisis', there have been some ostentatious (but not very
effective) upgrades to security at prominent landmarks and key facilities.
For instance, the Sydney Harbour Bridge now has a few security guards
on foot patrol, and a few more video cameras. But even that national icon
would still be vulnerable to a determined and creative attack. Elsewhere,
at less visible but still critical locations, there have been precisely
zero changes in security arrangements.


And yet, so far there do not seem to have been any serious incidents
of infrastructure sabotage, in any of the 'coalition of the willing'
countries. Or anywhere else not actually in the middle of a war, for
that matter.
To those of us with some interest in politics, this is an interesting
contradiction to official assertions of frequent impending terrorist
attacks. If I were one of these hypothetical terrorists, with a grudge
against western nations, I suspect the idea of causing great economic
havoc would be just as attractive as committing acts of mass murder.
Possibly more so, actually, since it would make a point without at
the same time creating violent nationalistic hatred of whatever cause
was motivating me.

So we have two observations:
1. It would be easy for anyone wishing to massively disrupt society,
    to successfully attack the crucial infrastructure (and escape free.)
2. Suck attacks do not seem to occur. Instead we have (in the USA) one
    instance of spectactular, suicidal, localised destruction (WTC), and one
    instance of a generally disruptive (but politically targeted) biological
    attack. (The anthrax mailings.)

The only possible conclusion, is that there is simply no one seriously
interested in committing major infrastructure attacks. And that implies
there are actually no true (or even wannabe) 'terrorists' among us.
And never have been.

Which in turn implies that all the actual and threatened attacks were
not initiated by 'terrorists' (as advertised on TV), but by people with
quite different motivations.

As for who they are, and their motivations, I notice the rest of the
internet has a few things to say about that. Hovever, it is curious to note
that our governments, while doing their best to scare the citizenry with
tales of impending attacks, and making a great show of upgrading security
around high visibility 'targets', tend to be doing virtually nothing of
substance to protect the _real_ soft and vulnerable spots of our society -
the critical service infrastructure of the cities.

Its as if our governments are certain these targets will not be attacked.
Which is quite fortunate, since the effort required to harden all that
infrastructure, including things like the fiber optic lines, and create
a truly 'secure society', would be astronomical. I suggest that the ideal
of a 'secure society' would be completely beyond the realm of the possible.
Physically, it would require the laws of thermodynamics to be suspended.
(More energy needed to run the security apparatus than the rest of society.)
Economically, nothing could be profitable under the burden of massive
security system cost overheads.
Politically, it would require the elimination of almost all freedoms.

If there were any real terrorists, our entire western way of life would
be untenable. The combination of technology and centralization makes us
just too vulnerable to survive determined and creative attacks on our
infrastructure.

Regards,
[deleted]

I'd appreciate if you would remove my name, etc, if you publish this.




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