Sunday, August 13, 2006

Africa: Day 33

I found myself unable to come up with a proper topic for today's post, so you may just have to bear with me as I plod along. Hey, where are you going? Stop! I didn't say it would be boring, well not THAT boring anyway. Hey...! *Shrugs to self*

I've been checking the logs out lately, seeing where our collective traffic is coming from. It's nice to see that we're getting traffic from all over the world now. Since blogspot is owned by google, the contents of these blogs are spidered daily by Google search engines, which means all the cultural posts that have been made lately have increased traffic from people outsite the regular viewers. So to those of you who are seeing this for the first time and who have taken a moment from your busy days, I'd like to say: "Saben el-Khier!" (That's good morning if you're interested.) Interestingly enough, I'm also seeing traffic from my old company web site, so Hi Computer Techs! Glad to see I'm still a source of interest... Lol

Well, if you're like most today, you're liable to be wondering what's happening with this airline bombing conspiracy. I'll tell you the unabashed nuts and bolts of the matter as best I can without too much embellishment. To make a long and convoluted story somewhat shorter, here's what's happened at this point;

British Intelligence, MI5, has been conducting an undercover investigation into a terrorist group of primarily british-born individuals who are bent on blowing up a bunch of innocent people. What many of the networks did NOT say, and I was only able to find this out by scouring MI5, CIA, CNN, BBC and almost every OTHER network I could locate, was that the suspects are all British at this point. This means that most of the anti-islamic sentiment that will assuredly arise from the USA is going to be targeted to the wrong people. It wasnt the arabs, so calm down and let's not start burning gas stations.

In response to this, british intelligence surrounded and captured a number of the terrorists that were getting ready to attempt to board planes today. Does this mean they are guilty of ALMOST letting it happen? (This is where my opinion enters, not fact) No. Most likely, they were trying to watch and determine how far this network reaches and only stepped in when they did to stop an obvious terrorist threat. To do so before now would only have blown the cover of the investigation and likely would have sent the group further underground where they would have been much harder to catch. (end of my opinions)

So, what has happened? Well, for right now, international travel is a complete mess, especially going in and out of London and the rest of Europe. You have to understand, the last time this happened to them was in 1983 when two Libyans destroyed American Pan Am Flight 103, so this hasn't happened to europe in 23 years. They are on COMPLETE lockdown. Further, as far as I can tell ALL airports in both Europe and the USA have upgraded their flight restrictions to state that NO electronics can be carried on in the plane's passenger compartments, no liquids, no iPods, no remote control key chains, NOTHING that could contain any chemical or electronic agents that could be used to bring down an aircraft. This too, happened back in 1983 when the Pan Am flight was destroyed. The last time this restriction was put into place, it only lasted one month until the governments were completely sure that they had alleviated the threat. This time, I have no projection, nor do the networks, as to when this stringent restriction will be lifted. For now, the only thing allowed into the passenger compartments of most airline planes are your wallet, passport, tickets, prescription drugs, and any child or feminine related materials. They're even going so far as to say that all mothers carrying formulas for babies must taste the formula in front of an airline officer to make sure it's not toxic or chemically dangerous.

So, how does this affect our team and our staffing? Well, basically it really doesn't affect us except for convenience. We can still carry everything we could before, but it's got to be carried in the cargo hold of the plane, not in the passenger compartment. Anything you carry on your person must be carried in a transparent plastic bag and stay with you in your seat. So, aside from the additional cost of putting two more bags in the cargo hold, there will really be no impediment to our traveling. Of course, that costs about $150.00 US per bag, but that's unavoidable at this point. Further, the preparation time has been dramatically increased. Basically, our guys can plan to spend HOURS waiting to get in line at the air ports. All of this however is just part of what traveling entails. It's no worse or better than anything else that happens in the world on a daily basis.

Other than those issues, nothing much has been accomplished this week. I've spent most of my week dealing with beauracratic red-tape, wading through political mire, offending local inhabitants (yeah, THAT was a big oops.) and otherwise attempting some semblance of forward momentum when every other person I meet seems content to move like molasses when moving forward at all and more often than not they seem just as conten to actually get further behind. Anyway, I've made an attempt these last 24 hours to try to reclaim my former-self a little and put my temper at bay.

...I had to end this post early due to an impromptu meeting with the client and one of our representatives... So I'll just begin a new post later.

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