Air Piracy, Airport Security, and International Terrorism: Winning the War against Hijackers

Air Piracy, Airport Security, and International Terrorism: Winning the War against Hijackers

Air Piracy, Airport Security, and International Terrorism: Winning the War against Hijackers

Air Piracy, Airport Security, and International Terrorism: Winning the War against Hijackers

Synopsis

This highly readable work provides a fascinating history of international airline terrorism, and examines the ways in which airlines and governments are attempting to cope with the problem. St. John provides a detailed account of the evolution of air piracy, and profiles the eight types of hijackers and how they can be recognized. Current safety measures and policies are analyzed for countries throughout the world, and a coordinated seven-stage plan is proposed to combat future terrorism. Other topics addressed include the hijacked plane and its victims, responses, and government policies that often encourage terrorism.

Excerpt

In late April 1985, my teaching assistant at the University of Manitoba, Rahul Aggarwal, a brilliant young Canadian of East Indian ancestry, presented himself for dinner at my home, as do all my teaching assistants every year. The dinner was a pleasant affair and included discussion of his forthcoming research trip to New Delhi where he intended to compare the Indian and Canadian experiences of middle-power foreign policy. It was the last time I ever saw him.

Two months later, Rahul boarded Air India 182 to fly from Toronto via London to New Delhi. The big jumbo jet never made it. Just off the Irish coast a terrorist bomb blasted the plane out of the sky and 329 people plunged to their deaths in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The sabotage of Air India 182 had a profound effect on Canadians, much the same as the destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988, had on Americans. Lax airport security, ignored warnings of terrorist attack, missed opportunities, ambiguous public information, and bungled investigations by security agencies--both during the incidents and in the years following--proclaimed the enormous problems facing airport and airplane security.

The death of Rahul was enough to ignite a growing sense of personal anger over cowardly bomb attacks on defenseless aircraft. The only useful therapy for that anger was to set to work to write a book on the problem of hijacking. Thus, a terrorist act of airplane sabotage was father to this study on how the United States, Canada, and other Western nations have and should confront attacks on commercial aircraft.

The purpose of this book is to give the reader a historical perspective as well as a contemporary analytical framework for achieving successful and effective airplane and airport security. The first two chapters describe the periods of historical development in this twentieth-century phenomenon--terrorist attacks on commercial aircraft--showing clearly how hijacks develop in repetitive patterns, accompanied by a marked copycat effect.

Chapter Three attempts to peer inside the mind of the terrorist and to determine his identity, his targets, and the psychology motivating his actions.

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