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back to article USA to bin colour-code terror warning system - report

The widely-derided US system of colour-coded terror warnings may soon be binned, according to reports. The system, brought in eight years ago in the wake of 9/11, ranges from green (low risk of attacks) up through blue, yellow ("significant" risk, the current level for the US as a whole) and orange ("high risk", the current …

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Codes

"A possible future plan described by the AP's sources would be reduction of the types of alert to just two, the normal state of play (perhaps tagged as "elevated" threat) and an "imminent" warning condition that would not be allowed to persist for more than one week at a time."

Or as the alerts will be known in the US, "live in fear", and "panic".

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Did you have to state the obvious?

Of course, some of us just don't give a shit. I stopped caring about 15 years ago. If I die tomorrow, my life won't have been too short, nor will it have been wasted.

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Or...

"""Or as the alerts will be known in the US, "live in fear", and "panic"."""

I personally go with "apathy" and "vague frustration."

Are there people that actually worry about getting hurt / killed by an act of terrorism? More than injury by motor vehicle? Does their quantity of worry change relative to the current color scheme?

Mostly though: Does anyone think that the color system ever did anything to help?

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I disagree.

They will be much more clearly defined. (Won't they?)

"Feed the military-industrial complex via obscene spending on ridiculous programs through taxes" is the normal state of play.

Imminent threats elevate the new terror warning system to "feed the other part of the military-industrial complex through rapid stockpiling and binge spending!"

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Anonymous Coward

Derididing the colours is but the tip of the iceberg.

"All the systems have relatively little relevance to civilians,"

So why bother civilians with them, then? It wouldn't be for the obvious reason, would it? That'd be frankly inconceivable.

"but among security, intelligence and military organisations the alert level is of great significance at it causes procedures, measures and permissions to be put into or out of effect."

Sounds like excuses to change the headless chicken dance depending on colour and thereby vary the hassle everybody else has to put up with. It doesn't promote thinking about what the real threat is and how to counter or mitigate it. Lo and behold, that doesn't happen.

Recently there's been some interesting pieces about how the Israelis do the secure-the-airport thing. If you compare that to the American "headless chicken" method Europe so compliantly copied, it's pretty clear that our security theatre puts us in more danger, needlessly so. Of course, some of us have been pointing at the Isrealis as better role models for only at least a decade or so. As, for all their many faults, airport security is something they have had licked for decades before "9/11" already. Why haven't we paid attention to that little fact?

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title required

So what your saying is we should use a system or Us vs Them, use racial profiling (based on nothing more than superficial skin colour differences) and force everyone we dont like to live like second class citizens who must be suspected and have their lives examined in micro detail simply because they dont follow a particular religion??

Personally I rather risk the stupidly small chance of getting blown out of the sky than risk losing some of the very basic principles which go together to make up the idea of britishness.

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@AC#2

No, what AC#1 is saying is that the Israeli system of "looking for terrorists" instead of "looking for weapons" is better. The Israeli's employ security personnel who are trained to detect subtle behaviours associated with people who may be nervous, trying to avoid suspicion, etc.

It's a form of behavioural/psychological profiling, and has absolutely nothing to do with what the person looks like. It's purely about what someone does, and how they act or react.

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Anonymous Coward

Trouble reading, have we?

I said absolutely nothing of that sort.

In fact, I resent the implication as I did make an effort to make clear that I in fact intended to say nothing of that sort. Let me run that once again by you: "As, for all their many faults, airport security is something [the Isrealis] have had licked for decades before "9/11" already."

Where does that endorse their in all but a name /apartheid/ laws and all the rest? I explicitly put that "for all their many faults" in exactly because I didn't want to endorse any such thing.

Still and all, you might want to take a look-see at the following:

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/744426

http://securitysolutions.com/news/security_exposing_hostile_intent/

The important points are that Israelis don't try to clear out an entire airport for every bomb threat but instead expediently remove the threat from the airport, and that they don't rely on technology to find something that might not even be there. What they do do is focus on the human factor, something america and in their footsteps europe have sorely neglected.

The Israelite airport security goons /do/ profile people, but to assume that's racial is perhaps a bit too automatic. Of course there are a lot of arabs that'd like to drink their blood, everybody knows that. Yet they also know that a bunch of japanese attacked their airport back in 1972, so they know they can't afford to concentrate on that alone; they have to be on the lookout for threats from everywhere. And they can't harass the people too much, something the TSA is only now running into. Why only now, dear fellow travelers?

Yes, the chance of getting blown out of the sky is stupidly small for most of us but a host of factors put it at the top of the agenda anyway. And right now, we're spending like crazy and hassling everybody and not gaining anything but a false sense of security. In short, we are deluding ourselves.

Bottom line: They do a lot of things right that we aren't doing right, so we might as well deign to learn from them instead of look away in horror from our own preconceptions. Don't go "iz it cuz I iz blak?" on me now, dear boy.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Trouble reading, have we?

Please be polite.

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FAIL

But what do they mean?

What is a 'significant' risk of terrorist action - one in a hundred chance of an attack today or one in 10,000? Homeland Security won't tell us. Given that the threat level has been this high or higher ever since it was introduced over 8 years ago (the green and blue levels have never been used) one can conclude that it's much closer to 1 in 10,000. Can this be considered 'significant' in any normal use of the term?

One might almost think that these warnings are dreamt up to maintain a constant state of fear amongst a gullible populace ...

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Stop

The Colour codes are all political

My understanding is that the USA's colour codes haven't gone below Yellow (Supposedly Above average chance of terrorism) since September 11, So they're clearly nonsense.

Didn't the Colour Codes go from Orange a couple of weeks before the Iraq invasion to Yellow, and then back up to Orange days before the invasion. Supposedly Bush's approval rating went up every time the terrorism warning did.

Every time it goes up, it looks like you're doing something, even if you aren't.

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Anonymous Coward

Bikini State is BLACK

There used to be a giant notice proclaiming thus outside the TA Centre near here. I was always faintly curious about what it meant. Now I know.

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Also...

I also seem to recall there was a TAHITI state too, which referred to the current mortar threat (a favourite PIRA method for attacking barracks).

I think the names were chosen randomly by the same computer that they use for operation names i.e. OP CORPORATE, GRANBY, TELIC, etc.

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Badgers

Brown alert

Surely there should be a level above red alert, ie. brown alert?! For when all those things you've been worrying about have just happened and it's just hit the fan...

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Code Brown

My wife wrote an article "Code Brown: Are you prepared?" but you had to be a nurse to understand the full horror :)

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Anonymous Coward

At least...

...Kryten won't have to keep changing the bulb.

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Coat

Shades of grey

I have a new system for them which should muddy things up no problem.

Critical: Light gray

Severe: Not as light as light gray but darker than mid gray

High: Mid gray

Possible: Darker than mid gray but not as dark as dark gray.

Low: Dark gray

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Troll

"Taupe" is what you're looking for.

That darker-than-mid-gray-but-not-really-dark, it's known as taupe (french for mole, so mole-gray really). Don't ask me --- it was dress code for a marriage I attended some time ago.

/troll as this one looks like a fraggle, hence similar to a mole.

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Troll

Surely...

...the Yanks have been led to believe, by their own government, that they are in Condition Brown But I'm sure that's just for political purposes though.

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Headmaster

As more people die from flu than terrorism what we need is

.... colour coded swine flue warnings

Pink - No Danger

Pale Pink - Slightly off colour

Puce Green Around the gills

Pale Blue You don't look at all well

White Bring out your dead

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Anonymous Coward

(apologies in advance)

'Ere, 'e says 'e's not dead yet!

(Will he be stone dead in a minute, I wonder)

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Coat

This just shows a lack of imagination...

After all there's a whole spectrum of colours, so how about alert levels including Puce, Taupe, Salmon Pink, Tangerine, Tea Rose, Fire Engine Red which would allow precise shadings(!) of meaning of each level!

(Mine's the one of many colors ;-) )

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Heightened

Signs in the foyers of many government buildings have been saying the security state is "Heightened" for years now. For something to be "heightened" on a permanent basis is clearly absurd, but difficult to back away from without appearing complacent. Makes it all seem a bit pointless.

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All I know is ...

... No matter how much the government tries to terrorize me, somehow I manage to live my day-to-day life the same as I always have.

Actually, I have made one change. Thanks to the Federally mandated Molestation Stations in commercial airports, I no longer fly commercial air. Might cost a little more to fly myself (and my range is limited to around 2200 miles before I need to refuel), but I kinda suspect that I'll save a few hours over the coming year :-)

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What, no...

...itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot BIKINI rating?

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Joke

Tho Old System Is Very...

...unfair to colorblind people.

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"Maximum Fear" mode initiated.

The problem with the terror alert system is that paranoia is expensive, and it's more economically efficient to only become paranoid when specific threats are identified. The normal condition should be blue. If the government raises it from blue to green, yellow, orange, red or crimson, the security department should lay on extra shifts, and so on, until the threat of the moment has passed.

However, the color alert system is also useful as a psychological tool for inducing fear in the electorate. Lowering it to green or blue would signal to the populace that normal sleeping hours should be resumed; buttocks, unclenched, and lives resumed. This cannot happen, so it bobs between yellow and orange.

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Go to blue alert!

Go to Blue Alert? Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb!

And, I take it, no hope of taupe-with-a-hint-of-vermilion alert, either.

Sigh.

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more like a mauve really

"all hands on deck, swirly thing alert!"

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Joke

Obligatory Red Dwarf Quote

We're going to go to Purple Alert.

Are you sure, sir? It means changing the bulb!

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Different colours of alert to be scrapped

Presumably because they were bored of changing the bulb..

With apologies to Kryten

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Unhappy

Move over Terror Colors

For the last 8 years, the terror alert colors were emblematic of the farcical "security" response since 9-11 in the US. Today, I think it's safe to say they have been officially displaced by perv scanners and groping.

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Terrorism from whom,

the way I see it, we actually have a limited external terrorism threat, but a major State wide attempt at inducing terror into society. The reaction by governments to something that could be handled far more "discreetly" is terrorism of the worst extreme designed for control of the masses not for freedom of the masses as they would have you believe.

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<click> We are at DEFCON 2, repeat, we are at DEFCON 2.

If a movie from the early '80s had this sorted, why is it so difficult? And in which alternate spectrum does the colour range from green to blue to yellow?

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Joke

Whalesong alert!

Obviously what's happened here is that they've had the marketing types in to sort out the whole mess and the existing colour coding is going. The new alert levels will be:

Verdant spring.

Carribean sky.

Harvest gold.

Tuscan umber.

Flamenco scarlet.

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Coffee/keyboard

Wrong colors, says the expert!

From the New York Times:

Amy Wax, president of the International Association of Color Consultants North America, said the use of “childish” primary colors like red, yellow and blue might have diluted the impact. “Purple, orange and magenta might create a sense of something that would get attention".

CLEARLY, this is an expert consultant.

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Pint

"colour-coded terror warnings may soon be binned"

Because it's meaningless, scoffed at by comedy programs and generally you're more likely to die falling over in your shower or bath, than a terroist attack?

I do believe you're also more likely to win the lottery than die by the hand of some fundamentalist nutter and his chosen cause. When I win it big on Saturday night's Euromillions, then I'll pay attention to all these security twats still attempting to scare me with their lies and half truths!

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Happy

Hey, I'm completely safe from terrorists then

Given that I never buy a lottery ticket, there's zero chance of me winning the lottery, and even less chance of being hurt by a terrorist!

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More new warnings.

1. Eat all you want.

2. 'Gas' price rise imminent.

3. About your tax....

4. You WILL MISS Oprah today.

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JMB

Re: USA to bin colour-code terror warning system - report

We used to have a number system at work which meant that no one ever had any idea whether "1" was good or bad. If it did go up/down a number then you always had to ask what the number meant.

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Unhappy

The Irish alert

I would've thought by now that the mess the Irish government let the country get into would be far more threatening than the occasional terrorist.

Ireland needs €80+ billion to cover the most appalling debts in the banking sector and in the mismanagement of the country. Guess who will be paying that (aside the already financially crucified Irish middle class)? Yep, the U.K., Germany, France and all of their friends in Europe who can not let the Euro or Eurozone fail.

Would the Germans or the Danes[1] go in and manage Ireland for a while? The Irish have gotten used to prosperity but, alas, they handle money with the acumen of a 4-year-old in a sweetshop.

[1] Remember 1014! Go back for a re-match. Best of 3 say.

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FAIL

I propose

a simple scale of 1-100. Its easy to understand, that's the percentage of tax that's currently being spent on pointless security measures.....

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