Take the haiku challenge

The FBI did something unusual: it was so concerned by two men who seemed to be casing the Seattle Ferry system that it asked for the public’s assistance. To that end, it asked the media to publish a picture taken, not by covert FBI surveillance, but by a ferry employee. The photograph shows the two men standing in open air, in public, side by side on ship’s deck.

Then, a funny thing happened. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which claims to be a major newspaper, refused to publish the photos:

The FBI is asking the public for help in identifying two men who were seen behaving unusually aboard several Washington state ferries.

About four weeks ago, the FBI fielded several reports from passengers and ferry workers about the men, who seemed “overly interested in the workings and layouts of the ferries,” Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said Monday.

The FBI also publicized photos of the men, which were taken by a ferry employee, Burroughs said.

The Seattle P-I is not publishing the photos because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime.

It doesn’t take a genius IQ to recognize that this explanation is a load of bollocks. There is no invasion of privacy in publishing a photograph of people taken in open air. Also, the Seattle PI makes much of the fact that these men haven’t been charged with anything. But the point is that we all know that. They’re not being publicly defamed as in “these men are wanted on suspicion of terrorism.” The FBI freely admits that these men may be wanted for nothing at all — but also points out that these same men have been spotted repeatedly engaged in suspicious behavior, behavior made all the more suspicious by the fact that the Seattle Ferry system has already once been the subject of terrorist reconnaissance.

Of course, if you’re a newspaper that has taken an untenable stand, you have to take steps to distract attention from your silliness. The Seattle PI opted to request reader haikus, apparently thinking that the best way to engage the public in a discussion about security and civil rights. Michelle Malkin has reprinted some of the best ones:

Possible danger?
Political correctness!
Paper fails duty.

Seattle P I
Is a joke to sane people
God help Seattle

a magical place,
where 9/11 never
happened. Seattle.

PI wants Haiku
To justify its dumbness
Task Impossible

Malkin invites more, as do I. I’ve no knack for haiku, but this is my effort:

Two lads sightseeing.
Learning ship from stem to stern.
P I covers eyes.

I have absolutely no doubt but that you can do better than I just did.

UPDATEAccording to David Klinghoffer, we shouldn’t be in the least surprised by the Seattle P I’s approach to this issue.  It’s thinking is entirely in keeping with the neighborhood in which it lives.

17 Responses

  1. It doesn’t take a genius IQ to understand how such a use of the press to target citizens infringes on the liberty of all. However, it might take an interest in preserving liberty to reject such a tactic. But then, I think we know where the Book stands on the helpful nature of authoritarian solutions – There’s such a compelling finality to them, isn’t there?

  2. […] posting on this topic:  Random Nuclear Strikes / Bookworm Room […]

  3. Photo of two men…
    Friend or Foe? You’ll not know,
    If the PI has its way

  4. Stop protecting your bruthas, g, or is it parroting?

    Brothers of the Revolution unite.

  5. Islamic Jihad
    Americans in danger
    The media sleeps

  6. Important events
    engross the reader! Oops I
    must go: Britney’s on!

  7. Aha! I knew there was talent out there. Not only good, but so much better than anything I could do.

  8. FBI queries:
    Terrorists or sightseers?
    PI wind-whistles

  9. King Laer!

    I crown thee. Each time I read “PI wind-whistles” I laugh out loud *and* I am deeply impressed.

  10. If you’ve never seen ‘Spam Haikus’ here is something blissfully non-terrorist
    on a Friday morning.
    http://www.kbeamer.com/spam_haiku.html

    A small selection:

    The color of Spam
    is natural as the sky:
    A block of sunrise

    Oh Argentina!
    Your little tin of meat soars
    Above the pampas

    Pink beefy temptress
    I can no longer remain
    Vegetarian

    And who dares mock Spam?
    you? you? you are not worthy
    of one rich pink fleck

    Spam, too, needs a wife
    What consort for my Pork Prince?
    Ah! The Velveeta!

  11. Those are ridiculously funny, Mike. What a hoot.

  12. Picture creepy muslims
    but not in the newspaper
    lol, pc liberals

  13. It’s such a big security issue that it took more than 3 weeks for the issue to surface. That’s the big issue here. The alert about the photo taking went out in early August
    http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/updates/story/125104.html
    The picture issue about 3 weeks later. That’s wonderful threat assessment. They were odd and disturbing passengers yet there were no officers available to “check them out.” So a memo was issued that was “not a warning.” Then the photo was submitted to news outlets to help search for people who aren’t being accused of wrong-doing.
    It doesn’t take a genius or any research to figure out how to blow up a washington state ferry. If a terrorist can get a car with explosives on the boat and make it go boom, then the terrorist has done all they need to. The boat wouldn’t even need to sink.
    Or maybe they want to hijack a ferry. A very ambitious proposition, but suppose terrorists did want to do that. What could they do with a ferry? Ram a cruise ship? Ram a pier? Ram some industrial target? Probably would be easier to do these things with your own boat and the boat would go faster and be harder to stop.
    Next someone will probably want to use the Amber Alert system to try and track down “suspicious” vehicles.

  14. Paranoia…….deep destroya. What a joke. Don’t belive the hype people, you’re falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book. Don’t fall into the fear mongers trap. The consequences are dire.

    Question authority here people or the land of liberty will exist as a reflection of what once was, and what could have been.

  15. One must laugh at the PC replies to this issue, and the (apparently) short memories and blissful naivety of PC westerners. We already KNOW that the 911 hijackers were spotted numerous times previous to their terrorist acts. The problem was that no one did anything about it. I suppose that Seattle is so “insulated” from New York that the political correctness trumps common sense. The comments by “dell” could be adapted perfectly to 911. Listen to what she says: “What could they do with a plane?” “Probably be easier to do these things with your own plane…”

  16. Their pictures are on national tv. If they are innocent they should simply come forward, no harm done. It will get just as much coverage and the FBI can continue real cases and leads.

    What’s suspicious is that it’s now 1 month later, the men in the pictures now appear to be hiding.

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