This is interesting.
A young Chinese man goes internet shopping and buys a silicon mask for USD700 or thereabouts. The mask is that of an old white man. He puts it on and gets on an Air Canada plane from Hong Kong bound for Vancouver. It surely is not that simple, right?
To board an international flight surely this young man must have had a passport or two. One passport with a happy snappy of his assumed persona of the old white fellow and his "real" identity as a young man in his twenties. In any event, he undisguised himself mid-flight and someone noticed and the authorities were waiting for him on arrival on Canadian soil. He was promptly arrested and equally prompt was a subsequent claim for asylum.
The implications are pretty big on this one. Why haven't the "terrorists" been using this idea before? Or have they? Perhaps Osama Bin Laden is not holed up in the mountainous regions of Pakistan, but living happily in New York City with the aid of a good silicon mask.
The very idea puts a severe dent in the idea that people should legitimately be concerned of travelling on flights with Muslims who are dressed in full Muslim garb (whatever that might be). There was an instance of this just recently where Juan Williams was fired by NPR and then hired by Fox after suggesting he was concerned in this way.
The reality is that the old white fellow you are sitting next to on your next flight might be none other than Mohammed al-Zawahiri or the main man, Osama Bin Laden or some yet to be identified serial killer or warlord from some despotic regime somewhere. Why, it might even be Barack Obama going undercover in the international interest to test out security procedures.
In all seriousness though, this case highlights that very simple adage "where there is a will, there is a way".
I recall reading somewhere last week that European airline operators were complaining about the over-zealous nature of US flight security measures. I think that the x-ray of shoes was one concern. However, perhaps now passengers aside from having to volunteer for full body scans or the almost porn kind will now also have to allow someone to have a gentle tug on their face to make sure that it does not come off prior to boarding a flight to anywhere. The beauty of Homeland [in]Security.
So, next time someone wearing a uniform at the airport asks to have a pull of your nose before issuing a boarding pass, remember they are just wanting to make sure that your face is really your face. May Michael Jackson be resting in peace, but could you have imagined what might have transpired there?