Here is a complement to SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE CREEPING FASCISM AT US AIRPORTS in Tuesday's compilation. This could be a turning point as people nationwide begins to realize for real what is happening to their freedom, though, sadly and unbelievably, only 15% of Americans disapprove when asked "Should Airports Use Full-Body X-Ray Machines?", according to a poll taken a week ago...
Let's hope more wake up from their propaganda media-induced trance and finally stop putting up with the indignity of being treated like a whole nation of potential terrorists... while most everyone now realizes the real terrorists are the Alphabet soup of agencies that comprise the repression apparatus that has been put in place to "protect" them since 9/11 - especially the infamous Department of Homeland 'Security', which is guided by the same inhumane ethics that prevail in the ghoulish US prison system - a true corporate Gulag!
Let us pray - and hold the vision - that something good will come out of this...
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1. WE WON'T FLY - Act Now. Travel With Dignity
2. Get your hands off me, TSA!
3. TSA and America's Zero Risk Culture
The TSA is out of control - A MUST WATCH - SO OUTRAGEOUS!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhkQoiaf7Uc
The government is doing what it does best - it's lying."There is no problem."The media is doing what it does best - it's presenting the story in a fragmentary, dismissive way. NO ONE is putting all the pieces together. This is a much bigger story than just Nazi-like behavior at the airports. Even this video just scratches the surface - and please share this page with your friends. And be a real American: STOP FLYING
OCEAN RESCUE: SAVE THE TUNA SUMMIT - THIS IS URGENT! http://www.avaaz.org/en/tuna_at_risk_2/?vl
Bluefin tuna will be wiped out unless drastic action is taken to stop overfishing at the world summit going on right now. Without these magnificent fish, oceanic ecosystems could collapse. This little known summit is the last chance for Tuna, and elite and even criminal cartels with powerful political allies are lobbying hard to block a vital recovery plan, putting short-term profits before the future of our oceans and fishing economies. If we can show governments that the world's eyes are on them, the cartels could be exposed and an urgent survival plan could be forced through. Sign the petition to save this ecologically crucial fish and forward this email -- it will be delivered to the negotiators and the media at the summit:
1. If you absolutely, positively must fly, opt out of the scanners. Do it to protect your health and privacy.
2. If you can avoid flying, don't fly. Hit the airlines in the pocketbook until the scanners and gropers are gone. Make the airlines work for us.
3. Raise holy hell. Register your disapproval of the scanners and gropers to your airline, your hotel and all government officials who claim to work for you. Educate your community.
For your Health
Backscatter X-ray uses ionizing radiation, a known cumulative health hazard, to produce images of passengers' bodies. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with defective DNA repair mechanisms are considered to be especially susceptible to the type of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation. Also at high risk are those who have had, or currently have, skin cancer. Ionizing radiation's effects are cumulative, meaning that each time you are exposed you are adding to your risk of developing cancer. Since the dosage of radiation from the backscatter X-ray machines is absorbed almost entirely by the skin and tissue directly under the skin, averaging the dose over the whole body gives an inaccurate picture of the actual harm. In their letter of concern, the UCSF faculty members noted that "the dose to the skin could be dangerously high". The eyes are particularly susceptible to the effects of radiation, and as one study found allowing the eyes to be exposed to radiation can lead to an increased incidence of cataracts.
For your Privacy
Aside from the health risks of these devices, the fact remains that they allow strip searches to be conducted on a wide-scale level. That they are automated and mechanical in no way changes the fact that when a government agent looks beneath your clothing you are being strip searched. These strip searches are being performed without any probable cause or reasonable suspicion, as primary screening. A recent article in the San Diego Entertainer on August 31, 2010 stated that "the scans are detailed enough to identify a person's gender to identify a passenger's surgery scars, or to discern whether a woman is on her menstrual cycle or not." Although the TSA purports to be staffed by highly trained professionals who respect the privacy and dignity of travelers, TSA Screener Rolando Negrin was ridiculed by other TSA screeners for having a small penis after being imaged by an AIT device (AKA porno-scanner).
For your Personal Property
There are also property risks. During the time that a person is inside the full body imaging machine, it is impossible to maintain a line of sight to his or her belongings. Remember that because you cannot have anything in your pockets during the scan, this will include all your identification, money, and all personal items. Numerous thefts have been reported at security checkpoints, including incidents that led to the firing of four TSA employees at JFK as ABC News reported.
A leading Israeli airport security expert says the Canadian government has wasted millions of dollars to install "useless" imaging machines at airports across the country. "I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada. "That's why we haven't put them in our airport," Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world. Sela, former chief security officer of the Israel Airport Authority and a 30-year veteran in airport security and defence technology, helped design the security at Ben Gurion.
How to Opt Out: Say "I Opt Out"
Should you decide to opt out, you must be aware that the TSA will perform a pat down instead of subjecting you to the WBI/AIT (AKA porno-scanner). The TSA may try to pressure you into submitting to the scanners . You are not required by law to submit to imaging, however, many TSA employees may attempt to intimidate, coerce or insist that it is required. You will need to be firm, and sometimes will not be allowed to opt out unless you state in exactly these words "I opt out." While you should be able to opt out using your own terms, such as requesting a pat down instead, or stating that you will not be photographed nude, remember that not all screeners will be respectful of your decision. They may continue to insist until you say "I opt out." In these cases it is up to the individual traveler to determine whether to stand firm or to use the TSA's preferred wording.
WARNING: Enhanced Pat Down
Be aware that the TSA is using what they call an "enhanced pat down" in many instances. These pat downs are much more rigorous and often include the TSA using their palms to touch your genitals in a manner that could feel like sexual assault. If you feel that you or your child were inappropriately touched during the enhanced pat down, call for a law enforcement officer.
We Can Do it
A few committed individuals are working together to effect positive change. If we don't take action, however meager and ineffective it may seem at first, the ability to opt out may soon disappear. We may soon find these porno-scanners on our roads, in our train stations and sports stadiums. We must end this dangerous and invasive technology here and now! Join us!
We Won't Fly Message for National Opt Out Day Meetup Organizers (16 min) http://www.vimeo.com/16952094
From 6 min into the video, he explains what motivates him to raise hell to stop this indignity
Ron Paul Responds to TSA: Introduces 'American Traveler Dignity Act' (Nov. 17, 2010)
SUPERBLY ELOQUENT OUTRAGE! A MUST WATCH AND NETWORK! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwsdq69AHnw
Shrug Off the Shackles of the TSA - On Wednesday, Congressman Ron Paul took to the House floor to condemn the TSA's procedures, to urge the American people to take a stand for their rights, and to introduce the American Traveler Dignity Act. READ HIS RELATED WRITTEN STATEMENT HERE
Campaign for Liberty Says Enough to TSA Violating Personal Liberty Once Again http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=39459
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Below is a statement from Campaign for Liberty President John Tate regarding recent incidents involving the Transportation Security Administration:"Since 9/11, the federal government has willingly traded more of our liberties for so-called 'security' through freedom-stealing legislation and wasteful bureaucratic nightmares like the TSA. Americans are now being humiliated into accepting the TSA's naked body scanners by the introduction of 'enhanced pat-downs.' This basically gives fliers, including women and children, a choice between experiencing a virtual strip search or a sexual assault. And we are expected to accept this as a condition of flying." "Campaign for Liberty has long warned against the gross violations of personal privacy by the federal government's TSA, as one of our own staff experienced its outrageous treatment of passengers first hand. As the incidents continue to pile up, we are glad to see other Americans express their concern and demand change." "Just like other massive federal government overreaches, the TSA thinks telling us this is necessary for 'our safety' allows it to do whatever it wants to us, including shredding our Fourth Amendment rights." "In the interest of our families, our Republic, and our national security, Campaign for Liberty believes it is time to save the taxpayers almost ten billion dollars a year by abolishing the TSA."
TSA Putting Hands Down Pants http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxnW2HWpigc
TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers' PantsThe TSA's invasive new screening measures include officers literally putting their hands down people's pants if they are wearing baggy clothing in a shocking new elevation of groping procedures that have stoked a nationwide revolt against privacy-busting airport security measures.Forget John Tyner's "don't touch my junk" experience at the hands of TSA goons in San Diego recently, another victim of Big Sis was told by TSA officials that it was now policy to go even further when dealing with people wearing loose pants or shorts. Going through airport security this past weekend, radio host Owen JJ Stone, known as "OhDoctah," related how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening. When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded, "I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants," after which he did precisely that.Stone chose to conduct the search in public in the fear that the TSA worker would be even more aggressive in a private room."If you're wearing sweat pants or baggy clothing, I was wearing sweat pants they're not baggy, they're sweat pants," said Stone, adding that the agent pulled out his waistband before patting his backside and his crotch. Even the TSA agent who put his hands down the man's pants was embarrassed at what he had been told to do by his superiors, apologizing profusely to the victim. A 54-year-old Missouri City man experienced similar treatment when he was going through security at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Thomas Mollman was subject to a groping by a TSA officer that was tantamount to sexual molestation. "I was wearing shorts at the time -- between the underwear, right on the skin, all the way around the back, all the way around my front, 360 degrees, touched inappropriately," he said. "This was an assault. This was no different than a sexual assault," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy. The level of abuse appears to be getting worse on an almost daily basis. First TSA agents use the back of their hands, then they outright grope you with the front, and now they are being trained to put their hands down traveler's pants. What's next? Mandatory bodily probes? Even as the resistance to airport oppression grows, Big Sis and the TSA are responding by making the pat down procedures more invasive. Napolitano has figuratively said to the American people 'let them eat cake' as she slaps them in the face. Given the fact that the TSA's own woeful background checks for their own employees allows rapists and pedophiles to get jobs as pat down agents, will you allow TSA workers to put their hands down the pants of your daughter or wife?
TSA Pats Down Screaming Child! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBcRo4xKGdU
TSA pats down screaming child at Chattanooga Airport! Airports may opt out of having the TSA. EXCELLENT IDEA AND IT IS FULLY LEGAL! JANET NAPOLINATO, BARACK OBAMA AND THEIR ENTIRE FAMILY SHOULD GO THROUGH A NATIONALLY TELEVISED FULL PAT DOWN, EXACTLY THE SAME THEY NOW WANT THEIR TSA GOONS TO DO, TO SHOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HOW "EASY" IT IS TO ACCEPT BEING FONDLED IN YOUR PANTS, WHETHER YOU ARE A MAN, A WOMAN OR A 3-YEAR OLD KID, JUST TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT A TERRORIST... THIS WHOLE BIZARRE POLICY IS THE STRAW THAT WILL BREAK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S STRAINED PATIENCE WITH THEIR GOVERNMENT AND THINGS COULD SOON TURN REALLY UGLY - WHICH IS PERHAPS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT! - UNLESS THEY BACK DOWN PERMANENTLY FROM THEIR ENCROACHEMENT UPON CONSTITUTIONALLY GARANTEED FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS.
TSA Head says tighter security measures here to stay (11/17/2010) http://www.wkyc.com/news/local/news_article.aspx?storyid=159070&catid=45
WASHINGTON -- Transportation Security Administration boss John Pistole says he understands concerns about more invasive patdowns and body scans, but the measures are here to stay.Pistole said not even passengers with religious objections to being touched in sensitive areas or having their body viewed on scanners will be allowed to board planes without required steps. One group is urging a nationwide protest against the measures next Wednesday, the busy travel day before Thanksgiving. It's encouraging passengers to refuse the measures. At Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, there's been no high-profile refusal by passengers to submit to the measures. But some TSA screeners have concerns about outraged passengers possibly filing police reports. CLIP
Big Sister's police state: TSA's tyrannical tactics threaten American freedoms (November 16, 2010) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/16/big-sisters-police-state/
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has crossed the line. As if subjecting millions of Americans to X-rated x-ray scans and public groping sessions weren't bad enough, the agency now threatens $11,000 in fines against anyone refusing to submit to humiliation at the airport.Oceanside, Calif., resident John Tyner found this out after he posted on YouTube a video of his degrading encounter with TSA screeners. Mr. Tyner's catchy phrase, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested," spread quickly, thanks to attention provided by the Drudge Report. TSA was not amused, and an official announced Monday that Mr. Tyner faces punishment for leaving the airport without submitting to the high-tech or low-tech molestation options.The term is not used lightly. Under 18 U.S. Code Section 2244, " 'sexual contact' means the intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade." It's no coincidence that TSA initiated sexual-contact pat-downs after fliers began to refuse the pornographic scanners. There can be no question that when threats of civil punishment are used to ensure compliance, those encounters with the TSA lose their status as a voluntary transaction. It's even more outrageous that these unnecessary searches are being conducted on children. (...) Once freedom at airports is "locked down," it's inevitable that TSA will next target buses, trains and the Metro. After all, al Qaeda has attacked each of these modes of transportation in other parts of the world. Strict controls on internal travel is the hallmark of a police state.No matter how invasive TSA searches become, there's no guarantee anything the agency does will prevent a terrorist attack. A balance must be struck between reasonable security measures and the maintenance of a free society. These decisions cannot be made by Obama administration officials without involving the public in the discussions. Many Tea Party candidates standing for election earlier this month promised they were going to "take our country back." Stopping TSA would be a good first step.
UCSF scientists speak out against airport full-body scans (November 4, 2010) http://news.ucsf.edu/news-briefs/details/ucsf-scientists-speak-out-against-airport-full-body-scans/
Four UCSF scientists sent a letter last April to the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, expressing concern about the health risks of full body scanners being implemented at U.S. airports. The co-signers were David Agard, PhD, John Sedat, PhD, (emeritus), and Robert Stroud, PhD, all professors of biochemistry and biophysics, and Marc Shuman, MD, professor of medicine (hematology/oncology). As they stated in their letter: "We are writing to call your attention to serious concerns about the potential health risks of the recently adopted whole body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers. "Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed. "An important consideration is that a large fraction of the population will be subject to the new X-ray scanners and be at potential risk, as discussed below. This raises a number of 'red flags'. Can we have an urgent second independent evaluation?
The full letter can be found here: http://www.npr.org/assets/news/2010/05/17/concern.pdf
The scientists received a response from the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy earlier this week. They are still reviewing the details of the response and are considering the appropriate next step to advance the issue. CLIP
FDA sidesteps safety concerns over TSA body scanners http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/11/fda-sidesteps-safety-concerns-over-tsa-body-scanners.ars
(...) When an X-ray Compton scatters, it doesn't shift an electron to a higher energy level; instead, it hits the electron hard enough to dislodge it from its atom. The authors note that this process is "likely breaking bonds," which could cause mutations in cells and raise the risk of cancer. Because the X-rays only make it just under the skin's surface, the total volume of tissue responsible for absorbing the radiation is fairly small. The professors point out that many body parts that are particularly susceptible to cancer are just under the surface, such as breast tissue and testicles. They are also concerned with those over 65, as well as children, being exposed to the X-rays. The professors pointed to a number of other issues, including the possibility that TSA agents may scan certain areas more slowly (for example, the groin, to prevent another "underwear bomber" incident like the one in December 2009), exposing that area to even more radiation. But the letter never explicitly accuses the machines of being dangerous; rather, the professors encourage Dr. Holdren to pursue testing to make sure that the casual use of these X-rays is safe. Dr. Holdren passed the letter on to the Food and Drug Administration for review. But, in the FDA's response, the agency gave the issues little more than a data-driven brush off. They cite five studies in response to the professors' request for independent verification of the safety of these X-rays; however, three are more than a decade old, and none of them deal specifically with the low-energy X-rays the professors are concerned about. The letter also doesn't mention the FDA's own classification of X-rays as carcinogens in 2005.The letter concludes that "the potential health risks from a full-body screening with a general-use X-ray security system are minuscule." But the increased surface area and volume of absorption area, plus the frequency with which many people travel, suggests that this use at least bears further scrutiny. US pilots' associations have also encouraged their members to opt for the pat-down in the meantime.Of course, these pat-downs have recently become rather invasive, so now travelers must choose between a little irradiation and being felt up by a non-doctor. However, the TSA does have a potential solution in hand. Of the 68 airports scanning for explosives, 30 are using millimeter-wave scanners that don't use X-rays at all; they hit the surface of the body with safer radio waves. If the TSA committed to using only this type of equipment, it could avoid the safety concerns regarding the X-ray full body scanners completely.
The TSA Circus Soundtrack Kit http://www.stevepeters.org/2010/11/17/the-tsa-circus/
(...) Load these audio files onto your phone, mp3 player or portable boom-box of choice. Anything with speakers.Cue up your chosen track (there are two: a safe one and a risky one - more on that later).Set your player to loop this one track, if you can. When you get to the TSA checkpoint, turn up the volume and press PLAY. Then close the player up in whatever backpack etc. you have with you, and lay it on the belt to go on its X-ray journey, merrily playing circus music the entire time.Regardless of what you decide to do next (metal detector, backscatter or pat-down), you'll have a soundtrack to the experience that can be shared with everyone around you, exposing the TSA checkpoint for the circus that it is. CLIP
Liberty in Air Travel and More http://www.lewrockwell.com/rozeff/rozeff332.html
This morning, TSA searches are #1 on the google news list, no doubt because John Tyner's video went viral. Mr. Tyner, thank you for an heroic deed. Yesterday CBS News reported a poll (taken between November 7 and November 10) in which 8 out of 10 of the 1,137 adults surveyed answered the following question "Yes": "Should Airports Use Full-Body X-Ray Machines?" The 15 percent who disapproved of the x-ray machines adds up to a considerable number of adult Americans, at least 34 million. (That's 15 percent of the 73 percent of the 310 million Americans who are over the age of 20.) Those who recently approved of imposing even more nationalized health care on Americans claimed to be terribly worried about 40 million uninsured Americans. Are they equally concerned about the 34 million who have no good choices when it comes to air travel? CLIP
The Future Of Air Travel: X-Ray Scanners, Groping, High Ticket Prices And Bankruptcy (Nov. 17, 2010) http://www.businessinsider.com/future-of-air-travel-2010-11?slop=1#slideshow-start
Everyone is freaking out about the TSA scanners this week, and maybe a few people will quit flying in protest. But that's just a small step south for the airlines.The huge issue is fuel costs. They are increasing much faster than any gains in efficiency. And although it's been a wild decade for oil prices, most people agree that prices are going up. Take a look at airline industry profit margins. CLIP
The TSA Will NOT Grope My Child http://www.raisingstinker.com/197/the-tsa-will-not-grope-my-child/
(...) This time it's different. I'm pregnant, and if I travel, my screening choices are now to get a mild x-ray to my entire body (with no assurances or studies regarding the safety to the baby inside me), or to get patted down, including the possible cupping of my genitals and behind. The eeriest part of the descriptions I've read concern the fact that, after feeling my genitals and breasts, they will feel my face and hair. This one detail makes it far more intimate than what I ever even did with my OB/GYN. Even if I agree to the x-ray, I may still get chosen for the groping. If I refuse, and simply ask to void my plane ticket and go home, I could be detained or fined.What infuriates me even more are the stories of this happening to children. This video briefly shows a three-year-old girl screaming for the stranger to stop touching her thighs as her mom struggles to restrain her. She had accidentally set off the metal detector. And no matter how hard a parent might try to make sure their child is clear of metal, how many of us have been guilty of forgetting the clasp on the overalls or the truck they were playing with still in their pockets? Now remember, if the family had refused and had gone home, they would have been in trouble.So, as a parent, even if you go to the airport, and pray that it doesn't happen to your child, you risk having to explain to your child why the nice man has to cup his genitals.If this truly was the only way possible for us to travel safely, then perhaps we leave the flights to those adults who don't mind this treatment, and leave it to the HR departments to cope with the many employees who can no longer tolerate air travel as part of their jobs. (If I was still in an HR department, I'd be bracing myself for the huge number of abuse survivors that are about to ask for accommodations due to their inability to go through airport security.) Anyway, we'll leave the airlines to those with no choice but to fly, and the rest of us will go back to living in the 50's, when most families never even considered air travel as an option. Or, we can turn to the examples of other countries that have been facing these challenges for decades and use their far more effective and respectful approaches. Which, by the way, have proven to be far more effective than the shoe removal and liquid ban. CLIP
These airport so-called security measures amount to state-sponsored sexual harassment
Jennifer Abel - 17 November 2010
Listen to this: "My freely chosen bedmates and doctors are the only ones allowed to see my naked body or touch my genitalia." For a sane person in a sane country that's the ultimate in "no shit, Sherlock" statement. But not where I live.
Not the United States of America. Not since 11 September 2001, when the government reacted to an attack on its citizens by lashing out against the very citizenry it claims to protect. No bureaucracy better embodies that reactionary principle than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), whose contempt for American citizens has grown so great that they now require we submit to government agents either photographing our, to them, visibly naked bodies or groping us in molestation-style patdowns if we ever want to fly again.
I'm sick of the craven cliches TSA apologists have cited these past nine years:
"They protect us from terrorists."
No, they impose pointlessly superstitious security theatre, trample Americans' constitutional rights and make foreigners feel sorry for us. TSA protected nobody with its infamous "bathroom bans" after last year's Christmas terror attempt; rules like "keep your lap empty and your hands visible at all times" only demonstrated the agency's willingness to treat ordinary citizens like serial killers in supermax prison.
"You gave up your rights when you bought an airline ticket."
I never gave up any rights. The government stole them while cowards egged them on.
"TSA agents are just doing their jobs."
A lousy apologia and historically ignorant to boot; the civilised world established at Nuremberg that "just following orders" cuts no ice. And my fellow Americans are realising "it'll stop terrorists" cuts none either, at least not to justify low-grade sexual harassment as standard behaviour for government agents.
It's not hyperbole to call the enhanced patdown a low-grade sexual assault; if you don't believe me, go find some woman's boobs or man's balls, start cupping and squeezing them according to new TSA standards, and count how many offences you're charged with. Last month, an agent openly admitted that the purpose of the aggressive new patdowns was to intimidate people into choosing the nude scanners instead.
And Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano justified this Hobson's choice - and abandoned all pretence of being a "servant" accountable to the public - in an insufferably arrogant column she wrote for USA Today, burying outright lies beneath eye-glazing bureaucratic prose. "The imaging technology that we use cannot store, export, print or transmit images," she claimed - though this was proven untrue almost as soon as the scanners were put in use; last August, US marshals admitted to storing 35,000 images collected from one single courthouse - some of which have now been obtained by the website Gizmodo under a freedom of information request.
"Rigorous privacy safeguards are also in place to protect the travelling public."
You can't claim privacy points when ordering people to let you either see them naked or feel them up.
"The vast majority of travellers say they prefer this technology to alternative screening measures."
No, the vast majority realise Napolitano's gone too far this time, and the backlash has finally begun.
November 24 - the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, and one of the busiest flying days of the year - is National Opt-Out Day, whose organiser Brian Sodegren calls for all Americans to refuse the nude scanners and insist the patdown be done in full public view, so everyone can see how law-abiding travelers are treated in the Land of the Free. Sodegren points out the obvious:
"You should never have to explain to your children, 'Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it's a government employee, then it's OK.'"
Similarly, the group We Won't Fly calls for my fellow Americans to "Jam TSA checkpoints by opting out until they remove the porno-scanners!"
I've flown only three times since the inception of the TSA, and only when I couldn't avoid it: two business trips and a funeral I couldn't drive to. But I won't fly on vacation; and last winter, when I thought I'd need to cross the Atlantic, I made reservations in Canada - a 450-mile drive to the airport, but worth it to avoid the TSA.
That's what we've been reduced to in America: security measures lifted from bad porn plots, and hoping this latest outrage inconveniences enough rich guys with political connections to get it repealed.
For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance (OCT 29 2010) http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/10/for-the-first-time-the-tsa-meets-resistance/65390/
(...) "But what about people who hide weapons in their cavities? I asked. I actually said "vagina" again, just to see him blush. "We're just not going there," he reiterated. I asked him if he was looking forward to conducting the full-on pat-downs. "Nobody's going to do it," he said, "once they find out that we're going to do." In other words, people, when faced with a choice, will inevitably choose the Dick-Measuring Device over molestation? "That's what we're hoping for. We're trying to get everyone into the machine." He called over a colleague. "Tell him what you call the back-scatter," he said. "The Dick-Measuring Device," I said. "That's the truth," the other officer responded. (...) I draw three lessons from this week's experience: The pat-down, while more effective than previous pat-downs, will not stop dedicated and clever terrorists from smuggling on board small weapons or explosives. When I served as a military policeman in an Israeli army prison, many of the prisoners "bangled" contraband up their asses. I know this not because I checked, but because eventually they told me this when I asked. The second lesson is that the effectiveness of pat-downs does not matter very much, because the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation over the low-tech ball check. The third lesson remains constant: By the time terrorist plotters make it to the airport, it is, generally speaking, too late to stop them. Plots must be broken up long before the plotters reach the target. If they are smart enough to make it to the airport without arrest, it is almost axiomatically true that they will be smart enough to figure out a way to bring weapons aboard a plane.
The lead on the DRUDGEREPORT most of Monday showed a Catholic nun being patted down at an airport security checkpoint, with the caption starkly declaring that "THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON."
Ten years after 9/11, Americans who fly are facing a Faustian choice between subjecting themselves to a virtual (and potentially medically damaging) strip search conducted in questionable machines run by federal employees or a psychologically damaging pat-down of their bodies. Osama bin Ladin must be giggling himself silly this week.
But what should we expect in a society that requires adults to wear bicycle helmets while pedaling in the park, provides disclaimers of liability on TV advertisements, or prints warnings on fast-food coffee cups? The name of the game is zero risk. Not risk mitigation, or accepting responsibility for one's actions, but risk aversion. It's a failure to acknowledge that we can't protect against everything bad that can happen to us, so we must protect against everything we think might -- might -- be harmful at some point.
It's living in fear.
TSA has established itself as the lead federal agency charged with perpetuating this risk-averse culture at airports around the country. The proof is evident over the past ten years: Because of the Shoebomber, we have to remove our shoes. Thanks to the Christmas Crotchbomber, we are subjected to invasive scanning or government-mandated molestation. Because there's a potential for explosives in liquid or gel form, we've got the "Three Ounces in A Baggie" rule. Wearing a sweater or bulky fleece hoodie? Take it off (along with your shoes and belt) so it can be examined. Or frisking Granny, or asking toddlers to drink from their Sippy-cups to make sure it's really Mommy's milk inside. And let's not forget the thankfully defunct prohibitions on knitting needles, insulin syringes, matches, lighters, or standing during the last 30 minutes of flights to Washington, DC.
All in the name of protecting the homeland.
Given this latest round of homeland hysteria, I must ask again -- what happens after the next 'new' attempt to smuggle something onto a plane? Actually, we know the answer: another item will go on the Prohibited Items List and additional screenings of passengers will be conducted, followed by more patronising security-speak from our Department of Homeland Insecurity asking law abiding folks to give up more of their privacy and personal "space" in the interest of Homeland (er, "State") Security. Big Brother, meet Big Sister. With all her homeland security lobbyists along for the ride.
Where does it end?
Due to this nationalized risk aversion and a docile public, we're now living in a country that subordinates law abiding travelers to quasi-law-enforcement employees of a government agency empowered to make up the rules as it goes along and arrest/fine those who question, challenge, or refuse to comply with their demands while impeding their travel within this great country. What does all of this do to our nation? Our way of life? Our way of thinking as citizens?
Perhaps this is intentional, and we're being conditioned to accept the actions of TSA and embrace a zero-risk mentality on our society. What else can explain the statement made earlier today by TSA Director John Pistole that citizens who protest what they see as government transgressions into their privacy are being "irresponsible"? Calling us irresponsible when protesting this latest round of TSA actions is no different than our being labelled unpatriotic when protesting or questioning some of the provisions in the controversial USA PATRIOT Act. Same stuff, different Administration.
The American public needs to recognize the nature of the terror threat and accept a certain level of risk in their lives and travels instead of kowtowing to every reactive security 'enhancement' proclaimed by TSA as necessary to protect the country. In terms of airport security, we are the laughing stock of the industrialised world, and an embarrassment to knowledgeable security professionals.
The tragedy of 9/11 wasn't the attacks of that day, but what has happened to America in the years since.
Which begs the question: who should we be afraid of, really -- "them" or "us?"
Richard Forno is a security researcher in the Washington, DC area.
AMAZING SPEECH BY WAR VETERAN - A useful reminder of what "they" are capable of... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akm3nYN8aG8
"Our real enemies are not those living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; The real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us." - Mike Prysner
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