Standing Up to the TSA

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Almost overnight, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
has gone from national joke to national nightmare. Passengers used
to laugh when screeners so inept they
missed 60—75% of the fake bombs undercover investigators smuggled
past them
nonetheless proclaimed
themselves gods
. No one’s laughing now, though, as the TSA ogles
us with carcinogenic technology and sexually assaults anyone who
objects.

Over
300 of the agency’s “naked” scanners lurk in 60-some airports nationwide,

with more on the way; eventually, the agency will irradiate every
passenger on every flight. These gizmos peer through clothing to
photograph bodies in graphic detail. The TSA makes much of offering
a “choice”: if you dislike posing nude for the government, its perverts
will grope you instead — “prob[ing],”
prodding
and pushing “up
your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance

(and they don’t mean a slap in the face). You also suffer this indignity,
even if you submit to the scan, should it reveal “anomalies” such
as piercings or prostheses.

Are you still flying? Why? For your own protection and that of
your children, for liberty’s sake, stay on the ground until Congress
abolishes the TSA. No destination on earth or convenience in reaching
it, no vacation, Thanksgiving dinner, meeting or sales trip, is
worth the degradation the TSA is dishing out.

Its new “pat
down procedures
… allow security officers to touch passengers
of the same gender in sensitive areas such as the breasts and genitals…”
These attacks have been “likened to ‘foreplay’
pat-downs
… [screeners are] using the new front-of-the-hand,
slide-down screening technique for … over-the-clothes searches
of passengers’ breast and genital areas.”

Such mass mauling is unprecedented. No regime anywhere at any time,
however totalitarian or brutal, has ever routinely denuded and molested
citizens.

Don’t underestimate the trauma of such aggression nor succumb to
the TSA’s bland assurances that a screener “of the same gender”
will paw you. We’re talking sexual assault here, not a few moments
of discomfort you’ll quickly forget. Feelings of rage and helplessness,
depression and worthlessness, can plague victims for months.

Most pilots are veterans of the Air Force; they’re pretty tough
cookies who may even have survived combat. Yet one of them “experienced
a frisking
[from the TSA] that has left him unable to function
as a crewmember. Words used to describe the incident include ‘rape’
and ‘sexual molestation,’ and in the aftermath of trying to recover
this pilot has literally vomited in his own driveway while contemplating
going back to work and facing the possibility of a similar encounter
with the TSA.”

It’s one thing for a predator to force your submission at gunpoint;
it’s another to voluntarily enter an airport and endure the TSA’s
onslaught. Knowing that you could have avoided it entirely but instead
cooperated with your assailants and even paid them to violate you
will cripple you with despair.

Meanwhile, a
former cop points out
that the TSA no longer inflicts “pat-downs”
but something far worse: “A ‘pat-down’ search by definition is ‘a
frisk or external feeling of the outer garments of an individual
for weapons only’ … anyone who watches cop shows knows what a
pat-down search is. The words are part of the American lexicon,
and the public’s image of a pat-down search by police is something
that isn’t all that bad.” Shame on us that we didn’t consider it
“all that bad” for the TSA to defy the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition
on “unreasonable,” warrantless searches, though previously with
the “backs of their
hands
.” The cop continues: “… In police work, [the TSA's current
method is] called a custody search [and] includes everything short
of a cavity search. The TSA needs to be honest about what they’re
doing. It’s not nice to lie to the American people.”

Ah, but lying is the TSA’s forte. Despite the hundreds of passengers
wailing about molestation, despite the videotapes popping up on
the internet to document their stories, despite infuriated
pilots’ unions
and flight
attendants’ lawsuits
, the agency blithely denies what millions
have witnessed: “there
is no fondling, squeezing
, groping, or any sort of sexual assault
taking place at airports,” asserts its website. “You have a professional
workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to
keep aviation security safe.” Imagine if they trying to keep aviation
security dangerous.

The TSA lies about everything, all the time. But it surpasses even
its own astounding record of deception when it comes to naked scanners.
For starters, it implies it foisted them on us to counteract the
Underwear Bomber. Yet it was already
testing them
years before Umar Farouk Abdullmutallab oh-so-conveniently
emasculated himself. Indeed, as long ago as 2006, the agency was
touting porno-scanners as “likely
future replacements for the metal detectors now in use.
” Nor
will these contraptions stay in airports. Cops
may already be peering
through your curtains and bathrobe with
portable versions.

But perhaps the TSA’s biggest whoppers whitewash the hazards to
our health from the two technologies with which it strips us. Experts
in medicine, biochemistry, and biophysics
warn that one, backscatter
X-ray, concentrates in the skin rather than diffusing through the
body as medical radiation does; therefore, the dose you receive
is shockingly high — far higher than the government admits.
Dr. Jeff Zervas, a surgeon in Montevideo, Minnesota, told me, “As
far as living tissue is concerned, the less exposure to ionizing
radiation, the better. Zero is best.” Dr. Zervas also worried about
the TSA’s legendary incompetence: “What happens, for example, if
some clown leaves the machine on, and a passenger’s standing in
the field? And who calibrates these things? I wouldn’t trust a bureaucrat
or anyone else without a stake in its safety to do it properly.”

Dr. David Caskey, a cardiologist who was also teaching at the Louisiana
State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans when we spoke,
seconded that: “In the medical industry we try as hard as possible
to avoid even the smallest dose of radiation. Here you will be subjected
to a rather significant amount. The result can and will be an increase
in cataract formation, thyroid cancer, bone marrow suppression,
etc.” He was especially concerned for female passengers. “Even low
level radiation can adversely affect a woman’s ovaries. There’s
the potential for later birth defects. That risk increases if the
woman is pregnant in the first trimester when she would likely be
unaware of the pregnancy.”

Millimeter waves may be even worse. No one knows their exact effects
on human flesh, but one study concludes that
they “unzip
double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double
strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as
gene expression and DNA replication. … a new generation of cameras
are set to appear that not only record [millimeter] waves but also
bombard us with them…”

You might suppose that bureaucrats who constantly prate about protecting
us would fret over the consequences of irradiating two million passengers
per day, day after day. Nope. Instead, they insist against
all evidence that the “technology
is safe and meets national
health and safety standards. … the radiation doses for the individuals
being screened, operators, and bystanders were well below the dose
limits specified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
… Advanced imaging technology screening is safe for all passengers,
including children, pregnant women, and individuals with medical
implants.”

As you value your life, as you value liberty, don’t fly. We must
boycott aviation until the TSA dies. Nor should we settle for a
mere suspension of the agency’s ogling and groping. Our goal is
nothing less than the TSA’s complete abolition; so long as it survives,
it will await its chance — or create one — to molest us
again. Another “terrorist” attack, and we’ll fight this same battle.

Indeed, we already did, in 2004: TSA was manhandling passengers
then, too, though only women and above the waist. Its excuse? Two
airliners had crashed
within moments of one another in Russia
that August. A Chechan woman had boarded each flight, and though
the wreckage was so scattered authorities on the scene could not
determine what caused the disasters, the TSA pronounced the ladies
rebels who’d obviously hidden bombs in their bosoms. Hence, Americans
screeners would molest female passengers.

TSA got away with this for three months before the public’s outrage
forced it to desist. But this time must be the last. This time we
stay on the ground until Congress disbands the TSA. Let’s evict
politicians and bureaucrats from aviation’s security so that experts
who understand the industry can design systems as unobtrusive and
effective as those securing our homes, email accounts, cars.

But don’t waste your time begging Congress. Why bother after it
went deaf to our cries on the bail-out and Obamacare? Hit its corporate
cronies instead. Given the incest between the Feds and Big Business,
boycotts are probably our most effective tactic. The American colonists
tried one just before the Revolution exploded: under their “non-importation
agreement,” Patriots refused to buy British goods. Much of the despotism
afflicting the colonies was due to mercantilism, to the government’s
favoring wealthy and influential merchants at everyone else’s expense.
Sound familiar? Just as the British East India Company benefitted
from subsidies, the granting of monopolies, and protective laws,
so do airlines today. But when the colonists refused to play their
role as consumers, the whole rotten mess collapsed.

So don’t fly, or at least don’t buy any more tickets until the
airlines and allied industries press Congress to abolish the TSA.
Educate your family and friends; infrequent travelers may not know
of the TSA’s newest, literal grab for power.

If your job requires travel, talk to your boss about alternatives.
Tell him how much productivity the TSA sucks from the
American economy
, that his interests, too, require this vile
agency to disappear. Ask if you can “meet” with clients via teleconferences
or iChat.

If you’re already holding tickets for the upcoming holidays, demand
a refund and tell the airline why. Advise it you won’t fly again
until TSA is dismantled.

If you absolutely must fly — if you’ll lose your job otherwise
or the airline refuses you a refund (remember: the point of the
boycott is to hurt the airlines’ bottom line, not hand them free
money for no services) — prepare yourself mentally. Determine
the point beyond which you will not permit the TSA to proceed —
“if he touches my thigh, if he seems headed below my waist” —
and leave when that seems imminent. Ergo, pack lightly or not at
all so you don’t worry about a checked bag continuing to Des Moines
while you head home.

Reports conflict about what happens to those who cut short the
TSA’s fun. The Ninth District
Court of Appeals ruled
in 2007 that once your bag hits the conveyor
belt at the checkpoint, you may not depart: in effect, you become
the TSA’s prisoner. In practice, screeners may permit you to escape
without much fuss, or they may “detain” you, threaten, browbeat
and intimidate you, call the cops, or “escort” you from the airport.

While grounded, write the CEO’s of airlines, hotels, and tourist
attractions that you’ll patronize them only when the TSA vanishes.
Cut up your frequent-flyer card and include it in your letter to
the airlines; let hotels know how often you once travelled and how
you’d love to do so again. Folks already using these tactics have
succeeded so wildly that “executives from
the travel industry
, including online travel sites, theme parks
and hotels” demanded a meeting with “Homeland Security Secretary
Janet Napolitano and [TSA chief John] Pistole [last] Friday to discuss
their concerns that security is crimping travel. ‘We have received
hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from travellers vowing to stop
flying,’ said Geoff Freeman, an executive vice president of the
U.S. Travel Association … ”

You can also join groups like wewon’tfly.com
and National Opt-Out Day
as they work to free us not only from the TSA’s current insults
but the agency itself. Finally, enjoy the irony as the TSA reveals
government’s nature in far greater detail than it does our bodies.
Stripped of its marble monuments and fluttering flags, the State
exposes its utter evil each time a screener torments
a toddler
or “groin-checks”
another citizen
. As the TSA denudes us, government is nakedly
on display.

Reprinted
with permission from Campaign
for Liberty
.

November
20, 2010

Becky
Akers [send her mail] writes
primarily about the American Revolution.

The
Best of Becky Akers

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