Enhanced Airport Screening Controvery

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On November
23, Washington Post writers Jon Cohen and Ashley Halsey III
headlined, "Poll: Nearly two-thirds of Americans support full-body
scanners," according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll,
even though "half of those polled say enhanced pat-down searches
go too far."

A new Zogby
(11/19–22) poll disagreed, saying:

At 61% opposed,
"(i)t’s clear (most) Americans are not happy with TSA and their
enhanced security measures recently enacted. The airlines should
not be happy with 48% of their frequent fliers seeking a different
mode of transportation due to these enhancements."

Neither should
passengers facing molestation and harm to their health. More on
that below.

Calling enhanced
screening a "virtual strip search," the ACLU also objected,
saying:

"We need
to act wisely. That means not trading away our privacy for ineffective
(and overly intrusive) policies. Ultimately, it is up to the American
people to figure out just how much privacy they want to abandon….The
ACLU represents those who value privacy in this debate."

AP reported
it already received over 600 complaints, passengers saying "they
were subjected to humiliating pat-downs at US airports, and the
pace is accelerating, according to ACLU legislative counsel Christopher
Calabrese."

He added: "It
really drives home how invasive it is and (harassing) they are….All
of us have a right to travel without such crude invasions of our
privacy….You shouldn’t have to check your rights when you check
your luggage."

Public outrage
also makes headlines, passengers complaining about intrusive screening,
especially being groped. The more often they fly and endure it,
the louder perhaps disapproval will grow, especially for techniques
some critics call ineffective.

Reports also
call them heavy-handed. A Michigan bladder cancer survivor, wearing
a body bag to collect urine, said its contents spilled on his clothing
after a Detroit airport security agent patted him down aggressively.
He called the experience "absolutely humiliat(ing). I couldn’t
even speak." Other accounts are also unsettling, and for what!

Screening
Fails the Test

An October
28, 2006 Ron Marsico Newhouse News Service article headlined, "Airport
screeners fail to see most test bombs," saying:

"Screeners
at Newark Liberty International Airport…failed 20 of 22 security
tests conducted by undercover US agents last week, missing concealed
bombs and guns at checkpoints throughout the major air hub’s three
terminals, according to federal security officials."

On October
22, 2007, Thomas Frank’s USA Today article headlined, "Most
fake bombs missed by screeners," saying:

Screeners failed
to detect them at "two of the nation’s busiest airports,"
Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles International." The failure
rates "stunned security experts."

A November
11, 2010 published report by the Airline Pilots Security Alliance
headlined "The Truth about Airline Security – from the Pilots
Themselves," saying:

Post-9/11,
despite elaborate airport procedures, FAA tests showed "airport
screeners failed to detect deliberately hidden weapons from 66%–95%
of the time, (and) new independent government reports confirm screening
failures….just as high….for both weapons and explosives."

X-ray machines
are no better than metal detectors. The number of bags screened,
and numerous shadows and shapes on each viewed from only a single
angle, makes it very hard to identify weapons among the clutter
of gadgets, clothes, and personal articles passengers pack or carry
on their person. As a result, "screening weaknesses make the
system very easy to deliberately exploit."

In fact, besides
being a health hazard (discussed below), it’s useless and unnecessary.
So-called bomb plots are fake. Remember past ones, including a fake
shoe bomber, a fake underwear bomber, a fake Times Square bomber,
an earlier fake one there, fake shampoo bombers, a fake Al Qaeda
woman planning fake attacks on New York landmarks, fake 9/11 bombers,
and others in a fake democracy with fake elections and fake public
servants. Now intrusive airport screening for fake security and
corporate profits. More on that below.

America’s war
on terror was fabricated to incite fear. It’s a bogus scheme to
facilitate America’s imperial agenda, including global wars, homeland
repression, greater corporate dominance, and an oppressive security
apparatus that includes intrusive airport screening, more perhaps
coming to communities and many neighborhoods.

Look for them
next at train and bus stations, on city transit systems, at random
city checkpoints, in court houses and government buildings, and
on interstate highways, then perhaps at home, work, shopping malls
and elsewhere, making America Orwell’s worst nightmare – Big
Brother harassing, watching, listening, screening, and destroying
the last remnants of civil liberty protections.

Yet the Ninth
US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled passengers have no right to refuse,
saying:

"Requiring
that a potential passenger be allowed to revoke consent to an ongoing
airport security search makes little sense in the post-9/11 world.
Such a rule would afford terrorists multiple opportunities to attempt
to penetrate airport security by ‘electing not to fly’ on the cusp
of detection until a vulnerable portal is found."

Not a word
(from a right-wing court) about harassment, worthless procedures,
hazardous radiation, lawlessness, fake threats, or that state terrorism
alone imperils everyone. More details below.

Lies, Damn
Lies, and Government Pronouncements

So far, Advanced
Imaging Technology (AIT) systems operate at America’s 68 largest
airports, passengers opting out subjected to humiliating pat-downs.
Those refusing both procedures won’t fly. However, they’ll be harassed,
interrogated, possibly arrested, and fined up to $11,000 – for lawfully
demanding their rights.

Yet Homeland
Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calls screening procedures effective
for public safety, saying:

"There
is a continued threat against aviation involving those who seek
to smuggle powders and gels that can be used as explosives on airplanes.
The new technology is designed to help us identify those individuals."

False! The
above section exposed the lie, but there’s more.

She also calls
AIT machines (Advanced Imaging Technology) "safe, efficient,
as well as strengthen newcomer privacy. They have been exclusively
evaluated by (the FDA,) a National Institute of Standards as well
as Technology (and) a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory,
who have all endorsed their safety."

False again,
according to Johns Hopkins Lab spokeswoman Helen Worth, telling
CNN: "That was not our role. We measured the level of radiation,
which was then evaluated by the TSA."

Dr. Michael
Love, head of an x-ray lab for the biophysics and biophysical chemistry
department at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine exposed another lie
about safety. On November 12, AFP quoted him saying:

"They
say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get
skin cancer from these x-rays. No exposure to x-ray is considered
beneficial. We know (they’re) hazardous but we have a situation
at airports where people are so eager to fly that they will risk
their lives in this manner."

Scientists
at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) also raised
concerns about "potential serious health risks." Biochemist
John Sedat and his colleagues said skin and underlying tissues get
most scanner energy. "While the dose would (cause less harm)
if it were distributed throughout (the) entire body, the dose to
the skin may be dangerously high."

On June 29,
Dr. David Brenner, head of the radiological research center at Columbia
University told the London Telegraph:

"If all
800 million people who use airports every year were screened with
x-rays, then the very small individual risk multiplied by the large
number of screened people might imply a potential public health
or societal risk. The population risk has the potential to be significant."

All travelers
are at risk, especially pregnant women, their fetuses, young children,
cancer patients, HIV-positive flyers, and anyone over 65. Calling
the technology safe is untrue, yet the Obama administration deceitfully
does it. However, not without growing criticism.

Unions for
American Airlines and US Airways asked their pilots to bypass scanning,
citing radiation concerns. On November 20, Los Angeles Times
writer Brian Bennett headlined, "TSA exempts US airline pilots
from pat-downs and body scans," saying:

"After
weeks of pressure from pilot unions….the (TSA) agreed (on 11/19)
to exempt pilots….traveling in uniform. (Instead, they’ll go)
through expedited screening after two forms of their (ID) are checked
against a secure database, TSA Director John Pistole said in a statement."

New Jersey
and Idaho legislators also want enhanced screening banned. So do
New York City ones, wanting them out of JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
Georgetown University Professor Marc Rotenberg, President of the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), heads a lawsuit challenge
to suspend their use, pending an independent safety review, saying
"The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has shown
a frightening disregard for the concerns of American travelers."

November 24
was designated "National Opt-Out Day!" for citizens to
"stand up for their rights, stand up for their liberty, and
protest the federal government’s desire to virtually strip us naked
or submit to an ‘enhanced pat down’ that touches people inappropriately.
The protest’s goal is to arouse public outrage, and demand lawmakers
change policy. Otherwise, flyers face a "no-win situation:
both the naked body scanners and the enhanced pat downs (grossly
violate) privacy rights and dignity, both make you feel like a criminal….Is
there….no better way to provide aviation security….?"

More at issue:
why have what’s intrusive, harmful, unneeded, and destructive of
civil liberty protections! Why sacrifice privacy rights and the
Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and
seizures! Why put up with government tactics that allow it! Why
let America fast track toward tyranny, a nation no longer fit to
live in! Why stay silent when more than ever Lynne Stewart’s advice
applies:

"Organize!
Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!"

A Final
Comment

In response
to widespread complaints, Obama did what he does best, deceitfully
saying the following:

"TSA in
consultation with counterterrorism experts have indicated to me
that the procedures that they have been putting in place are the
only ones right now that they consider to be effective against the
kind of threat that we saw in the Christmas Day bombing."

False, as the
above information explains, but more’s at stake as well – the profit
motive. Among others, Bush administration Homeland Security (DHS)
head Michael Chertoff’s company, the "Chertoff Group"
profiteers from the scam, his company saying it:

"provides
strategic security advice and assistance, risk management strategy
and business development solutions for commercial and government
clients on a broad array of homeland and national security issues."

He represents
Rapiscan Systems, an AIT machine maker. His advocacy, in fact, dates
from his DHS years, ordering five Rapiscan scanners, a relationship
now exploited for profit. In fact, four days after last December’s
underwear bomber incident, the company got a $165 million contract
to supply more.

On December
29, 2009, Washington Examiner writer Timothy Carney headlined,
"The TSA and the full-body-scanner lobby," saying:

"Let’s
look at those expensive, hi-tech body screeners" Congress appears
ready to buy.

AIT maker Smiths
Detection hired transportation lobbyist Van Scoyoc Associates to
promote machines.

On December
28, 2009, Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Leila Atassi said
AIT manufacturer America Science & Engineering, Inc. retained
K Street’s Wexler & Walker to lobby for their installation.

Last December
29, Bloomberg said former Senator Al D’Amato represents L3 Systems,
Jeffries & Co. analyst Howard Rubel claiming the company "developed
a more sophisticated system that could prevent smuggling of almost
anything on the body."

TSA plays ball,
an agency Mother Jones writer James Ridgeway’s book (The
Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11
) said "has a dismal
record of enriching private corporations with failed technologies,
and there are signs that the latest miracle device (AITs) may (be)
more of the same."

Follow the
money, former government officials profiting, as well as at least
one notable investor, billionaire George Soros, never one to let
an opportunity go unexploited, especially with inside information
to do it, how billionaires make more billions.

On November
14, Washington Examiner writer Mark Hemingway headlined,
"George Soros also profiting off controversial new TSA scanners,"
saying:

He "owns
11,300 shares of OSI Systems Inc. the company that owns Rapistan,"
an investment he’s profited on handsomely.

Is it just
coincidental that two letter changes make Rapistan Rapescan, passengers,
taxpayers, and core democratic values affected!

Reprinted
with permission from The
People’s Voice
.

November
27, 2010

Stephen
Lendman [send him
mail
] lives in Chicago. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with
distinguished guests on the Progressive
Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at
10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening. Visit
his blog
.

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