In 2012, I flew to Montpellier, France, going through the usual TSA-type harassment. A few days later, I took the high-speed train (TGV) to Paris - no controls whatsoever. I 've been on that train a number of times now, never any controls. Nothing. Zilch. Thank God. A very comfortable ride at around 330 km/h (205 mph) for most of the trip.
By contrast, this is what an insider of the flier harrassment scheme has to say:
The job was demoralizing: “It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.”
Privately, TSA workers knew the agency’s full-body scanning technology didn’t work: “We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. Not long after the Underwear Bomber incident, all TSA officers at O’Hare were informed that training for the Rapiscan Systems full-body scanners would soon begin. The machines cost about $150,000 a pop. Our instructor was a balding middle-aged man who shrugged his shoulders after everything he said, as though in apology. At the conclusion of our crash course, one of the officers in our class asked him to tell us, off the record, what he really thought about the machines. ‘They’re shit,’ he said, shrugging. He said we wouldn’t be able to distinguish plastic explosives from body fat and that guns were practically invisible if they were turned sideways in a pocket.”
The body scanning machines may not have been able to catch terrorists. But they provided TSA agents with plenty of fodder for jokes about the passengers they were scanning ...
I think a large part of the problem is that - despite pretense to the contrary - security isn't the prime concern. If it were, we'd see responsibility shifted to competent handlers on the right level of subsidiarity, which would leave aircraft carriers and other private providers with a much larger role to play. The problem is that from the very beginning the matter has been instrumentalised as a tool of political and state posturing. It's vitiated by the one-size-fits-all syndrome and other heavy handed measures engendered by politicisation and centralisation.
“As he was moving up my leg, he moved his hand aggressively up to my crotch and he hurt me,” Canseco said. “The natural reaction is when someone goes for your crotch and it hurts, you’re going to pull back — and my right arm came down and moved away his hand briskly.”
That’s when the agent stopped the whole process, Canseco said.
“As I moved his hand away, he claims, ‘I’ve been assaulted, I’ve been assaulted,’” he said.
The agent then called the police over and asked them to arrest the lawmaker.
“I told him, ‘Hey, I’m the guy who was assaulted,’” Canseco said.
as·sault [uh-sawlt] noun
1. a sudden, violent attack; onslaught: an assault on tradition.
2. Law . an unlawful physical attack upon another; an attempt or offer to do violence to another, with or without battery, as by holding a stone or club in a threatening manner.
When an officer of the law cries assault, you’re in trouble physically and legally... unless you’re a high level bureaucrat. The actions leading up to such a claim suggest the slippery slope that is the legal definition of ‘assault’. Because of the ambiguity of the word ‘threatening’ an assault is now considered on a preemptive basis like many of our more recent government policies.
Since it was the republicans who gave us the TSA, it's kind of poetic that this should happen; not that I condone the TSA’s actions. Some may argue that travel is a privilege. It isn't. Travel is required to trade (and is a trade in and of itself) and trade is required to live. And life is, arguably, still a right in this country.
TSA does not keep you safe. It never has. It never will.
I have said before – Suprynowicz says something similar – that if a terrorist really wanted to kill a lot of people and disrupt aviation, he would not go to all the trouble of smuggling a bomb through security in order to blow up a plane. Rather, he would set off a bomb in a terminal.
Terrorists could even orchestrate a coordinated attack at multiple locations. Imagine bombs going off at eight on a Monday morning at, say, ATL, ORD and DFW. Imagine thousands dead and America’s three main aviation hubs crippled indefinitely.
TSA waits until well after you enter a terminal before commencing with gate rape. Not only have they never caught a terrorist in almost a decade, but they leave most parts of airports … ahem … “unprotected.”
(Just before I put this to bed, a congressthing announced that there had been 25,000 breaches of TSA since its inception in 2001.)
Besides, who says a terrorist attack has to involve planes and airports?
Elsewhere, looking at a nude photograph of a minor would be considered child pornography and would land you in the cooler. Not so with TSA.
And if TSA is oh so necessary to keep us “secure” from terrorists at airports, why don’t they also station their blueshirts at train stations and bus stations? Why don’t they interrupt traffic on highways? I mean, like, you never know when or where a terrorist could hypothetically, theoretically strike next. You can’t be too careful.
One of the grievances spelled out in the Declaration of Independence – and the basis for the Third Amendment – was “Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.” I am sure that King George III never dreamed of authorizing the redcoats to grope the crotches of the colonists, much less justified such institutionalized depravity in the name of a higher good. (And if he had, the “shot heard round the world” would have been fired much sooner than April 19, 1775.)
Allan Macurdy is perhaps the most amazing person I have ever known. Diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at age 7, he let nothing stand in his way. In spite of absolutely daunting physical challenges, he would become a professor of law at Boston University.
My friend, classmate and hero, Allan Macurdy. 1960-2008
I don’t know about Allan’s politics, nor will I ever care. However, I want to steal a phrase from him: “higher parade of horribles.” He used this phrase when discussing how much physical adversity a person would accept before they simply lost the will to live.
Likewise, there is a “higher parade of horribles” that applies to the whole TSA controversy. As horrible as terrorism is, there would be something immeasurably more horrible: life under a totalitarian government.
And this is exactly what millions of Americans seem willing to accept in the name of “security”. How else would you describe a government that will presume its citizens guilty and molest and assault them as a condition of movement?
And if you will quietly accept TSA’s ritual sexual – and scatalogical – humiliation, what will you not accept? Where will you draw the line?
And if this higher horrible of a truly totalitarian state ever does come to pass on these shores, it will not be the fault of Dubya or Obomber or Al-Qaeda or Al-whatever. It will be because of millions of Americans allowed their government to do absolutely anything to keep them “secure.”
Oh how I wish I had said this first: Our liberty was not stolen from us. It died from lack of exercise. ___________
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people should be made equal, that they are endowed by their government with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are jobs, healthcare and housing.–That to secure these rights, Governments must rule over the people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the elite, –That whenever the people becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Elite to alter or to abolish it, and to institute more Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect the power and control of the elite. …We, therefore, the Representatives of the political elite, in faculty lounges, Assembled, appealing to the United Nations for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of government, solemnly publish and declare, That the American people ought to be governed by the United Nations; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Constitution, and that all political connection between them and the Founding Fathers, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as highly-taxed and dependent States, they have full Power to levy taxes, disrupt Peace, contract new departments and agencies, regulate Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which the political elite may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the establishment media, we mutually demand your Lives, your Fortunes and your sacred Honor.
Here’s some of the best, but click above for the whole article:
Amid the string of emails discussing the matter, an undisclosed sender explains that NIST was "a little concerned" over Napolitano's public reassurances that TSA's naked body scanners are safe. After all, NIST does not test products, and it never tested the naked body scanners in the first place. Napolitano apparently took the individual machine dose measurements that NIST had gathered and twisted them to say what she wanted them to say, which was that the machines are safe. You can view a partially-censored copy of that email exchange here: http://epic.org/privacy/backscatter...
Worse, NIST had actually warned DHS and TSA that the machines were not necessarily safe, and that airport screening agents should avoid standing next to them because of the harmful radiation they emit. It is unclear whether or not this warning was ever taken seriously by TSA officials.
Napolitano also falsely claimed that research conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory confirms the safety of naked body scanners, even though the research actually suggests the opposite. Dr. Michael Love from the school publicly stated that the machines are going to give people skin cancer, and the specific findings of the report indicate that "radiation zones" around the machines emit enough radiation to exceed the "General Public Dose Limit."