Airport Body Scanners: Basic Decency Denied
On December 25th of last year came a curious holiday gift wrapped in a Nigerian man’s undergarments and delivered aboard Northwest Airlines. Who can forget the so-called “Underwear Bomber”?
A bizarre incident which really evokes a deep down sense of absurdity… but treated with such seriousness by the government and media and finally by a public who is again admonished to keep remembering and believing in the imminent threat of Islamic terrorism.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was supposedly on a terrorist “watch list”…the US government apparently saw no need to revoke his visa anyway because, they tell us, they were tracking his movement to learn more about him.
Seems reasonable… unless you’re one of over a million Americans who have been put on no flight lists because you’re a veteran or a member of a militia or just caught disliking government policies a little too much. Then it might seem somewhat ludicrous that the government has no qualms about letting a foreign man fly on US planes who is deemed to be a known Islamic extremist.
Then there’s Kurt Haskell… the man who witnessed the entire embarkation of the Underwear Terrorist.
His story completely disregarded by government and media alike, he witnessed the Nigerian being escorted by a well dressed, wealthy looking man who was clearly not an employee of the airline. Though appearing Indian, the man spoke English like any American and reasoned with the airline concerning the Nigerian’s lack of a passport “we do this all the time”.
“The FBI visited my office on December 29, 2009, and showed me a series of approximately 10 photographs. None were of the SDM. I asked the FBI if they brought the Amsterdam security video to help me identify the SDM, but they acted as though my request was ridiculous. The FBI asked me what accent the SDM spoke in and I indicated that he had an American accent similar to my own. I further indicated that he wore a tan suit without a tie, was Indian looking, around age 50, 6’0″ tall and 250-260 lbs. I further indicated that I did not believe that he was an airline employee and that he was not on our flight…
“On January 20, 2010, current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Michael E. Leiter, made a startling admission. Leiter indicated that: “I will tell you, that when people come to the country and they are on the watch list, it is because we have generally made the choice that we want them here in the country for some reason or another…
“Could the SDM have been a U.S. Government official? He dressed in a suit and not a security uniform. Check. He indicated we do this all the time. Could “we” be the U.S. Government? Check. He spoke English with an American accent. Check. Would he need to convince the ticket agent that this was a normal procedure to allow boarding without a passport? Check. Would he have the ability to obtain such clearance? Check. Could he enter this security area even though he wasn’t a passenger? Check. Would the ticket agent likely refer this request to a manager? Check. Would the U.S. Government not want this information public and try to hide it? Check.”
– Kurt Haskell haskellfamily.blogspot.com
The incident hit the media outlets like alarm bells for the next 9-11. Ignoring every indication of a carefully engineered plan to just this end, the masses barely flinched when immediately airport security went from highly inconvenient to downright abusive overnight. Enter the backscatter x-ray full body scanner.
If you were under the impression that the airport body scanner became a reality as a result of a sudden need for higher security, you’d be mistaken.
These invasive little devices are the creation of a client company of one Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security who took advantage of this very convenient underwear episode months after the company, Rapiscan, sold 25 million dollars of the technology to TSA. What a timely sale.
If there is any right which sums up the most basic of freedoms, it has to be the right to ones own body. Nothing is more personal, nothing else is more truly in any persons possession than their own flesh. It must certainly be a sort of canary in the coal mine where it comes to personal freedoms when the majority are willing to submit their right to their own body to strangers who claim an authority over it in the name of…. defending the Land of the Free?
When it is suddenly OK that airports demand to see a person nude in one of their ionizing backscatter scanners, does it ever occur to the populace that hypothetically being conquered by Islamo-fascists could be any worse?
At least they tend to agree we should keep our clothes on. Hence I consider it the height of hypocrisy when someone declares of the present ongoing “war on terror” and the military involvement in it as “defending our freedoms”. Stripping people (literally) of their humanity is a path to freedom in what reality?
At the risk of sounding old fashioned… back in the day, when “men were men”, it would be a cold day in a very hot place when anyone’s wife or child or elderly mother would be allowed to be subjected to a strip search by people whose moral character was unknown at best and extremely questionable at worst.
They, after all, are not criminals… they are average citizens simply trying to travel and they are subject to the sorts of abuses which literally are criminal in any other context. If the idea of a neighbor with high powered binoculars spying on one’s wife or child while dressing is disturbing… this should be more so by virtue of the fact that it is condoned by those in “authority”.
All common decency and dignity aside… this device is an X-ray. It works by way of ionizing radiation, a serious cumulative health hazard in spite of the assurances of the FDA and government spokesmen.
The FDA being the same organization who feels no need to warn people on food labels of eating genetically manipulated organisms, who approve thousands of brand name drugs that are later shown to cause numerous fatalities… these are the people the public trusts when it comes to irradiating their bodies at the airport.
Ionizing radiation is known to cause chromosome damage. Even the supposedly innocuous “background” radiation which passes through Earth’s atmosphere and reaches Earth is not so harmless… it too, eventually breaks the body down and causes aging.
Most of the radiation from a backscatter scanner is concentrated on the surface of the skin and the fatty layer just below it… the potential risk for skin and breast cancer is especially concerning.
The FDA claim that it would require some 5,000 scans per year to reach any level of threat, even if generally correct (and evidence would suggest it isn’t) does not account for the 1 in 20 people who are genetically highly sensitive to radiation or the fact that children are all much more sensitive to radiation than adults as they are still growing.
Ionizing radiation is comprised of EM waves or subatomic particles that basically rip the electrons from the atoms and molecules in one’s cells. If it sounds like bad news, that’s because it is.
The risks, the “experts” say, are outweighed by the benefits. The benefits are that people are supposed to feel more secure. Secure from what, I wonder? Secure from the one terrorist who did not get the memo on the new technology?
The next obvious step, if one buys into the terrorist threat line, is that they will inevitably begin stowing their explosive devices, etc. in body cavities. What then? Are you really ready for a full cavity search in order to board a plane? Are you living in a free country when survival at any cost is the new definition thereof? Is there anyone left who feels basic human rights are worth a little risk if there is some?
Having rolled over like cowering puppies, the public has not purchased peace of mind, they’ve simply helped the government up the ante on paranoia.
Compliance to body scanners has proven that Fear and Cowardice are the real slave masters of the masses and that they will bow before any oppressor who serve their tools, Tyranny and Corruption. They will allow their wives, their kids, their old mothers and fathers to be manhandled, insulted, poked, irradiated, stared at in the nude and reduced to tears.
Don’t be fooled by the assurances TSA has given that the images cannot be stored or transferred or that the images themselves are not well defined and photograph clear.
TSA’s own documents clearly specify that the machines must have both image storing and sending ability.
The images the machines produce must be able to focus in on the most private details of the body in order to be able to identify any suspicious item attached to the body.
There is technically an opt-out option for the scanners.
This “opting out”, however, simply puts one in a position to choose between a nude picture of themselves viewed by multiple strangers or an incredibly personal pat down which includes a startlingly thorough feel-up of one’s most private areas.
That’s called “molestation” anywhere else on earth.
The obvious intent of such a horribly intrusive pat down is to ensure that the body scanner remain the preferable option for most people. Most people would rather pose for an embarrassing picture than subject themselves to a legalized sexual assault.
If you think we’ve reached the absolute limit in denying citizens a right to basic privacy, try to imagine a future when this is the norm in a wide variety of public places: court rooms, libraries, bus stations, schools, sporting events, etc.
Now ask yourself if you think you have the courage to resist before that becomes a reality. Please, American citizens – at least for the sake your kids and your elders – have the guts and the decency to refuse this perverse form of oppression.
“Defend the poor and fatherless.
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy.
Free them from the hand of the wicked.”
– Psalm 82:3,4