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Thu, 07 Dec 2023
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TSA Has Met the Enemy And They Are Us

© David Goldman/AP Photo
Passengers move through the line at a security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta.
How did an agency created to protect the public become the target of so much public scorn?

After nine years of funneling travelers into ever longer lines with orders to have shoes off, sippy cups empty and laptops out for inspection, the most surprising thing about increasingly heated frustration with the federal Transportation Security Administration may be that it took so long to boil over.

Even Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is not subjected to security pat-downs when she travels, understands the public's irritation. She, for one, wouldn't want to go through such scrutiny.

"Not if I could avoid it. No. I mean, who would?" Clinton told CBS' Face the Nation in an interview broadcast Sunday.

The agency, a marvel of nearly instant government when it was launched in the fearful months following the 9/11 terror attacks, started out with a strong measure of public goodwill. Americans wanted the assurance of safety when they boarded planes and entrusted the government with the responsibility.

Bad Guys

The Attack on Human Dignity

© na

The human being is made in the image and likeness of God. He or she has the Spark of the Divine "within" him or her. He or she is the primal and primary Temple of God on earth. Each person therefore deserves from the other and gives to the other not just respect, but reverence. The destruction of a fellow human - whether it be in mind, soul, body or spirit - is therefore the desecration of the Great Temple on earth, the place in time and space where the Living God chose foremost to reside.

The sublimity, dignity and transcendental value of each human being make it a grave violation of the Presence of God and of God-given human dignity to treat a person as a thing, a widget in some one's grand illusion, a means to be used, manipulated, abused, lied to, and/or crushed to serve another's agenda. Violate is derived from the same Latin word as violence, violare. To violate a reality is to do violence to that reality. To violate a reality is to treat it in a way that is not in accordance with its nature, e.g., to treat a sentient human being as if he or she were a non-sentient rock violates the reality of the human being. To treat a human being who is the living Temple of God on earth and who is infinitely loved and valued by this same God, as a tool, as a thing, as a person of no real significance beyond my utilitarian need for him or her in some grandiose plan I have concocted, rather than with the reverence, love and value that he or she intrinsically and forever possesses, as a son or daughter of my God and his or her God, of my Father and his or her Father, of the One God, is to violate him or her, to do violence to them. And, a violation of a person's intrinsic, God bestowed human dignity and transcendent value is evil regardless of how normalized it has become, how culturally acceptable it has become, how "holy" it has become or how legal it has become.

In most case most of the nefarious processes by which government does what it does are utterly hidden from the eyes of the public, who are only given a contrived packet of PR lies leading up to and after the fact of implementation. This is what is meant in the well-known line attributed to Bismarck - well known because everyone inherently recognizes its truth, even though most live in personal and communal denial of it - Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.

Che Guevara

Hands off, buddy - we're Americans: US passengers are preparing a mass protest to challenge 'intrusive' airport security

© The Independent
A passenger is searched at Denver International Airport
The Thanksgiving holiday could turn fractious in airports all across the United States next week as public mutiny mounts over the recent introduction of new body scanners that leave little to the imagination and more thorough pat-down procedures at already congested check-points.

The furore has divided the country between those who believe that security comes first and that probing, prodding and scanning is acceptable and others who consider a line has been crossed into groping, exposure and touching of private parts that might amount to sexual molestation.

It was enflamed by one sentence uttered by a California man arriving for a flight in San Diego a week ago that has become a rallying cry for those now in rebellion. "If you touch my junk I'll have you arrested," he told a security officer. A stand-off ensued with the passenger, identified as John Tyner, a former professional cyclist, going back home rather than putting his "junk" at risk of contact.

Bad Guys

Rape Survivor Devastated by TSA Enhanced Pat Down

Enhanced pat down
An area Wiccan discovered first hand what most of us are still unaware of - many flyers are now being forced to choose between allowing a TSA agent to see them naked or to have their genitals touched and squeezed as part of what the TSA terms "enhanced pat downs." Celeste, a survivor of rape, described her experience with the new TSA procedures as devastating.

Celeste is a seasoned air traveler. She estimates that she flies upwards of 60 times a year for her job and she knows all the ins and outs of most airports in the USA. Want to know which airport has the best sushi? Celeste can tell you. What she, and most other people didn't know, was that on October 29th the TSA changed their security guidelines. "I flew to Chicago with no problems. Everything was the same as before. It was when I attempted to fly back to Minnesota that I found out about TSA's new rules. What they did to me, in full view of everyone else in line, was like being sexually assaulted all over again. I was in shock. I hate myself that I allowed them to do this to me. I haven't been able to stop crying since."

Previously, flyers walked through a metal detector and some persons were randomly selected for a pat-down that avoided the face, genital areas, and hair. This was the procedure that Celeste was familiar with.

Eye 1

TSA: Travelers Who Refuse Scanning Can't Leave, Will Be Fined

© Unknown

Faced with the prospect of large numbers of people refusing the invasive "screening" measures they've implemented this holiday season, the TSA is hoping to fight back with threats of fine and arrest.

"Once a person submits to the screening process, they can not just decide to leave" warned Sari Koshetz, a TSA spokesperson. TSA officials say that anyone refusing both the "full body scanners" and the "enhanced pat down" procedures will be taken into custody.

Eye 1

TSA agents took my son

As I sit and write this post, 24 hours after this event took place, my hands still shake... with rage and with terror.

I woke up this morning to my husband's alarm clock, sat straight up in bed and thought "Where's Jackson?" with fear paralyzing me.

My worst nightmare took place yesterday. Worse than events that have taken place and that I have survived in my short 28 years of living. Worse than my wildest of dreams could conjure.

My son was taken from me.


My son was taken from me by the TSA agents at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport yesterday.


SOTT Exclusive: The Stench of American Hypocrisy, Part 2

© Desconocido

In a recent column, "The Stench of American Hypocrisy," I noted that US public officials and media are on their high horse about the rule of law in Burma while the rule of law collapses unremarked in the US. Americans enjoy beating up other peoples for American sins. Indeed, hypocrisy has become the defining characteristic of the United States.

Hypocrisy in America is now so commonplace it is no longer noticed. Consider the pro-football star Michael Vick. In a recent game Vick scored 6 touchdowns, totally dominating the playing field. His performance brought new heights of adulation, causing National Public Radio to wonder if the sports public shouldn't retain a tougher attitude toward a dog torturer who spent 1.5 years in prison for holding dog fights.

I certainly do not approve of mistreating animals. But where is the outrage over the US government's torture of people? How can the government put a person in jail for torturing dogs but turn a blind eye to members of the government who tortured people?

Under both US and international law, torture of humans is a crime, but the federal judiciary turns a blind eye and even allows false confessions extracted by torture to be used in courts or military tribunals to send tortured people to more years in prison based on nothing but their coerced self-incrimination.

Compare Vick's treatment of dogs with, for example, the US government's treatment of Canadian "child soldier" Omar Khadr. Khadr was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002, the only survivor of a firefight and an air strike on a Taliban position. He was near death, with wounds to his eyes and shoulder and shot twice in the back. The Americans accused the boy of having thrown a hand grenade during the military encounter that resulted in the death of a US soldier.

Star of David

The Road To Hope Convoy For Gaza - Sott Report Interviews Ken O Keefe

The SOTT Report's Joe Quinn speaks with Ken O'Keefe in Athens following the abduction of members of the Road to Hope convoy that was attempting to bring much needed aid to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

Eye 1

'Porno Scanner' Scandal Shows the Idiocy of America's Zero Risk Culture

body scanner
© John Wildbo

The lede 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."

He's right.

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.


The Wrap Up: Here's What's Been Going On In US Airports

The correct response to this is out-rage - mass public outrage. Do not allow yourself to be cowed, that is precisely what they want.