Sunday, November 21, 2010

The First Victory Against The Police State May Come Against The TSA

By Saman Mohammadi

There is a growing public resistance campaign across U.S. airports against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for routinely performing creepy pat-downs on passengers of all ages and all backgrounds and also submitting them to naked body scanners that are not only intrusive and unnecessary, but, according to scientists from Johns Hopkins University, are harmful to people's health.

Despite making no difference in airport security and the fight against government manufactured terrorism, the TSA's unpopular screening measures have not yet been terminated by the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that the TSA falls under. But that may change in the near future as there exists the possibility that millions of fed-up Americans will join John Tyner, who refused to be subjected to the TSA's perverted security ritual at San Diego International Airport on Saturday, and take collective action against the government's invasion of their humanity.

Amidst the renewed public scrutiny of the TSA thanks to Tyner's courageous act of dissent, a public boycott campaign against the TSA's invasive and humiliating techniques was started by James Babb and George Donnelly called "We Won't Fly" which urges travelers to refuse to go through naked body scanners on November 24. They write:

"We are opposed to the full-body backscatter x-ray airport scanners on grounds of health and privacy. We do not consent to strip searches, virtual or otherwise. We do not wish to be guinea pigs for new, and possibly dangerous, technology. We are not criminals. We are your customers. We will not beg the government anymore. We will simply stop flying until the porno-scanners are history."

Jane Hamsher of began a petition to press Congresspersons to investigate the TSA, which is publicly harassing John Tyner for the crime of refusing to be treated like a slave. Sign the petition here. Hamsher also wrote an article called, "Investigate the TSA, Not Tyner," explaining the reasons for the petition, and why Tyner must be aggressively supported for his act of resistance. She says:

"The new pat-down policy for refuseniks, which started on November 1, has been described by the Airline Pilots Association as “sexual molestation” — and it’s nothing more than a way to punish people who might boycott the Department of Homeland Security’s expensive new boondoggle scanners. And prosecuting Tyner is blatant and very public way to intimidate anyone who might follow his lead.

This goes to show just how how constant threats of “terror” are used to create new markets for products nobody needs. The public is then intimidated into compliance in the name of “national security,” when in reality they’re sacrificing their dignity, their civil liberties and their tax dollars for the sake of enormous profits."

The site WorldNetDaily has also started a petition, specifically calling for the "immediate suspension of the enhanced security screening procedures and an apology to the American public by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for directing the implementation of this ill-advised program." Clearly, everybody is pissed off, regardless of political beliefs. Even the war hawk Jeffrey Goldberg, the man who helped persuade the American people that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, is against the TSA's groping of balls and breasts, saying in his recent post that, "it is the official position of Goldblog that everyday is opt-out day. There's no need to wait until November 24th." Speaking to Stephen Colbert on Monday night, Goldberg said that if U.S. government agencies are relying on TSA agents for national security then something is wrong because tracking down terrorists doesn't require physically touching little girls and grandmothers as they get ready to board a plane.

Government officials like Janet Napolitano, the slimy Secretary of Homeland Security, TSA administrator John Pistole, and Senator Joe Lieberman arrogantly dismiss the public anger and outrage, insisting that pat-down techniques and naked body scanners are entirely justifiable, and that without them Americans wouldn't be safe.

On Monday, November 15, Lieberman went onto MSNBC, telling Andrea Mitchell:

"We've got to all think as we're feeling uncomfortable about the pat-downs that we could be on a plane on which somebody is prepared to blow themselves and us up unless there is such a pat-down. So, unfortunately, that's the age in which we live and I think what the Department of Homeland Security is doing right now is necessary."

On Tuesday, November 16, Pistole addressed members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about the public uproar against the TSA, saying that the agency won't bend to public pressure. The Washington Post reported;

"Pistole told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that his inspectors at 453 of the nation's airports are not going to back down in the face of complaints that techniques are invasive."

Napolitano defended the creep pat-downs and the dangerous naked body scanners in an op-ed in USA Today on Monday, writing:

"We face a determined enemy. Our security depends on us being more determined and more creative to adapt to evolving threats. It relies upon a multi-layered approach that leverages the strengths of our international partners, the latest intelligence, and the patience and vigilance of the American traveling public."

The fact that Napolitano and other government officials are shamelessly resorting to the fear of the "determined enemy" to sell the American people on the government's latest crackdown on individual liberties is yet another reminder that the biggest public enemy today is the government itself. In the name of "security" U.S. Government agents read citizens' emails, listen in on their phone calls, and cuttle their private parts. The message by the regime in Washington to the American citizen is "You're a slave and you need to be protected by terrorists." Of course, they don't ever mention that the biggest terrorists are them.

Glenn Greenwald, commenting on John Tyner's brave act of resistance, wrote, "This is the sort of outrage that really merits a national uprising in defense of this citizen." It remains to be seen how long the public backlash against the TSA and Homeland Security continues. There is a possibility that the criminal traitors in Washington may stage another fake terror incident in an effort to instill fear in the American people like they did last Christmas, and silence any talk of a popular boycott against invasive security measures.

In an interview with Alex Jones on Tuesday, John expressed his hope that more individuals will defy the TSA, and that the agency will eventually be abolished, but was skeptical whether the issue will remain in the public conversation in the coming weeks and months. "In general people tend to have short attention spans. I had an interview canceled on me this morning because Prince William announced his engagement. So, I don't know, I mean I certainly hope it ends up with possibly even the TSA being abolished, but that seems unlikely given people's attention spans seem to be pretty short."

Although John's level-headed comments are true in many ways, it looks like the TSA scandal isn't going away. Next week is National Opt-Out Day, which means public pressure is building against the TSA. Websites across the political spectrum are circulating petitions to gather support to shut down the TSA's invasive airport procedure, and they are getting thousands of signatures. This is a hot button issue that rightly angers and disgusts a lot of people, even those that take the threat of terrorism seriously. John has already provided the example of a brave citizen. His act of resistance should be followed by millions more. "If more people record the TSA," said Alex, "and if more people confront them, they're not going to get away with this."

While I have no stake in the fight against the TSA as I am not an American citizen, and probably won't step foot in any U.S. airport in the near future, I am wholeheartedly dedicated to fighting and bringing an end to the transnational Big Brother police state. The TSA lays claim to only one battlefield in the police state's war on public liberty, which besides airports include public streets, and cyberspace. But this war can end if people come together and redraw the lines between the government and society, making it clear to the government that it shall not overstep its limited responsibilities in public life.

By resisting and defeating the intrusive TSA through non-violent resistance and public boycotts in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. the American people will quickly discover how much power they really have, and grow in confidence so that one day, not far away from now, they will be able to boldly stare into the fearful and sickly eyes of the war criminals and state terrorists who captured the American government in the cover of darkness and send them back into the hell that they came from. There is not a moment to waste. This opportunity must be seized because another one may not come for a long time.


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