Civil Liberties, Health Care, Food Policies
Prisonplanet.com - The clamor to ramp up airport security with invasive naked body imaging scanners has nothing to do with ensuring the safety of travelers. Rather it is part of an ongoing incremental push to break the will of the people and encourage mass subservience and meek obedience.
Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the body scanner push is that people are willingly accepting it. As Bloomberg news reports today, “Passenger acceptance of airport body scanners has increased following the failed terrorist attack,” with 92% of passengers at Manchester airport in northern England now agreeing to pass through the machines in a voluntary trial, compared with 75 percent before the incident.
The same report indicates that around 90% of Muslims and Orthodox Jews were opting to use the scanners even prior to the Detroit incident rather than risking physical contact via pat downs and strip searches.
Travelers in Canada have indicated acceptance of the scanners, saying that they would “do anything for safety” and describing them as “a necessary evil.”
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of Germans favour airports using full-body scanners, despite claims that they are an invasion of personal privacy, a new poll has shown.
The will of the people is being systematically eroded and incrementally broken down. Airports are serving as reservations where the fundamental right to privacy must be left at the door...
AP - As Ronak Ray hunted for his flight gate, he prepared for the prospect of a security guard peering through his clothes with a full body scanner. But Ray doesn't mind: what he gives up in privacy he gets back in security.
"I think it's necessary," said Ray, a 23-year-old graduate student who was at San Francisco International Airport to fly to India. "Our lives are far more important than how we're being searched."Despite controversy surrounding the scans, Ray's position was typical of several travelers interviewed at various airports Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Airports in five other U.S. cities are also using full body scanners at specific checkpoints instead of metal detectors. In addition, the scanners are used at 13 other airports for random checks and so-called secondary screenings of passengers who set off detectors.
But many more air travelers may have to get used to the idea soon. The Transportation Security Administration has ordered 150 more full body scanners to be installed in airports throughout the country in early 2010, agency spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino said.
Dutch security officials have said they believe such scanners could have detected the explosive materials Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria is accused of trying to ignite aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight Christmas Day. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has 15 full body scanners, but none were used to scan Abdulmutallab when he boarded.
In Europe and the U.S., privacy concerns over the scanners' ability to see through clothing have kept them from widespread use.
The technology was first used about two years ago to make it easier for airport security to do body searches without making physical contact with passengers.
The idea of an electronic strip search did not bother Judy Yeager, 62, of Sarasota, Fla., as she prepared to depart Las Vegas. She stood in the full-body scanner Wednesday afternoon and held her arms up as a security official guided her through the gray closet-sized booth.
"If it's going to protect a whole airplane of people, who gives a flying you-know-what if they see my boob whatever," Yeager said. "That's the way I feel, honest to God."George Hyde, of Birmingham, Ala., who was flying out of Salt Lake City with his wife, Patsy, on Wednesday after visiting their children and grandchildren in Park City, Utah.
"I'd rather be safe than be embarrassed," Hyde said. Neither he nor his wife had been through a body scanner before.Trevino said the TSA has worked with privacy advocates and the scanners' manufacturers to develop software that blurs the faces and genital areas of passengers being scanned. In all cases, passengers are not required to be scanned by the machine but can opt for a full body pat-down instead.
"We're very modest people but we'd be willing to go through that for security."
At Salt Lake City International Airport, fewer than 1 percent of passengers subjected to the scanner chose the pat-down since the machine was installed in March, said Dwane Baird, a TSA spokesman in Salt Lake City. On Tuesday, some 1,900 people went through the scanner and just three chose not to, he said.
Critics of the scanners said the option to opt out was not enough.
"The question is should they be used indiscriminately on little children and grandmothers," said Republican U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock of California.McClintock co-sponsored a bill approved by the House 310-118 in June prohibiting the use of full body scanners for primary screenings. The bill is pending in the Senate. He said the devices raised serious concerns regarding constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.
"There's no practical distinction between a full body scan and being pulled into a side room and being ordered to strip your clothing."To further protect passenger privacy, security officers looking at the images are in a different part of the airport and are not allowed to take any recording devices into the room with them, Trevino said. The images captured by the scanners cannot be stored, transmitted or printed in any way.
But the TSA still has some public relations work ahead of it, judging by the reactions of passengers in Albuquerque, N.M., who were worried about what would happen to their images once they were scanned.
"Are they going to be recorded or do they just scan them and that's the end of them? How are these TSA people going to be using them? That's a real concern for me," said Courtney Best-Trujillo of Santa Fe, N.M., who was flying to Los Angeles on Wednesday.The six airports where full body scanners are being used for what TSA calls "primary screenings" are: Albuquerque, N.M.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Miami, Fla.; San Francisco; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Tulsa, Okla.
The remainder of the machines are being used for secondary screenings in Atlanta, Ga.; Baltimore/Washington; Denver, Colo.; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Indianapolis, Ind.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; Los Angeles; Phoenix, Ariz.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Ronald Reagan Washington National; and Detroit, Mich.
Though most passengers interviewed by The Associated Press felt security trumped other concerns, Bruna Martina, 48, a physician from the coast of Venezuela, said the scanners still made her feel uncomfortable.
"I think there has to be another way to control people, or to scan them, but not like this," she said as she headed back home after a vacation in Miami with her husband and two sons. She also does not think the scanners will thwart another attack.
"They'll find another way," Martina said. "There is always somebody cleverer than the rest."
Beaufort Observer - Last week, as the nation's attention was focused on the Senate's debate on health care reform, President Barack Obama signed an amendment to Executive Order 12425. It is only one paragraph long and few would pay much attention to what its effect is. But it has enormous implications.
Here's the background. Generally, foreign military and police organizations are restricted from operating in the United States without oversight by the CIA, FBI, Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security or though some other arrangement that makes such operations subject to U. S. authority. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12425 that allowed the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to operate in the United States but generally subject to the same laws that restrict CIA, FBI and other Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Specifically, INTERPOL agents were not immune from being prosecuted for violating American laws.
One of those laws is 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983, which prohibits law enforcement authorities from violating an American's constitutionally protected rights. Presumably, that does not apply to INTERPOL as a result of this Executive Order President Obama has just signed. The effect of Obama's amendment is to give them immunity from violating any American law.
Agents of INTERPOL will now presumably have the same protection that foreign diplomats have while in this country. It is that immunity that has been used by other countries to spy on the United States.
This arrangement, for example, now would make it possible for an American citizen being seized by INTERPOL agents and taken out of the country outside the reach of American courts and the rights they would enforce, most notably habeas corpus or the right for a judge to review a person's detention.
The extent to which INTERPOL would be exempt from American extradition laws now becomes questionable. Likewise, INTERPOL agents could seize property, including firearms, without search warrants and conduct other warrantless searches. They could break into homes and businesses to search and seize records without fear of prosecution, either criminally or civilly. In short, the powers that INTERPOL would have by being immune to U.S. law is virtually the same as martial law provides.
Moreover, INTERPOL's files and records are immune from U.S. court orders, including search warrants and civil subpoenas. And INTERPOL is protected from Freedom Of Information inquires from American media.
Many questions remain unanswered as a result of Obama's action. Some will contend that his order does not change the status quo because there are sufficient safe-guards extant in American law. But the order makes INTERPOL immune from prosecution under those laws so how efffective they would be against abuse by INTERPOL becomes a question.
So why would an American president grant such extensive powers to a foreign organization?
And foreign INTERPOL is. It is housed in Lyon, France and is governed by an Executive Committee elected by the 123 member nations though the General Assembly. But that group meets only once a year. The real power is exercised by thirteen members of the Executive Committee. It is headed by KHOO Boon Hui of Singapore. There is not an American on the Executive Committee.
As best we can determine President Obama's actions have not been reviewed by Congress and certainly have not been debated publically.
Here's one possible explanation for Obama's actions: threatswatch.org
Maybe Glenn Beck will pick up on this. Our Elizabeth Sauls has already picked up on it. Click here to read Elizabeth's take on this.