Saturday, November 20, 2010

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

by Jason Ditz

Passengers 'Can Not Just Decide to Leave'

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.

Once there the detainees will not only be barred from flying, but will be held indefinitely as suspected terrorists, face fines of up to $11,000 and may also be turned over to local police. One sheriff’s office said they were already preparing to handle a large number of detainees and plan to treat them as terror suspects, held until they are convinced they don’t pose a terror threat.

The TSA genital “patdowns” have led to threats from some local prosecutors to charge them with sexual assault, but the TSA has shrugged off public outcry over the measures and seems more intent than ever on cowing the public into submission.


America In Decline: A Society In Denial

During the 1950s and 1960s, the United States was the richest and most envied country in the world. It was also unrivaled as the world's manufacturing powerhouse. Americans proudly regarded their country is a model, and many people around the world agreed.

Today, the US is still the world's largest economy and pre-eminent military power, and it's still a country of great resources and wealth. But things have changed tremendously over the past half century.

More than ever before in our history, the American people sense that something is very wrong in our country. They are concerned about rising social-economic inequality, an erosion of national identity and purpose, increasing social polarization, and growing contempt for the US around the world.

Polls show that, as a long term trend, ever more Americans think that the US is "on the wrong track, and that this country is "in a state of decline." Surveys also show that Americans now believe that life for their children will be less prosperous and secure than it has been for them.

A popular song of the 1960s, "California Dreamin'," had the line, "I'd be safe and warm, If I was in LA." Los Angeles is still warm, but these days LA County is home to more than thirteen hundred criminal street gangs with 150,000 members. In one recent ten year period, the toll of lives taken by these gangs was nearly six thousand killed. That's more than the number of Americans who lost their lives in the Nine Eleven attacks of 2001, and in the Afghanistan war -- combined.

No one in the world today looks to Los Angeles as a model city. In listings of the world's top 15 "quality of living" cities, not one is in the US. In survey after survey, this country's place in global ratings of quality of life has been slipping. Likewise, the US has been steadily falling behind in education, engineering, science, and basic literacy.

During the 1950s and 1960s, California had one of the nation's best educational systems, with an enviable network of quality elementary schools. Today the achievement level of California schools is near the bottom for the entire United States.

Just a few decades ago, the US was the world's premier creditor nation. Today it's the number one debtor nation.

Perhaps most alarming of all, Americans now see the US rapidly becoming an unrecognizable `third world' country." This is due, above all, to the dramatic transformation of the racial-ethnic character of this country's population, a change that's the result of large-scale immigration from non-European countries, especially Mexico, and a birth-rate among Americans of European origin that has fallen below the replacement level.

Demographics, they say, is destiny. In 1950, every state and every major city in the US still had a majority European-origin population. Today four states -- including Texas and California, the most populous -- and most of our major cities have majority non-white populations.

This change has been especially dramatic here in southern California. It's no exaggeration to say that over the past half century, this region has been transformed more fundamentally than Poland, Hungary and other eastern European countries changed during nearly 50 years of Soviet Russian occupation and domination.

The great demographic trends in our country are forcing -- year by year -- dramatic changes in our culture, our politics, our educational level, our economy, and our quality of life.The comfortable, proud and confident America of the 1950s and 1960s is gone -- gone forever.

To imagine that California might return to what it was in 1960 is about as realistic as to imagine that Alaska will once again be Russian, or that Louisiana will return to being French.

The anxiety that Americans across the country feel about the future is much more than worry about the troubled economy. Americans have never been so socially divided, confused about themselves as a nation, and worried about the future.

In this situation, a failure of political and cultural-educational leadership has brought an unprecedented breakdown of trust. Nothing better underscores this erosion of trust than the Iraq war fiasco. In the months leading up to the US attack against Iraq in March 2003, government officials and much of the media -- as we now know -- deceived the public with alarmist falsehoods to justify the invasion and occupation of that country.

Americans are understandably fed up with political leaders who deceive and mislead them. They feel betrayed by politicians who support costly and destructive wars that do not serve authentic American interests, who refuse to halt the massive influx of illegal immigrants, and who approve immense government spending on programs we cannot afford, thereby imposing an irresponsible burden of debt on our children.

And, with each passing year, it is ever more obvious that the leaders of both major parties pander to the powerful Jewish-Zionist lobby -- thereby betraying the principles of the nation's founders, as well as the interests of our people.

Distrust has become so deep and widespread that many Americans look to Sarah Palin as a source of hope for the future. Millions regard her simplicity and lack of sophistication as reassuring attributes of a "plain folks" person like themselves -- a person who, they hope, is therefore more trustworthy and able to understand and represent their interests than the slick and educated politicians who, time and again, have betrayed their trust.

While politicians of both major parties loudly promise "change," the blunt reality is that no establishment politician, no matter how eloquent or seemingly sincere, will alter the country's basic direction. That's because for many years America's political, cultural and intellectual life has been systematically skewed to serve alien interests, and in accord with ideological principles that are divorced from reality.

In our motion pictures and television, in classrooms and textbooks, and in government, powerful interests have -- for their own self-serving reasons -- imposed a false and harmful portrayal of society and of history. As a result, our nation can neither understand itself nor direct its sight clearly toward the future.

America today is a society in denial.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Web Censorship Bill Sails Through Senate Committee

Who says Congress never gets anything done?

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that would give the Attorney General the right to shut down websites with a court order if copyright infringement is deemed “central to the activity” of the site — regardless if the website has actually committed a crime. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is among the most draconian laws ever considered to combat digital piracy, and contains what some have called the “nuclear option,” which would essentially allow the Attorney General to turn suspected websites “off.”

COICA is the latest effort by Hollywood, the recording industry and the big media companies to stem the tidal wave of internet file sharing that has upended those industries and, they claim, cost them tens of billions of dollars over the last decade.

The content companies have tried suing college students. They’ve tried suing internet startups. Now they want the federal government to act as their private security agents, policing the internet for suspected pirates before making them walk the digital plank.

Many people opposed to the bill agree in principle with its aims: Illegal music piracy is, well, illegal, and should be stopped. Musicians, artists and content creators should be compensated for their work. But the law’s critics do not believe that giving the federal government the right to shut down websites at will based upon a vague and arbitrary standard of evidence, even if no law-breaking has been proved, is a particularly good idea. COICA must still be approved by the full House and Senate before becoming law. A vote is unlikely before the new year.

Among the sites that could go dark if the law passes: Dropbox, RapidShare, SoundCloud, Hype Machine and any other site for which the Attorney General deems copyright infringement to be “central to the activity” of the site, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group that opposes the bill. There need not even be illegal content on a site — links alone will qualify a site for digital death. Websites at risk could also theoretically include p2pnet and or any other website that advocates for peer-to-peer file sharing or rejects copyright law, according to the group.

In short, COICA would allow the federal government to censor the internet without due process.


Georgetown Professor Tells Congress: "Citigroup, Bank Of America, JPMorgan & Wells Fargo Are All INSOLVENT"

Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?

by Nicholas Monahan

This morning I’ll be escorting my wife to the hospital, where the doctors will perform a caesarean section to remove our first child. She didn’t want to do it this way – neither of us did – but sometimes the Fates decide otherwise. The Fates or, in our case, government employees.

On the morning of October 26th Mary and I entered Portland International Airport, en route to the Las Vegas wedding of one of my best friends. Although we live in Los Angeles, we’d been in Oregon working on a film, and up to that point had had nothing but praise to shower on the city of Portland, a refreshing change of pace from our own suffocating metropolis.

At the security checkpoint I was led aside for the "inspection" that’s all the rage at airports these days. My shoes were removed. I was told to take off my sweater, then to fold over the waistband of my pants. My baseball hat, hastily jammed on my head at 5 AM, was removed and assiduously examined ("Anything could be in here, sir," I was told, after I asked what I could hide in a baseball hat. Yeah. Anything.) Soon I was standing on one foot, my arms stretched out, the other leg sticking out in front of me à la a DUI test. I began to get pissed off, as most normal people would. My anger increased when I realized that the newly knighted federal employees weren’t just examining me, but my 7½ months pregnant wife as well. I’d originally thought that I’d simply been randomly selected for the more excessive than normal search. You know, Number 50 or whatever. Apparently not though – it was both of us. These are your new threats, America: pregnant accountants and their sleepy husbands flying to weddings.

After some more grumbling on my part they eventually finished with me and I went to retrieve our luggage from the x-ray machine. Upon returning I found my wife sitting in a chair, crying. Mary rarely cries, and certainly not in public. When I asked her what was the matter, she tried to quell her tears and sobbed, "I’m’s...they touched my breasts...and..." That’s all I heard. I marched up to the woman who’d been examining her and shouted, "What did you do to her?" Later I found out that in addition to touching her swollen breasts – to protect the American citizenry – the employee had asked that she lift up her shirt. Not behind a screen, not off to the side – no, right there, directly in front of the hundred or so passengers standing in line. And for you women who’ve been pregnant and worn maternity pants, you know how ridiculous those things look. "I felt like a clown," my wife told me later. "On display for all these people, with the cotton panel on my pants and my stomach sticking out. When I sat down I just lost my composure and began to cry. That’s when you walked up."

Of course when I say she "told me later," it’s because she wasn’t able to tell me at the time, because as soon as I demanded to know what the federal employee had done to make her cry, I was swarmed by Portland police officers. Instantly. Three of them, cinching my arms, locking me in handcuffs, and telling me I was under arrest. Now my wife really began to cry. As they led me away and she ran alongside, I implored her to calm down, to think of the baby, promising her that everything would turn out all right. She faded into the distance and I was shoved into an elevator, a cop holding each arm. After making me face the corner, the head honcho told that I was under arrest and that I wouldn’t be flying that day – that I was in fact a "menace."

It took me a while to regain my composure. I felt like I was one of those guys in The Gulag Archipelago who, because the proceedings all seem so unreal, doesn’t fully realize that he is in fact being arrested in a public place in front of crowds of people for...for what? I didn’t know what the crime was. Didn’t matter. Once upstairs, the officers made me remove my shoes and my hat and tossed me into a cell. Yes, your airports have prison cells, just like your amusement parks, train stations, universities, and national forests. Let freedom reign.


UN IPCC Official Admits 'We Redistribute World's Wealth By Climate Policy'


If you needed any more evidence that the entire theory of manmade global warming was a scheme to redistribute wealth you got it Sunday when a leading member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told a German news outlet, "[W]e redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."

Such was originally published by Germany's NZZ Online Sunday, and reprinted in English by the Global Warming Policy Foundation moments ago:

(NZZ AM SONNTAG): The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.

(OTTMAR EDENHOFER, UN IPCC OFFICIAL): That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.

(NZZ): That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.

(EDENHOFER): Basically it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet - and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400 - there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.

(NZZ): De facto, this means an expropriation of the countries with natural resources. This leads to a very different development from that which has been triggered by development policy.

(EDENHOFER): First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

For the record, Edenhofer was co-chair of the IPCC's Working Group III, and was a lead author of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report released in 2007 which controversially concluded, "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

As such, this man is a huge player in advancing this theory, and he has now made it quite clear - as folks on the realist side of this debate have been saying for years - that this is actually an international economic scheme designed to redistribute wealth.

TSA Makes Cancer Victim Remove Prosthetic Breast

A flight attendant and cancer survivor said she was forced to remove and show her prosthetic breast to a TSA agent during a security pat-down.

Cathy Bossi of Charlotte, who has been a flight attendant for the past 32 years, told CBS Affiliate WBTV that in August she was asked to go through the new full-body scanners at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

As a 3-year breast cancer survivor Bossi said she didn't want the added radiation through her body, but reluctantly agreed.

"The TSA agent told me to put my ID on my back," Boss told WBTV correspondent Molly Grantham. "When I got out of there, she said because my ID was on my back, I had to go to a personal screening area."

Bossi was taken to a private room where two female Charlotte TSA agents began what she calls an "aggressive" pat-down.

Bossi said the exam halted when they got around to feeling her right breast - the one where she'd had surgery.

"She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?' Bossi recalled. "And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that.'"


Israeli military condemns Web list of troops

JERUSALEM (AP) - The publication of names and photographs of 200 Israeli soldiers on a website that called them "war criminals" drew condemnation Friday from Israel's military.

Alongside the photographs, the site also published the home addresses and ID numbers of many of the Israelis. They included senior commanders and low-ranking soldiers who the site claimed participated in the three-week offensive Israel launched in Gaza in late 2008.

The accuracy of the published details could not be confirmed. A statement from the Israel Defense Forces said the military "deplores the publication of personal details of hundreds of IDF soldiers and officers, without any factual basis whatsoever."

The military said, however, that the information "poses no real threat to those whose name ended up on the list."

It was put up earlier this week by anonymous activists in Britain and hosted by a U.S.-based Web service, which took it down by Friday citing "breach of terms," according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The website said the information came from an anonymous source who was "presumably" serving in the Israeli military. The military is investigating the possibility that the information was leaked by a soldier, according to a report in the daily Maariv.

"The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack," the website said, "therefore, not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same."

It also included what appeared to be an implied threat to harm the soldiers, urging readers, to "do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical."

Israel began its Gaza offensive in December 2008, after years of intense rocket fire from the coastal strip ruled by the Iran-backed militant group Hamas. The fighting devastated the crowded Palestinian territory, killing around 1,400 people, most of them civilians, according to Palestinian and international human rights groups. Thirteen Israelis were killed.

The offensive sharply reduced the rocket fire but did not end it entirely. Early on Friday, Gaza militants fired a military-grade rocket into southern Israel, causing light damage and no casualties.

Militants usually fire mortar shells or small rockets they manufacture themselves and only rarely use military-grade projectiles like the relatively powerful Grad launched early on Friday.

None of the armed groups in Gaza immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.


And for those who may have missed this list of criminals, here you go.

Bill would expose TSA screeners to laws prohibiting sexual assault

President of Electronic Privacy Information Center says body scans, pat-downs are unconstitutional

Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act to the House on Wednesday in response to a growing controversy surrounding the use of body scanners and "enhanced" pat-downs being used by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) at airports.

"I am not alone in believing that we Americans should never give up our rights in order to travel," Paul said.

The bill, HR 6416, would remove legal immunity from federal employees who subject an individual to any physical contact, x-rays, or aids in the creation of any part of a individual's body as a condition to travel in an aircraft.

"It means they are subject to the same laws as the rest of us," Paul explained.

Marc Rotenberg, president of Electronic Privacy Information Center, says the methods used by the TSA are unconstitutional and have never been reviewed by a court.

"The courts give the government a great deal of latitude in airports, but it is not unbounded," Rotenberg wrote at CNN. "The current screening procedures -- the digital X-ray cameras called 'body scanners' and the genital-groping searches called 'pat-downs' -- have never been reviewed by a court."

Although a recent poll found that most people are in favor of the new body scanners, many are still concerned with invasions of privacy and possible health effects.

"They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays," Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told AFP.

Those who choose to opt out of a full body scan face a pat-down procedure that has been widely criticized.

"Is a court really prepared to say that in the absence of suspicion, these search procedures -- which the law would otherwise treat as sexual battery -- are 'reasonable?'" Rotenberg asks.

"I warned at the time of the creation of the TSA that an unaccountable government entity in control of airport security would provide neither security nor defend our basic freedom to travel," Paul said. "Yet the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats then in Congress willingly voted to create another unaccountable, bullying agency-- in a simple-minded and unprincipled attempt to appease public passion in the wake of 9-11."


Why I Couldn't Pilot An Airplane After A TSA Pat-Down

Following the refusal of ExpressJet pilot Michael Roberts to submit to imaging or a pat-down, pilots' unions have asked the Transportation Security Administration for changes, with little luck. One pilot says agressive pat-downs kept him grounded. — Ed.

I am a USAirways pilot with hip replacements. I am unable to successfully pass through a metal detector. For approximately five years I have been questioned, wanded and patted down every morning each day I report for work. I've asked for help with a solution, I've been through all the company and union channels to no avail.

Approximately one year ago, I encountered something new called a groin check. This is where they run the back of their hands down your fly from top to bottom one inch to either side. I said I would allow this if they don't touch my stuff. The screener accused me of being a "homophobe" and said he can't guarantee he wont touch me in this area. I said then I can't go through the check. I called the airline for direction and they agreed to assist me in finding a solution if I would JUST take the flight out. I allowed him his groin check and was so humiliated and enraged that I was pretty much useless in the cockpit, I was self-absorbed. Fortunately my captain could see this and just picked up my duties also and never said a word. I called the union about this and they informed me that I NEVER have to let someone touch me there, that that is wrong. They also reminded me of my obligation to remain fit for duty in our flight ops manual as well as federal aviation regulations, and should I find myself in a similar situation again, don't fly. Well, I noticed that this groin check kept popping up more and more often until I forced myself to accept it and block it out.

Oct. 30 rolled around and I was to fly Phoenix to Charlotte, flight 1550 at 1745 EST. We had received a company message stating if we refuse the body scanner we WILL receive the new pat down and we must comply. I knew I was "in for it." I elected to follow all company procedure and directives and if it was as bad as they stated, I WILL not fly this time. Well, I beeped [in the metal detector], was offered the scanner and opted out instead to endure the pat down. I requested a private screening with the Captain as my witness (you always have the right to a witness.) They started in my shirt collar, went inside my pants waistband all the way around, up inside my crotch and squeezed around from the front each side and up the backside both sides. I was groped 4 times total! Next they rubbed my whole body down with a full palm pressure...including my buttocks and the front groin one inch either side of my fly. I exited without saying anything, the captain and myself just hanging our heads in shame. This is a new breed of LOW that I never thought I would allow…EVER.


John F. Kennedy vs The Federal Reserve

On June 4, 1963, a virtually unknown Presidential decree, Executive Order 11110, was signed with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve Bank of its power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at interest. With the stroke of a pen, President Kennedy declared that the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank would soon be out of business. The Christian Law Fellowship has exhaustively researched this matter through the Federal Register and Library of Congress. We can now safely conclude that this Executive Order has never been repealed, amended, or superceded by any subsequent Executive Order. In simple terms, it is still valid.

When President John Fitzgerald Kennedy - the author of Profiles in Courage -signed this Order, it returned to the federal government, specifically the Treasury Department, the Constitutional power to create and issue currency -money - without going through the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank. President Kennedy's Executive Order 11110 [the full text is displayed further below] gave the Treasury Department the explicit authority: "to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury." This means that for every ounce of silver in the U.S. Treasury's vault, the government could introduce new money into circulation based on the silver bullion physically held there. As a result, more than $4 billion in United States Notes were brought into circulation in $2 and $5 denominations. $10 and $20 United States Notes were never circulated but were being printed by the Treasury Department when Kennedy was assassinated. It appears obvious that President Kennedy knew the Federal Reserve Notes being used as the purported legal currency were contrary to the Constitution of the United States of America.

"United States Notes" were issued as an interest-free and debt-free currency backed by silver reserves in the U.S. Treasury. We compared a "Federal Reserve Note" issued from the private central bank of the United States (the Federal Reserve Bank a/k/a Federal Reserve System), with a "United States Note" from the U.S. Treasury issued by President Kennedy's Executive Order. They almost look alike, except one says "Federal Reserve Note" on the top while the other says "United States Note". Also, the Federal Reserve Note has a green seal and serial number while the United States Note has a red seal and serial number.

President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 and the United States Notes he had issued were immediately taken out of circulation. Federal Reserve Notes continued to serve as the legal currency of the nation. According to the United States Secret Service, 99% of all U.S. paper "currency" circulating in 1999 are Federal Reserve Notes.

Kennedy knew that if the silver-backed United States Notes were widely circulated, they would have eliminated the demand for Federal Reserve Notes. This is a very simple matter of economics. The USN was backed by silver and the FRN was not backed by anything of intrinsic value. Executive Order 11110 should have prevented the national debt from reaching its current level (virtually all of the nearly $9 trillion in federal debt has been created since 1963) if LBJ or any subsequent President were to enforce it. It would have almost immediately given the U.S. Government the ability to repay its debt without going to the private Federal Reserve Banks and being charged interest to create new "money". Executive Order 11110 gave the U.S.A. the ability to, once again, create its own money backed by silver and realm value worth something.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

'Bomb' found on Germany-bound plane in Namibia, police say

Namibian police intercepted a suspicious object with a detonator and a running clock in the luggage on an Air Berlin plane from Windhoek to Munich.

Authorities in Namibia were investigating whether the device found during the loading of the Airbus jet on Wednesday could have exploded.

"A subsequent X-ray (of the luggage) revealed batteries that were attached with wires to a detonator and a ticking clock," the German authorities said in a statement.

"Only the ongoing forensic investigation will show whether this was a live explosive."

The suspicious package was discovered hours after German authorities stepped up security measures after saying they had received intelligence pointing to a planned attack in the country towards the end of this month.

Thomas De Maiziere, the interior minister, said that a foreign tip-off had indicated an al-Qaeda cell was planning an attack on Germany. He said the country was being actively targeted by extremist groups as a result of its involvement in Afghanistan.

"There is reason for concern, but no reason for hysteria," he said at a hastily convened press conference.

Karl Peter Bruch, the interior minister of the south-western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, on Wednesday said there were "concrete indications" of attacks being planned in major cities including Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

And on Thursday Konrad Freiberg, the head of Germany's police union, warned the nation of "security deficits", saying that Germany was not prepared for a terrorist attack.

"We have missed a few steps along the way and there are security deficits that we have drawn attention to," he told the Hamburger Abendblatt daily.

On Thursday, Sabine Teller, a spokesman for Air Berlin, said no explosives had been found in the bag. She said it was unclear which plane the suitcase had been intended for, and that all of the Air Berlin luggage had been rechecked after passengers identified their bags.

After a lengthy delay the plane was able to leave and arrived with all passengers in Munich on Thursday morning.


Congress Back To Censoring Internet

By Brett Trout

Congress Back to Business as Usual
Now that the elections are over, Congress can get back to the job of censoring the internet. The kerfuffle over the TSA taking naked pictures of you and/or giving you a groin pat-down has to come as a welcome voter distraction for those lawmakers bent on ramming S. 3804: Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) through Congress before voters even know what it is. Simply put, the COICA allows the government to keep “blacklists” of websites the government, in its sole discretion, decides are “dedicated to infringing activities.” The COICA does not require any hearing or judicial review, just “BAM” your website is gone. Not just the allegedly infringing material, not just the webpage upon which it appears, your entire website.

Enlisting Your ISP Against You
But won’t your Internet Service Provider (ISP) stand up for you and your rights? Theoretically, but the COICA offers your ISP legal immunity if your ISP works with the government to shut down your website. You know your ISP better than I do, but given the choice between fighting the government to defend your rights or throwing you and your website under a bus, I have to imagine you stand a fairly good chance of winding up on the short end of that deal.

But What About the Safeguards?
There are no safeguards. The COICA diminishes the Department of Justice and the Attorney General to “Jack-Booted Thugs” doing the dirty work and stifling freedom of speech on behalf of huge corporate copyright interests. As noted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) “[w]ithout safeguards and a thorough accounting of the consequences, laws and policies targeting so-called ‘pirates’ can be used to pry away human rights and undermine fundamental elements of democracy and freedom.”

Using the COICA for Political Purposes
The ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders all strongly condemn the COICA. The groups agree that “[n]othing in principle would limit application of this approach solely to copyright infringement.” The party in power will be able to shut down websites like Wikileaks or other websites publishing information critical of the party in power.

The COICA Is Bad For Artists
The COICA is not even good for artists. According to the EFF, the COICA will crush new entertainment delivery options, the precise delivery options which have the best chance of driving income to the artists, rather than to the movie and recording industry. Because these new entertainment delivery options are a threat to old school corporate interests, they have to go. No judge, no jury, just gone.

The COICA Is Bad For You
And its sponsors know that. That is why the Senate Judiciary Committee stopped all scheduled mark-ups on the the COICA until after mid-term elections. Now that the elections are over, and voters are no longer paying attention, the bill’s co-sponsors, including Iowa’s own Charles Grassley are back to the business of censoring your internet. If it passes, the COICA threatens to deny you access to blacklisted websites, massively increase Internet data transfer costs, undermine innovation and trample your Constitutional right to free speech.

What Can You Do?
Don’t let this bill pass. Don’t let the movie and recording industries punish artists and fans and dictate which websites survive. Don’t let these corporate behemoths use taxpayer resources to shut down taxpayer websites. If you are an academic, please join David Post in his “Professor’s Letter” opposing the bill. If you are anyone else, sign the petition at Demand Progress, contact your Senators and Congressional Representatives. Demand that Congress defend your interests against the movie and recording industries and not the other way around.


TSA Officers Are Not Screened for Psychological Problems

“I want to do patdowns on airplane passengers. What would TSA need from me before I have authority to do whatever is required to check people’s pants?”

That’s how my conversation with TSA’s Human Resources department began. I wanted to know how much the Transportation Security Administration vets these low-wage officers before giving them full range — and federal backing — to decide exactly how much to touch airplane passengers before the officers are satisfied with their precautions.

TSA doesn’t require much at all, it turns out. This government agency-gone-wild performs a background check to weed out applicants who are convicted felons, but TSA does not test at all for applicants’ psychological soundness.

These are low-wage government employees granted full authority to touch passengers however they like. There is no indication that TSA agents have selectively abused their authority, but as with all government programs: If there are no checks in place to limit power, authority will be abused. Forget racial profiling; if there no limits to officials’ power, what would stop them from claiming the most attractive powers need a more thorough patdown?

Safety is important. Yet as long as TSA does not test to determine whether agents are psychologically sound, and as long as this runaway government agency has full authority over any person who enters an airport, individuals are not safe from TSA’s propensity to abuse their power.


Illness Plagues Gulf Residents in BP's Aftermath

by Dahr Jamail

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama, Nov 15, 2010 (IPS) - Increasing numbers of U.S. Gulf Coast residents attribute ongoing sicknesses to BP's oil disaster and use of toxic dispersants.

"Now I have a bruising rash all around my stomach," Denise Rednour of Long Beach, Mississippi told IPS. "This looks like bleeding under the skin."

Rednour lives near the coast and has been walking on the beach nearly every day since a BP oil rig exploded on Apr. 20. She has noticed a dramatically lower number of wildlife, and said that many days the smell of chemicals from what she believes are BP's toxic dispersants fill the air.

Yet her primary concern is that she and many people she knows in the area have gotten sick.

"I have pain in my stomach, stabbing pains, in isolated areas," Rednour added. "The sharp stabbing pain is all over my abdomen where this discolouration is, it's in my arm pits and around my breasts. I have this dry hacking cough, my sinuses are swelling up, and I have an insatiable thirst."

Rednour's recent problems are a continuation of others that have beset her for months, including headaches, respiratory problems, runny nose, nausea, and bleeding from the ears.

In response to the massive spill last summer that released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of Corexit dispersants - which have been banned in 19 countries - to sink the oil. The dispersants contain chemicals that many scientists and toxicologists have warned are dangerous to humans, marine life and wildlife.

A March 1987 report titled "Organic Solvent Neurotoxicity", by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), states: "The acute neurotoxic effects of organic solvent exposure in workers and laboratory animals are narcosis, anesthesia, central nervous system (CNS) depression, respiratory arrest, unconsciousness, and death."

Several chemicals and chemical compounds listed in the NIOSH report, such as styrene, toluene and xylene, are now present in the Gulf of Mexico as the result of BP's dispersants mixing with BP's crude oil.

Captain Lori DeAngelis runs dolphin tours out of Orange Beach, Alabama.

"All my muscles hurt," DeAngelis told IPS. "By the time I climb my stairs every muscle in my legs are in spasm. I'm coughing, I have a constant sore throat and hoarse voice."

In addition to these symptoms, her memory is fading. "I have totally blanked out on a lot of important stuff," she said. "I can hardly remember having talked to people who've interviewed me. That's how bad it is. I'm having to bring pen and paper with me and write down everything so I don't forget."

Last month, Dr. Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, conducted blood tests for volatile solvents on eight people who live and work along the coast.

"All eight individuals tested had Ethylbenzene and m,p- Xylene in their blood in excess of the NHANES 95th Percentile," according to Subra's report. "Ethylbenzene, m,p-Xylene and Hexane are volatile organic chemicals that are present in the BP Crude Oil. The blood of all three females and five males had chemicals that are found in the BP Crude Oil."

DeAngelis was one of the people tested.

The health problems she and Rednour are experiencing are now common along the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana all the way to Florida.

Chuck Barnes is director of the Alabama district of the Eastern Surfing Association, and is responsible for organising surfing competitions.

"In early September our local government gave the all-clear so surfers started going back into the water," Barnes told IPS. "But we immediately had several surfers get sick with headaches, upper respiratory problems, and other things and that's when I decided we needed to test the water."

Barnes says that tests conducted in the Orange Beach area "all came up toxic".

"Now I'm worried about the fact that everybody is still giving the all clear signal, but nobody [government] is doing honest testing," he said. "We have fresh tar balls washing up right now. They just turned the Gulf into their huge science experiment, and we're just sitting here under the microscope waiting to see what happens to us."

Joe Overstreet, a merchant seaman, lives in Fairhope, Alabama, which is on the coast and Mobile Bay. He also had his blood tested by Dr. Subra.

"I have a new rash on my body now, on my chest, and this is after an older rash I've had that turned into blisters. I did the blood test in Pensacola, and when it was returned I tested positive for six of the nine chemicals in BP's dispersants," he said.

Overstreet worked as an oil disaster response worker for BP.

"I take Benadryl pretty much every night so I don't wake up with a headache," he told IPS. "I have pains on my right side recently, and unbelievable headaches. When they start happening I have to stop everything. I have them every day."

Overstreet, who has worked in the oil fields and is familiar with the dangers and chemicals used, said he and his neighbours "could smell the Benzene coming up into the bay. I was working on the beaches, and on low tides we can see the clams out there. They used to be white. Now they are all black. And nobody seems to pay any attention to this. I've lived here all my life and I know it's not right."

Like others, he is mystified by the lack of appropriate response by government authorities.

"I feel like I'm in the twilight zone. Nobody seems to be doing anything or talking about it," he said.

DeAngelis is worried about the dolphins she has come to love and protect, as well as humans living along the coast.

"It's devastating," she said. "My identity is wrapped in being Captain Lori, but I don't know if I can go on my waters and watch out for my babies, and nobody will tell us what is happening. I can't come up with the right words. This is the meanest, most deceitful, most horrible thing the government could do to us."


Ron Paul Bill to end the TSA abuses!

FBI pressuring Google, Facebook to allow ‘back doors’ for wiretapping

ACLU: Proposed expansion of wiretap powers 'a clear recipe for abuse'

FBI Director Robert Mueller traveled to Silicon Valley this week to convince major Internet players to build "back doors" into their software that will allow law enforcement to wiretap data on their networks, says a news report.

It's part of an effort to expand the FBI's wiretapping powers to include the latest communications technologies, including social networking sites, voice-over-Internet (VoIP) telephone services and BlackBerries.

But privacy and civil rights advocates are raising the alarm about the proposal, saying that the proposed wiretapping tools could just as easily be used by hackers to steal personal information, or by oppressive governments to track political dissidents.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Mueller is on a lobbying trip in Silicon Valley to sell tech companies on the idea.

Mr. Mueller and the F.B.I.’s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, were scheduled to meet with senior managers of several major companies, including Google and Facebook, according to several people familiar with the discussions. How Mr. Mueller’s proposal was received was not clear.

“I can confirm that F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller is visiting Facebook during his trip to Silicon Valley,” said Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s public policy manager. Michael Kortan, an F.B.I. spokesman, acknowledged the meetings but did not elaborate.

The Obama administration plans to introduce the new law -- an update to the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act -- next year.

The current law mandates that phone companies have to be ready to wiretap a customer if law enforcement requests it, but supporters of the new law say that's no longer good enough. The FBI says its ability to wiretap is "going dark" because people are increasingly using encrypted communications tools, such as Skype and the BlackBerry. The new law would require companies such as these to install "back door" access to their communications.

That's raising the alarm among privacy advocates who say the same tool that lets the FBI snoop on communications can be exploited by hackers for criminal purposes.

“Building backdoors in software to help the FBI wiretap will attract hackers who want to do the same thing – access confidential communications,” Gregory Nojeim, a lawyer at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told SC Magazine.

"It is important to realize that this proposal isn’t simply applying the same sort of wiretap system we have for phones to the Internet; it would require reconfiguring and changing the nature of the Internet," Laura Murphy of the ACLU's legislative office said in a statement.


DHS Head Chertoff Using His Position To Profit For Company He's Employed By

Man claims Charlotte TSA employee groped his 6-year-old son

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Are children exempt for pat-downs at airport security? Not according to one man who says a TSA employee groped 6 year-old son at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The alleged incident is part of the growing backlash over the full body scans and pat downs at airports nationwide.

WBTV found the anonymous submission on a blog, "We Won't Fly." The man says the incident happened earlier this month and he describes how his little boy was traumatized saying the TSA agent groped his groin and that the little boy left the checkpoint in tears.

The commenter says his son was aggressively patted down by a TSA employee.

"He was pleading for me to help him and I was admonished for trying to comfort him," the comment on the blog states. "His genitals area was groped. He walked down to the plane in tears."


Airport staff 'exposed woman's breasts, laughed'

A WOMAN is suing over an incident where airport staff allegedly pulled down her top and joked about her breasts in public view.

The 23-year-old traveller, from Amarillo, US, is suing the US Government for the emotional distressed she says the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents caused.

The woman says she was singled out for "extended search procedures" while preparing to board a plane to Amarillo in May 2008.

“As the TSA agent was frisking plaintiff, the agent pulled the plaintiff’s blouse completely down, exposing plaintiffs’ breasts to everyone in the area,” the lawsuit said.

“As would be expected, plaintiff was extremely embarrassed and humiliated.”

The lawsuit claims that other employees laughed and made jokes about the incident "for an extended period of time".

The distraught woman left the screening area to be consoled but when she re-entered the boarding area employees allegedly started joking about the matter.

"One male TSA employee expressed to the plaintiff that he wished he would have been there when she came through the first time and that 'he would just have to watch the video,'" the suit said.

She wishes to remain anonymous due to privacy reasons.

Lawyers for the US Government confirm that the woman went through secondary screening but deny airport staff acted inappropriately.


Man punches TSA screener at Indianapolis International Airport

Indianapolis —
A Connecticut man was arrested at Indianapolis International Airport Tuesday after punching a TSA screener.

John Christina, 51, Simsbury, Conn., allegedly exchanged words with and then punched a TSA screener at a security check point.

According to police, he was charged with misdemeanor battery.

The incident is similar to many others that have happened throughout the country in backlash to the so-called intrusive security screenings.

But Christina says that the punch was intended to be a joke, not a challenge to the agent's authority or the agency's security procedures.

Christina stated he has had several medical issues and asked the TSA screener a question about the screening process.

When the TSA screener said he did not know, Christina "jokingly lightly punched him in the chest" and told him you should know.

Christina was released from jail on $150 bond and scheduled in Marion Superior Court 10 on December 13.


Not one cent for tribute: Obama's embarrassing gift to Israel

A legendary story from our early history has it that Thomas Jefferson so hated John Jay that he ordered Pierre L'Enfant -- the civil engineer who designed our capital city -- to excise any reference to Jay (including "J Street") from his plans. The story is apocryphal, but the history behind it isn't. For Jefferson, Jay was an arch appeaser: his 1795 treaty with Britain provided concessions to a nation we had defeated in our revolution. Jefferson wasn't the only one who hated the treaty. While Jay's agreement was ratified by the Congress, he was burned in effigy by New York and Philadelphia mobs and the treaty so stained his reputation that he was never considered for the presidency. Jefferson didn't make the same mistake. When the Pasha of Barbary demanded ransom for U.S. ships he had seized, Jefferson sent a U.S. naval squadron to punish him. The resulting victory is now celebrated with a half-verse in the Marine Corps hymn (which celebrates the triumph on "the shores of Tripoli") and a knock-out political slogan that energized a nation: "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."

If only Jefferson could see us now. This weekend, the Obama administration promised to turn over $3 billion in stealth fighters to Israel (supplementing the 20 F-35s it will buy with the $2.75 billion in "grants" it gets from Washington) and veto any U.N. resolution that questions Israel's legitimacy -- all in exchange for Israel's pledge to extend a ten-month partial settlement moratorium for another 90 days. This is a bad idea. And it's dangerous. There are differences, of course, between the events of the last 24 hours and the crisis that Jefferson faced in 1804. Then, we protested that we were "paying tribute," now we are "providing incentives." Then too, Israel is not making any "demands," they are simply (in Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's words) "insisting." Oh -- and let's not forget -- the pirates of Barbary were America's "enemy." That's a lot different than now; Israel is our "friend."

This administration's decision would be shocking were it not so predictable. Back on October 20, State Department spokesman Andrew Shapiro reassured the press that a $60 billion U.S. arms transfer to Saudi Arabia would go forward because "Israel does not object..." Shapiro's statement passed with nary an eye blink in L'Enfant's city, where Israel's approval is apparently required for America to do anything in the Middle East. But Shapiro's tone-deafness is hardly limited to dime-a-dozen spokespersons. In the wake of General Petreaus' controversial March testimony that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "foments anti-American sentiment" (stop the presses), Hillary Clinton went out of her way to reassure Israelis that "we are committed to Israel's security," a soothing word-for-word mantra repeated by Barack Obama (July 6), Joe Biden (November 7) and any old American official behind a microphone (P.J. Crowley, August 4). The administration doesn't get it: the question is not whether we are committed to Israel's security, but whether they're committed to ours.

The tone-deafness evidenced by Andrew Shapiro is now an all-consuming part of public policy, extending to every part of the American government -- and beyond. When Elena Kagan testified during her confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, she cited Israel jurist Aharon Barak as her model, because he was the "John Marshall of the State of Israel." Kagan might well be a brilliant justice, but I would have thought she would cite Marshall as her model. Reminded that Barak was a judicial activist (and therefore not necessarily acceptable for some committee members), Kagan gave a ready explanation: "Israel means a lot to me," she explained. Enough said. When David Petreaus was criticized by Israel advocates for his March testimony, he backtracked, asking neo-conservative Max Boot (in an email he carelessly sent to a blogger) whether it would help "if folks know that I hosted Elie Wiesel and his wife at our quarters last Sun night?" Petreaus is our nation's most influential military officer since Eisenhower. Guess what? He's afraid of Israel's lobby. And when Angela Merkel addressed the U.S. Congress in November of 2009, she didn't talk about American security, but Israeli security. "Security for the state of Israel is, for me, non-negotiable," she said. "Whoever threatens Israel also threatens us." Even senior aides to the otherwise pro-Israel Congress were puzzled. "Maybe she thought she was talking to the Knesset," one of them said. Finally, Republican Eric Cantor recently told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the new Republican majority would serve as "a check on the administration" in any dispute with Israel -- a statement so astonishing that one pro-Israel journalist viewed it as not only unprecedented, but "extraordinary."


Wednesday, November 17, 2010



The submarine launch of an ICBM off the California coast on November 8 is a milestone in American history. The immediate denials that it was an American test were a public relations disaster. America’s government does little but lie to its people, 9/11, Osama bin Laden, we could go on forever. In fact, nothing coming out of Washington or the press is remotely credible and it has finally been proven.

A submarine comes approaches America’s heavily guarded coast, through a network of defenses costing billions, and launches an ICBM capable of carrying up to 10 hydrogen bombs, launches the missile 2 minutes from Los Angeles, and we are utterly unaware? This is the same military we trust our children’s lives to?

This is the same military that spent a 9 years hunting for Osama bin Laden, knowing he was dead, hundreds of millions of dollars, endless lives lost, all over a lie. Keeping bin Laden’s death secret is a deception not unlike the phony Yemen bomb scare and the “crotch bomber” last Christmas, “third rate boogeyman” ploys to justify wasted money and airport passenger abuse.

This is the same military that killed 5000 Americans in Iraq over more lies, always known to be lies. Behind the flag waving and patriotic blithering is a pack of greedy incompetents, many religious extremists, most up to their necks in right wing politics and too many willing to send us to war for their own personal reasons. A patriot wouldn’t last 5 minutes in Americas military.

They would tear the place down around them, screaming “thieves, liars and cowards” as they did it. This, however, this last insult, is just too much. The America people expected a decent lie. It is now nearly 10 days later and the military believes they can simply put their pointy little heads in the sand and the rest of us can go to hell? Not hardly!

Laid bare is the level of post Cold War leadership in the Pentagon, accustomed to wasting money, fabricating war news and trying to lie their way to empty victory in wars without plan or purpose, long proven unwinable.


Get your hands off me, TSA!

Listen to this: "My freely chosen bedmates and doctors are the only ones allowed to see my naked body or touch my genitalia." For a sane person in a sane country that's the ultimate in "no shit, Sherlock" statement. But not where I live.

Not the United States of America. Not since 11 September 2001, when the government reacted to an attack on its citizens by lashing out against the very citizenry it claims to protect. No bureaucracy better embodies that reactionary principle than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), whose contempt for American citizens has grown so great that they now require we submit to government agents either photographing our, to them, visibly naked bodies or groping us in molestation-style patdowns if we ever want to fly again.

I'm sick of the craven cliches TSA apologists have cited these past nine years:

"They protect us from terrorists."

No, they impose pointlessly superstitious security theatre, trample Americans' constitutional rights and make foreigners feel sorry for us. TSA protected nobody with its infamous "bathroom bans" after last year's Christmas terror attempt; rules like "keep your lap empty and your hands visible at all times" only demonstrated the agency's willingness to treat ordinary citizens like serial killers in supermax prison.

"You gave up your rights when you bought an airline ticket."

I never gave up any rights. The government stole them while cowards egged them on.

"TSA agents are just doing their jobs."

A lousy apologia and historically ignorant to boot; the civilised world established at Nuremberg that "just following orders" cuts no ice. And my fellow Americans are realising "it'll stop terrorists" cuts none either, at least not to justify low-grade sexual harassment as standard behaviour for government agents.

It's not hyperbole to call the enhanced patdown a low-grade sexual assault; if you don't believe me, go find some woman's boobs or man's balls, start cupping and squeezing them according to new TSA standards, and count how many offences you're charged with. Last month, an agent openly admitted that the purpose of the aggressive new patdowns was to intimidate people into choosing the nude scanners instead.


Johns Hopkins Researchers Discover How to Erase Memory

Researchers working with mice have discovered that by removing a protein from the region of the brain responsible for recalling fear, they can permanently delete traumatic memories. Their report on a molecular means of erasing fear memories in rodents appears this week in Science Express.

“When a traumatic event occurs, it creates a fearful memory that can last a lifetime and have a debilitating effect on a person’s life,” says Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D., professor and director of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Our finding describing these molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in that process raises the possibility of manipulating those mechanisms with drugs to enhance behavioral therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Behavioral therapy built around “extinction training” in animal models has proven helpful in easing the depth of the emotional response to traumatic memories, but not in completely removing the memory itself, making relapse common.

Huganir and postdoctoral fellow Roger Clem focused on the nerve circuits in the amygdala, the part of the brain known to underly so-called fear conditioning in people and animals. Using sound to cue fear in mice, they observed that certain cells in the amygdala conducted more current after the mouse was exposed to a loud, sudden tone.

In hopes of understanding the molecular underpinnings of fear memory formation, the team further examined the proteins in the nerve cells of the amygdala before and after exposure to the loud tone. They found temporary increases in the amount of particular proteins — the calcium-permeable AMPARs — within a few hours of fear conditioning that peaked at 24 hours and disappeared 48 hours later.

Because these particular proteins are uniquely unstable and can be removed from nerve cells, the scientists proposed that they might permanently remove fear by combining behavior therapy and protein removal and provide a window of opportunity for treatment. “The idea was to remove these proteins and weaken the connections in the brain created by the trauma, thereby erasing the memory itself,” says Huganir.

In further experiments, they found that removal of these proteins depends on the chemical modification of the GluA1 protein. Mice lacking this chemical modification of GluA1 recovered fear memories induced by loud tones, whereas littermates that still had normal GluA1 protein did not recover the same fear memories. Huganir suggests that drugs designed to control and enhance the removal of calcium-permeable AMPARs may be used to improve memory erasure.

“This may sound like science fiction, the ability to selectively erase memories,” says Huganir. “But this may one day be applicable for the treatment of debilitating fearful memories in people, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome associated with war, rape or other traumatic events.”

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Authors on the paper are Roger L. Clem and Huganir, both of Johns Hopkins.


Video: The TSA is out of control

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 is NATIONAL AIRPORT SCANNER OPT-OUT DAY!

It's the day ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government's desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an "enhanced pat down" that touches people's breasts and genitals in an aggressive manner. You should never have to explain to your children, "Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it's a government employee, then it's OK."

The goal of National Opt Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change. We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we're guilty until proven innocent. This day is needed because many people do not understand what they consent to when choosing to fly.

Here are the details:

You, your family and friends traveling by air on Wednesday, November 24, 2010. Remember too, as the TSA says, "Everyday is opt-out day." That is, you can opt out any time you fly.

National Opt-Out Day. You have the right to opt-out of the naked body scanner machines (AIT, or Advance Imaging Technology, as the government calls it). All you have to do is say "I opt out" when they tell you to go through one of the machines. You will then be given an "enhanced" pat down. This is a right given to you by the TSA.

At an airport near you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010. We want families to sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, talking about their experience - what constitutes an unreasonable search, how forceful of a pat down will we allow on certain areas of our body, and that of our children, and how much privacy are we will to give up for flying? We hope the experience then propels people to write their Member of Congress and the airlines to demand change.

The government should not have the ability to virtually strip search anyone it wants without cause. The problem has been compounded in that if you do not want to go through the body scanner, the TSA has made the alternative perhaps even worse by instituting "enhanced" pat downs. There are reports from travelers across the country about how the TSA now touches the genitals and private areas of men, women and children in a much more aggressive manner. We do not believe the government has a right to see you naked or aggressively touch you just because you bought an airline ticket.

By saying "I opt out" when told to go through the bodying imaging machines and submitting to a pat down. Also, be sure to have your pat down by TSA in full public - do not go to the back room when asked. Every citizen must see for themselves how the TSA treats law-abiding citizens.

If you have experienced a problem with TSA when flying, use the Electronic Privacy Information Center's incident report to lodge your complaint:

Testimonials from travelers here:

Follow us on twitter:

Contact us at

Some videos of interest:

**MEDIA NOTICE: Interviews are being granted on a limited basis. Email and I will try to accommodate your request. is an educational outreach campaign, designed to get people to better understand what they are now consenting to when they purchase a plane ticket. Many people only fly around the holidays and may not be aware of the security changes, which is why November 24 was chosen. There is no intent or desire to delay passengers en route to friends and family over Thanksgiving. Once people are made aware of what is happening, they may have reservations about the new virtual strip searches and enhanced pat downs - especially for their children or spouse or other loved one.

Before people fly, they should learn more about the new security measures, and when they are given the choice by TSA, they should opt-out of the scan and get the enhanced pat down. This is their right, given to them by the TSA. If they do not like the current procedures when they go through it, they should voice their opinion to the airlines and their Members of Congress, in addition to filing a complaint with the TSA and outside groups, if necessary. Opting out doesn't have to be done only on Nov. 24. As the TSA says, every day you fly is opt-out day if you choose. It is not irresponsible to take up the TSA on their offer to opt-out of the body scanners.

This country needs security measures in place that not only keep us safe but also do not grossly violate privacy or constitute an unreasonable search, like the current protocol. In their “Aircraft Passenger Whole-Body Imaging Limitations Act of 2009” the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that said: "Whole-body imaging technology may not be used as the sole or primary method of screening a passenger under this section. Whole-body imaging technology may not be used to screen a passenger ... unless another method of screening, such as metal detection, demonstrates cause for preventing such passenger from boarding an aircraft." Agreed. Unfortunately, the Senate did not act on the legislation. Hopefully the current outcry over these scanners and the enhanced pat downs from the pilots, the flight attendants, and now the flying public, will instigate a change to effective security measures that keep the privacy of U.S. citizens in-tact.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TSA Investigating ‘Don’t Touch My Junk’ Passenger

The TSA has launched an investigation of a passenger in San Diego who left the airport after opting out of an invasive body scan and criticizing the proposed alternative pat-down.

John Tyner, a 31-year-old software programmer, recorded the encounter on his mobile phone and posted it to his blog. From there, it quickly went viral around the internet, tapping a groundswell of frustration over TSA’s procedures.

But far from backing down, the TSA told local reporters that it’s now investigating the passenger, who may face an $11,000 fine if the agency sues him.

“What he’s done, he’s violated federal law and federal regulations which states once you enter and start the process you have to complete it,” TSA’s San Diego security director told the Fox 5 News.

Tyner was at the San Diego airport last Saturday with his father-in-law and brother-in-law on their way to South Dakota for a three-day pheasant hunting trip. Tyner said he checked the TSA web site beforehand and didn’t see San Diego International Airport on a list of facilities using new invasive scanners that take a strip-search image of passengers beneath their clothes. But once in the security line, he saw that the airport was indeed using the scanners. He was in line to go through a metal detector when an agent directed him through the new body scanner instead.

“There was a certain percentage of people who were willingly going through the scanner,” Tyner told Threat Level. “Then every time the scanner was empty, they would just grab the next person in the line for the metal detector and send them through the scanner.”

Due to privacy and health concerns, Tyner opted out of the scan in favor of a pat-down. But when the TSA agent explained in detail the agency’s new policy for “enhanced” pat-downs — which includes using the front of hands and fingers to touch passengers in their groins — Tyner balked.

“If you touch my junk,” he told the agent, “I’ll have you arrested.”

The agent called his supervisor, who told Tyner that if he wasn’t comfortable with the enhanced pat-down “we can escort you back out and you don’t have to fly today.”

Tyner told the agent, “I don’t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying.”

When the agent replied that a pat-down was not considered a sexual assault, Tyner said, “It would be if you were not the government.”

The TSA supervisor told him, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.”

Tyner’s brother-in-law had already been directed through the scanner and complied. His father-in-law was on the other side of security. Tyner isn’t sure if he went through the metal detector or the scanner. But while Tyner was being interrogated, he saw numerous passengers pass through the metal detector and go on to their flights without undergoing a pat-down.

Tyner told the agents he was happy to go through the metal detector and even submit to a regular pat-down, but not one that involved a groin check. His father-in-law, a former deputy sheriff, told the agents to be reasonable.

“Just let him go through the metal detector and this will all be over,” his father-in-law said. But the agents insisted that regardless of the fact that Tyner had initially been set to go through the metal detector before agents directed him to the scanner, once he rejected the scanner he had to undergo the enhanced pat-down. He could either submit, or leave the airport and not fly. Tyner chose the latter option and was escorted to the American Airlines ticket counter to get a refund.

He was on his way out of the airport when a man in a sport coat approached and told him he could not leave the airport until he’d completed the security screening, even if he had no intention of getting on an airplane. The man, whom Tyner believes was with the TSA, told him that he’d be subject to prosecution and a civil fine if he left without being screened. Tyner told the man to sue him and walked out of the airport.

Tyner said although his father-in-law continued the trip without him, he later told Tyner he was proud of him for standing up for what he believed was right. Tyner has received calls from lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Rutherford Institute to discuss the issue and says he’s also received offers of support from the public to help pay any fine or legal defense costs he may face.

On Monday, the TSA defended its actions.

“We want to be sure that everyone on a plane can be assured that the people with them received the same screening process,” Michael Aguilar, the TSA’s security director in San Diego, told reporters, despite the fact that screening actually varies greatly among passengers, some of whom are allowed to pass through metal detectors without a pat-down or scan.

Aguilar added that Tyner’s recording of the incident created suspicion that he might have staged the incident. Aguilar insisted that the TSA had no plans to change its procedures.

But a growing movement among pilot associations and traveler rights groups suggests the TSA is under increasing pressure to reconsider that stance.

Several groups have called for a National Opt-Out day on Nov. 24, traditionally the busiest travel day of the year, to protest the TSA’s attempt to force passengers to undergo invasive scans or face an intrusive pat-down.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is also holding a hearing on Wednesday to discuss TSA oversight.

Privacy groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center are seeking a court order to halt the use of invasive scanners, saying the scanners are illegal and violate passenger privacy.

They also say the government has done little to ensure that images taken by the devices are not saved. The TSA has asserted that security scanners cannot store pictures, but security personnel at a courthouse in Florida were found to not only have saved about 35,000 images but shared some of them among colleagues in order to humiliate one of their co-workers. On Tuesday, Gizmodo released 100 of the images, which the technology site had obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Scientists have expressed concern that radiation from the devices could have long-term health effects on travelers. EPIC filed a FOIA request last summer to obtain reports and other information the TSA used to determine the health effects of the devices before deploying them in airports. The civil liberties group announced on Tuesday that it was suing the agency to comply with the request.

Consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader told reporters on a call on Tuesday that the technology was ineffective — since it fails to detect all explosives — and has not been subjected to proper analysis to determine the health risks.

“As more people experience the invasive scanners and pat-downs, including congressional members and celebrities, the more attention the issue will get,” he said.

Kate Hanni, founding director of, said that her organization’s hotline has “been blown up with calls complaining about the scans and pat-downs.” Members with the 30,000-strong organization expressed concerns about health risks and about whether the TSA conducts background checks on agents to screen pedophiles out of the agency.

James Babb, co-organizer of WeWon’, one of the grassroots campaigns behind the National Opt-Out day, told reporters on the call, “I believe the TSA has suckered Americans into a false sense of security with these scanners of dubious value.”


Ezra Pound : "We shall surround our government with a whole world of economists."

If or when one mentions the Protocols alleged to be of the Elders of Zion, one is frequently met with the reply: Oh, but they are a forgery.

Certainly they are a forgery, and that is the one proof we have of their authenticity. The Jews have worked with forged documents for the past 24 hundred years, namely ever since they have had any documents whatsoever. And no one can qualify as a historian of this half century without having examined the Protocols. Alleged, if you like, to have been translated from the Russian, from a manuscript to be consulted in the British Museum, where some such document may or may not exist.

What we know for certain is that they were published two decades ago. That Lord Sydenham wrote a preface to them. That their content has been traced to another sketch said to have appeared in the eighteen forties. The interest in them does not lie in [the] question of their having been, or NOT been concocted by a legislative assembly of Rabbis, democratically elected, or secretly chosen by the Mysterious Order of Seven Branched Antlers or the Bowling Society of Milwaukee. Their interest lies in the type of mind, or the state of mind of their author. That was their interest for the psychologist the day they first appeared. And for the historian two decades later, when the program contained in them has so crushingly gone into effect up to a point, or down to a squalor.

What is interesting, perhaps most, to the historian is their definite campaign against history altogether, their declared intention to blot out the classics, to blot out the record, and to dazzle men with talk of tomorrow. That is a variant on the pie in the bait. As far as reality is concerned, as far as you and I are concerned it makes little difference whether prosperity is in heaven, or in the year 2300, or just round a corner that will never be turned.

A religious man might think his reward might be in heaven, but even a religious man ought to know that his reward will not be on earth in a hundred years time. In fact, the pie in the sky is a more reasonable proposition: an opium with more to it than Mr. Keynes’ day after tomorrow.

I am not concerned with fixing blame retrospectively so much as with judging the present: those who are against the true word, the protocolaires. Now Keynes whose fair is foul, foul is fair sentence can be taken as the quintessence of something or other, is the perfect protoclaire. It comes over me that on the one occasion I had the curious experience of seeing him, he managed to utter two falsehoods in a very short space of time. In fact never opened his mouth without doing so. First in stating that he is an orthodox economist, which he is not, second in saying that the then high cost of living was due to lack of labor, when there were millions of men out of work.

You couldn’t have done much better in two sentences if you were out for a record in the falsification. Protocol No. 8, second [paragraph]:

We shall surround our government with a whole world of economists. That is the reason why economic sciences form, etc. Around us again will be a whole constellation of bankers, industrialists, capitalists and the main thing, millionaires, because in substance everything will be settled by the question of figures.

Is it possible to arouse any interest in verbal precision? Is it possible to persuade more than six or eight people to consider the scope of crossword puzzles and other devices for looking at words for something that is NOT their meaning? Cabala, for example, anything to make the word mean something it does NOT say. Anything to distract the auditor from the plain sense of the word, or the sentence? Even to communism that is NOT communism. To communism of the episcopal sort, which they want in England. A Bolshevism that is to leave the archibishops and curates just where they are, each with his living or benefice. A revelation against capital, allegedly against capital, that attacks property and leaves capital setting pretty.

Lenin all out for making banking a state affair. And then twenty years during which it has seemed to drop decidedly into the background, when the world revolution was very busy about something else.

It should by now be clear that some people fear NOT the outcome of the war, but the END of the war. Churchill, for example. Not defeat, not the ruin of the Empire that worries him, but the END of the war. End of the slaughter, end of the war conditions.

Robert Clive has been clear enough, ex-British ambassador in Tokyo. Tells you and the world Japan can not be beaten. But the war must go ON, according to Churchill and Roosevelt. Churchill sees the end of monopoly and privilege, or at least a shift when the war ends, no matter HOW. That is the point you should consider. In regard to the protocols, either there is and was a plot to ruin all goyim, all nations of Europe, or some people are stark raving crazy. They want war to go on to certain wreck. WHO are they? Mere cannon fodder. The American troops in N. Africa know they are not there thru any wish of their own. The war was started for gold, to maintain the fetish value of gold. Plenty of other sidelines. Minor advantages have been COMMERCIALLY taken. Did the present regime in England WANT the troops to return after Dunkirk? Every move for reform in England is a fascist reform, or proposition along fascist lines.

The supreme betrayal of Europe is inherent in the alliance of Anglo-Jewry with Moscow. Debts rise. That is one part of the war. It is a contest between STOPPING the war and going on with it. And only one side does any fighting. Namely the party that STARTED the war. They are for its continuance. Who are they?

BUT they are also for starting the next one. They openly proclaim that AFTER (that is IF) America finishes with Japan, she will have to fight Russia. IF Russia should break into Europe.

Only blindness and deafness can keep you unaware of these proclamations. The U.S. must protect the world? Why? Does the world want it? The U.S., once this war is over, must be strong enough to beat Russia.

The U.S. had a chance to maintain her prestige and unique position by staying NEUTRAL. Neutral while other powers exhausted themselves. And she DID not.

Who are the lunatics? Was there a deliberate plot? That is what should concern you. WAS there a plot? How long had it been in existence? Does it continue, with its Lehmans, Morgenthaus, Baruchs? Proposals to send the darkies to Africa, to work for Judea, and the rest of it? And WILL you, after Japan is thru with you, take on Russia? In order to maintain the banking monopoly? With Mr. Wille Wiseman, late of the British secret service, ensconced in Kuhn, Loeb and Co., to direct you and rule you?


Video: More reasons to hate the TSA

TSA screener terrorizes 3-year-old girl

Imagine taking your family to the airport and watching as Federal agents terrorize your 3-year-old child.

That is exactly what happened to little Mandy Simon.

She was first forced to surrender her teddy bear, and ended up getting flagged for further screening.

As the girl's mother held her, the TSA agent scanned her with a wand, and then proceeded to give the girl a more thorough search. As the screener searched her, the frightened girl screamed for the agent to stop touching her.

The girl's father, Steve Simon, works as a reporter for CW-39 from Houston, Texas, and managed to capture the encounter on his cell phone camera.

In the video, the girl is clearly traumatized as the TSA screener attempts to search her.

But the question remains - what is the TSA doing screening toddlers like this? Do they honestly think the little girl is concealing a bomb in her stuffed toy?

Terrorists have been known to use children in places like Iraq, but Houston does not have a history of bomb-wielding toddlers.

The TSA is charged with providing security on our airlines, but many are questioning their methods.

The Dallas Morning News reported last Monday that:

The TSA recently changed its hand-search policies. Before, the officers would use the back of their hand to check a person; now they are to use their open hand and fingers to go over one's body, including the genital area and breasts.

Mike Cleary, President of the US Airline Pilots Association, issued a statement which read, in part:

"Let's be perfectly clear: the TSA procedures we have outlined above are blatantly unacceptable as a long-term solution. Although an immediate solution cannot be guaranteed, I can promise you that your union will not rest until all U.S. airline pilots have a way to reach their workplace ... the aircraft ... without submitting ourselves to the will of a TSO behind closed doors.

"This situation has already produced a sexual molestation in alarmingly short order. Left unchecked, there's simply no way to predict how far the TSA will overreach in searching and frisking pilots who are, ironically, mere minutes from being in the flight deck.

"As we all know, it makes no difference what a pilot has on his or her person or in their luggage, because they have control of the aircraft throughout the entire flight. The eyewash being dribbled by the TSA in this instance is embarrassingly devoid of common sense, and we will not stand for it."

The agency is also under fire for the use of a scanner that can see through a passengers clothing. As reported by CNN Travel, passengers and pilots alike are up in arms over the scanners.

A group called National Opt Out Day is calling for travellers to opt-out of the screenings on Thanksgiving Day - traditionally the busiest flying day of the year.

After the incident with Mandy Simon, TSA officials said that screeners would undergo "sensitivity training" in order to deal with children better.

Perhaps the TSA should include a course on common sense followed by a course on the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In the meantime, they should keep their hands off our children and our bodies and instead focus on keeping terrorists off of commercial aircraft.


Video: Government Abuse at US Airports

What is Waterboarding? It’s a War Crime, Former President Bush

By Kevin Gosztola

From former President George W. Bush’s Decision Points book tour, one would think there was nothing wrong with waterboarding. In fact, one might conclude in order to be a strong leader, one has to have the "courage" or "guts" to request a terror suspect be waterboarded or else face the possibility of appearing weak. But, what waterboarding really happens to be is a war crime.

In Bush’s recently released memoir, he writes about the "choice between security and values" being real. He writes about consulting with "CIA experts" on "interrogation techniques." A legal review was conducted and an "enhanced interrogation program" that "complied with the Constitution and all applicable laws, including those that ban torture" was created. The technique of waterboarding was deemed by the CIA to do "no lasting harm."

Matt Lauer, a host on "The Today Show," recently interviewed Bush and asked why he thought waterboarding was legal. Bush answered, "Because the lawyer said it was legal…He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I'm not a lawyer. But you gotta trust the judgment of people around you, and I do."

The lawyers around Bush --- people like David S. Addington, John Ashcroft, Jay Bybee, Steven G. Bradbury, Douglas J. Feith, Timothy E. Flanigan, William J. Haynes II, and John Yoo --- did tell Bush it was legal. They specifically crafted a legal justification for torture so the Bush Administration could get away with committing war crimes. As reported by Jason Leopold, Bush’s lawyers "hastily drafted" legal opinions after one prisoner had already been subjected to waterboarding and "violated ethical standards by collaborating with senior White House officials to create legal cover for violating anti-torture and other federal statutes after the fact, rather than providing objective advice for future actions.

Georgetown University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, who has appeared on MSNBC shows like "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" wrote a column in May of 2009 that discussed the case for prosecuting war crimes committed by the Bush Administration. He outlined how the "status of waterboarding as torture was established by the United States." Maj. Edwin F. Glenn, who used waterboarding in the Philippines in 1898, argued waterboarding was "justified under the necessities" but those arguments were rejected. Maj. Glenn was "court-martialed and convicted of the crime of torture."

Turley also outlines how "torture is a war crime." It is a crime under Torture Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2340. Torture is expressly prohibited by the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a "binding law" that President Reagan signed.

Bush and lawyers who were involved in granting permission for torture of detainees like Abu Zubaydah would like Americans to believe the country could have been attacked if waterboarding had not been ordered. The Washington Post reported in March of 2009 the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah "foiled no plots."

They’d also like Americans to believe that plots at Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf in London were "foiled" thanks to waterboarding. But, a former British intelligence chairman told BBC Radio 4 Today that he doubted torture "actually produced information which was instrumental in preventing those plots coming to fruition."

In his book, Bush claims the U.S. was able to capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed because Zubaydah was waterboarded. Yet, if that’s really true, why do so many military and defense experts claim torture doesn’t work?

It’s less likely that Zubaydah gave the military any new information and much more likely that interrogators asked something like, "Is Mohammed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan? Is he?" And, when he wanted the waterboarding to stop, he nodded "yes" and the interrogators determined that was a good enough confirmation that intelligence tips they had were correct and then forces moved in and captured Mohammed.

And, Bush’s answer of "damn right" to Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, when he asked if he had permission to use waterboarding on Mohammed, is just another bitter indication that Bush did not think his Administration needed to adhere to international law.

Fortunately for Bush, Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, despite being briefed on the use of waterboarding in 2002, did not think the Administration needed to be pressed on its committing of war crimes. In fact, the briefing’s only objection was reportedly that some members wondered if the torture technique had been "harsh enough."

The Obama Administration has effectively decriminalized waterboarding, torture, or war crimes by refusing to have the Department of Justice investigate or prosecute former Bush Administration officials who now boast openly about their involvement in committing war crimes. Advocacy groups have tried to have the lawyers involved in creating legal justification for torture disbarred but, given the lack of interest in following the country’s obligation to investigate and prosecute war crimes, the groups have been unsuccessful (perhaps, having their attempt to defend the rule of law labeled "left wing" by publications like the New York Times has something to do with their lack of success).

This is not "24." War crimes were determined long ago to be actions that should lead to punishment. Bush himself said when he was president, "War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders.’"

So, in that case, Attorney General Eric Holder, there is work to be done --- work that will hopefully restore the integrity and moral standing of America.