The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






An Editorial
For The People

What do you think?
editorial for The People by pete edwards

Is it all lies?

Millions of words and countless hours of radio and television were devoted to airport security over the Thanksgiving weekend. Most of the media frenzy centered around intimate body searches and full body scanners, both of which caused outrage by a large section of the traveling public. Assurances over privacy concerns were repeated by the Transport Security Administration and appeals were made for the public to remain calm in the name of fast and secure processing of airline passengers during the busiest travel time of the year. See the home page of this issue.

The media put the TSA in the spotlight but generally supported the measures as being necessary for public safety. Even the Fox Cable News Network chose not to dig too deeply into the federal government's violation of right to privacy laws and possible offences under child pornography legislation. If the Fox Network believe all is above board then why do they not show uncensored images of broadcasters in the scanners? That could alleviate public fears.

Most media personalities were not morally outraged and some even accused the radical right of trying to stir up anti TSA trouble. Even the champion of conservative broadcasting, Fox Channel's Bill O'Reilly, was smitten by political correctness enough to make this editor want to vomit. His legendary in-your-face approach to reporting has been compromised by his new found celebrity. He has surrendered to liberal demands to be "tolerant". A sad day for him, and a sad day for America.

Interviews with members of the travelling public seemed to show little concern over loss of privacy. One piece of footage showing a smiling and obviously happy middle aged woman undergoing a body search was shown on almost all channels.

One can only wonder how that happened and who supplied the footage?

Anyhow, according to them, no one was a least bit put out by what our government was doing to us. No broadcaster asked if compliance was being coerced by the veiled threat of being placed on the no fly list as a troublemaker or refusal to be allowed to board the plane. No one asked statistics on the number of travelers opting for an alternative means of travel. How many airline passengers compared to last year? All they did was praise the TSA for their considerate treatment of passengers.

Could it all be a lie?

I had witnessed degrading and unnecessarily rude treatment of passengers by TSA agents at Atlanta's Hartfield International Airport a couple of years ago which dissuaded me from ever flying again unless it was absolutely necessary. I found what I was being told inconsistent with personal experience even though I had not been subjected to the new machines and intrusive searches. I needed to check if the story from the media was correct. So guess what? I searched the Internet. Forget the complaints, here is some of what I found ordinary citizens were saying.

They wanted to know exactly how graphic the body scan images were. Apparently, the small number of grainy images being released by TSA officials were not a good representation of the real clarity, which clearly reveals the breasts and genitals in amazing detail, even to the identification of a menstruating woman and the circumcised and uncircumcised penis.

They wanted to know if individual scans could be identified and were they being stored and could they be seen by unauthorized people. Again, despite assurances that images were not stored and could only be viewed once during the scan, thousands of images taken on similar body scanners at the Florida Federal Courthouse were stored by US Marshals. Some of these later found their way onto the internet. Despite claims it seems inconceivable that the TSA would not want to keep scans in the event of a later in-flight incident. Are the public being intentionally lied to by the TSA?

At London's Heathrow International Airport copies of a scan taken of Indian Movie Star Shahrukh Khan, were circulated among airport staff. Also in England, accusations of violation of the country's child pornography laws has suspended scanning of travelers under 18 years. Is the unwarranted storing of children's genital images legal, even by the U.S. federal government?

Concern is also widespread that TSA agents are under qualified and poorly vetted to intimately search members of the public. There is worry that pedophiles and other sexual deviants are gaining jobs as TSA agents. Once again the TSA has assured the traveling public that agents are properly vetted, yet they are advertising for airport security agents in the Washington DC. area on cardboard pizza boxes. On the top, it says: "A career where X-ray vision and federal benefits come standard."

The TSA seems to be inviting sex freaks to apply for jobs. And, what if one does get a job and steals images of children? Federal agents cannot be sued for their actions, sanctioned or not, because of government immunity granted by congress, and it seems unlikely self policing by the TSA would bring more punishment than being quietly fired from the job. How does that protect the flying public?

It is a disservice that TSA assurances are being broadcast by the media without question. The media, including the trusted Fox Network, are passively promoting acceptance of the federal government's involvement in questionable activities when they should be seeking answers. Why have the TSA exempted pilots and flight crews? Even more worrying, why have they exempted top government officials from full body scans and searches? What group will be exempted next? TSA Director John Pistole, has already said it won't be the general public. Are the traveling public any safer than with metal detectors? Are the TSA safeguarding air travel or bullying passengers to find alternative means of transport?

The TSA did not stop the shoe bomber. They did not stop the underwear bomber or the recent toner cartridge bombers and they are unlikely to stop future bombing attempts. However, they did alienate the traveling public, persuade people like me to stop flying and subjecting my wife to humiliating and uncivilized treatment at the hands of rude and overbearing pizza box employees. The TSA have labeled every US citizen a potential terrorist. And, they are getting away with it in the media.

I know there has always been a threat from crazy people. I also know that nothing the TSA do can protect us from them.... because they ARE crazy. Unfortunately, it has become clear that the vast resources given to the TSA makes it more of a threat to American liberties than a handful of crazies will ever be. Enough, is enough.

That's what I think. What do you think?

Or, you can now make your feelings known immediately, by commenting on this editorial through our blog, The Grapevine


Pete Edwards
Editor - Publisher