DHS engages in desperate bid to adopt legally binding acceptance of dangerous devices as Dubai and Italy terminate their use
Photo: The National Guard
Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Amidst a global backlash against naked airport body scanners, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is attempting to corral 190 nations into signing a binding agreement that will force them to adopt the increasingly unpopular devices which have been slammed on both health and privacy grounds.
“Napolitano will make her pitch in Montreal to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations arm that sets global aviation standards. The nearly 200 nations that make up ICAO will agree Wednesday to improve aviation security through better technology and more sharing of information about terrorist threats, ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin said in an interview,” reports USA Today.
Napolitano is still trying to flog a dead horse in using the Christmas Day underwear bomber as a boogeyman with which to scare other countries into adopting the body scanners, despite the fact that the devices wouldn’t even have stopped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from passing through security screening.
What should have stopped him was the fact that he was on a terror watchlist and had no passport, but thanks to a decision by the US State Department not to revoke his visa, Abdulmutallab was allowed to board the plane, with the help of a well-dressed Indian man who assured airport officials, “we do this all the time”.
The Obama administration swiftly exploited the terror scare created by the incident to ram through an intensification of the war in Yemen as well as mandating the lucrative roll out of full naked body scanners.
Within hours, former DHS chief Michael Chertoff lauded body scanners during interviews as the all-encompassing solution, without mentioning the fact that one of the foremost clients for his security consulting agency, the Chertoff Group, was someone heading up a company that manufactures the machines.
Napolitano’s effort to force nearly 200 countries to adopt a binding agreement on implementing body scanners is undoubtedly a reaction to the increasing unpopularity of the devices and their rejection by several nations.
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In July, Dubai’s two airports, which are major international transport hubs for passengers traveling to both Europe and Asia, announced that they were terminating use of the scanners “out of respect for the privacy of individuals and their personal freedom.”
This was followed just last week with an announcement by the Italian government that they would cease operating body scanners in the airports of Rome, Venice and the southern city of Palermo, having already terminated them in Milan.
Frequent fliers in the United States have labeled the devices a “disaster,” complaining that they take three to five times longer to pass through than a traditional metal detector.
The European Commission has expressed concerns about the health effects of the scanners and advised that they should not be used on pregnant women, babies, children and people with disabilities. Despite governments claiming that backscatter x-ray systems produce radiation too low to pose a threat, the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety concluded in their report that governments must justify the use of the scanners and that a more accurate assessment of the health risks is needed.
“The Committee cited the IAEA’s 1996 Basic Safety Standards agreement, drafted over three decades, that protects people from radiation. Frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cancer and birth defects, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” reported Bloomberg.
Privacy fears surrounding the machines were realized last month when it emerged that authorities had been storing naked images of Americans who had passed through the scanners, despite claiming all along that the devices didn’t have the capability to save the images.
Since their implementation at the start of the year there have been a series of instances where authorities have abused the power afforded to them by the scanners, including an incident later denied by Heathrow Airport where airport officials told Indian film star Shahrukh Khan that they had printed out and circulated images of his naked body.
A clear case of abuse occurred when TSA employee Rolando Negrin was scanned by one of the devices during a training session and later subjected to “psychological torture” by his colleagues who teased him for having a small penis.
“Negrin wrote that, despite his pleas, coworkers would not cease mocking him after the scanner gave them a revealing look at his genitalia,” reports The Smoking Gun. “He recalled that he was mockingly asked, “Roly, what size are you?” Coworkers, he added, called him “little angry man,” laughed off his pleas for compassion, and abused him in front of passengers.
A culmination of these privacy controversies and health concerns has clearly jeopardized US authorities’ plans to make the body scanners a universal feature of all major airports globally. With many other countries increasingly coming to the understanding that the risks body scanners pose to both privacy and health outweigh any potential benefits, Big Sis Napolitano is in a race against time to force adoption of the devices or see them discarded permanently as just another tool used by the state to harass innocent travelers while genuine terrorists like Abdulmutallab are given State Department clearance to board airliners.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America’s most listened to late night talk show.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 9:51 am