Second pilot’s union refuses to submit to irradiating imaging machines and ”sexual molestation”
Wednesday, Nov 10th, 2010
The revolt against invasive security procedures at airports continues to explode as flight attendants and a second pilot’s union have joined the huge chorus of complaining travelers that are faced with the choice of walking through radiation spewing naked imaging machines or having their genitals and private parts groped by TSA operatives.
“We’re getting calls daily about peoples’ experiences, our members are concerned,” Deborah Volpe, Vice President of the Association of Flight Attendants Local 66 told ABC 15 News.
The union represents over 2000 flight attendants who mostly work for US Airways, based in Tempe, Arizona.
Flight attendants are reportedly unhappy with both the naked imaging machines and the pat downs that are mandated if one “opts out” of going through the imaging machine.
The union has advised the attendants to ask that the pat-down be conducted in a private area with a witness if it is deemed necessary.
“We don’t want them in uniform going through this enhanced screening where their private areas are being touched in public,” said Volpe. “They actually make contact with the genital area.”
The new pat down procedure, which now allows TSA agents to forcefully feel around breasts and genitalia, is currently conducted in full view of queuing passengers and has been described by many, including New York Times reporter Joe Sharkey, as a form of humiliation to discourage others from refusing the full body scans.
The flight attendants union is also pushing for a crew pass system effectively preventing flight attendants and pilots from having to undergo the procedure.
Watch the ABC 15 report:
On Monday we reported that the largest independent union of airline pilots in the world, the Allied Pilots Association, is urging its members to boycott the body imaging machines over health fears and the fact that they produce crisp images of people without their clothes.
Now a second pilot’s union, the US Airline Pilots Association, has asked its members to follow the same advice.
President Mike Cleary has issued a statement that advises pilots to search for a security checkpoint that does not use the scanners. If one cannot be found, Cleary notes that pilots should opt for the pat-down by a TSA officer, with a member of the pilot’s crew witnessing.
In addition to the reasoning that “The TSA has offered no credible specifications for the radiation emitted by these machines”, Clearly also takes issue with the pat downs.
“Let’s be perfectly clear: the TSA procedures we have outlined above are blatantly unacceptable as a long-term solution.” Cleary writes.
“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.” the statement continues.
The statement makes reference to a pilot who has been left “unable to function as a crew member” following the TSA molestation, describing the pilot as having “vomited in his own driveway” at the thought of going back to work.
The following ABC News video highlights these facts:
“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.” Cleary urges. The full statement can be read at the end of this article.
The union legally represents approximately 5200 US Airways pilots.
Despite the testimonies of pilots and flight attendants and multiple reports, videos and pictures of TSA agents groping, molesting and sexually assaulting passengers in a nationwide epidemic of abuse, a TSA.gov website claims that there are no instances of groping or even squeezing occurring at all, and that TSA agents are completely “professional” in their duties.
This claim is of course a flagrant lie designed to quell what has quickly become a massive backlash against the TSA.
Just as pilots and flight attendants are doing, passengers need to stand up and say no to the body scanners before they are made mandatory, as well as resisting the forceful groping techniques.
As we have previously highlighted, the procedures have nothing to do with security. According to their own designers, the scanning machines cannot even detect explosive material. Other security experts have dismissed the devices as “useless”.
The issue has gained huge public attention, prompting hundreds of mainstream reports, thanks in great part to The Drudge Report , the world’s largest news aggregator, once again linking through to Infowars and Prisonplanet articles on the great body scanner revolt.
US Airline Pilots Association President’s Statement in full:
The TSA’s rapid deployment of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening machines, followed by the new Enhanced Pat-Down procedures, have caused turmoil for airline pilots and the traveling public alike. These changes are far reaching, intrusive and have been implemented almost overnight, leaving little time for groups who are adversely affected to form a response.
On October 21, USAPA’s Security Committee issued an update on the new AIT scanners and outlined our options for dealing with the new rules. Since that time several pilots and flight attendants have encountered problems with TSOs and their implementation of the rules. One US Airways pilot, after being selected for an enhanced pat-down, experienced a frisking that has left him unable to function as a crewmember. The words this pilot used to describe the incident included “sexual molestation,” and in the aftermath of trying to recover, this pilot reported that he had literally vomited in his own driveway while contemplating going back to work and facing the possibility of a similar encounter with the TSA. This is a very serious situation, and it represents a crossroads for all U.S. airline pilots.
One of the difficulties is the TSA’s intentional random application of the rules. While it might be effective for their purposes, it wreaks havoc with our ability to inform our pilots on how to handle each and every situation.
Here is a summary of USAPA’s current position on AIT screening machines and Enhanced Pat-Down procedures:
• Pilots should NOT submit to AIT screening. The TSA has offered no credible specifications for the radiation emitted by these machines. As pilots, we are exposed to more radiation as a function of our normal duties than nearly every other category of worker in the United States. Based on currently available medical information, USAPA has determined that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks.
• Pilots should employ the following method of avoiding AIT screening:
• Make every effort to use security access lines that utilize standard magnetometer devices. If security access points with magnetometer devices are not available, or if there is a change in the device being used once in line, pilots should elect to submit to a private TSA-agent pat-down.
• When submitting to a private, enhanced pat-down procedure, pilots must be sure that a witness, preferably a crewmember, accompanies them during the pat-down.
• After being subjected to an enhanced pat-down procedure, pilots must evaluate their fitness for duty. As has been determined, there is a wide range of possibilities once you submit to a private screening, and the results can be devastating. Unacceptable as this is to all USAPA pilots, and until these invasive measures are no longer implemented on airline pilots, it is your responsibility to make sure you are emotionally fit and not stressed in any way by your close encounter with the TSA.
• Remain professional and courteous in all situations.
• Contact any member of the Security Committee if you need any assistance.
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.
USAPA’s Security Committee and USAPA Legal are working diligently on several fronts to find an acceptable remedy. I directed our legal team to request of the TSA, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, any written materials that contain the protocol for conducting these enhanced pat-downs. Should this situation not be resolved by working with the TSA, we will take our concerns to Capitol Hill. On a parallel track, we are working with the other CAPA pilot unions to find allies in our struggle. Make no mistake; this is a fight to restore the dignity we deserve as the last line of defense against terrorists who would use airplanes as weapons of mass destruction. We are not the enemy, and we will not stand for being treated as such before each duty period. The TSA needs to recognize professional airline pilots for the security asset that we are, even as many of us serve as Federal Flight Deck Officers. There are a number of access mechanisms available as a remedy, including CrewPass and biometric identification. These solutions will allow the TSA to capitalize on airline pilots as security assets.
This letter is meant to provide you with important interim guidance as we seek long-term solutions. Please stay up to date on this critical affront to our profession. Documentation will be a critical element to this battle. Therefore, should you have any difficulties traversing security, please outline the incident with as much detail as possible, including TSO names and badge numbers, and send it immediately to Security@usairlinepilots.org. I urge each of you to continue to maintain your ultimate professionalism in the face of these attacks on our profession. As you maintain your composure, your union will fight unequivocally with all of our resources and allies to right this wrong.
Captain Mike Cleary
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor at Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and regular contributor to Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.
This article was posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 11:12 am