Travelers detail purposeful humiliation and violation at hands of federal government
Friday, Nov 26th, 2010
The American Civil Liberties Union has received a huge wave of complaints within the last month following the TSA security crack down at airports, contradicting the establishment media spin that naked body scanners and invasive pat-downs are being meekly accepted by a compliant public.
“These complaints came from men, women and children who reported feeling humiliated and traumatized by these searches, and, in some cases, comparing their psychological impact to sexual assaults.” the ACLU website notes.
It states that recurring themes in the hundreds of reports they have received include:
• The searches are extremely invasive
• Many travelers are reporting intense feelings of violation and humiliation
• Some report being physically hurt by the searches
• Some feel their searches are punitive
• Reports of gawking by agents
• Reports of seemingly unnecessary repeated touching of intimate areas
• Many vow not to fly any more
• Any traveler may be forced to undergo one of these searches
Following a Freedom of Information request it was recently revealed that last year that there were over 600 formal complaints about the use of the naked body scanner devices in airports. Judging from the number of complaints to the ACLU in the last month alone, that number has clearly increased exponentially as the devices, in addition to the new pat-down procedure, have become more widespread.
Comments from passengers subjected to excessive experiences at the hands of the TSA have been published by the ACLU.
“The TSA agent used her hands to feel under and between my breasts,” said one woman. “She then rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone.”
Another woman described the TSA groping as more invasive than her monthly breast exam with her GP:
“She ran her hands all the way up and into my crotch with force,” the woman said. “When she finished with the front she did the same with my back to the point that she, what I would call groped, my butt. She went under, in between, and on my breast.”
A New York man described how he was publicly humiliated by TSA agents simply for refusing to go through a scanner:
“Three or four TSA employees came over, basically surrounded me and very loudly proclaimed what a jerk I was for refusing the scan,” he said. “The ‘supervisor’ then spent 15 minutes examining every part of my body – it was intrusive, humiliating and without a shadow of a doubt, intended to punish me for electing to not be irradiated.”
The full list of passenger quotations provided by the ACLU can be read at the foot of this article.
Over the past couple of days several corporate media outlets have been running with stories of how the “opt out” protest against the TSA procedures failed to materialize, insinuating that Americans have absolutely no problems with enhanced security measures.
The Boston Herald even suggested that the TSA had been “handed a victory”.
However, it soon emerged that the TSA turned off many of its naked body scanners across the country, and scaled back the invasive searches for one day in a hastily crafted PR stunt to mute the impact of the protest.
This move came despite the fact that a TSA administrative directive stated that “Opt-Outters” should be considered “domestic extremists”.
In this sense the protest represented a resounding victory for the majority now opposed to TSA tyranny, proving that direct action can influence the government’s actions.
The organisers of the protest emphasized this point in a statement on their website, optoutday.com:
Despite claims to the contrary, National Opt-Out Day was a rousing success. The entire point of the campaign was to raise awareness of the issues of privacy and aviation safety at TSA checkpoints, with the ultimate goal of influencing policy – to ask the question “are we really doing this right?” In that, the campaign was a success.
It was always about getting attention to the issue, educating the public and putting pressure on to change the current procedures. With near daily headlines on the front page of newspapers and debates on television and radio news, the mission was accomplished – our voice was heard. By the time November 24 rolled around policy change had already been set in motion.
This success highlights that EVERY day must be an opt-out day, only then will the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security be forced to change the unconstitutional procedures they wish to not only see normalised at airports, but in shopping malls, train stations and at sports events.
As the Charlotte Observer reports today, even if airports are pressured to replace the TSA with privately contracted security companies, the TSA procedures will remain. You may not be barked at so loudly, however you will still be faced with a choice of having harmful ionising radiation fired at you to produce an image of your naked body, or being felt up by security personnel.
The only way to defeat this tyranny and prevent it spreading to American streets is to follow the example of pilots and flight attendants and flat refuse to submit to it.
More complaints to the ACLU:
(These quotations have been lightly edited for clarity and length. Please be aware that due to the nature of these searches, these complaints often include graphic and sometimes disturbing language.)
- Joe in New Mexico
- Janet from Maryland [no form]
- Allen, Nebraska
- Mary in Texas
- Sharon, Massachusetts
- Paula M. Hamilton, Corydon, Indiana
- Randy Spencer
- Ron Wilson, California
- Woman in her 40s
- Melissa, Massachusetts
- Gweneth from California
- Vince from Kansas
- M., Connecticut
- Rosemary, Virginia
- Scott in New Mexico
- B. from Maryland
- Dennie from Texas
- Celeste in Florida
- Dina Pember, Kennesaw, Georgia
- Aaron from New York
- Suzy in California
- Tiffany from Nevada
- A physician, Michigan
- Marlene, California
- Tiff, North Carolina
- Kim, Hawaii
- Charlotte in California, female, 68
- Alex, Washington state
- Max, North Carolina
- Janet, Florida
- Max, North Carolina
- Heather from New York
- Laura Seay, Georgia
- Heather from Illinois
- Caitlin, Connecticut
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: Friday, November 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm