Ahhhh! Freedom….. to be groin-groped by blue-gloved Transportation Security Administration agents, or photographed “naked” in a full-body X-ray device? These are the choices Ben Franklin couldn’t have imagined when he wrote in his notes to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1775, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Some will cry that Franklin didn’t live in a post-9/11 world as they try to convince us that violations of our 4th Amendment rights are for our own good… as was every other whittling-away of the rights meant to protect the people from the power of the state – currently laying comfortably in bed with the power of big moneyed-interests with profit as the highest virtue.
With our elected politicians acting as representatives to the companies that pay them, it’s no surprise that the 2 companies that make the majority of airport security scanners have doubled their lobbying efforts over the past 9 months to convince Congress that “Security Theater” now playing at an airport near you is an absolute necessity.
Once again… just follow the money… and this time the trail leads right to the bank account of Michael Chertoff.
Chertoff left his position as the head of the Homeland Security Agency from February of 2005, to January of 2009 to form a consulting firm he titled “The Chertoff Group,” which, according to their website, “provides strategic security advice and assistance, risk management strategy and business development solutions for commercial and government clients on a broad array of homeland and national security issues.”
The Chertoff Group was promptly hired by OSI Systems – the parent company of an obscure company called Rapiscan Systems… which received (your tax dollars) stimulus money to install their x-ray machines at airports – with Chertoff himself exploiting terrorism incidents to his advantage by publishing an op-eds in the days following the Christmas Day bombings urging the use of the body-scanners and appearing on television as an expert after the attempted attack to advise the nation that it should invest in full-body scanners – for the good of the nation, of course.
The Huffington Post reported: “Almost unmentioned in these appearances: Chertoff has a lot to gain financially if some of these measures are adopted. Between his private consulting firm, The Chertoff Group, and seats on the boards of giant defense and security firms, he sits at the heart of the giant security nexus created in the wake of 9/11, in effect creating a shadow homeland security agency. Chertoff launched his firm just days after President Barack Obama took office, eventually recruiting at least 11 top officials from the Department of Homeland Security, as well as former CIA director General Michael Hayden and other top military brass and security officials.”
But it goes deeper. Chertoff’s consulting firm, the Chertoff Group, represents OSI Systems, one of two companies licensed to sell full-body scanners to the TSA. OSI, maker of the Rapiscan machine, garnered attention recently because its CEO was one of the 200 business leaders invited to travel with President Barack Obama on his trip to India – with India now planning to install scanners at its airports. Not so coincidentally, President Obama himself is also on the record defending the naked scanners.
Gonzalo Lira wrote: “ Even back when he was in office as Secretary of Homeland Security, Chertoff kept pushing the TSA to adopt full body scans—even though there were a host of problems with the policy:
• Body scanners are not inherently superior to other methods of preventing unlawful items from being taken on board an airplane. The very fact that an individual can (currently) “opt out” of a body scan, and instead be manually patted down proves that scanners do not have an inherent advantage over low-tech solutions.
• Body scanners are extraordinarily expensive—$150,000 each—a cost which might be better applied to hiring more TSA workers, and thereby increasing the flow-rate of passengers through security, which currently has reached bottle-neck proportions.
• Body scanners represent an as yet unquantified but real health danger. (I will discuss the specifics below).
• Body scanners are an obvious breach of civil liberties—a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment (unlawful search and seizure) and the rule of probable cause . . . unless we are going to redefine “probable cause” as meaning all airplane passengers by definition are likely engaged in criminal activity, and therefore there is probable cause to essentially strip-search each and every one of them.
But even in the face of these very obvious, very reasonable objections, Chertoff kept pushing the body scans during his tenure as head of the Homeland Security Agency.
Which would have been fine—if Chertoff hadn’t immediately upon resigning his post created The Chertoff Group, and then gone to work for Rapiscan: The manufacturer of these body scans.” Read the rest of the article here.
It’s clear that, as usual, the personal profit of a select few individuals is driving policy – not what is best for the nation.
If our elected representatives actually had the security of the nation at heart, they would adopt the intelligent security measures employed in Israel – but that would require paying a living wage to qualified agents – not lazily demanding that the public at large submit to public humiliation – or be forced to pose naked in one of Michael Chertoff’s personally-profitable x-ray machines.
But if we REALLY want to get radical about our safety and security, lets take Thom Hartmann’s advise:
“If we are serious about stopping Middle Eastern zealots from attacking us, instead of blowing up our own Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our persons, let’s stop blowing up Middle Eastern countries.
When the Obama administration pulls our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and works hard to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, then I’ll believe our government really cares about our safety.
Until then, it’s just theatre – with a few millions in profit for Chertoff and his friends.”
Meanwhile, the Corporate Media are busy spinning the airport security molestations and invasive x-ray scans as “the price of freedom,” when they could be more accurately described as the “down payment on Serfdom” – making us compliant and malleable to intrusion right down to our very bones.
In Milton Mayer’s “They Thought They Were Free,” an average German described the process of a free people being systematically subjugated…
“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”
Our only hope to truly free ourselves from the threat of terrorism is in giving people more reasons to live for, than to die for. Making peace is the only answer… even if Peace isn’t profitable to those who seek to profit from scaring us into compliance.
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