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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don’t Touch My Junk

"If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted.” — Noah Webster

By now you should have heard of John Tyner of Oceanside, California, the man who told a TSA security screened. “If you touch my junk I’ll have you arrested.” The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on November 14th; “Tyner was simultaneously thrown out of San Diego International Airport on Saturday morning for refusing to submit to a security check and threatened with a lawsuit and a $10,000 fine if he left.” And he got the whole thing on his cell phone. Well, the audio at least.

“The 31-year-old Oceanside software programmer was supposed to leave from Lindbergh Field on Saturday morning and until a TSA agent directed him toward one of the recently installed full-body scanners, Tyner seemed to be on his way. Tyner balked.”

“At first, he balked at submitting to a full-body scan, according to his blog and news reports. He told the newspaper he was surprised to learn the airport had the machines because the airport's website said it did not. He opted for the metal detector and basic pat-down, but refused the latter after learning it involved a "groin check." "I looked him straight in the eye and said, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested," he wrote on his blog.

“He'd been reading about the scanners and didn't like them for a number of reasons, ranging from health concerns to "a huge invasion of privacy." He'd even checked the TSA website which indicated that San Diego did not have the machines, he said in a phone interview Saturday night. "I was surprised to see them," said Tyner.”

“He also did something that may seem odd to some, manipulative to others but fortuitous to plenty of others for whom Tyner is becoming something of a folk hero: Tyner turned on his cell phone's video camera and placed it atop the luggage he sent through the x-ray machine.” Click here for an additional report on AOL News and the video.

For the camera-shy, TSA will offer an alternative: 'enhanced' pat-downs. This is not the gentle frisking you may have experienced at the airport in the past. It requires agents to probe aggressively in intimate zones -- breasts, buttocks, crotches. If you enjoyed your last mammography or prostate exam, you'll love the enhanced pat-down. And you'll get a chance to have an interesting conversation with your children about being touched by strangers.

There is a photo on the front page of the Drudge Report showing a Catholic Nun being patted down by a female TSA screener. It seems as though no one is exempt from these pervasive procedures from the TSA. Either you go through the scanner and receive a dose of radiation or you suffer a “pat down” and have you genitals messaged by a TSA screener — or so you would think

If you are a Muslim there rules do not apply. In February 2010 Susan Jones, writing for CNS News reported; “Airport Body Scanners Violate the Teachings of Islam, Says Muslim Group.” Her report went on to say; “A group of Muslim scholars says it supports airline safety, but it is "deeply concerned" about the use of airport scanners that show nude images of the human body.”

“The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) emphasizes that a general and public use of such scanners is against the teachings of Islam, natural law and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty,” the group said in a Feb. 10 statement posted at Islam Online.

FCNA is asking for changes in scanner software so the machines will produce only body outlines. In the meantime, the group says Muslim travelers should choose pat-down searches over scanner images – in cases where searches are necessary.

The Fiqh Council of North America is an affiliate of the Islamic Society of North America, which advises and educates its members and officials “on matters related to the application of Shari’ah (Islamic law) in their individual and collective lives in the North American environment.” FCNA is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which is a Muslim Brotherhood group. The Brotherhood is dedicated in its own words to "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within."

All of this sounds as though the Islamists want to cooperate with TSA screening, but not so fast. They don’t want pat downs on any part of the body below the neck.

CNS News reported; “The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a travel warning to Muslim airline passengers on U.S. aircraft in response to the Transportation Safety Administration’s “enhanced pat down" policy that went into effect in late October.”

CAIR said Muslims who object to full-body scans for religious reasons should know their rights if they are required to undergo a pat-down, including asking for the procedure to be done in a private place. In addition, CAIR offered a “special recommendation” for Muslim women who wear a hijab, telling them they should tell the TSA officer that they may be searched only around the head and neck.

In the “special recommendations for Muslim women who wear hijab,” it states: “Before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They SHOULD NOT subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down.”

It also states: “Instead of the pat-down, you can always request to pat down your own scarf, including head and neck area, and have the officers perform a chemical swipe of your hands.”

And so now these groups say that body scanners are un-Islamic. Very well. There may be plenty of reasons to oppose body scanners, but when they put it this way, they suggest they'd be just fine with some sort of exemption from such scanning for Muslims. That would mean that the one group that would be subjected to lighter airport security checks than any other group would be. Muslims. And that would in turn make things easier than ever for jihad terrorists. Surely that can't be the objective of the FCNA and CAIR, now, can it?

So here we have the very people who have caused all of this turmoil, Muslims, drawing a pass on the tougher security measures while nuns, your wife or your daughter will have the naked image exposed or being felt up by some low level civil service TSA screener at the airport. Muslim women will be exempted from the scanning and full body pat downs. While this may not result in a higher threat it does, however, demonstrate what a select special interest group they have become.

Probably the safest airline to fly is El Al, the national airline of Israel. They don’t use scanners, they use profiling. I have flown out of Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and been subjected to their profiling procedures. Once you go through the metal detector you stop at a table where your carry-on luggage is hand checked. While an agent is checking your bags another agent is asking you a series of questions and watching your reactions. They ask questions such as; how long have you been in Israel, where did you come from, what was the reason for you visiting Israel, what is your occupation, and do you have a business card? They will flip through your passport to see where you have been. If you have been to any Middle Eastern or Islamic countries they will ask you what you were doing in those counties and how long did you stay.

This all goes pretty quickly and while they are listening to your answers they are more concerned with your body language and facial expressions. If they see anything of suspect they will pull you out of the line and take you to a private room where you will sit for a few minutes and then be queried by an experienced intelligence operative. Meanwhile you checked baggage will be pulled and searched by hand. There are no exceptions.

Last week to protest the body scanners a group of Germans went through the security check points at a German airport naked. Click here for video. The groups of demonstrators have stripped off at airports in Berlin, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf in reaction to the news that officials are considering installing the scanners during the coming year. Click here for full story.

I propose that the first thing on the chopping block should be an ineffective organization that wastes money, violates our rights, and encourages us to make decisions that imperil our safety. I'm talking about the Transportation Security Administration. Bipartisan support should be immediate. For fiscal conservatives, it's hard to come up with a more wasteful agency than the TSA. For privacy advocates, eliminating an organization that requires you to choose between a nude body scan or genital groping in order to board a plane should be a no-brainer. But won't that compromise safety? I doubt it. The airlines have enormous sums of money riding on passenger safety, and the notion that a government bureaucracy has better incentives to provide safe travels than airlines with billions of dollars worth of capital and goodwill on the line strains credibility. I am sure we can do a better job using a combination of metal detectors and profiling.

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