Archive for November, 2010
If the invasion of your privacy matters to you, as well as your right to stand up against the use of backscatter and xray scanners at airports, join our listserve and get involved!
POST YOUR COMMENTS HERE AND GIVE US YOUR EMAIL, WE WILL ADD YOU TO THE GROUP.
If city councilman David Greenfield gets his way, travelers passing through New York City airports will no longer be required to walk through body scanners before boarding their flights. Yesterday, Greenfield and six other council members introduced a legislative proposal which would prohibit all New York City-based TSA employees from using Advanced Imaging Technology, capable of seeing through a passenger’s clothes.
As of last month, 341 such scanners were in use at 65 airports around the country, but the TSA is hoping to have a total of 1,000 machines in operation by the end of the year. The images captured by each scanner are transmitted to an isolated room, where a TSA employee examines them. Travelers are allowed to opt-out of the scans, but doing so would require them to undergo a vigorous pat-down, instead.
Greenfield believes that these scans simply violate passenger privacy without providing any substantive benefits to airport security. The TSA, which did not comment on the councilman’s proposal, has previously maintained that the scanners are safe and effective. A March report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, however, claimed that advanced scanners may not have caught the infamous Christmas Day bomber, who boarded a plane with explosives packed in his underwear. Medical experts, meanwhile, have raised concerns about the long-term health effects that the machines could have on users. “We’re not opting out of screening altogether,” Greenfield told Wired’s Threat Level. “We’re simply banning one type of screening that hasn’t proven effective.”
Greenfield is hopeful that his measure will prompt other local lawmakers to take a similarly strong stand. The TSA has already come under fire from privacy groups like the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which is seeking federal action against the use of the scanners. Advocates have also organized a National Opt-Out day, on November 24th, to protest the TSA.
Ultimately, though, federal law gives the TSA full authority over security at all U.S. airports, meaning that municipal bans may face an uphill battle. Still, Greenfield remains confident that local governments should have a greater say over what scanning techniques are employed at their airports — especially when said techniques involve such flagrant privacy violations. “It violates the privacy of everyone, including small children who go through these scans,” said Greenfield, a Democrat. “Which is really outrageous when you think about that.”
The year 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Port Huron Statement, published by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). As part of the observation of this anniversary, MDS is embarking upon a collective writing project. We plan to bring together a wide range of movement perspectives to address both a retrospective analysis of the PHS and a prospective analysis of the question: What would a manifesto for our times entail?
Our movement focus is a global one, not merely a national one. Your suggestions about other groups around the world possibly interested in this project would be most welcomed.
We would like to extend an invitation to any organization or individual to join in this project, in any way, small or large, that you deem fitting. Please get back to us with your questions and ideas.
MDS Organizing Committee
Full text of the Port Huron Statement:
Wikipedia article on Port Huron Statement:
See also http://www.bradleymanning.org/
Media accounts state that Mr. Manning was arrested in late May for allegedly leaking the video of US Apache helicopter pilots killing innocent people and seriously wounding two children in Baghdad, including those who arrived to help the wounded. The video was released by WikiLeaks under the name “Collateral Murder”. Pfc. Manning is also identified by the Defense Department as a “person of interest” in the investigation into WikiLeaks obtaining 90,000 battlefield reports describing thousands of civilian deaths inflicted by occupation forces in Afghanistan, collusion with warlords, corruption and an unvarnished view of our decade-long war.
If these allegations are untrue, we call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.
If these allegations ARE true, we ALSO call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.
The leaked video, released by WikiLeaks under the title “Collateral Murder”, clearly shows that official statements from the multinational force in Baghdad that “there is no question that Coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force” were blatantly false. The leaker of this video blew the whistle on two crimes: the murder of civilians and an official coverup. Exposing these crimes was a moral and legal obligation and a service to the international community. The leaker deserves our respect and thanks—not prosecution.
We express our support for Mr. Manning in any case, and our admiration for his courage if he is, in fact, the person who disclosed the information. As in the case of Daniel Ellsberg, and countless other whistleblowers before, government demands for secrecy must yield to public knowledge and justice when government crime and corruption are being kept hidden. If the United States government demands to use our tax dollars and our own children to fight this war, then we must demand full disclosure of the facts, no matter how unsettling. We demand that the government stop the misinformation and we honor heroes who fight for transparency.
Free Bradley Manning!
Movement for a Democratic Society