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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 5th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

“Full-body scanners on display at Reagan National Airport: Many experts say the full-body scanners would have detected the explosives carried aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, but the
machines have also raised privacy concerns over the detailed body image that is displayed as part of the screening.”

TSA – Transportation and Security Administration – tries to assuage privacy concerns about full-body scans.

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 4, 2010
It has come to this.

Already shoeless, beltless and waterless, more beleaguered air passengers will be holding their legs apart, raising their arms and effectively baring it all as they pass through U.S. airport security
checkpoints.

Add the “full-body scan” to the list of indignities that some travelers are confronting in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, era of vigilance.

Federal authorities, working to close security gaps exposed by the thwarted Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, are multiplying the number of imaging machines at the nation’s biggest
airports. The devices scan passengers’ bodies and produce X-ray-like images that can reveal objects concealed beneath clothes…….

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now add the “me-au” from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, ADC Legal Director   nshora at adc.org

Washington, D.C. | January 5, 2010 | www.adc.org |

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is deeply concerned by the new Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) directives, which went into effect on January 4th at midnight.  According to news sources, these directives will require citizens from 14 countries, all Arab or Muslim countries, with the exception of Cuba, to go through enhanced security screening. Such screening can include full pat-downs, scans, delays, and anything associated with secondary screening – an extra search of the passenger’s carry-on luggage may also be required.  News sources also stated that the directives are applicable to any travelers, including US CITIZENS, who have passed through one of these 14 countries, or who have taken flights that have originated from these 14 countries.

ADC is very troubled as such directives will have negative ramifications on Arab-Americans, citizens of the 14 countries, and all Americans who visit these countries. A disparate segment of the Arab-American community will be scrutinized because of these new guidelines. The blanket labeling of hundreds of millions of civilians based solely on their country of citizenship or travel is not only unfairly discriminatory based on national origin, but also improperly labels millions of innocent people as somehow suspect or possible terrorists.

The new directives came following the Christmas Day attempted airline attack that threatened our national security, and which ADC has strongly condemned. Implementing an effective and productive counterterrorism tool is paramount. However, casting a wide net against individuals based on their country of origin, race or religion is not an effective counterterrorism tool. During the past decade, similar racial, ethnic and religious profiling tactics and practices have time and again misdirected precious counterterrorism resources, damaged foreign relations with key allies, fueled the fires of extremists by giving them an excuse, stigmatized communities, and most importantly did not have any discernible impact on security. Based on precedent, these new directives will be no different than these past practices and their adverse consequences; and while such directives may appear to make us feel safer, the reality is that they discriminate against innocent persons and divert attention from real threats.

Resources must instead be focused on high-risk individuals based on proper intelligence, better coordination and communication between different governmental agencies. In addition, continued engagement with the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian community groups must be strengthened, and must not be discouraged by ethnic profiling tactics.

ADC has been in contact with TSA and the Department Homeland Security (DHS) and is planning to file a complaint and request for additional information with the Department.  ADC urges all travelers affected by these new guidelines to always comply with the Transportation Security Officer’s (TSO’s) request.  In the event of any abuse or misuse of authority, please request the TSO’s name and badge number, and file a complaint with ADC’s Legal Department at  legal at adc.org.

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Honestly, I feel the pain of decent members of the ADC, but am appalled at the chutzpah to announce the complaints of that organization without a single word attached saying that as loyal citizens to this country they are ready to organize themselves in units of informers when it comes to transgressions by people from their country of birth, that are endangering the security of the country that gave to the ADC members the privilege of life under a secular democracy.

Yes, I know that the ADC has members that are Muslim, Christian or atheists. I know they have no Jews in ADC, but that is not the issue. The Arab countries, other Asian countries, and the African Arabized countries, on the list of 13, are all Islamic countries – in all of them Christians and Jews face very serious difficulties. Further, I know of good Muslims in the US and overseas, that participate with enlightened Jews in order to build bridges between communities. in Copenhagen I actually participated during the Climate conference at a pilgrimage that took us to places of worship that were Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim (that last meeting was held in the rooms of a Danish humanist society) – in this time sequence. Yes – good relationships are possible, but that will happen only when, and if, there is a clear understanding, and voiced recognition, that Islamic terrorism originates with Muslim individuals, and that in order to safeguard ourselves, profiling in search of instruments of terror is not a dirty word, but a means of self defense.

Also, in order to avoid needless friction, I suggest that the ADC moves front and center in the global effort to disengage from the addiction to oil.

And one more item – this website does speak up for Cuba as they surely are not part of the group of countries responsible for Islamicists performing acts of terror. So, they do not belong on that list of 14.

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