Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Framing the citizens

Guest post by Greg Prince

Apparently it's not bad enough that in the name of "security" they're giving grandma a body-cavity check before boarding the airplane. Now, even if you've done nothing, you can wind up on watch lists just to fill a quota:

You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal.

Just when you think it can't possibly get worse, the wingnuts, sycophants, and cronies take it one step further.

WHEN are people going to say enough? WHEN is Congress going to stand up to the White House?

**********

Other voices:

LeisureGuy: "Read the whole story -- and be very, very careful of how you act when you travel by air. The government is watching you, and you may well be reported and listed as suspect. Ladies and gentlemen, we are moving quickly to an authoritarian mode of government. Have you noticed? "Papers, please," is a phrase you soon will hear from Gestapo-like uniformed officials, who can stop you for no cause."

Pam Spaulding: "Even as the agency denies having this quota system, some Las Vegas-based air marshals have produced documents linking performance evals to producing SDRs on people. What grinds my *ss is that these clowns are joking about people being flagged for scrutiny that will be hard to undo and could affect them profoundly."

Bruce Schneier: "This is so insane, it can't possibly be true. But again and again, I have been stunned before by the stupidity of the Department of Homeland Security."

Ed Brayton: "Look, we all know that we have to have watchlists. Law enforcement has to communicate the identities of people who need to be watched as potential risks. But in the wake of 9/11, our government seems to be making no effort at all to avoid false positives; in fact, they appear to be encouraging them. They are using the pretext of terrorism the same way they used the communist threat during the cold war, as an excuse to go after groups that oppose them politically. Thus, the Pentagon's surveillance and infiltration of peace groups, modeled after the FBI's treatment of legitimate civil rights groups in the 60s. Sadly, the public doesn’t seem to care."

See also BoingBoing, Pandagon, and Reality Me.

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