Obama Pledges Another $215 Million For Virtual Strip Search ScannersPaul Joseph Watson
Feb. 02, 2010
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The Obama administration has announced that a further $215 million dollars will be spent on installing virtual strip search naked body scanners, meaning the devices will be in no less than half the nation's airports by next year, but the historical record clearly shows that the scanners are a completely illegal violation of human rights.
"The $215 million proposal to acquire 500 scanners next year, combined with the 450 to be bought this year, marks the largest addition of airport-security equipment since immediately after the 9/11 attacks. There are only 40 body scanners in a total of 19 airports now," reports USA Today.
Privacy advocate Marc Rotenberg pointed out that the scanners were yet another expensive instrument of the war on terror being used against the American people.
"We'll have another Homeland Security Department program for the war on terror used almost exclusively on Americans," said Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
As we have highlighted, the naked scanners are a boon for the military-industrial complex and people like former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, who vigorously promoted their use in the aftermath of the staged underwear bombing, having a huge financial stake in seeing them rolled out nationwide.
Despite the seemingly breakneck speed at which airports are rushing to adopt the scanners, some are proving to be less enthusiastic.
Durham Tees Valley Airport in the UK has refused to commit to installing the scanners despite the British government ordering all airports to adopt them before the summer season.
The fact that the scanners are nothing less than a virtual strip search has been played down by the government and the media due to the potential for legal fights that could see the devices banned as a breach of human rights.
Despite official denials that the images produced show details of genitalia, journalists who have investigated trials of the technology have reported that details of sexual organs are "eerily visible".
Indeed, as we have previously highlighted, when the scanners were first introduced at Australian airports in 2008 it was admitted that the X-ray backscatter devices don't work properly unless the genitals of people going through them are visible. "It will show the private parts of people, but what we've decided is that we're not going to blur those out, because it severely limits the detection capabilities," said Melbourne Airport's Office of Transport Security manager Cheryl Johnson.
Attempts to keep this under wraps by lying about the images produced are an effort to head off challenges to the legality of the devices. Historically, civil lawsuits where an individual has been strip searched by a member of the opposite sex have proven to be successful in North America.
Courts have consistently found that strip searches are only legal when performed on a person who has already been found guilty of a crime or on arrestees pending trial where a reasonable suspicion has to exist that they are carrying a weapon. Subjecting masses of people to blanket strip searches in airports reverses the very notion of innocent until proven guilty.
Barring people from flying and essentially treating them like terrorists for refusing to be humiliated by the virtual strip search is a clear breach of the basic human right of freedom of movement.
The legal foundation of the naked body scanners needs to be undermined and eroded by lawsuits before they are rolled out on the streets, as has already been proposed by major western governments.