Dangers of Full-body Airport Scanners
Walter Graham – Sov Indo Contributor
Fear has been used to diminish our freedoms our privacy and used as a basis to wage wars. This should be obvious to everyone, and those who argue that we need the full body scanners to be safe, I direct you to Ben Franklin’s quote:
“They, who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin.
We have to take off our shoes, belts, give up our nail clippers, endure two hour waits and even invasive body frisking just to get on a plane. Now we are being forced to have full-body microwave exposure that shows us naked. This is a step too far and raises a number of questions:
Are microwave scanners safe or necessary? Is it legal to photograph children naked? Should being irradiated be compulsory? What about airport security staff getting continuous exposure?
A number of top US scientists believe the x-ray scanners used in US airports might increase the risk of cancer and DNA mutations. Four professors from the University of California at San Francisco, lead by Dr. John Sedat, wrote a letter to president OBAMA’S science & technology adviser, John Holdren, warning of the potential serious health risks of airport backscatter scanners.
In the UK the full-body scanners are microwave and run similar risks to the US x-ray type. I’ve been told they have not been tested for safety or health effects.
We are being asked to take the risk of sperm mutation, skin cancer and breast cancer just to get on a plane. If we don’t stop this approach now the government may start putting these in train and bus stations.
BODY scanners being trialled at a German airport ahead of a planned nationwide roll-out were so inaccurate that the whole scheme has been scrapped, a government official had announced.
The so-called backscatter scanners had an error rate of 54% during their year-long trial at Hamburg Airport, The Local reported in September 2011.
The controversial screening devices are similar to the “naked scanners” already in the US at several major airports.
But the German models proved unusable, returning false results triggered by folds in clothing and even by perspiration.
Israel, the most security conscious nation on earth has refused to install these scanners. They claim them to be ineffective compared to profiling and other conventional methods. Rafi Sela, International Security Consultant based in Israel told the NY Times, Nov. 23, 2010: “The problem with the Transportation Security Administration is that it is both the regulator and the operator of airport security. In other words, it is required to regulate itself, which cannot work.
The decision to use body scanners is one result of this flawed approach. The fact is, such scanners do not provide more protection and they are invasive. “
The problem is these scanners can’t find items which have a low density, such as powder, many liquids or thin plastics. They can’t detect any object having the same or lower density than clothing.
They can’t detect explosives in the form of a fine powder like that used in the attempted bombing of Flight 253. Neither the backscatter x-ray nor Microwave millimetre-wave scanners could have detected the “Panty Bomber’s” explosive in the airport.
They can’t detect a stick of C4 hidden in a body cavity, an illegal drug concealment method with a long history of use in the US.
Full body scanners, costing up to $200K installed, are less able to detect explosives than an explosives sniffing dog, and no better than well trained security agents using a standard pat-down at finding weapons.
Furthermore, it breaches Child Protection and Child Pornography laws. The scans may be viewed by airport personnel and stored. Who can say that the scans won’t get leaked just as government officials have done by accident in the past? Have background checks been done on all airport staff considering the child protection issues?
There was a case a few years ago of two Muslim women refusing to be viewed naked at Manchester airport, being denied their flight.. Then there is the case of Dr. Aguirre who refused to be irradiated by scanning at Manchester after stating his concerns about the radiation causing cancer, was also denied his flight and was escorted out of the airport by police officers, like a common criminal. Dr. Aguirre was forced to fly out of Liverpool airport which didn’t use the controversial scanners at the time.
The US has an “opt-out” policy, which gives those worried about the risks the chance to be frisked instead. There would not be an opt-out if there was no risk. So check out the policy in your local airport and those of your destination. Questions of safety, effectiveness, the legality and the decision to make them compulsory at some destinations should be raised immediately!
Before travelling call the airport security and ask if they force people through these scanners and if there is an opt-out policy. There is also protective clothing you can buy on line.
We can’t have government scare tactics force us into allowing a further erosion of our human rights to privacy and bodily integrity. How many would-be terrorists have been caught by the increased airport security checks? None! Full Body Scanners are neither necessary nor are they able to prevent terrorist attacks. Even the security experts admit this. So why do we have them? As long as civilians are “manning” them, they are unlawful searches. (Civilians are NOT permitted in law to carry out strip searches of any kind and even less so under threats).