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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Who benefits? And where are the opportunities?
Posted by Jill | 8:11 AM
The story of terrorism, and the fight against terrorism in this country, always contains a question: Who Benefits?

9/11 "Truthers" speculate on who benefitted from the 9/11 attacks, but you don't have to be a "Truther" to wonder, when a presidency was deemed in the press to be over almost as soon as it began turned into a press darling over the corpses of nearly three thousand people. Dick Cheney has profited handsomely over contracts given to Halliburton in Iraq.

A year after the so-called "underwear bomber", whose own father notified the U.S.Embassy in Nigeria that his son was planning something, failed in his attempt to bring down an airliner, and weeks after CARGO PLANES were targeted, air passengers are being whipped into a frenzy of terrorism fear again by a TSA that works according to some strange alchemy in which ignoring cargo but x-raying and groping passengers somehow prevents explosives from being deployed on cargo planes.

Despite the potential risks to both passenger and TSA worker posed by radiation administered to travelers by low-wage workers without medical training, and despite the consensus among security experts without a financial stake in body scanners that their implementation simply is not effective, not only are more airports planning to deploy these monstrosities, but there is a very real possibility of Americans having to go through this security theatre nonsense if they want to take a cruise or a ferry, or get to work via train or subway.

If you have ever worked in New York City, or commuted to ANY major metropolitan area, or for that matter, ever been any place where people congregate -- shopping malls, ball games, concerts, ballets, operas, megachurches, you can imagine the chaos that would result from a requirement to be groped or strip-searched just to get to work, or watch the Yankees play, or go see Bruce Springsteen, or take your aunt from Dubuque on the Circle Line.

They're getting away with it for air travel because the images of the 9/11 attacks are etched into our minds. But taken to this logical extreme, as Janet Napolitano appears to be considering, I wonder if Americans will stand for it.

Images of government-money sugarplums are dancing in the heads of lobbyists for the x-ray scanner industry, who are the REAL beneficiaries of this insanity, as Cenk Uygur, who seems to be handling the anchor load on MSNBC during this holiday weekend all by himself, noted yesterday:

We already know that George W. Bush's head of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, stands to profit handsomely from the indiscriminate deployment of these scanners. Chertoff has been a tireless advocate for this industry, advocating that the "administration must stand firm against privacy ideologues"in a Washington Post op-ed last January.

Who else benefits?

There's an opportunity here for the progressive netroots to find common cause with the Tea Party, if we only dare to take it. Granted, many Tea Party followers give lip service to the Constitution without knowing what's in it beyond the Second Amendment. But as I've often said, the political spectrum is sometimes less a continuum than a circle, in which left and right eventually meet at the top. All too often, civil liberties have been framed as a leftist issue, what with George H.W. Bush calling his opponent during the 1988 campaign a "card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union". But now that the right has been whipped into a frenzy about "big government", and Tea Partiers are subject to virtual strip searches and government-mandated groping along with the Dirty Fucking Hippies they loathe, perhaps there's some room here to find common cause. And once we find common cause there, are there other areas as well?

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