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Traveler Detained for Anti-TSA Message 1082

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-screw-around-at-the-airport dept.
scifience writes "A traveler frustrated with recent changes to airport security procedures found himself detained in Milwaukee after writing a message critical of the TSA's leader on a plastic bag presented for screening. The message, which read "Kip Hawley is an Idiot," resulted in a confrontation with law enforcement, the traveler being told that his right to freedom of speech applied only "out there (pointing past the id checkers) not while in here [the checkpoint]." The story, which is detailed in a rapidly-growing thread on a discussion forum catering to frequent flyers, has attracted the interest of the ACLU, an AP reporter, and many others. The incident raises a number of interesting questions and concerns regarding just where our rights end."
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Traveler Detained for Anti-TSA Message

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:46AM (#16226111)
    But increasingly, your rights end where dissent begins.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jacquesm (154384)
      this and other crazy incidents have caused me to avoid the US when travelling, even when
      passing through to other countries.


      Makes you wonder how many people have decided that and how many airlines will go bust as a
      result.


      • by arivanov (12034) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:34AM (#16226331) Homepage
        Same here. I avoid to the extent possible any travel to the US.

        I turned down two jobs for the sole reason that they advertised "frequent travel to US headquarters" as an advantage. No thanks, that is not an advantage. It is a first degree disadvantage.

        • by aussersterne (212916) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:13AM (#16227775) Homepage
          I think few Americans right now realize that congress is working, yesterday and today, on passing (not just writing or introducing, but passing, it's already through the house and now up for vote in the senate) a bill that will end habeas corupus and legalize torture:

          http://news.google.com/news?q=torture+bill+senate+ habeas&hl=en&hs=GCv&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox&rl s=Swiftfox:en-US:unofficial&sa=X&oi=news&ct=title [google.com]
          http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?Sectio nID=40&ItemID=11071 [zmag.org]
          http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?Stor yID=20060924-060744-4556r [upi.com]
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/09/26/AR2006092601475.html [washingtonpost.com]

          Habeas corpus is one of the oldest tenets of western civilization, predating the U.S. Constitution and even the Magna Carta, and it says, simply, that if someone is to be held in custody by the state, there must be a demonstrable reason for their imprisonment. It is the basis of "probable cause," "warrants" of arrest, and your right to a trail to establish your guilt or innocence.

          This bill not only legalizes torture acts against enemy combatants by the U.S. government, it also gives the president and the secretary of defense the authority to unilaterally decide who is an enemy combatant, without review, oversight, process, or documentation of any kind, and to act on that decision, without trial, documentation, or any means of appeal. The standard for being an enemy combatant is essentially that you don't "support" America in some way or another, not according to some objective standard of evidence, but again according to the personal impression of either the president or the secretary of defense. This includes American citizens.

          Once they decide you are an enemy combatant, you can be picked up, with no warrant or probable cause, no evidence, and no process other than "the feds said you don't support America." They no longer need evidence. Under this statute no right to trail or judicial review will exist (because you are now like those at Gitmo, rather than a citizen), and you can be tortured at will.

          This is what the senate is working on YESTERDAY AND TODAY. It's likely already too late to affect the outcome, but if you haven't yet it might be a good day to call your senator and say that you OPPOSE the bill that legalizes arbitrary indefinite detention at the whim of the president and the legalization of torture.
          • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by BoomerSooner (308737) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:38AM (#16228167) Homepage Journal
            Hey for a safer America you should be willing to do anything, right?

            If you have nothing to hide, they wouldn't pick you up, would they?

            The terrorists have won by allowing a regime that wants to do things the same as the countries we accuse of "not being free & democratic". The fear of this irrational thing called terrorism is pathetic. More people die from lung cancer every year in the US. More people have died (or will soon) fighting a stupid war with no real goal, direction or possible positive outcome.

            This country is slowly moving down the road of fascism or some other "new" form of dictatorship. When a government keeps it's society in check by fear and hatred, only bad things come of it. How long until we get our Hitler? Stalin? Moussolini?

            We are not impervious to failure. The almighty dollar seems to be the only concern in the U$A. Pathetic when a country can spend billions on war and nothing to help the poor and sick.

            Jesus wouldn't have voted for Bush that is for certain. War is not the solution to the current problems in the world. Our external policies over the last 50 years or so has assisted in creating this monster. When will people wake up and realize we (the country and our representatives) are not infallible? Hopefully not before it's too late.
            • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by a_nonamiss (743253) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @10:09AM (#16229827)
              This is NOT an exaggeration:

              OFFICER: You are an enemy combatant. You're under arrest.
              PERSON: Why?
              OFFICER: There is a very good reason, but it's classified.
              PERSON: What evidence do you have?
              OFFICER: Oh, we have lots of evidence, but it's classified.
              PERSON: Who accused me of these crimes?
              OFFICER: Sorry sir, we can't tell you that. It's classified.
              PERSON: When can I go home to my family?
              OFFICER: When you've been tried and found innocent.
              PERSON: How long will that take?
              OFFICER: When the war is over.
              PERSON: Can I at least call my wife and tell her I'm OK?
              OFFICER: I'm sorry sir, you aren't allowed to contact anyone.

              This could happen to you. Maybe you did something awful, but maybe you didn't. Maybe you just said something in a forum that was critical of the person in charge. You don't know. Nobody does. You could be in jail for years, and not know any more than this. No lawyer. Your family doesn't know where you are. You don't know why you're being detained. And they don't have to tell you anything.

              This new law would make the above scenario perfectly legal.
              • Re:And? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:37AM (#16231555)
                Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina came out and spoke against this new power quite eloquently.

                Giving the "President the tools he needs for this war," are only necessary when they have no evidence. If the government has evidence, they can follow habeus corpus. When they have NO CASE AT ALL, they can "use the special tools" and you are in much worse shape.

                Notice the number of trials that we've seen? Must be a lot of need for "special tools to fight this war," going on.
              • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @01:15PM (#16233549)
                You don't understand. The government will only do this to Them, never to us. (for sufficiently advanced definitions of us and them)
          • by linuxci (3530) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:52AM (#16228387)
            That is indeed worrying that they're continuing down this path. The right to free speech is important, but the right to a fair trial is even more so - why is so much money and time being spent on the trial of Saddam when there's a lot of possibily innocent people rotting away in a US naval base in Cuba (great way to show the Cubans that the US way is better than Castro!). Torture of course should never be used in a civilised society but I can imagine it's a lot more widespread than just the US and its allies.

            The US can never hold a moral highground anymore over anything. Land of the free? No you can't even walk through airport security without risking getting detained because they don't like what you're wearing or a slogan on your bag.

            Setting a good example to others? No way. Threats to nuke Iran if they continue their nuclear programme seem very hypocritical. Their actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were so badly organised the US probably killed more innocent citizens than the terrorists did in 11/09/2001 and 7/7/2005 combined.

            Also governments need to move religion out of politics, currently Bush loves bringing God into everything he can, this makes him as much of a religious extremist as the muslim extremists he's fighting.

            I'm fed up with the UK too, but perhaps when Blair quits his replacement may not be such a Bush puppet - but I doubt we'll be as lucky. The UK in recent history have always had the special relationship with the US.
          • by kfg (145172) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @10:03AM (#16229713)
            This is the Military Dictatorship Act (Bush overtly claims his authority comes as Commander in Chief). There's no two ways about it

            There are millions of Americans out there who are distressed at what's going on, but think we're still ok, because no one has come to take them away for speaking their mind. They overlook the fact that dictatorship is not defined by whether or not they have come to take you away, but whether or not they have the legal authority to come take you away.

            Once they have the legal authority when they finally come to take you away you will have no defense; and it is your ability to defend yourself under law that defines a free society.

            But don't worry, they aren't likely to slap chains on you, what they do is slap chains on a few select people to make you afraid and get you to slap chains on yourself, like a "good little boy."

            And your children will accept without question that you have no rights of speech, because they do not even understand the concept. Be afraid of . . . your children.

            Yes, I'm being "alarmist." That's the frickin' point.

            KFG
          • Pick up the phone (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:52AM (#16231825) Homepage Journal
            Go to http://www.senate.gov./ [www.senate.gov]

            Use the "Find your Senator" box at the upper right. Sorry, Javascript required. If you already know who your Senators are you can skip this step.

            Dial the phone numbers given.

            Politely (the staff member is not to blame) and concisely (s/he is busy) explain your values about trials and torture.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rvw (755107)

        I avoid the US as well, although that's not really a problem for me. I only worked abroad once, not in the US, and for holidays there's enough to see for me in the rest of the world. Since the Bush administration my esteem of the US has declined in a rapid tempo, and it's still going down. I wonder how the next administration will do, but I doubt whether they will be able or willing to turn this trend around (even the democrats).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Seriously. I'm beginning to think we should really do the French thing and surrender. And by 'surrender' I mean stage fucking riots and take back our country. When the hell did we lose our collective spine to such an extent?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:45AM (#16226405)
        Was that not the purpose of the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution? So as to enable the people to re-take control if the government got out of hand.
        • by russ1337 (938915) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:41AM (#16226747)
          It might have been, but I do not believe you could.

          The organisers of any movement that has the intention of altering the government will be treated as terrorists. Organisers of a large protests are already photographed and followed and have their names and organisations put on 'watch lists'.
        • Was that not the purpose of the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution? So as to enable the people to re-take control if the government got out of hand.
          Well, yeah, but that was when the best weapons were muskets and civilians could (and did) have enough to make overthrowing a government practical. Now, with all sorts of weapons like tanks and missles and fighter planes, it's impossible for civilians to take on the government one on one. Even if the second admendment included tanks and stuff, only the richest could afford them, so I guess the poor and middle class would just have to choose some rich person to give their support, and that really doesn't sound like a revolution.
          • by rabbit994 (686936) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @07:28AM (#16227177)
            I'm not advcating the overthrow of the US government but look where all the tanks, planes and missiles is getting us in Iraq. Never underestimate the power of guerrila tactics.
            • by Casualposter (572489) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @07:57AM (#16227563) Journal
              What bothers me is this attitude that our rights have diminished. They have not. They are inalienable rights, which means that they cannot be taken away. Governments may attempt and even succeed at harming someone for the expression of a right, but that government CANNOT take that right away.

              The time is coming, if not now, that the people of the USA must take their government to task for the abridgement of the expression of our rights.

          • by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:59AM (#16229639) Homepage
            Well, yeah, but that was when the best weapons were muskets and civilians could (and did) have enough to make overthrowing a government practical. Now, with all sorts of weapons like tanks and missles and fighter planes, it's impossible for civilians to take on the government one on one. Even if the second admendment included tanks and stuff, only the richest could afford them, so I guess the poor and middle class would just have to choose some rich person to give their support, and that really doesn't sound like a revolution.
            We've heard that argument a hundred times before, and it's just as silly now as it's ever been. How do you put down a popular insurgency with missiles and fighter planes? Tanks have some limited utility, but for the most part the only way to deal with armed rebels living in and among "the people" is foot troops on the ground-- witness Iraq circa NOW. Furthermore, this argument also automatically assumes that the military is a mindless slave of the government, which isn't really the case. The kind of folks who would actively oppose the government in large numbers with force of arms are exactly the sort of people who you would likewise find in large numbers in the military itself. If it came down to it, you'd find large portions of the military itself joining "the other side". Really, in order for an armed insurrection to take hold, you just need enough people involved to overcome the police forces. Police are the ones indoctrinated with an "us vs. them" attitude towards the general population. This is where the 2nd Amendment really makes the difference. An unarmed populace is very easily cowed by a few cops in riot gear. This is what galls me about the "legitimate sporting purpose" nonsense bandied about by various would-be gun regulation proponents. The purpose of the armed population ensured by the 2nd isn't about hunting, target shooting, or any other "sport". It's about the people having a check against government tyranny, and tyranny is administered by relatively lightly armed civilian agencies like police forces, not the 1st Armored Division rolling around the city in M1A1 tanks.
        • by organgtool (966989) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:29AM (#16228017)
          If the point of this article is that U.S. citizens are not able to exercise the rights granted to them by the FIRST amendment, what makes you think that they are free to exercise the rights of the second amendment, or any other amendment for that matter. The U.S. is not at war with terror - the Bush administration is at war with the Constitution.
    • by Potor (658520) <farker1@g m a i l . c om> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:05AM (#16226535) Journal
      i thought the checkpoint was still in america. i guess it no longer is.
    • by TrentTheThief (118302) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:19AM (#16226607)
      As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air however slight lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
      ---
      William O. Douglas, Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

      When I start ranting about this kind crap 20 years ago, everyone thoguht I was insanely paranoid.

      Well, I guess now the shackle is on the other foot. Arbeit Mach Frie.
      • by icepick72 (834363) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:59AM (#16226885)
        When I start ranting about this kind crap 20 years ago, everyone thoguht I was insanely paranoid.

        If it was 20 years ago then you were way too early and indeed paranoid at the time; however it's nice you can say you told us so regardless. I really like the quote.
        • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @07:49AM (#16227441) Homepage Journal
          A few months ago I would have agreed with you. That was before I started learning the recent history.

          It was after Nixon's political demise that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others who came to be called Neo-cons stared to look for ways to increase the power of the presidency. Remember, it was Nixon who said that anything the president does it legal, because it is the president who is doing it [landmarkcases.org]. In other words, the president is above the law. Since then, they have slowly been setting the stage for this very day.

          We had Reagan, who destroyed the unions and set up the boogeyman of the welfare queen, to destroy the social safety net and job security of the middle class. Look where we are now -- Productivity is the highest its been in fifty years, yet people are making less money, working more hours, with less benefits. Prices are up, savings is at an all-time low, and credit card debt at a high. People can't worry about politics -- they are too busy working. Have a problem with this? Shut up with your class warfare and get back to work.

          Then came Bush Sr., who was somewhat stymied by a democratic congress and a single term. Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts were hampered by Republicans charging about gays in the military and Lewinsky. I assume I don't need to tell you about Bush.

          So if you look at who the major players are behind the scenes in the Regan and both Bush presidencies, you will find Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and assorted other Neo-cons who wanted to strengthen the presidency after Nixon's impeachment. Scary.
    • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:45AM (#16226781) Journal
      No, your rights remain.They may be infringed, but your rights are still your rights, and that's why this traveller has a cause of action to sue the TSA over this fracas.

      -jcr
  • Our rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by naich (781425) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:47AM (#16226115) Homepage
    "The incident raises a number of interesting questions and concerns regarding just where our rights end."

    Don't you mean "... when our rights ended"?
    • Re:Our rights (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:18AM (#16226593)
      Do you mean 1918 [wikipedia.org], 1861 [wikipedia.org], or 1798 [wikipedia.org]?

      Note that in each of those cases, we're talking about the highest levels of federal government taking overt acts to revoke our First Amendment rights. Compare that with this particular case of some local TSA moron doing something stupid.

      Yes, I'm aware of the "free speech zones" at debates and conventions in recent elections, and I think they're a horrible idea, but at least in those cases it's motivated by the inability of police to guarantee the safety of the people both inside and outside the building when a terror target is that high-profile. On the other hand, those events are infrequent compared with the hindrances on free speech rights that take place at our public educational institutions [thefire.org] every day, this time motivated by left-leaning political correctness advocates rather than by right-leaning Patriot Act advocates.

      • Re:Our rights (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:30AM (#16228037)
        Damn, forgot to add:

        "Yes, I'm aware of the "free speech zones" at debates and conventions in recent elections, and I think they're a horrible idea, but at least in those cases it's motivated by the inability of police to guarantee the safety of the people both inside and outside the building when a terror target is that high-profile."

        In other words, the threat of terrorism (which, if you look up the statistics is on par with your chances of being struck by lightning) means we have to restrict free speech?

        So why don't we have laws restricting people from congregating out in the open when the weather's looking a bit sketchy?

        And why should people be allowed into rallies or photo-ops if they look like supporters, but herded into free speech zones if they look like protesters? If anyone was going to bomb the Republican Party Convention do you really think they'd be stupid enough to wander up wearing a "Fuck Bush" T-shirt over their homemade dynamite vest?

        This entire rationale is so pathetically flimsy it's completely see-through. There is only one reason to herd peaceful protesters into designated (almost always well-hidden) areas but still allow supporters through, and that's because you don't want people to see the protest.

        Unfortunately that's rather the whole point of your right to free assembly, so they have to come up with a pathetic pretext to allow them to needlessly violate your basic rights.

        "On the other hand, those events are infrequent compared with the hindrances on free speech rights that take place at our public educational institutions every day, this time motivated by left-leaning political correctness advocates rather than by right-leaning Patriot Act advocates."

        I read the article. A religious group thinks it should continue to receive funding from a state school, but should be allowed to only admit individuals who share that faith. The state school thinks that this violates Separation of Church and State, which sounds pretty correct to me.

        The school has offered to either stop funding all the religious groups in the school, or continue to fund the Knights of Columbus if it admits non-believers. The group has refused this.

        Nobody's denying anyone free speech, and it's shockingly intellectually dishonest to claim they are.

        All the school is saying is that if the group's going to exclude people on religious lines, then they (as a state entity) shouldn't be paying them to do it.

        As (presumably) a religious person, how would you feel about your kid's school funding a science club that refused to allow membership to Christians?
  • by 3.14159265 (644043) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:50AM (#16226125)
    "The incident raises a number of interesting questions and concerns regarding just where our rights end."

    Well, they end right there at the point where people happily exchange freedom for that so called "security".

    -------

    Born stupid? Try again.
  • Constitution? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:56AM (#16226169)
    Don't you yanks have a constitiution for this sort of thing?
    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:22AM (#16226257)
      Lots of Americans have the constitution of a beached whale.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kalidasa (577403)
      We did. In the 20th century, anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by masklinn (823351)

      Nope, because the constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper [masklinnscans.free.fr] ©King George the First, Nov. 2005 [capitolhillblue.com]

    • Re:Constitution? (Score:4, Informative)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:27AM (#16226657) Homepage Journal

      Believe it or not, the USSR had a constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech too.

      A Bill of Rights is useless unless enforced. Which is why the ACLU is on the case. That is one saving grace of the current mess, we do, at least, know that the government will be dragged into court over this (which isn't something that would have happened in the USSR.)

    • Re:Constitution? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vtcodger (957785) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:53AM (#16226837)
      ***Don't you yanks have a constitiution for this sort of thing?***

      Sure, but so do Cuba, China, and Libya.

      Here's a short excerpt from the constitution of the People's Republic of China.

      "Article 35. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.

      Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief..."

      Constitutions only work when the people in charge feel constrained by their content

      • by Bvardi (620485) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:46AM (#16228299)
        "Here's a short excerpt from the constitution of the People's Republic of China.

        "Article 35. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.

        Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief..."

        Constitutions only work when the people in charge feel constrained by their content"

        -- Actually I think their constitution is completely accurate - I'm sure most of their citizens WOULD enjoy freedom of religion, association, procession, and of demonstration. Of course the government would have to give it to them to find out for sure....
  • Hang on... (Score:3, Funny)

    by randommemoryaccess (922901) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @04:58AM (#16226177)
    Don't our rights end where our lefts begin?
  • by Threni (635302) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:01AM (#16226183)
    > regarding just where our rights end.

    Your rights ended on the morning of September 11th 2001 - apparantly the morning of a successful coup of the US government by Al-Queda.
    • by Analogy Man (601298) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:07AM (#16226547)
      When the USA started measuring itself against the worst in the world instead of the best is when Al-Queda won. How many times have you heard the pundit apologists rationalize actions that go against everything America stands for with these stupid streams of logic?
      • RE: the assault on our civil liberties - "They didn't have those freedom's in Iraq."
      • Re: Detainment, torture, Abu Graib - "We don't video tape beheadings"
      • Re: Telling lies to the American people. - "Bush didn't have an affair with a fat cow and lie about that"
  • Liberalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SlOrbA (957553) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:01AM (#16226187) Homepage

    In Civilization IV's Civilopedia there is a Benjamin Franklin quotation on article about Liberalism.

    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both"

    In this context the society is not the State but the airport. Do people feel more secure on security control when a person before them is pointed out because of critisim about the system or are they going to be looking around for the lion in the bushes.

  • Are Rights Cyclic? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:01AM (#16226191)
    I wonder if there was a similar erosion of rights and freedoms during the second world war? And if so, was that erosion reversed during the period after WWII?
    • You wonder? (Score:3, Informative)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      Its been well documented that it took place.

      And the reversal was only partial.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bottlemaster (449635)

      I wonder if there was a similar erosion of rights and freedoms during the second world war? And if so, was that erosion reversed during the period after WWII?

      Off the top of my head, I can only think of what was done with Japanese-Americans during the war [wikipedia.org]. That's probably the most extreme case, but I'm sure the rest of the public gave up rights for "protection" from German spies and the like. Also read about the House Un-American Activities Committe [wikipedia.org] for some Cold War fun. I think it's safe to say we've pu

    • WWII *had* an end (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr2001 (90979) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:47AM (#16226417) Homepage Journal
      The problem with our current "war" is it has no defined condition for winning. We won WWII when Germany and Japan were defeated, but our current military escapades have no potential end in sight.

      How will we know when the War On Terror is over? George W. Bush said, on 9/20/2001, that it "will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated". How the hell are we going to determine that? Who can possibly predict how long that'll take?

      Similar problems present themselves in Iraq. "Major combat operations" officially ended over three years ago, when that banner was unfurled on the aircraft carrier. But we're still there. We've been hearing phrases like "as the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down" and "the next six months will be critical" for years now, with no end in sight.

      We have no definition of victory. You can't compare this current erosion of rights, done in the name of perpetual war, with any erosion of rights that might've occurred during the well-defined WWII, because no one has any idea when we'll even know that it's time to expect our rights back.
  • Well, Duhh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jthill (303417) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:03AM (#16226193)

    Kip Hawley and the entire TSA are rice-bowlers, collecting paychecks from a spectacularly moronic WPA that spends money as fast as the real WPA ever did but doesn't produce a damned thing.

    This guy knows it, and said it in a particularly insulting way. To the people collecting those paychecks, who also know it in their hearts, and are ashamed.

    So, yeah, they got angry. The twaddle about 1st Amendment rights applying ~out there, not in here~ was just angry-stupid horking, not worth getting in a flap about.

    • Re:Well, Duhh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RegularFry (137639) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:18AM (#16226247)
      It's always worth getting in a flap about it. The more people get desensitised to that sort of behaviour, the less likely they are to react in the correct way when someone actually means it. Frogs boiling and all that.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:03AM (#16226197)
    They clearly ought to have let him or her go through. There was no security risk, and being held up for 25 minutes can easily make you miss your flight. On the other hand, as abuses of authority go, this is fairly mild.

    But what I'm wondering is why people think it's a good idea to go out of your way to be rude or insulting. If you shout "pig" at every cop you pass in the street, pretty soon you will find somone who takes it to heart and will give you a bad time. Maybe this is a violation of your freedom of speech. But why do it in the first place?
    • It's The Pettiness (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:46AM (#16226793) Homepage Journal
      On the other hand, as abuses of authority go, this is fairly mild.
      But it's the pettiness of it that really stings though. The fact that jumped up little dictators in lowly positions abuse the current hysteria to basically enforce their views and opinions on others is really awful. It's like how factory foremen or the local priest used to dominate their communities, forcing people who were on paper free men, to essentially bow to their will.

      Let's say you're a frequent flyer, for reasons of business. If your local TSA supervisor gropes you or someone you know at a bar or on the street, what are you going to do? What if they get in a property dispute with you? What if their child is tormenting your child at school? What if they don't like the clubs or places you want to frequent? What if you want to campaign for a political party they don't really like?

      What will you do? Exercise your rights? Do something that might displease the officials? Perturb or them in some small way? You will on your fuck! You will drop everything and anything the moment you smell that this petty prick might make flying more difficult for you. Only fools and people with the right kind of friends will do otherwise.

      As the TSA officials and persons like them grow in number and influence, expect such situations to arise. You think it won't happen? The people who set up the TSA, the people in the TSA, they all believe that such a state of affairs would be right and proper. They have a world view, and it does not involve tolerance for yours. If they can find a way to make life miserable for people who don't follow them, they will.
  • T-shirts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:09AM (#16226215)
    I sense a business opportunity in a fashionable range of "Kip Hawley Is An Idiot" T-shirts...
  • by PinkyDead (862370) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:17AM (#16226237) Journal
    I was thinking to myself while reading this travellers story - and I know from my own experience, these airport security people are much the same everywhere in the world - why do we tolerate security people like this.

    It's like Doctors - they are expected to be arrogant, aloof and possessing of a certain air of infallibility. But they're not infalable, we know that and they know that.

    Same thing with security people, customs, immigration etc etc. We expect them to be rude and aggressive - but in point of fact they have absolutely no right to be.

    When planes blow up etc - the individual security people aren't berated for this. The system maybe - but not the individuals. Also, their lives are not a risk - it is we who travel on the planes that are at risk - and if we can be light-hearted about it, why can't these idiots be? (Gotta love the guy with cocaine).

    I think it goes back to the same old thing - give a small man a little power and he will abuse it.

    I would like to say that a number of these people are actually very nice and endowed with a decent sense of humour. And you know what - they get the job done just as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ford Prefect (8777)
      Same thing with security people, customs, immigration etc etc. We expect them to be rude and aggressive - but in point of fact they have absolutely no right to be.

      Maybe it's just you. All those people are generally very polite and friendly to me - maybe because it's because I'm polite and friendly back?
      • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:31AM (#16226675) Homepage
        I'm also very polite and friendly and quite often airport security staff return the compliment, in the UK, France, Holland, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Malaysia, Peru and Australia I have generally been treated well and with a smile by the security and customs/immigration people but in the US my experience has been that the security and immigration people are basically obnoxious and rude no matter how polite you are. I don't know why this is but it does put me off routing my flights through the US ( not to mention that every time I have flown through the US my luggage has been lost or put on the wrong flights ).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by myowntrueself (607117)
      these airport security people are much the same everywhere in the world

      They certainly are not.

      For example, the airport security people in Singapore are totally different from their counterparts in the UK.

      In Singapore, they exude an air of being happy in their jobs. They are friendly, courteous, efficient and well organised.

      Those in the UK are the opposite in every way that matters.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:17AM (#16226239) Journal
    Are not very bright, have an over important opinion of themselves and become hostile if contradicted.

    Punishing those responsible isn't going to solve this problem in the general case.

    Can anyone suggest a more proactive solution?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286)
      "Are not very bright, have an over important opinion of themselves and become hostile if contradicted."

      You've just described every Systems Admin I've ever worked with.

      Can anyone suggest a more proactive solution?

      A lot less emotion and a little common sense goes a long way. Recognize when you are in "their" world, and tread softly. Feign respect if you cannot muster up the genuine article. Derive solace from the fact that, at the end of the day, you'll be relaxing at home or in your comfortable hotel room
  • Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZoneGray (168419) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:18AM (#16226243) Homepage
    This is nothing new, and hardly a TSA phenomenon. Try insulting a cop's mother when he arrests you; you'll see how far your free speech rights extend.

    The TSA is basically a hall monitor in the heirarchy of law enforcement. So they're even more sensitive to taunts, and more likely to elevate an insult to the level of national emergency.
  • Rights and wrongs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djupedal (584558) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:31AM (#16226297)
    Reminds me of being 'detained' as a teenager, back in the '60s, because the car we were in had a small American flag on the antenna that was upside down...

    That was regular cops and they seem to have come around since then. These TSA wonks are more like renta-cops - got shot at by one of them, back then as well, and the regular cops that came out said they would have been 'ok' with me shooting back.

    Amazing what a little taste of authority will do for an otherwise flimsy backbone.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:31AM (#16226303) Homepage Journal
    I think you meant "when did our rights end".

    Here in the usa, what rights we had left pretty much ended on 9.11.01, when the government seized the opportunity to grab the rest of them after a tragic event.
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:42AM (#16226389) Homepage Journal
    If you don't think too clearly, then it's best you don't think to much.

    Evidently philosophical acumen apprently isn't high on the list of qualifications for being a TSA screener.

    That said, I fly a great deal, and TSA personnel seem to be fairly representative of the rest of the human race; some are automatically grouchy and unpleasant, some are tempermentally helpful and friendly, and the majority are like most people, they give you back what you bring them. When you're snide or difficult, the grouchy ones return with interest; when you are pleasant and courteous, the friendly ones return that with interest.

    Speaking of philosophy, in Plato's ideal state there were three classes of people, rulers, who required the virtue of wisdom (sophia); soldiers, who required the virtue of courage (andreia); and the rest of the people who required the virtue of sophrosune, which is translated often as moderation, but is perhaps better thought of as temperance. The Greeks thought of this as a kind of self-control over pleasure seaking, but it applies to the negative emotions like anger and suspicion as well. In a modern democratic republic, people (even soliders -- possibly especially them) are called on to excerise the virtues of all three Platonic classes of people, although in different measure.

    TSA is above all a civilian agency, although security is its function. And the civilian virtue of temperance is critical to the efficient execution of its duties. Consider the grouchy, aggressive and irritable inspector, on one hand, and the overly friendly one on the other. These are both bad, not because the travelling population is comprised mostly of decent people (it is) on one hand, nor because the travelling population contains dangerous bad people (it does). The reason these characteristics are bad in a screener is that they are both forms of distraction from the actual job.

    TSA was cobbled together pretty much overnight, so its a mixed bag. But consider the benefits of moderation. If you're too suspicious, you jump to conclusions and you dwell on irrelevant details. If I were a terrorist, I'd want to be a couple of people behind the guy with the Kip Hawley bag, so I could pass through while everyone was dealing with the First Amendment brouhahah. Likewise, you want the inspectors to be pleasant, but not too friendly. Pleasant behavior is a social lubricant; it makes things run faster. That means more people inspected in a given number of time, or the same number scrutinized in more detail. But you don't want pleasantness to rise to outright friendliness. Chatting and making small talk would get in the way of business.

    Of course, you need a wide selection of people if you want to consistently pick the ones from the middle of the deck. For better or worse, security is just one of those things we think anybody is able to do; we don't see it as a job with high professional or personal qualifications. By paying accordingly, we don't a work force which is consistently fitted to do the job with excellence. We end up with a workforce that is representative of the population, and have to accept the natural variations in performance that involves. Perhaps that's good enough. Freedom isn't going to fall apart because of some hot-headed TSA employee taking it upon himself to impose loyalty on the citizenry. Society isn't going to unravel if the occasional airplane is hijacked. We don't like to think of it this way, but we really treat these things as part of the cost of doing the business of society. If we didn't, we'd do what was necessary to have a more consistenly professional TSA.

  • by NiceBacon (202600) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:02AM (#16226521)
    A lot of the members in my gliding club are airline pilots and i hear a lot of stories from them.

    The pilots have to pass through security just like the rest of us, and from what I hear they are getting increasingly fed up with the security screening staff. The general opinion is, that these are the same personality types that under different circumstances would become executioners.

    Some of the pilots fought back though. One guy I heard of, attempted to pass through the detector gate, carefully making sure to step over an imaginary 1 foot high obstruction.
    The screening crew apparently didn't have a sense of humor and made the pilot walk through the gate again, warning him to do it "normal" this time around.
    At first the pilot prcoeeded normally through the gate, but stopped in the middle of the gate, spinning around in a Michael Jackson-esqe manouvre and exited the gate walking backwards. The screening crew went ballistic and forced him through a third time before he was let through.

    Another pilot presented his ID card to the security screening crew, was let through and pocketed his card again, hurrying towards his assigned aircraft. He was running late.
    Airpot security guidelines clearly states that ID cards should be carried visible at all times and a female security offcial noticed that the pilot did not carry a visible ID-card, took offence and ran after him. The pilot made it all the way to the cockpit and was sitting down and preparing for the flight, when the security offical came bursting into the cockpit, throwing a hissy fit and telling the pilot off for not wearing the ID card visible. The pilots in the cockpit were running late and were getting increasingly annoyed by the security official, when they noticed that the official was not carrying an ID card herself.
    "So who are you?", they asked her, demanding to see her ID card. Fumbling around her pockets, she realised that she had left her own ID card behind, when running after the pilot.
    The pilots resolutely locked the cockpit security doors and radioed the airport advising them that an unknown person that could not identify herself was locked in the cockpit with them.
    The security official was then escorted off the plane by two armed police officers.
  • by Steve B (42864) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:46AM (#16226789)
    A traveler frustrated with recent changes to airport security procedures found himself detained in Milwaukee after writing a message critical of the TSA's leader on a plastic bag presented for screening. The message, which read "Kip Hawley is an Idiot," resulted in a confrontation with law enforcement

    He's lucky he didn't get arrested for revealing a state secret.
  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:47AM (#16226795) Homepage Journal
    I might be paranoid but this seems all a big charade. After hijacking the planes for 9/11, we witnessed repeated attempts at blowing planes up, first the guy with explosive under the shoe, then the other guys who wanted to come onboard with liquid explosives. The problem is that Al qaeda should have hundreds of surface to air missile launchers left from Afghanistan campaign when they fought for USA aganst Soviet Russia (in soviet russia terrorists fight for YOU!). Those are made to hit military planes, a civilian plane during takeoff is a joke for them, I guess.
    Al quaeda seems not willing to embarass the US by using the arms they got from them, in the meantime western citizens are being trained to be questioned, searched, put in custody for merely losing patience. Here the 500-1500 stingers given to Bin Laden [wikipedia.org]... all lost? If so, can't they buy anything second hand in Kosovo? Strange.
    • by k2r (255754) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @10:40AM (#16230409)
      > then the other guys who wanted to come onboard with liquid explosives

      Yes, the guys who didn't have passports and tickets yet and who haven't been charged with anything yet.
      Well, they planned to use some strange "liquid explosives", I personally have at least some knowlegde in chemistry and don't believe this.
      But let's hear what others say (taken from http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Sources_August_T error_Plot_Fiction_Underscoring_0918.html [rawstory.com] ) :
      ---
      "The idea that these people could sit in the plane toilet and simply mix together these normal household fluids to create a high explosive capable of blowing up the entire aircraft is untenable," said Lt. Col. Wylde, who was trained as an ammunition technical officer responsible for terrorist bomb disposal at the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Sandhurst.
      ---

      However, science doesn't matter anymore and this story sounds very made up by Bliar's and Bush's regimes.

      And I might add - most of the TV-Specials on German TV were even less accurate on the chemistry of explosives as they usually are on IT related stuff.

      k2r
  • by happytechie (661712) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:48AM (#16226807)
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759 that seems to be relavent in this case
  • by ballpoint (192660) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:47AM (#16228303)
    ...it was decided today to restrict liquids in carry-on luggage to 100ml for intra-European flights, starting 1st November.

    That is the day from when I and others like me are effectively excluded from air travel.

    See, I have really bad eyesight, and wearing expensive contact lenses is the only practical remedy to my disability. As you may or may not know, proper maintenance and desinfection with specific hypoallergic products is critical. The sterile products I need come in 120ml and 300ml bottles, so I cannot take them with me any more. Transferring them to smaller bottles is a big no-no. I don't want any unsterile or mislabeled product in my eyes.

    Delayed flights, lost luggage... How the hell am I going to cope with them ? Ever tried to get to correct product in an airport, or in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar city ?

    If this is not addressed, my next flight in a few weeks may very well be the last.

  • by peacefinder (469349) <alan.dewitt@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @10:11AM (#16229881) Journal
    "The incident raises a number of interesting questions and concerns regarding just where our rights end."

    There is no interesting question about where our rights end. Our rights themselves continue to be what they were. The interesting question is where our rights begin to be oppressed.

    If you fail to grasp this important distinction, you are granting others power over your inalienable rights.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:20PM (#16232451) Homepage
    At least their training would have them act that way. Trust me on this, I've been there and the vast majority of the people are pretty thoughtless in most ways. But what's more, the training and standing orders are pretty brain-dead as well. They are to be looking for "anything unusual." I'd say this guy's stunt was pretty unusual. Constitutional law is NOT a part of their training. If it were, they'd be seriously disturbed by what their job calls for them to do.

    But you can be sure that when someone in the TSA doesn't know quite what to do, they'll most likely screw it up just like this guy did. One thing about the story that surprises me is that the policeman didn't just send the joker on his way. The police ARE trained in law and should have recognized the risk involved. I have serious doubts as to the accuracy of the original story.

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