Saturday, July 9, 2011

Scanning people and cargo

The US Army in Afghanistan is following the TSA's and US Customs' leads. They're installing naked scanners as well as vehicle scanners at bases there, with over $200 million of purchases to be made over the next three years (wait... I thought we were "leaving" Afghanistan in three years!).

The wired.com article is odd in concluding that Afghanis will care about this - they will be set up on bases to screen people and cargo coming in. Presumably, most Afghanis avoid US bases like the plague and will be unaffected. Rather, the Army will be screening the people that it brings onto the base - perhaps prisoners, contractors, vendors, and military personnel. But, I'm reporting this here because the article notes that US Customs already uses the vehicle scanners, which use high-powered radiation to see through trucks and into their contents. There have already been roadblocks well within US borders using these machines. In addition to the serious danger these pose if a person is scanned*, the idea that we have freedom of movement in this country is already a joke.

* No one is claiming that the radiation from these vehicle scanners is safe. A scientific paper on this subject showed that in Europe the scanners detected people being smuggled in a truck using these machines (I'll see if I can find a link). In addition to drugs, US Customs is also interested in people being smuggled into the country, and part of the propaganda is the terrible conditions that these poor illegal immigrants suffer in transit. So what do we do? We irradiate them!