Welcome to the Police State

Welcome To The Police State

by digby

Everyone's written about this "don't touch my junk" story, but this new development is so sadly in line with my thesis about these things that it's almost a cliche. When I wrote about it over the week-end, I pointed out that this was the latest in a series of steps leading to a police state --- the building of a police bureaucracy and the intimidation and the incoherence of security theatre designed to confuse citizens and indoctrinate them to the idea that they should unquestioningly submit to absurd directives from authorities. It's how you control a populace.

Anyway, here's the latest on the the "junk" story:

The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.

Tyner recorded the half-hour long encounter on his cell phone and later posted it to his personal blog, along with an extensive account of the incident. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments.

Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.

TSA agents had told Tyner on Saturday that he could be fined up to $10,000.

“That’s the old fine,” Aguilar said. “It has been increased.”

According to Aguilar, Tyner is under investigation for leaving the security area without permission. That’s prohibited, among other reasons, to prevent potential terrorists from entering security, gaining information, and leaving.

The incoherence and absurdity part is that the TSA authorities, including several "supervisors," told him he had to leave the security area and escorted him out. This is pure Kafka (or perhaps more aptly, Joseph Heller.) It's how you train a citizenry to follow orders that make no sense.

For instance, the body scanners are designed to see things that the metal detectors cannot see, including things hidden inside the body. But you are allowed to opt out of that to get a pat down --- which doesn't include a cavity search (yet.) This makes no sense unless you think that terrorists are so stupid that they can't figure out where their bodily orifices are. In other words, the only way this could be construed as rational is if they required everyone to go through the scanner or get a full strip and cavity search.

But making no sense is a feature of the police state, not a bug. Just submit to arbitrary authority and move along.