Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kill the snake. VIPR Searches and the American Citizen: "Dominate. Intimidate. Control." The new American Gestapo goes on the road.

John Whitehead tells us about a new snake.

Now, thanks to TSA Chief John Pistole's determination to "take the TSA to the next level," there will soon be no place safe from the TSA's groping searches. Only this time, the "ritualized humiliation" is being meted out by the serpentine-labeled Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) task forces, comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams. At a cost of $30 million in 2009, VIPR relies on 25 teams of agents, in addition to assistance from local law enforcement agencies as well as immigration agents. And as a sign of where things are headed, Pistole, himself a former FBI agent, wants to turn the TSA into a "national-security, counterterrorism organization, fully integrated into U.S. government efforts." To accomplish this, Pistole has requested funding for an additional 12 teams for fiscal year 2012, bringing VIPR's operating budget close to $110 million.

VIPR is the first major step in the government's effort to secure so-called "soft" targets such as malls, stadiums, bridges, etc. In fact, some security experts predict that checkpoints and screening stations will eventually be established at all soft targets, such as department stores, restaurants, and schools. Given the virtually limitless number of potential soft targets vulnerable to terrorist attack, subjection to intrusive pat-downs and full-body imaging will become an integral component of everyday life in the United States. As Jim Harper of the Cato Institute observed, "The natural illogic of VIPR stings is that terrorism can strike anywhere, so VIPR teams should search anywhere."

For now, under the pretext of protecting the nation's infrastructure (roads, mass transit systems, water and power supplies, telecommunications systems, and so on) against criminal or terrorist attacks, these VIPR teams are being deployed to do random security sweeps of nexuses of transportation, including ports, railway and bus stations, airports, ferries and subways. VIPR teams are also being deployed to elevate the security presence at certain special events such as the Democratic National Convention. Sweep tactics include the use of x-ray technology, pat-downs and drug-sniffing dogs, among other things. Unfortunately, these sweeps are not confined to detecting terrorist activity. Federal officials have admitted that transit screening is also intended, at least in some instances, to detect illegal immigration or even cash smuggling.

Incredibly, in the absence of any viable threat, VIPR teams--roving SWAT teams, with no need for a warrant--have conducted 8,000 such searches in public places over the past year. For example, in February 2011, a VIPR team conducted a raid at an Amtrak station in Georgia, not only patting down all passengers--both adults and small children alike--entering the station but also those departing. In a characteristic display of incompetence, TSA agents co-opted the station and posted a sign on the door informing patrons that anyone who entered would be subject to mandatory screening (this, despite the fact that boarding passengers can easily bypass the station entirely and access the boarding area directly). One officer rummaged through a passenger's hand luggage and even smelled her perfume. A vacationing firefighter roped into the search commented, "It was just not professional. It was just weird. We are being harassed by the TSA." In fact, when Amtrak Police Chief John O'Connor was informed of VIPR's activities, he 'hit the ceiling' and banned VIPR personnel from entering Amtrak property.

These raids, conducted at taxpayer expense on average Americans going about their normal, day-to-day business, run the gamut from the ridiculous to the abusive. In Santa Fe, TSA agents were assigned to conduct searches at a high school prom. At the port of Brownsville, in Texas, VIPR units searched all private and commercial vehicles entering and exiting the port. Although the TSA admitted the search was not conducted in response to any specific threat, VIPR agents nonetheless engaged in "thorough" inspections of each and every vehicle. In a training exercise in Atlanta, VIPR teams allegedly arrested a man after discovering a small amount of marijuana in his semi-trailer. In San Diego, a VIPR investigation at a trolley station resulted in the deportation of three teenagers apprehended on their way to school.

In April 2011, Homeland Security official Gary Milano stated that VIPR teams involved in a raid at a Tampa bus station, again conducted in the absence of any threat, were there "to sort of invent the wheel in advance in case we have to, if there ever is specific intelligence requiring us to be here. This way us and our partners are ready to move in at a moment's notice." He added, "We'll be back. We won't say when we'll be back. This way the bad guys are on notice we'll be back."

Likewise, in an intimidating display of force in June 2011, VIPR conducted a vast training exercise--that is, a military raid--covering more than 5,000 square miles' worth of crucial infrastructure sites such as bridges, gas lines, and power plants between Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The raid included members of 70 different agencies, over 400 state and federal agents, Black Hawk helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and Coast Guard vessels. Although the surveillance activities constituted an exercise rather than a response to an actual terrorist threat, the sweep was clearly calculated to produce a deterrent effect. According to TSA official Michael Cleveland, the purpose of the exercise was to "have a visible presence and let people know we're out here. It can be a deterrent."

The question that must be asked, of course, is who exactly is the TSA trying to target and intimidate? Not would-be terrorists, given that scattershot pat-down stings are unlikely to apprehend or deter terrorists. In light of the fact that average citizens are the ones receiving the brunt of the TSA's efforts, it stands to reason that we've become public enemy number one. We are all suspects. And how does the TSA deal with perceived threats? Its motto, posted at the TSA's air marshal training center headquarters in the wake of 9/11, is particularly telling: "Dominate. Intimidate. Control."

Those three words effectively sum up the manner in which the government now relates to its citizens, making a travesty of every democratic ideal our representatives spout so glibly and reinforcing the specter of the police state. After all, no government that truly respects or values its citizens would subject them to such intrusive, dehumanizing, demoralizing, suspicionless searches. Yet by taking the TSA's airport screenings nationwide with VIPR and inserting the type of abusive authoritarianism already present in airports into countless other sectors of American life, the government is expanding the physical and psychological scope of the police state apparatus.

VIPR activities epitomize exactly the kind of farcical security theater the government has come to favor through its use of coded color alerts and other largely superficial yet meaningless maneuvers. These stings do, however, inculcate and condition citizens to a culture of submissiveness towards authority and regularize intrusive, suspicionless searches as a facet of everyday life. In April, for instance, at a Tampa bus station, VIPR patted down passengers and used dogs to search the luggage. That type of small-scale, random operation provides little actual value but does impart to some citizens a false sense of security. A passenger in Tampa, for instance, commented, "I feel safe, knowing that I get on a bus and I'm not going to blow up."

It's an ingenious plan: the incremental ratcheting-up of intrusive searches (VIPR searches are not yet widespread), combined with the gradual rollout of VIPR teams permits the normalization of TSA activities while inciting minimal resistance, thereby muting dissent and enabling the ultimate implementation of totalitarian-style authoritarianism.

Sadly, this repeated degradation by government officials of Americans engaged in common activities inevitably normalizes what is essentially an abusive relationship to such an extent that authority figures are permitted to trample Americans' constitutional rights with impunity. And those abused are prevented even from protesting. Reinforcing this latter point is the TSA's recent admission that those who merely exercise their First Amendment rights by complaining about intrusive airport security exhibit a behavioral indicator of a "high risk" passenger that, in combination with other behavioral indicators, warrants additional screening.

The expansion of the police state is also fueled by the dynamics present in the relationship between a politician and his constituents. Popular anger over government policies is difficult to sustain for an extended period of time. Outrage over the TSA scanners, for instance, will have substantially diminished by the time the next election cycle occurs. Thus, in many cases, politicians have little incentive to roll back the national security apparatus. In the other direction, however, the incentives are substantial: a politician who dismantles portions of the police state risks being labeled soft on terrorism. The trend, therefore, is to strike a politically cautious balance by incrementally expanding the national security bureaucracy, thereby avoiding inciting civil libertarian outrage.

TSA and VIPR searches also indoctrinate children to accept pat-downs, full-body scans, and the like, as a regular component of the relationship between government and its citizens. In this way, police state tactics will gradually grow in acceptance as simply "the way things are." A child who has been molested by government officials since before he could read is unlikely to question such activities as an unjustified exercise of authority when an adult.

We need to find a way to soft-kill this bureaucratic snakenest before they force us by their predations to hard-kill these snakes individually.

I invite discussion on non-violent ways to harass them out of existence. Target businesses who cooperate with them? Harass/recall local Sheriffs who provide bully boys for their Gestapo checkpoints?


Mark Matis said...

You have far more faith in this country's political parties and "Law Enforcement" than I do.

Dedicated_Dad said...

Given the parameters set for said discussion, I'm afraid I have NOTHING to add.

The Blood, it BOILS.

Disciple of Night said...

Insulting posters, featuring them in comics such as "Day by Day," yell out "pervert!" or "sleezbag!" if you witness such an act or are the target of such an act (capturing video of such outbursts would be great, never fails to provoke outrage, especially if a kid or elderly person is involved),

Make them uneasy each time they go to work.

Make them hate their job.

Of course, before any of THAT can be done, the regular folks have to be made to care enough so they'll make a fuss.

Anonymous said...

Soft kill?? Ask the Easter Bunny, wish upon a star, vote for a r or d, write congress, find a 4 leaf clover, demonstrate, sing kum-bah-yah, any of which will have equal effect. They won't change while there are no real consequences, only rewards for their actions.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the TSA only is able to draw jurisdictional authority to operate outside of the aviation safety arena because we are STILL in a presidentially declared "National Emergency" and have been for a very long time. This needs to go past someone smarter than me, but I feel one way to restrain TSA is to do away with the permanent "National Emergency". Then we can possibly get back to normal ops.

Anonymous said...

I don't know any way to deal with this that is soft. What they are doing is illegal and unconstitutional and absolutely no one is going to stop this because they don't give a shit about the constitution or your freedom, your rights or what you think about anything.

How much more transparent do they need to be? Killing federal agents with US guns in order to undermine the second amendment. Using paramilitary police to conduct warrant-less, reasonless, unlawful, unconstitutional searches because they want to and no one will stop them. How much more evidence do you need about this government? They aren't going to stop.

The pebbles are ratlling in the cans.

luckyforward said...

Einsatzgruppen - "Special task forces" composed of police, military, and intelligence personnel.

BobG said...

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
- H. L. Mencken

Anonymous said...

The "feds" have no jurisdiction outside of the corporation's 10 mile square area, popularly known as DC.
No "fed" can operate anywhere outside of this area - unless people allow them to.
Wise up people; they do these things because you allow them to.

Col Bat Guano said...

I agree with Disciple of Night. As the TSA works to break our resistance, work to break the spirit and morale of their rank and file personnel. Those people receive no benefits from the intoxicating national power craved by their superiors, so make excellent targets for derision as they perform their "duty" - the excuse attempted by nearly every Nazi tried at Nuremburg. Make them understand they are detested more than lawyers (Rutherford attorneys excepted). Make them cry as they leave their shift and drive home to hug their spouses and children knowing what they did to someone else's. Make them wake up at 0300 shivering from the panic attack onset knowing they have to return to the same insults and derision in a few hours. Make them hate their very lives and perhaps we'll TSA crumble from within.

Erkl Holder said...

Yes, Disciple and Anony- you say the thing I have suggested about the regular TSA terrorists - follow them into stores, markets, get their addresses to subscribe them to informational mailings they might enjoy; post their emails or phone numbers, after all, they ARE public servants, no?
confront them LOUDLY in any public places; Tell their neighbors what they DO - child molesters, perverts, gestapo, etc. learn what they drive, where they socialize. give them NO peace.
Ask yourself -
What Would Michael Collins Do?

Arctic Patriot said...

A "soft" kill?

That won't happen. The TSA operates with impunity at our airports already in spite of numerous efforts by states, groups, and individuals to "soft kill" their degredation of the people.

And, if you resist, will your arrest and incarceration be "soft"?

Maybe the ranges TSA is building are for NERF weapons.

No, in spite of the fact that I want to be optimistic, I cannot believe that this will go away through any system-approved means.

I posted about this a while back.

I think I called it "The Coming End of Avoidance as an Option."

The Sons of Liberty knew how to deal with such vipers.


rustynail said...

"We need to find a way to soft-kill this bureaucratic snakenest before they force us by their predations to hard-kill these snakes individually."

Can we find a variation of the Cloward-Piven Strategy, e.g., overwhelm the bureacracy with the need to "screen"/"inspect" the chosen populace?

Not sure how to do that. Suspect that it'll be more effective with forms of travel besides airlines, such as bus, rail, light rail, automobile.

At some point, it'll be necessary to draw a line in the sand.


Bad Cyborg said...

I don't reckon it will be long now. When Mr. Obama gets his 2nd term and the dems win back the house (remember, it is not the person who votes that counts but the person who counts the votes) the left will go into warp overdrive. At that point it will not be long before enough people get aggravated enough and the war starts.

I figure civil war isn't a matter of "if" but "when". So much prep still to do; so little time.

Something evil just came into my head. What if modern Sons of Liberty started planting signs reading "PERVERT!" or "PEDO" or "CHILD MOLESTER" or such like in the yards of TSA gropers, VIPR team members, TSA brass and so forth? Reckon it'd get their attention? Would they be embarrassed by it, or consider it a badge of honor?

Dark days ahead, friends. Dark days indeed.

Anonymous said...

Look....it's a pretty simple concept with the tyranny being fostered in this country...."lock and load". "Engage when ready".

That's the bottom line. Taking videos, writing letters to the editor of your local PRAVDA, e-mailing your congressrat, is not going to get rid of these scum and cause them to cease their tyrannical encroachment upon our once free citizenry.

Lock and load. Prepare for the worst....age 15 to 80....lock and load. It's our liberty. Our freedom.


Dave said...

"The raid included members of 70 different agencies, over 400 state and federal agents"

The question "How far will your local police officers go along with unconstitutional orders before refusing to obey any further?" has now been answered.

The question of how much infringement upon rights and freedom the general population will tolerate remains to be answered, but so far it doesn't look too promising.

Darkness approaches.

Anonymous said...

Projectile vomit on them day and night.

MikeinNJ said...

Indeed the next mission post-Gunwalker! One step at a time, Mike. Plenty of ordnance available

Anonymous said...

Quisling Bastards should be afraid for anyone to know who they work for out of embarrassment.

http://oathbreakers.blogspot.com/ might be the place to out them.

Yank lll

Anonymous said...

"In light of the fact that average citizens are the ones receiving the brunt of the TSA’s efforts, it stands to reason that we’ve become public enemy number one. We are all suspects."

"VIPR" is appropriate nomenclature for this vermin. Snakes have curved teeth, so that when the prey attempts to escape their jaws, the teeth act like a lock and the victim can not get away.


Ed said...

"And those abused are prevented even from protesting. Reinforcing this latter point is the TSA's recent admission that those who merely exercise their First Amendment rights by complaining about intrusive airport security exhibit a behavioral indicator of a "high risk" passenger that, in combination with other behavioral indicators, warrants additional screening."

So, if I am a member of a terrorist cell, a workable strategy would be for some of my associates and myself to draw attention by asserting our 1st Amendment rights, drawing resources away from those who only appear meek?

Sort of a Calais vs. Normandy misdirection strategy?

Mickey Collins said...

Signs? Write it with RoundUp.

What if modern Sons of Liberty started planting signs reading "PERVERT!" or "PEDO" or "CHILD MOLESTER" or such like in the yards of TSA gropers, VIPR team members, TSA brass and so forth?

Anonymous said...

I recall a device that was available to women to prevent a rape--some type of razor blade device that was inserted into the vagina that would shred a penis upon its first insertion. It took a tool to remove the device. Can we design such a device to shread their hads when illegally groped, one that would escape x-ray?

Mark Matis said...

Great idea, Mickey Collins. Great idea!

But you had better make sure if they have CCTV first...

hkgonra said...

I heard Beck talking last week about the TSA being Obama's civilian army that he talked about during the campaign and that how they have just been unionized under AFL-CIO. I thought it was a stretch and now I read this about VIPR. Makes perfect sense now, guess Beck was right.

MyUSConstitution said...

At some point, if we get enough of this crap, and without even lifting a finger, the snake would disappear in a day.

Refuse to fly.

Refuse to ride the train.

Refuse to ride the bus.

Refuse to go to the mall.

Don't drive your car.

Don't go to work.

I'm in...

Any other participants? Hmmm....

It was a good thought anyway.


Mt Top Patriot said...

Declared Marshal Law and disappearing Americans is not far off.

Michael Gilson said...

If ever unfortunate enough to come into contact with TSA gropengrupen I plan to loudly ask, "For five bucks more do I get happy ending?"

Francis W. Porretto said...

Has the TSA held one of these surprise-party grope-a-thons in a shall-issue concealed-carry state yet?

Ace said...

A few ideas:

1. Refuse to use any company or service that is "protected" by TSA, and tell the businesses that you formerly used why you will no longer be doing so
2. Move out of / away from communities that introduce TSA
3. Collect names, photos, license plate numbers, home addresses, family member names, etc, about anyone who works for or supports the TSA, and publish them online
4. Refuse to do business of any kind with anyone who works with or supports the TSA
5. Civil disobiedience: demonstrations, maybe paint used in innovative ways, etc.
6. Encourage others to do the same

The idea with #1 and #2 is to get corporate America on our side. They are an effective force for change when properly motivated.

The underlying problem here is that most people think it's the government's job to "keep them safe." Until that changes, the nature and rate of the ongoing usurpations will only become more obvious and severe.

WarriorClass said...

Perhaps the best option right now is to just let them continue with this harassment, until the blood of every American boils against them. Let them gather to us all the support of the American people.


Anonymous said...

I think someone has already started working on it.


Anonymous said...

The first step is to gather intel. The names and addresses of anyone involved with VIPR should be collected.

Anonymous said...

What Would Michael Collins Do?

Well, he wouldn't be entertaining ideas of "soft kill" at this point.

They have declared war. So far, no one has responded to their declaration.

Mark Roote said...

I have just copied you on an email to my representatives. Feel free to post it if you like, please remove my address if you decide to share it.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea, lets draw up a list of things the government can't do to us. Lets call it hmmm, a "Bill of Rights" that can't be infringed upon. /sarc

Time to open your eyes, its too late. just prepare yourself, your kids and your family for whats coming.


curly said...

Well, there are a boatload of civilian government employees that fly. Maybe we could hit the airlines in the pocket book. The following meme might be planted in the appropriate venues: "Any government employee who swore to defend the constitution and then *chooses* to travel where TSA is operating is supporting the TSA, at the taxpayers expense, and is guilty of treason. Like the guy said... that oath didn't come with an on & off switch. So even if you aint in the service no more don't mean you didn't swear to it."

(OK, I admit the 'Treason' word might be a little strong for general consumption, even if it is accurate. Also I readily acknowledge that this isn't going to help a lot but it might be used as part of a larger approach.)

Anyway, these TSA 'people' probably took the same oath. Once the idea begins to take hold,a variant of the meme would later be planted and repeated. That TSA employees who swore to protect our constitution are traitors themselves.

Of course, this would take a co-ordinated approach to be successful so, although a cogent rational letter to my local newspaper editor probably isn't enough, it will have to do, at least for now.

(I wonder, does posting the proposed strategy here where others can read it make it less effective? Perhaps the moderator should not allow this post?)

Anonymous said...

Hello! Some one mentioned an oath. The oath our military takes includes the words "...defend our country from enemies, foreign and domestic". TSA and VIPR are showing themselves to be enemies of the American people. Take them out!