TSA now screening subway riders in NYC subway system

Posted on April 21st, 2010 by bile
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The same Transportation Security Administration that has caught a lot of grief over its job securing airports may now face its toughest crowd: New York City subway riders. The TSA has offered 12 of its explosive-detection workers to assist the NYPD in bag searches.

While the searches themselves are controversial, New Yorkers we asked said they like the idea of getting free assistance.

With fewer people flying, there is less demand for airport security. And more demand for resources in a city that faces a reduction in its police force.

If you encounter a checkpoint carrying a big backpack or suitcase or even a stuffed tote bag you are more likely to be searched. You can refuse, but you’ll have to leave the station. You face arrest if you try to sneak back in.

The TSA workers will be paired with members of the police department. Their job: To check baggage for traces of explosives.

I noticed them this morning at the 42nd Street Port Authority subway entrance. There appeared to be 2 or 3 TSA agents and several officers. Note in the video above all the paramilitary they show. That is not what you see all the time but it certainly is common. And how they fail to mention that when you refuse a search, yes you have to leave that entrance, but you may walk to the next station or an alternate entrance without harassment.

And I love the part in the story about how the city has cut police and there are less people flying so to keep up the level of the police state they are moving TSA to the subways (and likely the buses).

Obscured Truth Network presents Detroit TSA Security Theater

Posted on January 21st, 2010 by bile
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Recession hits fascist police state

Posted on June 23rd, 2009 by bile
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clearAllowing people to quickly hop through airport security with a TSA-verified biometric “fast passes,” Clear had great idea on their hands. Sadly, as of yesterday, their freeflowing security lanes will be closed.

So what was it? Did tightened government regulations make operating impossible? Was there some kind of security breach? An issue with the TSA granting a virtual monopoly to a private fast track service? Nope! It was something simpler, and more timely. Cue their goodbye email:

Clear to Cease Operations

Dear xxxx xxxx,

At 11:00 p.m. PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear’s parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.

After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable.

Clear Customer Support

Apparently not enough people were willing to spring for the service, which could cost as much as $199. Looking at the numbers, though, it’s clear obvious that Clear never really took off, spreading to just 20 airports and garnering about 150,000 subscribers.

The company hasn’t yet announced how they plan to deal with those subscribers—an impatient bunch, I’m guessing—but as far as getting any kind of service refund, this sparingly worded announcement doesn’t bode well.

TSA may start searching bags in NYC subways

Posted on April 29th, 2009 by bile
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The city’s overall budget cuts are apparently hitting the NYPD right in the subway bag check area. MyFoxNY reports that with few police officers available, “Transportation Security Administration bag screeners from Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports will be replacing most NYPD cops in the subway that screen bags for explosives.” The TSA wouldn’t confirm the plan (but did say taking TSA screeners from airports and putting them underground wouldn’t effect air safety) and the NYPD says these are just talks. However, sources tell MyFoxNY it’s likely to happen—and it’ll work this way: “About 30 TSA screeners a day will be pulled from the three area airports Monday through Friday to inspect bags at various subway locations throughout the city. At each location they’ll be teamed up with one police officer instead of the two or three officers you currently see at inspection sites.” Naturally, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association says this is a terrible idea and says budget crisis or no, the NYPD needs more cops.

I hope this happens before I leave and they increase the frequency of the searches. I’ve not had the chance to refuse a search in a long time even though it seems they are more often in the new South Ferry station than they used to be. It’ll be more fun to tell a cop and a TSA agent no than 2 or 3 cops.

Becky Akers speaks at the 2009-04-25 NYC End the Fed rally

Posted on April 29th, 2009 by bile
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Good for him: Polish pianist stops show with anti-US tirade

Posted on April 28th, 2009 by bile
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Krystian Zimerman, the great Polish concert pianist, is usually a man of few words. He doesn’t, as a rule, talk to the audience during performances. He says little or nothing in the press between his all-too-rare concert tours – not even about his habit of travelling everywhere with his own Steinway grand piano. He rarely grants them the pleasure of an encore.

So he triggered more than the usual rumble of discomfort when he raised his voice in the closing stages of a recital at Los Angeles’ Disney Hall on Sunday night and announced he would no longer perform in the United States in protest against Washington’s military policies.

“Get your hands off my country,” Zimerman told the stunned crowd in a denunciation of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil. Some people cheered, others yelled at him to shut up and keep playing. A few dozen walked out, some of them shouting obscenities.

“Yes,” Zimerman responded with derision, “some people when they hear the word military start marching.”

According to Mark Swed, the Los Angeles Times’s veteran classical music critic who witnessed the incident, Zimerman hesitated before deciding to speak up. He was about to strike up the first notes of the final piece on his programme, Karol Szymanowski’s Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, when he “sat silently at the piano for a moment, almost began to play, but then turned to the audience”.

Swed said he delivered his tirade “in a quiet but angry voice that did not project well”.

Zimerman appears to have been upset by Barack Obama’s decision, announced this month, to maintain the Bush-era policy of installing a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Obama insisted the shield was part of a defensive posture against Iran, not Russia, and that he intended to remove it as soon as the threat from Iran subsided. But many Poles have accused the US of wanting to mount a military occupation of their country, and fear the shield could make them a target of Russian aggression.

Zimerman, though, has developed something of a track record – especially since the 9/11 attacks. In 2006 he announced he would not return to the United States until George Bush was out of office. The same year, at Baltimore’s Shriver Hall, he prefaced his performance of Beethoven’s Pathetique sonata with a denunciation of America’s prison at Guantánamo Bay.

At least some of his opprobrium appears to be personal. Shortly after 9/11, his piano was confiscated by customs officials at New York’s JFK airport, who thought the glue smelled funny. They subsequently destroyed the instrument.

For several years he chose to travel with just the mechanical insides of his own piano and install them – he is a master piano repairer, as well as player – inside a Steinway shell he borrowed from the company in New York. In 2006 he tried to travel with his own piano again, only to have it held up in customs for five days and disrupt his performance schedule.