TSA strong-arms other countries over “security”

We’ve written before about the fact that the Department of Homeland Security, an organization solely of the United States government, has infested airports abroad. Now, in the hysteria over the downed Malaysian jet, the U.S. is stepping up its pressure on foreign nations.

First, if you don’t already know about the U.S. “security” activity in other countries, here are a few resources: a New York Times article from 2012 called “U.S. Security Expands Presence at Foreign Airports”; then, from our favorite site, the TSA Blog, a 2009 post called “TSA’s Work Abroad.” For anyone with awareness of historical context, the word “collaborating” has particular resonance:

With more than 2450* daily inbound flights to the U.S. from all over the world, TSA has put a major focus on collaborating with foreign aviation authorities and sharing best practices, intelligence, technological innovations, and expertise so that flights coming into the United States have the same level of security as those departing the U.S.

Let’s not forget the nifty acronyms, beloved of bureaucrats and authoritarians everywhere — you just know somebody got a raise for coming up with this one:

Twenty-two TSA Representatives (TSARs) are deployed worldwide to serve as DHS’s “boots on the ground”; interfacing with international partners, coordinating the DHS response to transportation-related terrorist threats and incidents, and facilitating the security assessments conducted by TSA’s security specialists at more than 300 airports in more than 100 different countries. TSA’s international teams have successfully vetted 100% of airports with direct flights into the United States.

TSA’s “security specialists.” Oh my god. The stupid — it burns.

In the wake of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 somewhere over the Indian Ocean, an occurrence about which we still have no hard evidence, people are, of course, jumping to all kinds of conclusions. One of those unfounded conclusions involves terrorism. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that Malaysian airports are tightening security:

On the ground, MAHB has made it mandatory for anyone taking an international flight to pass through two metal-detectors and undergo a body search before they board.

The travellers must now also remove their shoes, belt, jackets, and any electronic devices such as cellphones and laptop computers for separate scanning. Bottled drinking water is not allowed to be brought aboard.

And guess who’s driving that decision:

The United States, Britain, and Australia had asked that security checks on all passengers flying to the countries be increased.

MAHB has also extended such checks to other international flights and has adopted the same prohibited items list applied by the US Transportation Security Administration.

But of course — in the absence of any evidence of anything other than the fact that the plane went down, let’s ratchet up “security” to make people “feel safe.”

Because “Terrorism!”

Then again, we can’t even talk about it — another tried-and-true TSA tactic:

A MAS spokesman confirmed that the airline has increased security and enhanced monitoring procedures on board all its aircraft.

“However, for security purposes we are unable to discuss any of these procedures publicly.”

One thing they can talk about publicly is that if you go to the bathroom, better not take anything with you. That could get you put under suspicion:

“Stewards and stewardesses must also watch out for travellers behaving suspiciously or passengers taking hand luggage into the toilet,” said the pilot who asked not to be identified.

You see, if you’re about to retch because you have a stomach bug and you race to the bathroom so as not to puke on your fellow passengers, you may be a terrorist. If you want to brush your teeth, better hold your toothbrush and toothpaste high, so everyone can see you have no nefarious intent (that is, if Terroristy Toothpaste is even allowed onboard). If you’re a teenage girl, already self-conscious about the strange new ways of your body, and you’re having your period, good luck trying to discreetly carry any sanitary products to the bathroom — you might be a terrorist.

Bon voyage!