Sunday, October 26, 2014

Odds Are, You Are Suspicious | American Civil Liberties Union

Odds Are, You Are Suspicious | American Civil Liberties Union: According to the Guidelines for Amtrak Customer Service Employees in Texas, which the ACLU has received as a result of a FOIA request, ticket agents may come in contact with travelers whose conduct is "indicative of criminal activity." Amtrak says supposed indicators of such activity should immediately be reported to trained law enforcement personnel. (source: ACLU.)

One thing they list as suspicious behavior: looking around while talking on the phone. I always do that, I like to look (what, I'm supposed to stare into my hand?) and nothing wrong with being aware of your surroundings in general. Some of us have active imaginative minds, hard to quell the old creative process inside your head, especially when out in public. Which brings me to another one of their suspicious behaviors that surely indicate nothing but trouble: whether or not you get off the train ahead of everyone else, or, after. In other words, go with the flow. I always leave last, or sometimes first if I can. One reason is due to anxiety and claustophia; why get mushed in a crowd, when I can wait a moment, gather my things in peace, and not get swept along with the rush? Taking pics of trains and what have you is another suspicious activity. The idea anyone would want to take photos of where they've been as touristy keepsakes and a journal of where they've been, let alone any artistic reason for taking photos, escapes such Kafka like bureaucrats. And paying cash? Forget about it; that definitely means you're a psychotic sociopathic terrorist bent on mayhem. 

Clearly the message is: don't panic, don't think, don't wonder, don't take care of yourself. Just blend in quietly, follow along, shut up and keep quiet and keep moving.

All this post 9/11 lie of keeping us safe from terrorists has now become so deeply set into our daily lives it's not questioned much. For when it is questioned that only means you're trouble.

There are even more insidious reasons behind these guises of protecting citizens from harm. As the article points out, racial profiling and civil asset forfeiture among them:

We have reason to believe that Amtrak's policies also provide grounds for civil asset forfeiture, a process that effectively allows cops to engage in highway robbery, and often results in racial profiling. The documents we received include agreements between Amtrak and the Las Vegas Police Department, Reno Police Department, and Louisiana state police. The agreements not only officially enable a practice of confiscating money and property from passengers without due process, but also mandate "[e]quitable sharing of forfeited assets;" in other words, state agencies get a cut of assets seized by Amtrak police. Reports of asset forfeiture indicate that the police target those they associate with criminal behavior and drug trafficking – black and Latino men. (ACLU)
So think hard about traveling with a lot of cash. I'd suggest hiding it well but no doubt that won't stop them from finding it. Cash sniffing dogs are not so outside the fascist reality.

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