More Evidence that scanners don't work

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More Evidence that scanners don't work

Post by kbot » 11-23-2010 12:59 PM

I received this article earlier today. It's a industry (medical imaging) article on the topic of airport scanners. Using standard phantom quality control testing, the article shows how the scanners can be very easily fooled and simply are not a reliable means of detecting the substances we have been told they are designed to detect.

http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/safety ... memberme=1

Snippet from article:

Finally, the justification for all this: The flying public’s safety. But that claim may be questioned as well. We have modeled the machine’s performance using publicly available information on the units and a Monte Carlo program developed by investigators for CERN, the European Council for Nuclear Research. We concluded that only a very poorly informed malefactor would be foiled by these machines. This conclusion has been expressed by others familiar with the technology. (Airport body scanners would be "unlikely" to detect many of the explosive devices used by terrorist groups, a Tory MP has warned; Government Accountability Office says airport body scanners may not have thwarted Christmas Day bombing; Full-Body Scanners Offer a Sneak Peek at TSA Bumbling)


On last night's MSNBC Hardball, Ginger McCall referenced better equipment already in place in the Netherlands, and that, perhaps, this American system was rushed into service.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40337888/ns ... _matthews/

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Post by Bobbi Snow » 11-24-2010 02:29 AM

So, kbot... what's the next move? Strip searches to get on an airplane? I suppose some of the public are stupid enough to submit to that... but I'm not.
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Post by kbot » 11-24-2010 08:18 AM

No, I don't believe that. But this system obviously doesn't work. Aside from the issues increasingly raised across the country, dating back years now - a rationale for searches based soley on being politically correct (ie. everyone is guilty), we have the issue of the scanners themselves. For the reason being given to us by our government, that is, to detect bombs, the fact of the matter is that they don't work. At least, not the type of explosives being used increasingly by terrorists.

Then there is the issue of the rule of unintended consequences. If someone really wanted to create terror, then what better target than the one just created by the government of having a line of packed individuals - men, women, children, the elderly, etc, packed single file, going through a labyrinth of security. As was pointed out on one of the news shows recently, if someone really wanted to detonate a bomb, why not do it inside the airport. Just wait in line and set if off before getting to security, because, prior to getting to the checkpoint, there is no security......

The system we have now has produced results where we are seeing people ranging from autistic children to infirm elderly and nuns being harrassed by TSA staff with no practical education on how to do their job and deal effectively with people. Don't know if you saw or heard the elderly gentleman who was - call it what it was "assaulted" by a TSA staffer. The passenger had a prosthetic device and he attempted to reason with the TSA staffer, and show him his card frm the hosptal where he had he procedure done, explaining what the device was, that he had a medically valid reason for having it, and so forth. Where I work, we issue cards such as this all the time, especially for patients who have had radiation treatments in our oncology clinic, and nuclear medicine procedures because trace isotopes can set-off the alarms at the airports.

But, these buffoons either are incapable of, or haven't been trained to care and effectively deal with people. So, we have reports of autistic children being stripped, adults being stripped, post surgical elderly being soaked in urine in the middle of a busy airport, in full view of others there - all because we have a system rushed into service and staffed by individuals who don't know how to do their job properly.

OK, you asked a question: what to do? OK, well, let's look at the scanners. These don't work. Not for the purported reason. Ostensibly, they are there to be able to spot "non-traditional" explosives. But, as Ginger McCall noted on MSNBC the other night, and the article I posted also demonstrates, for this reason, these units are incapable of finding those items. And, even then, you would think that the terrorists would have moved on to some other method, rendering this new expensive and questionable system obsolete. Then there is the issue of scanners that do work. They seem to work fine. The only problem is, they're in Europe, not here. Which raises the question of why do we have THIS system? And, for that you have to look at the people and companies who gained from having these scanners rushed into airports here, and why those units were chosen over superior units used in Europe. But, this is a whole other issue, and detracts from the question of "what do to?". OK, so why not emulate the practices that have been used so successfully for decades by Israel?

Other than the red-herring issue of "profiling" tell me, what other reason is there to not go with their system? If you don't know what their system consists of, very briefly it begins with profiling - not on race, but on behaviour. Airports already have cameras in place, so why not use them to good use? Secondly, the Israelis use a series of questions and screening techniques - looking at past travel (based on the passport), pointed questions, planned air travel (one-way and no luggage????) to assist them in weeding out the obvious non-threats and focus instead on individuals that may present a threat. Using a structured program staffed by people who have been trained, the Israelis have the safest airline in terms of security. Because they learned their lessons and developed practical working solutions.

OK, here's a question - the terrorists all originated on their flights overseas. Then why impose this system on domestic travel? Shouldn't this system of screening begin in European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries? Doesn't that make more sense to screen people in the areas that we already know have produced terrorists, or in areas where they boarded their flights, than in focusing our energies on trying to carpet bomb our domestic transportation system? And, even so, there is still no reason why a scaled-back system of profiling based on behaviour cannot be implemented here. Absolutely no reason. This system does not favor one's race or perceived religion over another's. It's based on how one ACTS and REACTS and can capture information far in advance of the ineffective machines and untrained staff.

Maybe it's not a perfect solution, but, as the Israelis have shown us - and they have been dealing with terrorism a heck of a lot longer than we have - this system works. Perhaps the idea of "profiling" - of whatever type, is repugnant to you or others, but, factually, we all profile every single day of our lives, whether we want to be totally honest about it or just lie to ourselves. We all do it. So, they choice is: "Be politically correct" and make ourselves feel good on some PC scale and say "See, we don't discriminate against anyone!!", and have zero effect on terrorists because, as our own law enforecement, military and intelligence agencies have already told us, these people just move on to the next method of causing terror, and all we have to show for it is a domestic transportatoin system with has millions of unhapy customers who have now switched to cars, AMTRAK or buses - or refuse to travel at all...... or, we can smarten-up, develop a system that focuses on those who present a threat and deals with them effectively and in a timely manner, and refuses to engage in fear mongering and blanket guilt by association (You travel, therefore you're a criminal).

I'm sorry, but, I would opt for the Israeli system anyday than having to continue to see law-abiding people harrassed and mishandled simply because the staffers we have now either can't, or don't know how to deal with customers with medical issues and have to resort to sideshows and urine-soaked passengers. This issue here is that this system doesn'r cope well with the "non-normal" screening experience. Anything out of the ordinary, sends this system in paroxysms of doubt and fear. Because they're not trained, they think that anything can be a bomb - because in their very limited training, that is precisely what they've been trained to believe. So, for expeditiousness' sake, this is the system we have. We, as a country can, and should do better. We have two examples that I know of, and there may be more - the scanners in Europe and the screening techniques that El Al uses. Other than having to forgo the huggy-feeling emotion of being able to say that "we don't profile" what practical, real-world reason can there possibly be for maintaining the broken system that we currently have? And, again, I am not saying that I am against screening. I am just for having and using a better system.

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Post by Cherry Kelly » 11-24-2010 11:28 AM

GOING beyond just Airports!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101124/ap_ ... e_scanners

courthouse.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administrat ... the-metro-

url says it....

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gee how far do they plan to go??

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Post by kbot » 11-24-2010 12:46 PM

Scary, isn't it? Using this rationale (This site can be a target because of the large numbers of people) then, any virtually place can be set-up for this type of screening. Really. Think about it. At any given mall between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas. At any major college or professional football stadium. On any major highway. At any major theater or museum. Could keep going, but, using their rationale, it's not too difficult to perceive the world being envisioned - and for what purpose? If the goal of the terrorists is to cripple society through fear an intimidation, they are winning - because the government is so paralyzed that they can't think outside the box. Maybe it's going to take a seizmic shift in the way people (and the government) think and act to facilitate this. Perhaps society relies too much on the government, and the government, being providers of many services knows that this is the case, that they go to extremes, but, let's look at two examples of how different countries reacted to terror/ war both real and perceived. In WWII, in England, the civilian populace was bombed constantly. What did they do? They certainly didn't freak out, but the did devise solutions using combinations of moving to the countryside (where possible), working together, moving underground to escape the effects of bombing, and relying on an intelligence service that actually worked. Here we have an intelligence network that captures just about every electronic communication around the globe - but nothing seems to be done with the information. Again, being PC - the gays in the military who could translate many of these communications, were forced out. In the USSR, the government fearing a US nuclear strike developed a series of underground shelters for the populace so that, in case of a nuclear war, at least some people will survive. In both instances, after an assessment of the situation a solution was arrived at which served to help the people and thwart, as much as possible, the effects of bombings. Sometimes, people just need to think of solutions that are not perceived in some drawing room as flashy or expedient. All we're doing at this rate is to create what Alex Jones has called a "Total Surveillance" society. I guarantee it, the next phase will include some sort of biometric "smart-card" form of identification. For your protection , of course.......:rolleyes:

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Post by Cherry Kelly » 11-27-2010 11:23 AM

...and with the radiation cards that many nurses/drs who work with x-rays know about - seems that those scanners CAN malfunction (overload) and not be discovered right away...

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scary!

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Post by kbot » 11-28-2010 10:12 AM

Cherry Kelly wrote: ...and with the radiation cards that many nurses/drs who work with x-rays know about - seems that those scanners CAN malfunction (overload) and not be discovered right away...

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scary!


Assuming that you're talking about dosimeters, or "film badges". These are small TLD chips, contained a holder worn either at the level of the thyroid, or, in a ring, worn on the dominant hand. These are sent to a lab and read, and it shows the amount of radiation exposure that is received occupationally. As employees working with radiation, we have dose limits set by the FDA of 5 RAD/ year. Because of the disasters in California, Alabama and South Carolina, where patients have been exposed to much higher doses of radiation than necessary in the performance of CT Brain Perfusion Scans, the FDA is about to enact a new set of regulations which will require that all radiation doses be documented in the patient's medical record. This is not the case, currently. In some states, such as Massachusetts, fluoroscopy dose is required to be documented, but, with an over-reliance on CT, and CT's inherently higher dose over fluoroscopy and "plain-film" x-ray, the likelihood of doing harm is greater. Also, consider, that while the likelihood of any harm being done to the patient is relatively small, there is what is called the "no-threshold" theory, meaning that, there is no magic number below which, or above which it can be safely assumed, with a 100% ironclad guarantee that cancer will or will not be caused by the use of ionizing radiation. The other day, I heard someone from TSA attemting to explain these scanners, stating that they are "absolutely safe". The man was either lying, ill-informed, or an idiot. The thing is, you, as a patient or passanger, may be safe - there is no way to tell for sure. However, what we do know with 100% accuracy, is that ionizing radiation does change the human body on the cellular and genetic level. As cells replicate, they look to cell that is being replicated, and if this cell is somehow mutated or damaged, a mutated cell may very well be the result. Add to this, that different cells replicate at different rates. So, cells which make up the human reproductive system replicate much more frequently than those making up the blood cells and marrow, and these replicate quicker than muscle, with brain and nervous system cells replicating the slowest. Another consideration is the age of the individual. Infants and childen's cells are replicating far faster than adults and the elderly, and therefore, these individuals are at a much higher risk than adults. This is one reason why the American College of Pediatricians teamed-up with the American College of Radiology to educate physicians, healthcare workers and the public, generally, about the dangers of radiation to children through their Image Gently campaign http://www.pedrad.org/associations/5364/ig/. Incidentally, while the ACR does have an official position statement regarding these scanners, what must be borne in mind is that this statement must be construed as pertaining to these scanners being used in a single event. That is a one-time exposure. If you want to learn more about the effects of radiation, in depth, you are asked to follow the links to another section of the website. The issue is one of the risk/ benefit model, that the ACR is so fond of using. What benefit is gained and what risk is undertaken. The benefit of using the scanner is speed. By using these scanners, the lines are shortened, and wait times decreased. The risks are radiation-associated. So, if you fly once in your lifetime, or maybe infrequently, you are probably OK. We can't say defintiely, because we just don't know what, if any harm, will come from exposure. You may get more from flying at 35,000 feet from the cosmic radiation. Just as people living in Denver are at a higher risk than those living at sea level. But, as the orginal article showed, for the purpose being described as the rationale of these scanner's existence (i.e to detect non-metal explosives) - they just aren't effective......

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Post by Cherry Kelly » 11-28-2010 12:35 PM

YES, those are what I am referencing. See hubby works (did work) on fixing x-ray equipment. I helped with that for several years - machines normally were not on - obviously as they were being repaired. Most of the repairs were connected to electronic malfunctions - table that would not move in a certain direction, and overhead tube that was malfunctioning - going through myriads of mother boards to locate one tiny flip-flop that was not working - any number of small factors. YET we too had to wear the badges and have them checked.

Thing is - the scanners do not work and should never have been implemented. Metal detectors work. Think of all the times people have had to have hand held scanners go over them - belt buckle - metal snap on clothes - a zipper - the metal detectors find those. You do not need a scanner of this type to find it. Carry ons - shoes through the xray machines work.

All the 'terrorists' on flights have originated where? So why do people traveling across the USA have to be put through all this nonsense? Go back to the metal detectors and the shoes / carry on x-rays. AND train people as profilers if they think someone acts/looks suspicious.

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Post by kbot » 11-29-2010 06:48 AM

Cherry Kelly wrote: All the 'terrorists' on flights have originated where? So why do people traveling across the USA have to be put through all this nonsense? Go back to the metal detectors and the shoes / carry on x-rays. AND train people as profilers if they think someone acts/looks suspicious.


Exactly the point. If the terrorists are coming here from overseas, then why harrass Grandma from Sioux City travelling to Kansas City, or the couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary that any passport check would show, has probably never left the country?

Yet, our illustrious government-trained (such as it is....) crew, will let "shoe-bomber" and an "underwear bomber" just pass right on through, when clearly, using the Israeli system of profiling - again, not on race, but by scrutinizing behaviour, as well as passport and travel patterns, to filter out those who present no problems from those who need to be screened more thoroughly.

Even then, as people are beginning to awaken to the reality that they are being forced trough a system that is more for show, than for any real safety consideration, one has to ask some simple questions - such as why. I know that, earlier in the year when we tried to impose stricter security measures overseas, that the host countries complained because the process just took too long. But, if this is a result of using the same system and/ or logic that has gone into our domestic system, then, no wonder their were complaints. Again, screen, but do if effectively, and use models that actually work and have a proven track record.

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Post by Cherry Kelly » 11-29-2010 11:03 AM

OK many won't read things coming off Drudge - but there is an article stating that many of the full scanners were turned off for the holiday travel and pat downs were very limited in several airports.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/drudge-foug ... e-won.html

thats the link if you want to read it...

interesting...

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Post by kbot » 11-29-2010 12:31 PM

Cherry Kelly wrote: OK many won't read things coming off Drudge - but there is an article stating that many of the full scanners were turned off for the holiday travel and pat downs were very limited in several airports.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/drudge-foug ... e-won.html

thats the link if you want to read it...

interesting...


Thanks. It was an interesting article. So, this leaves the question about the efficacy of the system. Either it works - and should be left in place at all times, or it doesn't.

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Post by Raggedyann » 11-29-2010 08:10 PM


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Post by SquidInk » 11-29-2010 09:07 PM



ehh... maybe I'm dense, Raggedyann... where's the humor?

That video makes me want sew up a Betsy Ross & cram it down the TSA's throat. :D :D :D :D

How could they!?

Although, at least one of the images in the montage is a known 'shop job.
Last edited by SquidInk on 11-29-2010 09:12 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by megman » 11-29-2010 10:04 PM

Now this is funny:cool:
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Post by OMG » 12-01-2010 07:57 PM

kbot, I know you mentioned the Israel system a few times, I'm not really sure if it's that great or it might have it's negatives in the long run in other areas(I'm not saying it as sarcastic, I've heard both sides and haven't really come down on either side fully) but lets say you are correct and it's a quality system. Can it really work here? Comparing just the vastness of our nation to Israel, do we really have the resources or the talent to cover such a space. The number of locations that you can come in and out of here compared to there is not even close.

I have to say also I am against profiling not because it hurts peoples feelings or some Lib ideology, It's simply I don't think it works. What do we look at? Do we look at names, if so that shoefire guy had the most generic western name out there. Do we look at skin color? then again that underwear dude, was African, we didn't even think of Africa before then.

I actually don't know what to think of the current situation, do I think the stuff there is going too far? Yeah. But again these days you never really know what's being exaggerated. Something really hit me, I was watching a discussion about this on TV (pretty certain CNN, as it's my favorite cable place), and of course during the disucssion they were showing stock footage of "incidents" that were being send in and passed around. The guy getting interviewed quickly stopped in mid-sentence and said "Wait, that footage is from a while back, those aren't the current uniforms" I'm sure CNN was just showing the same footage everybody else was, but if some "outrage footage" is from before the "current updated procedures" is there a group that is pushing and exaggerating this story now, and for what reason? Heck to make matters even more odd, I see CK link (sorry CK i would never go to there, but I think I get what it's about) that we see a major puppetmaster like him, who does have a voice to exaggerate, claiming victory and taking credit for something he pushed was really bad beforehand and "fought" against and now says it's not so bad (and of course taking credit). It kind of makes you go humm. :confused:

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