Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fascism In America

Imagine you are walking through an airport on your way to catch a plane home. You are carrying some cash from vacation or a business deal. TSA asks you why you have the money. You respond by asking only if you are required to answer the question (you aren't), and when you do you are threatened with arrest.

That's what happened to Steven Bierfeldt, Treasurer for Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty. The ACLU has filed a suit on his behalf against the TSA for its detention of Mr. Bierfeldt as he returned home from a St. Louis campaign rally. He carried with him approximately $4700 from t-shirt sales and contributions. TSA became suspicious of that money. They asked why he had it. He asked in return if he was required by law to provide an answer and that's when things got rough. He was detained, harassed, verbally abused and threatened with arrest - all because he was carrying money that some man two steps up from mall security decided was more cash than he deemed appropriate.

Yes, it would have been easier to just answer the question, but why should he? It is no threat to the plane's security if he is carrying cash. It is no business of TSA why he is carrying it.

Mr. Bierfeldt recorded the entire interrogation on his iphone and the recording is available here. Listen to it - it's long, frightening and insane. It's also shocking to hear the TSA screener refer to him as "a fucking asshole," a "smartass," and to tell Mr. Bierfeldt that he's tired of "his shit," all in response to Mr. Bierfeldt calmly and very politely asking, "Am I required by law to answer that question?"

Thank goodness a DEA agent with a little good sense arrived as they were handcuffing Mr. Bierfeldt to talk him "downtown" ("Am I under arrest?" "No." "Am I free to go?" "No, you're coming with us.") The agent used the good sense he was born with to see this was utter bullshit and said he was satisfied that Mr. Bierfeldt was doing nothing illegal. Yet, the TSA screener remained unconvinced and still threatened to keep him off the plane - because he was carrying some cash!!

This fascist nonsense must end, and soon.


Anonymous said...

This 'fascist nonsense' is just getting started. I ask this, HOW did the TSA know that he was carrying cash in the first place? Assuming this was a domestic flight, was he asked if he was carrying cash, or is there some technology in place that can determine this; i.e. 'counterfeit' prevention strips in bills that can be electronically detected?
4 eyes in KC

Anonymous said...

actually, he had the cash in a metal cashbox that they asked him to open when it went thru x-ray. So nothing there. Nonetheless, what would they have done, if he had come by the money illegally and simply lied. There was nothing else that pointed to any potential crime. This was fishing by intimidation and nothing more.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps its time we start carrying suspicious looking metal boxes filled with everything but cash. Give them so much work that they stop the goofiness.

Anonymous said...

the most effective way to deal with those persons [who at not real people] is to deny them services at all businesses. Don't even let them buy the local news paper. If they apply for an apartment, put them through the financial grinder then deny them and do NOT even tell them why they were refused after paying all the fees. If they come into your business, politely ask them to leave your establishment for acting suspiciously. If they try to speak to you, excuse yourself because something just came up and walk way. Do they same to ALL employees of every department that enforces corporate state policies, aka police.