Stopped Today from Photographing by Airport Security

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ray ., Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Just thought I'd share this experience with you... maybe newsworthy to
    some...

    After photographing at John Wayne Airport for several days in the past
    couple weeks, and after 3 hours today, I was stopped by security and
    told to cease photography inside the airport. Two very large guys were
    ready to haul me off if I made trouble. I did protest from the
    standpoint of telling the officer who spoke to me that I thought it was
    legal to photograph
    in a public place. He told me (in a somewhat excited and nervous tone)
    that it was against the law. I asked him
    which law and if he could show it to me in writing. He proceeded to
    tell me again it was simply against the law, and that I wasn't allowed
    to photograph in security areas. I told him I wasn't photographing in
    a security area. He asked me if I wished to be cited and then discuss
    it with a judge, to which I responded that I didn't especially favor
    that option, and agreed that I would leave.

    This was a county/local airport security officer, but he informed me
    that
    he was acting under the wishes of the Homeland Security Dept. Before
    the exchange was over, I was informed that I could apply for a permit
    with Airport Administration anytime during business hours. I asked him
    if I would definitely be able to get a permit, and he said " No, not
    definitely, they'll do a background check first to make sure you
    aren't a terrorist." I said OK, and then left the area, happy
    to have at least
    2 rolls shot for the day.

    My guess is that after a few days hanging around the airport, or
    perhaps just from today, someone noticed that I might be doing more
    than taking pictures of my departing loved ones. I was really just
    camped out in a couple areas and wasn't hiding much the fact I was
    snapping whatever human situation caught my fancy (within reason of
    course). Just before the
    security person stopped me I had gone to my car to get my jacket to get
    ready for some more photography after nightfall. It was almost
    immediately after coming
    back and entering the building again that I was stopped. I had passed
    by security people without incident on a number of occasions in the
    past 2 weeks.

    I'm set to get my permit now, anticipating no gliches, and maybe I'll
    feel like part of the family. They're probably going to know me well
    if I continue here. I have a vague notion of exhibiting some of the
    prints from this project in the Airport, although I haven't researched
    it and have no idea if they'd be interested.

    I have to admit that up until my encounter with big brother I was
    feeling pretty comfortable today, almost like a regular Joe
    Winogrand.

    In a way I'm surprised nothing happened earlier, and I suppose it's
    good that someone seems to be doing their job...
     
  2. is what makes opression succeed. Yes, you should have said you'd like to be cited and discuss it with a judge. There would be no sustainable truly applicable charge, that's why the jerk was nervous.<Br>
    There could have been a very unspecific, generic "misbehaviour"-type with more unspecific "security" overtones.<br>
    This is not the first such complaint on photo.net, and cowardice of the affected photographers usually manifested itself in (a) complying to unlawful searches, being escorted, answering illegal questions etc.etc and (b) seeking rationalizations post-factum in the said forum in a slightly injured and huffed tone<p>
    Which I believe is wrong
     
  3. Ray, you are the minority that is taking the whole matter light-heartedly. When it comes to a choice between national security and the right of an individual, I would rather put up with some inconvenience instead. Security is a tough job because they are responsible for deterring terrorism and what I resent are those that gets to be obnoxious when it comes to a minor inconvenience and blown the issue out of proportion feeling that their individual rights are in danger. Between endangering my rights and endangering my personal physical well-being, I always pick to preserve my life. Its just commonsense.
     
  4. And remember that "war on terrorism" is a lie launched to keep indefinitely (that's why the "enemy" is so unspecific, by the way, not mentioning the obvious source from which the term was borrowed) - precisely to keep population under control while the launchers continue serious crimes/manipulations inside and outside the country. The weak-minded really start to belive the obnoxious propaganda, while the rest cowardly comply - thus justifying this political extremism, that currently poses as American mainstream politics.
     
  5. Second that. Notwithstanding our civil liberties, I think one should refrain from doing it in an extended manner, even if it is perfectly within our constitutional rights. Why? Because it provides a cover and an excuse for terrorists. One or two happy snaps are ok, but to shoot roll after roll would just encourage terrorists to be bolder.

    Not that terrorists really need to do this openly, of course, I mean cellphones have cameras now, and certainly they would be smarter than to carry cameras openly and invite airport security scrutiny. It's the atmosphere I'm talking about-- nobody will believe that we take security seriously if people are just snapping roll after roll without trouble.
     
  6. You're quite big on words like "coward", aren't you, Michael?

    I like the "They'll do a background check to make sure you're not a terrorist". Like, it'll be on your CV.
     
  7. Why, inside USA I can legitimately do that. It's not the words I would throw around easily about journalists in Near East, or any place where opposing the regulations may cost more than an inconvenience (life sometimes?).<br>
    And it's hard to argue against that "war on terrorism" is a political fake. You might also have a pretty good understanding of the term's origins, I suspect. ;)
     
  8. Yep, and a good remark you made too - there is a principle in Jurisprudence that it's not possible to prove the absence of something. (Prove that you never stole apples as a kid) Rather, the accusing side has the obligation to prove the presence of some happening.<br>
    Of course, American "justice" system uses or dismisses the notion where it finds it convenient - for example in immigration law: someone who wants to enter the USA on a fisitor's visa must "prove" to an official that he does not have intention to stay.<br>
    Now the same in "national security"
     
  9. Since 9/11; over 2000 jets have been placed in storage; due to the airline industry depression and downturn. Here the TSA guys were freaked out by my Luna Pro; and didnt know it was a light meter. After standing in line with some relatives for an hour plus; waiting for plane info; I got damn bored an pulled out my M3 to take a photo of them. The TSA guys at least know that a Leica M3 is some sort of a camera. I feel less secure than before 9/11; because those that are doing the security/checking seem so more concerned with their power trip; than getting an education on what a lightmeter looks like; and what it is for. The M3 was considered "odd" by the TSA; because it didnt have a flash; and "could not be turned on". Check out the Mojave, California airport area; for the thousand plus new planes; sitting in storage.
     
  10. Precisely the reason I DRIVE from Denver to Omaha to visit family and friends. Before 9/11 I'd patronize the airlines. Now I don't want to put up with the attitudes, and I drive 8 hours one way instead. I agree that the govt. has been waiting for the next phantom menace to throw at citizens in every dark corner in order to fulfill an agenda, now that the USSR is done. Lessened rights cuz Big Brother knows best. Seems to me N. Korea and that destabilized continent need more attention than Iraq who began cooperating again with the UN.
     
  11. This story does not surprise me. Similar examples:

    I was photographing in the lobby of a Hong Kong office building that was very
    interesting architecturally. I was told to stop by security. I told them I am an
    architect (true) and was interested in their building from a professional point of
    view (true). Not interested, just stop. Now, if I was a bad guy, I would not
    have stood around in full view with a bag full of equipment, changing lenses,
    etc. I would have had a credit card size digital camera and they would have
    had no idea that I had taken dozens of photos.

    Just try to take some photos in a subway anywhere in the world.

    I was trying to take a general photograph (not of customers) inside a very
    interesting shop. Told to stop.

    I photographed an outdoor bistrot in France - a general shot from about 20
    feet away. A woman customer from about 30 feet away got up and
    complained bitterly. Here she was, sitting on the pavement and complaining
    about being photographed in a tourist area.

    I was photographing on a beach in Australia where I live - just general shots
    with a 90 lens and definitely nowhere near children. The lifeguard came up
    and gave me a third degree about what I was doing etc.

    These days, if you try to photograph a bridge, for example, some fool will
    accuse you of planning to bomb it.

    It pays to know your rights however, because different countries have different
    rules. The other problem is that if you push it and challenge the cops to
    charge you because you know they can't make it stick, then you will find that
    the charge has suddenly become resisting arrest, assualt or something that
    they can win because it's their word against yours.

    Having said that, photographing people in an airport without their knowledge
    is asking for trouble, I think. Would you like it?
     
  12. I guess I disagree with the idea that since they intervened with Ray that the airport is secure. Do think a terrorist is going to photograph an airport continually for 2 weeks? If they need shots they'll take about 1/3 hour at the most. They don't care about the rule of thirds. The fact that it took 2 weeks for the guards to even take action is not reassuring to me. In addition, the fact that people in America with cameras are suspect really scares the hell out of me.
     
  13. "If I noticed a stranger photographing in my neighborhood for two weeks I damn well would go up to him and..."
    Right, first stage is compliance to illegality with huffed complaints in an Internet forum.
    Second stage is to comply voluntarily stating that as a good sitizen one wants to help his country to fight "terrorism"
    Third stage is active vigilance: taking it into one's own hands.
    There was a (war-time? Maccarthy era?) poster in the past: "Be Alert!" and soon there appeared a graffito: "Be a lert! Your country needs lerts."
    That's where we are now, aren't we, turning into a bunch of very patriotic lerts. Not speaking of the fact that you'd be breaking the laws accosting someone in the street where photography is perfectly legal.
    By the way, what is it that Americans find so incomprehensible about Stalin-era show trials and full support of them by the public (in spite of being so obviously staged)? Look at this offer of voluntary assistance in catching potential "terrorists" with cameras by our modern-day citizen - and no mass arrests or liquidations have taken place in this country to pressure him into compliance
     
  14. "And remember that "war on terrorism" is a lie "

    and i guess 9/11 was just a pure fiction too michael? and all
    those people who perished that day was just figment of
    somebody's imagination?
     
  15. Doing "street photography" at an airport may be pushing the envelope a little too far in today's climate. From a legal standpoint, an airport is not a "public" place the way a public street or highway are.

    Most airports are operated by independent governmental or quasi-governmental authorities who either own the land on which the airport is built or lease it from the landowner to operate the airport. In the New York City area, it's the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

    In that sense the premises of the airport can be considered "private" property. If the entity in possession of the premises asks you to leave and you fail to do so, you can be charged with trespass.

    If anyone wants to do this type of photography at an airport, applying for the facility's permission may be a good idea along with showing them a sample of your portfolio. If you build up friendship and trust with personnel at the airport, you'll be recognized as a regular. Buy the security guys, janitors, other workers some coffee and doughnuts, etc.

    I'm a railfan and post-9/11 make sure I take pictures of trains and rail facilities only from the public thoroughfare; once I set foot on railroad property, I'm liable to being arrested and charged with trespassing. Pre-9/11 the atmosphere was very relaxed. It's new world photographically after 9/11 and not an entirely inviting one either.
     
  16. I might have acted differently 20 years ago as far as putting up resistance. But frankly I think of my free time as fairly precious to me now, and I don't wish to spend it in a courtroom. I've been there for minor traffic violations in the past, and... Guess who won? I don't have the monetary resources either to get into it. And to tell the truth, I wasn't 100% sure what my exact rights were in this situation, given that I was being told I didn't have any with regard to photography. Add to that the fact these guys were BIG, and they had guns.
    If I can get a permit, that seems reasonable to me, if not ideal. My ability to photograph there is more a concern than making myself an example. Let other people with better means do it... At the same time I wonder if this permit thing is going to run smoothly. If it were a huge area where the same guy would never see me I'd just ignore it.
    My thought was as Frank suggests. On the way home, I started thinking, Now, what if I was a terrorist? They just let me get away! Was this guy just taking the easy way out so he could get his boss off his back, and have the issue dispensed with? That's what worries me about bureaucracy being in charge of security. When it comes right down to it, it's essentially a paying job we're talking about, and all people want to do is the easiest thing that pleases the higher-ups.
    btw, I haven't spent 2 full weeks there... only 5 days at about 2-3 hours per day, and only once on consecutive days.
     
  17. Kent has got it right.

    Anyone who thinks that America is somehow more immune to a terrorist attack these days, is sadly mistaken.

    We're wasting all our time and money on a country that had very little chance of causing us harm. And ignoring countries that have the money to hurt us (Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the Sept 11th hijackers came from), that have the hatred to attack us (Pakistan, an unstable place that also happens to have nuclear weapons), or have had actual terrorist attacks against the US (the USS Cole in Yemen). Not to mention the crazy dictator in North Korea who may actually be able to reach the mainland US with nuclear missiles.

    And then there is the fact that the states don't have the money to implement the "security measures" that congress, the white house, and the Department of Homeland Security crammed down our throats. Don't get me wrong, I wish the Iraqi people all the best. But I'd rather have spent $87 billion on keeping better track of cargo ships, air-freight flights, "dirty-nuke" material sales, and a national security apparatus that has departments that talk to each other, instead of being tied up in petty "power games".

    I fear that there is going to be another serious attack that will cost more American lives. And we’re wasting our time training our airport/courthouse/railroad security guards to hassle photographers. It’s not like the government has turned up 300 photos of Logan international that the 9/11 terrorists were using to plan the attack. If terrorists are taking photos of something, I’m sure they aren’t sitting around doing it for days on end.

    Is it worth it for photographers to fight the battle that Mr. Bender suggests? I don’t know. As was stated above, airports are in a sort of legal middle ground as far as "public vs private", so it's not like it would be a simple fight. I guess it depends on how much of a difference you think it would make, how much you care, and how much money/time you have on your hands. For me……maybe. I guess I’d have to see how I felt at that particular moment. But probably not.
     
  18. If I noticed a stranger photographing in my neighborhood for two weeks I damn well would go up to him and ask him what he was doing. I'd expect the police to do the same, and to follow up on his story.
    I can't really back you on that one Frank. How many of us here took 100% of our photos in places where we weren't a "stranger". I don't need the police spending their time and resources following up on every tourist photographer that wants to shoot photos of "small town Americana". I'd rather have them actually doing something useful.
    Then again, use that $87 billion to beef up the nation's police forces, then fine, good times. There should be more neighborhood/police interaction anyway. It'd be nice to have an officer stroll through the streets more often. One that your kids could get to know instead of fear. But as it stands, there are rapists and murderers out there that I'd rather have dealt with.
     
  19. I'm with Jeffrey.
    And...of course security policies won't succeed in making terrorism end, because it's obvious that it's not possible to keep everything under control, without some freedom restrictions that would be unacceptable, expecially in the US. IMHO it's important, anyway, to keep a certain climate, to make security more and more visible, even if this would import some inconvenients (like it happened to you, Ray - yes, I too would apply for a permission, it seems to me extremely reasonable).
    Mr. Bender, who is so able to speak and uses that rude word so easily, what would he do, if he was chief of the security of a public place?
    Freedom is the best thing we can fight for...but there is someone out there who laughs on how stupid we are, and uses this freedom to plan and act something terrible. So what is the right balancing?
    Forget my bad English, but it seemed to me very important to contribute an answer to this question.

    Marco
     
  20. oops...I wanted to say: 'forgive my bad English'...!!!!

    Marco
     
  21. I don't know Frank, is it much different than going back to the same street where lots of people are? Like Wall Street, or Rodeo Drive, or Hollywood Blvd? I wasn't standing in front of someone's house really.
     
  22. Very interesting discusion. I agee w/ everything said...

    Had I been Ray, I'd probably have done precisely what he did. Certaily not "cowardice," just common sense. But I would have stewed about it all the way home. Had he "told it to the judge," he probably would have lost and been convicted of trespassing - airports are not public property. And I do understand securitie's discomfort w/ someone, uncredentialed, repeatedly (i.e. over the course of days) photographing in an airport.

    The bigger question, in my mind, is how to deal with the self-appointed Nazis who insist you not photograph in public places. I can't count the number of times I've been accosted by people here in Paris for taking photographs in public places, even while 'tourists' snap happily away. There's something about having a camera bag and serious equipment, and patiently waiting for the right shot, that draws the ire of people. My response when told not to photograph in a public place is to tell the person to mind his own @#$#@ business. That usually shuts them up; if they threaten to call the police, I'll invite them to do so. Most people give up at that point. I guess they are used to people dumbly complying, and when they don't, they don't know what to do and give up. This does NOT work with police however. When they inquire, I politely pack up and move along.
     
  23. Josh, you are a man of sense.

    I would have thought that it was clear to everyone that the US has gone after the easy (sic) target of Iraq and has avoided either Saudi Arabia (too much money at stake) or Pakistan (too dangerous and explosive).

    The State Department seems bent on sheilding Pakistan, even though they are a proven and regular supporter and instigator of Terrorism and have even helped North Korea get the bomb. Even today Pakistan's secret service, the ISI, sheilds the resurgent Taliban, reaps profits from, and therefore protects, Afghanistan's opium trade, and sends fighters (terrorists?) into Afghanistan and India. All of this is currently acknowledged by other US departments and by other Western powers.

    The trouble is, is that Pakistan is seen as too hot to handle, so their inconvenience is denied and minimised and Musharref is given the carrot and stick treatment by Washington. Whether this is sensible or not is debatable; however there is no doubt that it is grossly hypocritical and flies in the face of the 'we'll hunt them into their lairs' rethoric applied to terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism since 9/11, which nowadays seems feeble and risible.

    On the subject of photographing in airports - can't they put signs up saying it is forbidden, if it really is, and point to the relevant law? How else are citizens to Know that it is against the law if those that are employed to enforce it are not educated well enough to quote it or at least paraphrase it themselves?
     
  24. Loitering at an airport snapping photos definitely qualifies as suspicious behavior in my book; I'm surprised they didn't submit you to proper questioning. Sounds like security isn't all that tight over there.
     
  25. >>>
    My opinion is that Xinbad and Bender are looking for a Facist Police State to fit their preconcieved positions.
    >>>

    Frank, sweetie, it's always nice to be noticed by you! I don't how what I said would support your contention, though.
     
  26. If you were using a long lens mounted on shoulder stock, pointing
    at airplane in US airport, you might not be that lucky.
     
  27. Subject: Response to Stopped Today from Photographing by Airport Security
    Subject: Response to Stopped Today from Photographing by Airport Security
    Apart from Michael Bender's astute observations, there's a whole lot of fear
    mongering going on in this thread that indicates a plethora of flag waving
    zombies who are clueless as to what is happening in this country. For starters,
    read this from General Tommy Franks, who says that if the United States is hit
    with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the
    Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government
    (written Nov. 21, 2003).

    http://globalresearch.ca/articles/EDW311A.html

    Then have a look at the following url's from CNN that show the passenger lists
    of the four 911 flights and show me the Saudis and Egyptian terrorists you
    speak of... let alone a single Arab "terrorist".

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/AA11.victims.html

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/AA77.victims.html

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/ua93.victims.html

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/ua175.victims.html

    911 was a "planned event" used to justify perpetual wars against every
    country that has resources this government wants. The evidence to support
    this is legion.... precisely why Bush has blocked the 911 investigation since
    it's inception.

    If you want to see the grand plan from a founding member of the Trilateral
    Commission, Zbigniev Brzezinski (Jimmy Carter's National Security advisor),
    have a look at his 1997 book "The Grand Chessboard". The maps in this book
    (Middle East/Southern Russia) indicate precisely the location of US troops
    since Bush took office.

    Several more interesting pieces for those of you who care about preserving
    what remains of this fragile democracy:

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/JohnJudge/puzzlePieces.html

    http://www.fromthewilderness.com/cgi-bin/MasterPFP.cgi?doc=http://
    www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/zbig.html

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/Ppuzzle.html

    Wake up you ciphers! A mind is a terrible thing to waste...
     
  28. >911 was a "planned event" used to justify perpetual wars against every country that has resources this government wants. The evidence to support this is legion.... precisely why Bush has blocked the 911 investigation since it's inception.

    Yawn. Please go spout your crack-pot theories on www.conspiracy.net.
     
  29. Lawrence, exactly who is paranoid here?

    I have a brother-in-law who works in public health. Several years ago, there were expectations of a terrible flu epidemic and the news media went into a hysteria about it. Public health departments pushed for flu vacinations and people were getting shots in record numbers all over the country. Then, when there was no major flu epidemic, the news media ridiculed the public health services for the precautions they took. They had little insight to the fact that the huge number of innoculations prevented the predicted epidemic.

    That story goes only to illustrate that the people involved in airport security have a "lose/lose" job. If they intercede in someone's actions that are harmless, they are stormtroopers and agents of a repressive government. If they do not interfere with the seemingly harmless actions of someone who turns out to be a terrorist with a quantity of explosives packed in Velvia cartons, they are condemned as inept and responsible for the disaster.

    I don't know the answer. I don't even know the question. But this blather doesn't qualify on either count.
     
  30. http://www.pvdairport.com/audio_video/popup.htm

    Check this out, folks. I think it's the Providence, R.I. airport. You can switch from camera to camera, pan and zoom, spot your own terrorists...LOL!
     
  31. "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice". But Barry Goldwater lost all credibility and a presidential election in 1964 with that statement. How times have changed.

    As to the Cold War, the records coming out of the old Soviet Union are showing just how close we came to nuclear war in 1962 during the Cuban Missle Crisis.

    If you are going to do a photo essay of a sensitive spot, get credentials.
     
  32. lawrence, you're hysterical mate.

    maybe they couldn't find the names of the terrorists in the passenger list because they were abducted by aliens as the planes slammed the twin towers?

    conspiracy...jeez, just two years and some of us are starting to re-write history.
     
  33. Though it shouldn't, it always surprises me when folks in these internet fora come out with total wackiness. I mean, hey -- we all come from different backgrounds & geographies, but that was really interesting -- Ray posts a helpful little vignette about airport security, and Bender calls him a coward and Larry says we're all mindless puppets of the Skull & Bones Society.

    FWIW, Ray, I found your story interesting, and why stir the turd? You did the right thing by being initially reasonable -- asking questions but eventually leaving -- and seeking a permit. Do let us know, though, how the permit application process goes. I'm guessing a local airport permit process won't be directly relevant to the rest of us given the wide variety of policies across different airports, but it'll make for a good story, I'm sure.
     
  34. Ray, did you show them your picture of the "girl looking at her shadow" taken in the airport?

    Anyway, I think you acted sensibly.;)
     
  35. btw, can one paint/draw in the airport?
     
  36. Christopher; the graphic TV advertising image of the exploding atomic bomb mushroom cloud exploding over the little girl holding a daisy turned a few people off. It was meant to show that Barry Goldwater wasnt afraid to drop the bomb. This was in the 1964 campain; I think an negative ad ran by Johnson. I thought it was abit of an odd TV ad at the time.
     
  37. Way before 9/11 I was vacationing in Singapore tried to photograph a sushi bar in a mall's food court and was stopped by a plain clothed police. Now what's up with that ? I moved on and didn't even question the guy. Photographing in public places is a dicey situation to say the least !
     
  38. >>>>You can control this airports security cameras! Al Kaplan , dec 02, 2003;
    08:11 a.m.http://www.pvdairport.com/audio_video/popup.htm <<<<

    Al--EVERYBODY does look suspicious on those cameras. Great link--thanks
    for passing it along.
     
  39. More absurd hyperbolic rantings from Michael Bender, as-per-usual. I was told not to take any photos of the Federal Buildings in Seattle. Weird, but I complied. I understand the reasoning, annoying as it may be. Of course, that makes me a Fascist imperialist. Other countries are just as bad or worse. Any one tried to take shots of airports and anything remotely sensitive in Greece? Don't try it. I'm surprised Ray was not whisked of to Guatanomo Bay...
     
  40. >Yawn. Please go spout your crack-pot theories on www.conspiracy.net

    They are only theories until proved. History is filled with what theories that in the light of a different time are proved to some extent.

    Is it really that far fetched that US Government knew of the 9-11 plans? Even Bin Laden was surprised by the collapse of the towers. In planning for war, the government/military talk of "acceptable losses". Look at history and the plans for the A-Bomb and the invasion of Japan in WWII.

    I am not saying that 9-11 was a plot within a plot. I am saying that it is a possibility. I hope not, but there is a lot about the Government that we as citizens do not know about. Witness the Nixon "Enemies List" and Watergate. Or the Vietnam War before and after the Kennedy assassination.

    The point of this is it is our obligation to question the Government. And as long as Big Money controls the politicians, we need to demand answers to even "crack-pot theories".
     
  41. Doing "street photography" at an airport may be pushing the envelope a little too far in today's climate
    If legal, then, like much street photography, it is merely annoying to the ignorant.
     
  42. Jeffrey got it right. The "security" reasons for preventing photography are of course completely absurd and not worthy of mention, but they don't actually need any reason.

    Most airports are private property, even if owned by the state I guess they count as private property in a legal sense, so if they say you can't photograph without a permit, that's it. They don't need a reason.

    If you went into a theater and was asked not to photograph, would that be outrageous? If you visit someone in their home and they ask you not to photograph, would you keep shooting and ask them to contact your lawyer?

    An airport may seem like a more public space, but in principle it isn't. Just because it's usually accepted that people make pictures there, doesn't mean anybody has the right to.

    From your account it doesn't sound like they were being nasty about it either, in fact it sounds like everybody acted sensibly, though the security people may not have had a *sensible* reason for acting at all.
     
  43. I don't know why u guys think that a photo of a total stranger, say at an airport, is interesting. It is neither friend nor family. A stranger on a photo from one's travels, however, where there is ethnic interest, great lighting contrasts, color,etc. and also where they enjoy being photd,(Masai), surely makes more sense and good subject matter. As Feininger, the Prophet said, 'If the subject is not interesting, don't waste yr film'. Re 911, some Q's for those who consider a person who asks Q a conspiracy theorist. Why no Boeing at Pentagon, nor Penn. on ANY photo, not even from a Leica?? Why would a raghead, (who can shut down FAA; NORAD; USAF and National guard from a cave in Afghanistan), choose a pilot to hit the Pentagon who could not even solo a Cessna 172, despite 600 hours in his log book.. Now if u r really thinking, and not being intimidated about thinking, (thinking not yet a crime), ask yourself, how did the hijackers(?) know that they would not be intercepted. 65 intercepts in 2000 within 10 minutes!!!Go figure. (see rense.com 911, 400 unanswered Q). Stop watching S(C)ewer NN and switch to rense for your daily news(paper)...
     
  44. A woman in the DC suburbs was threated by a security guard because she was photographing HER OWN small children in a shopping mall. Let's see, drug dealers use cell phones, so maybe shopping malls should ban cell phones. A work colleague and I were yelled at for photographing toddlers in a public park, altough we explained that we were employees of the same agency that ran the kids' day care center, and that we would be happy to give the parents the pictures. All old men are dirty old men? The 60's are over; no more street photography unless your subjects are putting on some sort of performance. Henri Cartier Bresson would be yelled at or sued in present-day US for his photo of the sweet young couple at the cafe table. The couple might be somebody else's wife with somebody else's husband. A society that cannot deal with important issues and knows it becomes repressive. I don't think we've seen the worst of this.
     
  45. I think Ray's story is another example of the type of crap you're likely to encounter
    almost anywhere in the world these days. There is a certain type of personality which
    gravitates toward police work. Most of these folks are relatively decent people and I'm
    not about to criticize them. But, there are a few who are genetic Nazis. They really get
    off on exercising their authority. An example: the other day I was photographing in a
    state park (with a Leica, of course) and was approached by an individual who
    identified himself as a Homeland Security officer. He was large, uniformed and armed
    and I paid attention to him. He politely but firmly told me to vacate the premises. Now
    remember I was in a state park which is supported by my taxpayer dollars. The state
    park is adjacent to a Coast Guard station which I was NOT photographing. Instead, I
    was photographing the natural features of the state park. When I questioned the
    officer's order to vacate, he told me that I would be arrested and my camera would be
    confiscated if I did not comply immediately. Being a naturally timid soul, I hightailed it
    out of there as fast as my legs could carry me. I allowed myself to be intimidated. I
    lost my dignity but got to keep my Leica.

    I have been photographing in this location for close to 40 years. In years past, I have
    even photographed the Coast Guard station. No one has ever interrupted me or told
    me that I could not photograph. nor is there any signage to that effect. Although I
    have gotten over it, at the time I felt like many Europeans must have felt between
    1933-1945. There's not a hell of a lot I can do about it right now, but I'm sure going
    to remember it when I'm in the voting booth next November.
     
  46. Bottomline, an airport is not a public space, the owners/administrator's can set whatever policy they like and you have to abid or leave.

    FYI, I've taken photos several times lately at Reagon National Airport, but more a few snaps, not staking the place out for 2 weeks.

    Get a permit.
     
  47. "I am not saying that 9-11 was a plot within a plot. I am saying that it is a possibility."

    Too many "X-File" re-runs?

    It's "possible" that the law of gravity will be repealed tomorrow and we will all be floating around in the heavens, grumbling about with our insignificant opinions and rants. But it ain't likely.
     
  48. The *real* bottom line is this: if this country was run by a Saddam Hussein or a Bin Laden everyone on this forum would be hunted down and put to death in some torturous manner for their statements.
     
  49. Lately, I've been questioned by by employees or security types about taking pictures at a fast food joint, a used car lot, a gas station, a skate board park and at an empty parking lot.

    People are nervous...get used to it.

    I have nothing further to say on this topic other than right now I'm taking a picture of each of you :>}
     
  50. Yes - you should all be thankfull that you are living in a free society where the government does not have to power to tap your phone without the authority of a court, demand on penalty of imprisonment a list of books you take out of a library, put you to death, send you to prison without charge, rig elections, conspire with terrorists, invade other countries without international consensus, bomb civilians, polute the environment etc - that would be one scarry place to live!
     
  51. "The 60's are over; no more street photography"

    This might actually be a good thing you know...
     
  52. "I'm in the voting booth next November."

    I have to say this is a bit sad. Decide to vote one way because an officer tells you to go away rather abruptly? Talk about small-minded. Sometimes I do think we all need to grow up a little or a lot. My mummy told me off when I was little but I got over it.
     
  53. Commen sense should tell that wandering around an airport, with a camra, will invite attention from security personnel...wouldn't it! It's not about civil liberties, it's about commen sense. Unless you would like to be sitting on the next plane with a nice terrorist.
     
  54. Maybe they will let you take a photo of their bomb, before they blow your head off!
     
  55. Good one Johann fuller, right on. Secret military trials and sentencing if you're "suspected". Wow now that's neat. Take you away never to be heard from again. And yet, a lot here really like the concept.
     
  56. Charles Nguyen,

    At least in my neck of the woods, shopping malls are very much private property. I have been told any number of times to stop shooting photos in malls around here. Either that or they would escort me off the property.
     
  57. I agree with Jay.

    I'll add that its curious to see a small taste (and I stress small) of what goes on in countries that we are warring with generate this kind of loathing of law enforcement. Yet its the US that is opressing these governments/citizens with all manner of conspiracy laden motives rather than fighting in the name of human rights when those can be seen as PART of the equation (yes I know "where are the WMDs/Osama/Sadam?").

    I've had my share of run-ins with over-zealous law enforcement (mostly over the speed limit ;-))but the bottom line is that we are living in a different world post 9-11 especially in this country.
    The government has taken measures to attempt to increase our safety, whether they are the correct ones is certainly debatable but it will be an evolutionary process. Who here wouldn't tolerate more scrutiny to prevent the possibility of sitting on a plane that is used as a bomb? If you aren't you are lost and ignorant to today's realities in the name of defending some sort of civil libertarian ideal.

    Is it possible that elected officials actually have our best interests in mind when it comes to enacting some of these inconveniences? Its unfortunate that the level of cynisism and political divisiveness (on both sides) prevents some from accepting the possibility.

    Ray, I think your reaction/actions were spot on - certainly within your bounds to be a bit irritated and inquisitive. To those much more up in arms than Ray - what is the major inconvenience in getting some sort of permit?
     
  58. Is it possible that elected officials actually have our best interests in mind when it comes to enacting some of these inconveniences?
    Hahahahaha.....Now you've got me laughing like Peter A.
    Elected officials have only themselves and their major donors in mind 98% of the time. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't know politics very well. It's all about re-election baby. This sort of thing won't change until we have serious campaign finance reform.
    Who here wouldn't tolerate more scrutiny to prevent the possibility of sitting on a plane that is used as a bomb?
    I think we all would. If it were any sort of USEFUL scrutiny. Wasting time with photographers isn't going to catch you a terrorist. Neither is shooing people away from railroad tracks. They are just lame measures so that the govt can stand around and say "look, we're doing something".
     
  59. >Too many "X-File" re-runs?

    Nope, actually never got in to that show.

    More like history showing that the US looked for an excuse to get in to WWII. And "allowed" the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The same US government that imprisoned Japanese-Americans because of their race.

    The same US, if history is to believed, that would have gotten out of Vietnam much earlier if Kennedy had not been killed. Keep in mind the US military minds wanted strike Cuba during the missile crisis, not to seek a diplomatic solution.

    The same US that early in the 60's waged a "war" on organized crime. Yet that "war" ended not long after the assassination.

    Maybe these were coincidences of history. There is one universal truth, and that is money makes people do strange things. Who profited with the escalation of the Vietnam War? And who is profiting with the "War" on terrorism?

    The problem is that there are those that are trying to write history as it happens. And woe to anyone that tries to offer an alternative question of that history. Maybe they should just listen to Rush; and hide their heads in the sand.
     
  60. "And yet, a lot here really like the concept."

    Yes - and I've passed your name on to the proper authorities for suitable re-education.
     
  61. "Check this out, folks. I think it's the Providence, R.I. airport. You can switch from camera to camera, pan and zoom, spot your own terrorists...LOL!"



    al, unbelievable site. i have never really understood why taking photographs in an airport is such a security risk, and if it is so, why would the above site be allowed to operate. seems like continuous live video from multiple cameras would pose a much more serious risk (if one exists) than some still photos. i have never seen any information that photographs of logan airport played any role whatsoever in the 9/11 attacks.
     
  62. Josh - spoken like a true cynic/conspiracy theorist. When one tries to do anything its all about perceived motives - the drug companies are the only ones benefitting from prescription drug/medicare reform - Haliburton is the only one benefitting from the war in Iraq - etc, etc. If Bush was about getting re-elected he would have done the same thing Bubba did after the bombing of the Cole and the numerous other terrorist attacks that occurred during the Clinton administration - not a whole helluva lot. I'd agree that Clinton was and still is focused squarely on his legacy because it was always about him and his wife not what he could actually DO. Talking a good game is meaningless unless you back it up with action and effort which I'd argue is what is currently being attempted. Right or wrong, work is being done to own up to a responsibility shirked by the previous president.

    You can contrive any dubious motives you want to undermine those trying to do the right thing. Its also curious that those who complain the loudest about what is done and the uselessness of it are mute when it comes to providing any meaningful alterntives.

    Please Josh provide us with your pearls of wisdom when it comes to meaningful security measures. Didn't know your expertise extended to this area.
     
  63. Chip

    This is a pile of nonsense. It is not a left/right issue is it? Surely it was the Democrats who got seriously embroiled in Vietnam, not the Republicans? Your "startling truths" are so old as to be boring. There are reasonable explanations for all of these things that are not so shocking or beyond understanding that they require astonished pronouncements. The military are paid to come up with military solutions not diplomatic - they give their position on such issues as invading Cuba which is what they do, or perhaps you feel that our politicians should all become generals and vice-versa?
     
  64. GO CLINTON! I love Bill Clinton and wish he would date my daughter!
    Oh yeah, that is for sure what I said. Mmmmmm-Hmmmmmm, yup. You sure can't get me to shut up about Clinton or his wife. Talk talk talk. stick a quarter in me and I'll go on about Clinton all day long. Hey......wait a minute. I didn't mention Clinton at all. You tricked me!
    I don't hate democrats or republicans, I just hate politicians.
    To quote something that I actually WAS talking about, here’s a repeat of what I said in my first post above:
    ”But I'd rather have spent $87 billion on keeping better track of cargo ships, air-freight flights, "dirty-nuke" material sales, and a national security apparatus that has departments that talk to each other, instead of being tied up in petty "power games"
    Those are the kind of internal security measures that I think would actually make a difference in the safety of the American people.
     
  65. taking photographs in an airport is such a security risk,

    Taking a few photos of the family etc, well, that's one thing. Wandering around for several days, taking photos of all sort of different things... what would you think if you were security?

    Terrorists do plan! nice set of photos, very useful. Or, i'm only taking photos, that ticking sound is my motor drive.
     
  66. However, i would generally agree that Governments love to restrict individual freedoms. War, and the threat of it, very popular.
     
  67. Jay .:"The *real* bottom line is this: if this country was run by a Saddam Hussein or a Bin Laden everyone on this forum would be hunted down and put to death in some torturous manner for their statements."
    Jay, while you are absolutely correct in saying this, here's what I fail to understand:
    The bulk of Saddam's atrocities against his people occured during the Reagan administration, when the US was busy arming him. Who knows, maybe he learned some techniques from the Special Forces "advisors."
    Bin Laden was armed by the CIA to get the Russians out of Afghanistan. (A forgotten story is that now Unocal wants a pipeline from the countries to the north of Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea.)
    Somoza, Pinochet, Noriega, Trujillo, Mobuto, and lord knows who else, were dictators propped up by the US, ostensibly to counter the Red menace.
    The Kingdom of Saud is propped up by the US, just for cheap oil. The New Yorker has written extensive articles about the relationship of the Bush family with the Saudi Royals. The Carlyle Group has offices in Texas, New York, London, and Riyadh (of all places). Why Riyadh? The Carlyle Group is a high finance/venture capital firm stocked with ex-Republicans, including Bush Senior. We don't do anything about Saudi Arabia (or Pakistan), when the overwhelming evidence is that they had a hand in 911.
    None of the above gentlemen would be considered desirable citizens of the US, and their kind of conduct is abhorred in the US. However, we don't mind if their rape and pillage their own people. We can smugly say that it wasn't us, and that we're Simon pure, that we live up to the highest ideals of human civilization, that we are the most civilized people that ever existed on Earth, that we have a better God/G-d/Yahweh than the Satanic heathens in other stupid savage nations, etc. Then we wonder why they come and bomb us.
    By the way, the Clinton administration was also part of the buildup in the Middle East, it is not just the Republicans who are to blame. We also don't have a coherent "Exit Strategy" in Iraq. More body bags seem to be the only "Exit" for the soldiers, the unwitting Rachel Corries in a cruel game.
    Disclaimer: I voted for Clinton twice, and would vote for him forever.
     
  68. I don't know why u guys think that a photo of a total stranger, say at an airport, is interesting.
    I don't think you understand the full spectrum of street photography:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1891024477/
     
  69. Damn you Frank!
    Now they know!
    ABORT! ABORT!
    All agents report to Cheyenne Mountain base!
     
  70. Why would a raghead, (who can shut down FAA; NORAD; USAF and National guard from a cave in Afghanistan), choose a pilot to hit the Pentagon who could not even solo a Cessna 172, despite 600 hours in his log book..
    "Raghead," huh. Can't wait to hear your enlightened opinions of blacks, poles, jews, italians, catholics and Hindus.
     
  71. Victoria, your understanding is perfect. I am in no way an apologist for any US presidential administration past or present. However when it comes down to basic human rights the US is still one of the better places on earth to live, and despite all the anti-American rhetoric from abroad and all the anti-administration rhetoric from within, the the number of people fleeing the country and renouncing their citizenship is virtually nil while the US continues to be the preferred destination of the bulk of immigrants from around the globe.
     
  72. Robin,

    The point that I was trying to make is that if we try to look at things in current perspective saying that these are the absolute truths, then we are failing to learn from our past. These weren't "startling truths"; just observations from history.

    No one thought twice at the time about "relocating" Japanese-Americans at the time. It was right for "national security". It was only later that we looked upon this as a mistake, a black mark on democracy. 30 to 40 years from now how will we look upon our actions after 9-11?

    I was not also trying to tie this to any one political party. Hence the reference to the Vietnam War. Each side of the political coin has their conspiracy theories. Even Rush L. and other conservatives pointed out the Clinton era deaths of some of the key players that were questionable. I could point out Republican issues, but will not since I am not trying to make this a political debate. Just so happens that Bush was in office on 9-11, could have been Gore. And if a Gore White House responded the same way as the Bush White House, I would still be voicing the same concerns.

    Regardless of the party in control, when questions are being asked - they should be answered. No one - Democrat or Republican - should hide behind what ever excuse they can find.
     
  73. Last week an IDF soldier called Boris said he'd smash my camera if he saw me taking
    any more pictures. I was at Qalqilia checkpoint in the West Bank, which is the only
    way 40,000 people can physically contact the outside world - the town is surrounded
    by a huge concrete wall and guard towers. "If you approach the wall you may lose
    your life", in 3 languages. Now that's security!
     
  74. Thomas Turk: "... raghead ... " "... see rense.com ..."
    As a raghead, I welcome your recognition. Let me know your religious affiliation and ethnicity so that I can return the compliment. Here's what's on rense.com, the site that you are touting:
    http://www.rense.com/
    http://64.143.9.197/jhr/v13/v13n4p29_Weber.html
    "Absurd or not, this is but one vignette from a little-known chapter of history: The wide-ranging collaboration between Zionism and Hitler's Third Reich."
    "The SS was particularly enthusiastic in its support for Zionism. "
    "In an interview after the war, the former head of the Zionist Federation of Germany, Dr. Hans Friedenthal, summed up the situation: "The Gestapo did everything in those days to promote emigration, particularly to Palestine. We often received their help when we required anything from other authorities regarding preparations for emigration." "
    "Hitler himself personally reviewed this entire issue in early 1938 and, in spite of his long-standing skepticism of Zionist ambitions and misgivings that his policies might contribute to the formation of a Jewish state, decided to support Jewish migration to Palestine even more vigorously. The prospect of ridding Germany of its Jews, he concluded, outweighed the possible dangers."
    "Meanwhile, the British government imposed ever more drastic restrictions on Jewish immigration into Palestine in 1937, 1938 and 1939. In response, the SS security service concluded a secret alliance with the clandestine Zionist agency Mossad le-Aliya Bet to smuggle Jews illegally into Palestine."
    "Conclusion
    In spite of the basic hostility between the Hitler regime and international Jewry, for several years Jewish Zionist and German National Socialist interests coincided. In collaborating with the Zionists for a mutually desirable and humane solution to a complex problem, the Third Reich was willing to make foreign exchange sacrifices, impair relations with Britain and anger the Arabs. Indeed, during the 1930s no nation did more to substantively further Jewish-Zionist goals than Hitler's Germany."
    You have got to be kidding, Thomas Turk!!!
     
  75. I am in favor of legitimate measures designed to prevent hijackings and mass murders such as occurred on 9/11/01. Many so-called security measures now taken at airports, unfortunately, infringe on rights that we were previously accustomed to exercising. But, with that said, part of the problem here is the insult of being restricted by airport personnel that give the impression of being the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Are the new security measures really effective when they are being implemented by some people who don't appear to have either the intelligence, education or common sense to do the job? Before I insult every airport security person reading this, let me say that while I am sure there are many intelligent and qualified airport security workers, my experience is that there are many who couldn't prevent a shoplifter in a candy store. I will spare you the anecdotes and simply say that I have flown enough to experience it first-hand, and enough so that I drive instead of flying whenever I can. Before 9/11, air travel was merely an irritation to me; now it's a royal PITA. (I drove to New York last week, BTW, from New Orleans.)

    We are in an unaccustomed difficult situation right now because, after 9/11, we have come to realize just how vulnerable we are. Many of the new airport security measures, in my opinion, though, just give the impression of safety and security and are designed to re-assure people that everything is under control. People are still flying so most folks must be okay with tighter security measures.

    But, if you are hanging around an airport taking pictures you will draw attention, and you won't get much symapathy, except from shooters like us. Ray, I think you did the smart thing by backing off. It's a no-win situation. Interesting thread...

    Dennis
     
  76. Thomas Turk: In addition to what Victoria pointed out about rense, I noticed that tonight is Filer's "UFO Reports". Yup- rense sure is reputable, alright.
    WRT the original topic, I think airport security have a tough enough job as it is, and although I know that I'm not a terrorist, there is no way they can know that about me. I wouldn't be happy being forced out like that, but I can't say I'd be surprised, and I would have done exactly what Ray did.
     
  77. The bulk of Saddam's atrocities against his people occured during the Reagan administration, when the US was busy arming him. Who knows, maybe he learned some techniques from the Special Forces "advisors."

    --so it is the US's fault of course (again)? Nothing to do with the actual people who actually did the atrocities or started the war. They are the cuddly teddy bear lovers who would be so nice if it wasn't for the US. It is also not true anyway: Saddam was not gentle to Iraqis after the first Gulf war.

    Bin Laden was armed by the CIA to get the Russians out of Afghanistan. (A forgotten story is that now Unocal wants a pipeline from the countries to the north of Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea.)

    --In fact the idea is the pipe runs from Baku in Azerbijian to the Black Sea. Not through Iraq or Iran. They have their own pipelines. Everyone knows the Caucasus is important to the US and the West because it is believed to be a way to minimize the significance of the Persian Gulf. O yes but of course it is bad for the US to get out of the Middle East - oh no it isn't. Isn't that what you maintain the West needs to do?

    Somoza, Pinochet, Noriega, Trujillo, Mobuto, and lord knows who else, were dictators propped up by the US, ostensibly to counter the Red menace.

    --My next test is to ask you to name all the dictators the Communists supported -- come on. There are at least as many (plus those in their own Russian/Soviet Empire).....

    The Kingdom of Saud is propped up by the US, just for cheap oil. The New Yorker has written extensive articles about the relationship of the Bush family with the Saudi Royals. The Carlyle Group has offices in Texas, New York, London, and Riyadh (of all places). Why Riyadh? The Carlyle Group is a high finance/venture capital firm stocked with ex-Republicans, including Bush Senior. We don't do anything about Saudi Arabia (or Pakistan), when the overwhelming evidence is that they had a hand in 911.

    Mais non - impossible! Really this is such old news. OK so should the US depose the House of Saud and kick out Musharref too? Come on what exactly would you do? and you don't have a year to make up your mind! You would be first in line complaining if that was a real option.

    None of the above gentlemen would be considered desirable citizens of the US, and their kind of conduct is abhorred in the US. However, we don't mind if their rape and pillage their own people. We can smugly say that it wasn't us, and that we're Simon pure, that we live up to the highest ideals of human civilization, that we are the most civilized people that ever existed on Earth, that we have a better God/G-d/Yahweh than the Satanic heathens in other stupid savage nations, etc. Then we wonder why they come and bomb us.

    You may say that, I doubt anybody in any real administration now or earlier thinks this - but you know those governments also have to wise up and face up to their responsibilities too.

    By the way, the Clinton administration was also part of the buildup in the Middle East, it is not just the Republicans who are to blame. We also don't have a coherent "Exit Strategy" in Iraq. More body bags seem to be the only "Exit" for the soldiers, the unwitting Rachel Corries in a cruel game.

    Quite - so what is your solution? I know it is either a) no intervention in Iraq or anywhere - this is consistent; b) intervene everywhere whenever someone does something naughty - the US would be real busy - would you like that? c) only intervene when b) and vital Western interests are concerned. It is not illogical to pick c) really is it?
     
  78. Robin, I wasn't suggesting that US foreign policy is/was wrong. I was merely trying to point out that it is rather self-righteous of Jay to assume that Newton's Third Law of Motion doesn't apply to the US, since everything was done at arms length and on foreign soil. That's all. It really doesn't matter who bombs whom, in the end it will all tend towards equilibrium, and "Made in China" products will win.
     
  79. "...but the bottom line is that we are living in a different world post 9-11 especially in this country."

    No, it's the same old world. Only now you're paying attention to it, if only for reasons of self-interest.
     
  80. http://www.washtimes.com/national/pruden.htm
     
  81. Ah, an editorial from the editor in chief of the far-right, Moonie-owned WashTimes.
    Seeing as we already got links to conspiracy-laden, UFO-credulous sites, this should
    have been expected.
     
  82. mark tillman, glad to see you are still out there. i, for one, have missed you.
    hope you post some pictures sometime...
     
  83. For those interested, Barry Goldwater's complete quote is: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Goldwater was paraphrasing. I believe this quote is originally attributed to Cicero who lived in first century BC Rome.

    A catchy quote but the media plastered Goldwater for it and never mentioned the second half or that he was merely quoting an ancient Roman.
     
  84. I sort of liked Barry Goldwater... one of the few Republicans, or politicians for that matter, that I could say that about. He seemed honest and sincere, and I think he was more middle of the road and level headed than some people think he was.
     
  85. Ray,

    Yes, Goldwater spoke his mind, didn't give a damn what the polls showed, no focus groups or handlers telling him what to say. More than anything, he wanted to be known as an honest man.

    I had the pleasure of having lunch with him (along with 9 or 10 other people) in either 1979 or 1980 and got a chance to chat with him. He was an avid photographer, as everyone knows, and an outdoorsman. He loved the Southwest and loved to talk about his photographic adventures.

    Of course, you see where his outspokenness and plain speaking got him politically.
     
  86. Robin,

    no doubt you are a sensible, grown up, pragmatic fellow, with a certain wordly wisdom, but your defensiveness over the current policy pursuits of Bush and co does you little credit.

    There can be very little doubt that we, the general public are not appraised of all the agendas that drive US foreign or domestic policy, and if we look with open eyes at what is going on there is much to be disenchanted, if not alarmed, by.

    There are many questions that can be legitimately asked about the sense of The US military and political wrath and why Iraq was the chosen target and not Pakistan for instance, or indeed why some other completely different approach was not taken up. Questions should be asked, and asked stridently and persistently in a properly functioning democracy. Real questions, free from politically ridden, self-serving agendas should be raised within and without state structures as to what is best for the people as a whole.
     
  87. Peter A,

    Your cynicism is understandable, but too narrow and simplistic. No doubt to a large extent we get the governments we deserve and no doubt consumerism and the accompanying lifestyles we are building form strong disincentives to really risk that all by sharing some of it.

    The trouble is that this sort of lasseez-faire greed and privilege that we seem to be increasingly addicted to also makes us vulnerable and a bit stupid. Do we really think we can continue to grow wealthier and keep most of the world's population both weak and poor without risk? Or more optimistically, and maybe even more stupidly, do we really think we can make everyone else as well off and as wasteful as we are? Or, are you really happy to continue to use increasingly global military force to preempt any threats to our preeminent lifestyles, to secure the resources we need to ensure they continue, and to undermine or destroy any perceived competitors to our economic and military dominance?

    Perhaps reorientating or redirecting some of our deeply-held economic principles might not be such a bad idea after all, even if it means less consumer profligacy.

    Whatever way we look at things, we are going to have to change, whether voluntarily or through force of circumstances. The longer we hold that off, the harder we will fall. The price of expecting our governments, whether in OZ, Europe or the US, to keep improving our already comfortable lifestyles is just too high.
     
  88. Very well said, Robert. I just wonder (without cyniscism, just scepticism) how strongly this truth will echo within the specific comunity here. My scepticism deriving from observing my own attitude. I would rather try to improve my sitaution than renounce to improvement, even though I _know_ material improvement is based on material injustice and exploitation. Any suggestions for a real world attitude that complies with your forementioned moral standards? I'd really appreciate to be inspired. Bests, Lutz.
     
  89. "...this sort of lasseez-faire greed and privilege that we seem to be increasingly addicted to also makes us vulnerable and a bit stupid."
    I bought my daughter a plastic inflatable wading pool this summer for $3. Three Dollars! Made in China, of course. I can't mail a first-class letter to China for $3, so how in the world can they procure the raw materials, assemble them, pay a wage to their workers and ship the product to the other side of the planet for three dollars?
    In almost every house I've been to, including my own, the people living there have a "junk room." Usually a spare bedroom or something whose function is holding the overflow of stuff they own. Old Video cameras, snow skis, camping gear; shelves full of video cassettes, CD's and floppy disks; bicycles, helmets, skateboards, televisions. I know more than one family who park their cars in the driveway because the garage is full. Full of motorcyles, snowmobiles, lawn tractors, ATV's and all the paraphernalia to support them. But I don't know anyone, myself included, who thinks they have enough money.
    When my dad was a boy, he said he was glad to get an apple in his stocking for Christmas. In the house he grew up in, I remember my Grandmother making Thanksgiving dinner in a kitchen with no running water. She had a cast-iron pump handle in the sink. The funny thing is, lots of people lived like that. I'm only 43, but that world seems like a page in a history book compared to the world we live in now. No one wants to go back to a Depression-era lifestyle, but how can we continue living like this?
     
  90. There's no doubt rampant consumerism has lots to answer for, and I'm not about to defend single passenger SUVs in Los Angeles traffic.

    However, conspicuous consumption and materialism at its worst is a cuddly teddy-bear compared to ideology and faith.

    It wasn't the urge for new goodies that drove the priests of the Spanish Inquisition, Adolf, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Custer, Bin Laden, and all the rest.
     
  91. "It wasn't the urge for new goodies that drove the priests of the Spanish Inquisition, Adolf, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Custer, Bin Laden, and all the rest."

    William, that is absolutely correct about the tyrants. But as far as the youth of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., I'd bet that what they aspire to is Britney Spears CDs, MTVs, SUVs, etc. The consumerism that has gotten out of control in America is what people all over the world really want, IMO. Maybe that says something disturbing about human nature in general.

    Dennis
     
  92. "Robin,

    no doubt you are a sensible, grown up, pragmatic fellow, with a certain wordly wisdom, but your
    defensiveness over the current policy pursuits of Bush and co does you little credit.

    There can be very little doubt that we, the general public are not appraised of all the agendas that drive US
    foreign or domestic policy, and if we look with open eyes at what is going on there is much to be
    disenchanted, if not alarmed, by."

    Robert, thank you - I agree with what you say. My purpose in getting into all this is not because I am a Republican (it might surprise you to know that I am not) - but with the issue of Iraq I do happen to think the US did the right thing. I also think the US should have intervened in Liberia and the Congo and Rwanda and indeed probably finish the job in Somalia. I also happen to think that US support is excessive for the state of Israel and so on. But what I do object to is the very childish damning of all US foreign policy since 1945 and the idea that somehow the US is responsible for of the ills of the world and is now destroying the world through globalization. This is such an absurd generalization that it challenges any thinking person anywhere. When I hear it, I react against it. Politicians and nations have to treat the world as it is and respond accordingly - much of the time the morality is unclear and no one ever knows what will happen. Choices are difficult and virtually never clear and one never has the luxury of too much time to make up your mind. Imagine yourself in that position and one can see it is a huge challenge. Clinton failed in his response to the outrages in Kenya, the Cole and Somalia, but it was indeed understandable and at least he did the right thing in the Balkans eventually when the Europeans pathetically did nothing. Bush has been sorely tested that is for sure and he certainly did not expect it when he came into office.
     
  93. However, conspicuous consumption and materialism at its worst is a cuddly teddy-bear

    A cuddley bear that kills. But we all love our cuddley bears...just try to take them away from us !
     
  94. Robin:

    I understand and respect your well-reasoned opinion. However, what disturbs me is that too often foreign policy appears to be dictated by the interests of the oil industry, which has made a very small segment of the American population fabulously wealthy. But we, the general public are hooked on oil like it was crack so we tend to rationalize and support questionable decisions concerning the autonomy of other nations in the interest of preserving our access to cheap oil.

    Just my opinion...

    Dennis
     
  95. Gold before Soul, so as to speak.
     
  96. I'm afraid Robert is looking a little too much with an eye that is clouded with idealism. We live in a world political system that operates on votes cast based on "what's in it for me?" That is, of course, if you live in a political system that allows you to have a voice and a vote. To actually believe that anyone would be willing to give up anything is not realistic. We elect governments to look after our best interests and we throw out governments we feel do not. The "greed" that is so often bantered about actually refers to each person's self-interest. Your self-interest is greed from my point-of-view and my self-interest is greed to you.
     
  97. Come on, lets get to the ‘nitty gritty’ stuff, we all know, but don’t won’t to admit.

    Unless some starving individual stares into our eyes, touches us physically, and we are sure that they really are about to die ……well, we are not interested.

    To get any of us to part with our hard earned cash, it’s got to be close and personnel.

    That’s the way it is in our present state of evolution, or whatever else you believe.

    Politics are just the mechanics of the world; our reflection in present time.
     
  98. "The "greed" that is so often bantered about actually refers to each person's self-interest. Your self-interest is greed from my point-of-view and my self-interest is greed to you."

    Right. And no one is connected in any way to anyone else. We're not people anymore, we're just little corporations, each trying to make a profit.

    Isn't there some point when self-interested consumption becomes laugh-out-loud funny? How else can something as evidently ridiculous as the Hummer be explained.
     
  99. We are all small pieces in the jigsaw, called humanity. However, in our own small way, we can help to create the picture. A practical idea. How about each person reading these thoughts adopts am impoverished family ? Sort of nice and close and personnel. Go and find them, use your brain. One step forward for humanity, one gaint step forward for the individual ! No. i don't belong to anything, free thinker. Nope, i don't like soap boxes. usually made of cheap wood. Just a thought.
    006gOG-15554584.jpg
     
  100. See, that's what happens when you talk Plastic Politics. Someone comes along and pokes those bits you would err.. rather forget about.

    Thanks for the amusement.
     
  101. Lee,

    Like Robin says, we live in a difficult and complex world and very few decisions, political or ethical are straightforward. However I know of very few people who vote according to your criterion. In fact many people that I know vote for things like a better health service or better education, or for environmental concerns, which they know mean more taxes.

    Many of them are also accutely aware that leading more frugal and less profligate lives with concern to material things, does not make them either less secure or less happy. In fact it can often be liberating - there's simply less clutter and less of a sense of waste and burden.

    I am certainly not saying that these people are somehow virtuously free from the sort of passive greed I was thinking of, but at least they are conscious of it and find that they can also do something about it if they chose, and find that it can be liberating rather than a source of deprivation.

    I don't know if this is to some extent a reflection of a Europe/US divide, or whether it is merely a political choice. I know with my father, who has very little by choice and consumes almost nothing, it is a matter of temperament.
     
  102. difficult and complex world

    Really, it's very simple. I have, you haven't....great for me, bit of bad luck for you. Never mind. Try not to cry too much; hate it when your tears get on my clothes. Go away now, your are starting to be a bother.
     
  103. Love to help you, maybe. But things are very complex, thank God. I'm glad for complex....what a worry without that word. Jeez, i might have to help....better go and hide, someone might get me.
     
  104. Robert Clark, nobody cares about your politics, or anyone elses. Fact.

    However, if you took a plane to India (or anywhere else,plenty of choices) adopted a 'about to cease family', they would care. They would listen to you, and cherish every word you have to say. They would be so thankful that have got you to live another day...you would be truly a demi god. And you would deserve to be one. So stop spouting, do something yourself, personnel.

    Of course you won't, because you don't care that much...welcome to humanity!.
     
  105. What could possibly be of interest that you would stake out the airport for two weeks? The "public" places must have a set of rules or the public that uses the place would be too inconvenienced. What if I had a car club that wanted to meet every week inside the airport concourse, wouldn't we be told "NO"? The bottom line is you're not free to do anything you want, anytime and any place you want to.

    Perhaps some of the new rules in this post-9/11 country are misguided, but at least the elected officials are trying to do _something_ to keep us as safe as possible.

    I guess it depends where you are in the world and what your personal frame of reference to any terrorist act may or may not be, but having been personally affected by the NYC 9/11 attacks, if I was told I could never walk with my camera again I wouldn't be all that broken up about it. My backyard was used for the opening salvo in a war by those bastards, and we brought it to them in spades in Afghanistan. I, and MANY others in this area don't care what has to be done or whose "right" to take a photo is denied, we just don't want a repeat of 9/11. Not here, not anywhere in this beautiful country. There's more important things to many people than being able to take a photo of an empty escalator at an airport. All the bridges in NYC now have warning signs against photographing them. You will at the least have your camera confiscated if you ignore them. If any of you had been on that first train that pulled into the World Trade Center Station a week ago, you'd see what I mean. It was a very emotional experience for many of us. I'd also venture to say that political correctness was not on anyone's mind then, and "raghead' is too kind a term for those who attacked us.
     
  106. Allen, Robert _lives_ in India and is the most generous and helpful person I have come to know in Bombay. And, BTW, he actually _does_ support the underpriviledged actively.
     
  107. George, that certainly explains alot about where you're coming from. If you don't care about your rights, I'm sorry for you. Thanks for the insight.
     
  108. Ray,

    Like I tried to say in a roundabout way, if you haven't lived through it, it may be difficult for you to get it.
     
  109. "Perhaps some of the new rules in this post-9/11 country are misguided, but at least the elected officials are trying to do _something_ to keep us as safe as possible."
    No, George, you are wrong.
    They have done nothing at all. If you think that 95% of the half-assed measures that have been enacted since 9/11 are making you safer here in the USA, well then I've got a lovely bridge I'd like to sell you.
    Look at the UK, look at all the things they did to try and stop the terrorism of the hardcore IRA branches. Video cameras, troops on the corners, paramilitary raids, checkpoints, etc. And did it stop them? Or look at Israel. We will likely NEVER have the kind of lockdown military state that the territories have over there. But that doesn't stop people from blowing up busses full of women and children.
    Don't kid yourself or your country. Stopping photographers from taking photos of a railroad track isn't going to defend against a suicide bomber who doesn't care about his own life. The only way to keep another 9/11 from happening is to dry up the money that supports those attacks. And that money for sure wasn't in Iraq.
     
  110. "My backyard was used for the opening salvo in a war by those bastards, and we brought it to them in spades in Afghanistan."
    It was hardly an "opening salvo." They tried to blow it up once before, remember? Big bomb, many casualties. And as for "bringing it to them," well, we rearranged some rocks and rubble and the political order in Afghanistan with our bombs, but the dust has settled now and the Taliban is moving back in, too. Meanwhile, the people we should have been 'bringing it to' are hiding behind the robes of a Saudi royal family that's politically and economically enmeshed with our own leaders, so we can't bomb Riyadh, can we? So we squander our arsenal, our money and an unprecedented amount of international good will and go after poor Iraq, instead. And our national short-term memory problem conveniently helps us forget that the bogeyman de jour, Saddam, had been supported and cosseted by our government for years, and they were fully aware of his human rights abuses all along.
    The war on terrorism needs to be fought, but we're going about it the wrong way; we're wasting our time in Iraq and Afghanistan and it's going to end badly.
     
  111. actually _does_ support the underpriviledged actively.


    Then he is a treasure in a world that sadly lacks.
     
  112. What could possibly be of interest that you would stake out the airport for two weeks?
    It's exactly this kind of ignorance that puts humanity in peril. If it doesn't mean anything to you or you don't understand it, no one else who it does mean something to need have the right to do it.
    Your kind of thinking is why fascism is alive and well.
     
  113. "What could possibly be of interest that you would stake out the airport for two weeks? "
    Um, that falls under the heading of none of your goddamned business,pal!
     
  114. I have been hanging out in the airposrt for years. Everything in there interest me.
    006gau-15557984.jpg
     
  115. Everything in there interest me.

    I love Ray, too. I can understand why he finds Airports interesting, i do. I'm sure he understands why security finds him interesting, too. Lets not get personnel over a simple difference of opinion.
     
  116. I was never questioned. I guess security ain't so tight here? Or am I just lucky?
    006gbU-15558184.jpg
     
  117. George Shihanian: "... 'raghead' is too kind a term for those who attacked us. ..."
    George, I'm guessing by your name that you are of Armenian extraction. If you indeed are, then think back to why you are in the US. It is because the Turks massacred thousands of your ancestors around 100 years ago. Otherwise you'd be in Armenia, enjoying life the way some of my friends would like to, but will never get the chance. Does it matter to you at all? The only reason I point this out is because Turkey is a strong US friend, and is permitted to massacre anyone they see fit, including the Kurds and Armenians in Turkey, while the US turns a blind eye. Meanwhile, the US wants the Iraqis to not kill their own Kurds. I'm trying to understand the logic here. Do you feel comfortable about this?
     
  118. Vic,

    Hell no, I'm not comfortable with much that's going on in Iraq, but since we went in I want to see it through to a successful conclusion, where, hopefully if the American people have the guts to stick it out, we can free an oppressed people.
    But I saw the need to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    But if you go back 100 years, which is a heck of a long time to an American, you'll find many examples of contradiction in foreign policy. I do know a lot of it is our fault for switching alliances seemingly each decade, but, times change and what worked years ago may not be in our best interests now. for example- just because we fought the British 200-odd years ago, should we fight them now?
     
  119. George, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, I apologise. I just wanted to point out the absurd logic that is going on today. If you leave aside what happened 100 years ago, Armenians are being killed in Turkey, TODAY.

    Also, one question that people don't seem to address is the issue of democracy. We keep saying that we are going to free Iraq and bring democracy. The thing is that the majority people are Shiites, who are friends of Iran (since Iran is a Shiite country, and not Sunni). If the US puts a "strongman" in power, that person will have to use oppression to subdue the majority population. Another Sadaam in the making.

    Look back at Kuwait. If you remember, Bush Senior said that the US was going to bring democracy and women's rights to Kuwait. They still don't have democracy. Forget about women's rights. Same for Afghanistan. We don't see women getting any rights there. The US goes and leaves a half baked situation time and again. And they wonder why the world hates them. 99 percent of Americans are very decent people and have extremely high standards of charity and brotherhood. It's the other 1 percent in Washington DC who fool the rest with smoke and mirror logic. Time and again.
     
  120. Gentlemen:

    too much flaming going on here. Is this the Leica Photography Forum or Speakers'
    Corner?

    Folks, the reality is - from this working shooter and attorney's perspective - if you're
    on someone else's property, the property owner can set whatever conditions they
    choose on your use of the property.

    John Wayne Airport is owned by the Orange County Apt Authority. It is not "public"
    land.

    If TSA, police or other lawful authority tell you to stop photographing, you've got two
    choices: comply, or face the consequences. If you're polite and invite the authority's
    attention to what your doing, you might get to stay. If the guys having a bad day or
    drunk with power, the answer will be no. If the consequences include an arrest,
    remember you've got an arrest record that you'll have to get expunged even if you're
    found not guilty or the charge is dismissed. Its that simple.

    Arguing about it or citing the Constitution will get you nowhere but in cuffs and in
    the back of a black & white. When I was a cop people used to tell me all the time "I
    know the mayor" 'Fine sir, the mayor can get you out of jail. Sign the ticket please."

    The choice is yours.

    Let's not flame those who make a decision that they believe is the right choice for
    them. While you have the right to say what you want, that doesn't mean you should,
    What does the use of offensive terms accomplish? Does it make you more right?

    Bob Soltis, photojournalist and attorney
     
  121. "I was never questioned. I guess security ain't so tight here? Or am I just lucky?"


    or maybe they realize there is no real security risk from a photograph.

    since when has an airport been a target, and how is a photograph of the inside of an airport a security risk?

    the 9/11 terrorists didn't photograph the airport, the airplane or even the world trade center.

    george, you got to be kidding if you believe that 9/11 translates to the end of freedom to carry a camera.
     
  122. "an eye that is clouded with idealism"

    Idealism and a realistic, well-informed view of what is happening in the world, locally and globally, are not incompatible. You don't have to be a cynic in order to see clearly. Indeed, idealists are often better informed, imo, than people who cynically restrict their humanity to self-interest.
     
  123. "Do you feel comfortable about this?"

    Its all so messy isn't it? That's life. Also war makes strange bedfellows. Look at the Russians and the US in WWII (or even in WW1). Or the British and the Germans in WW1 (they had nothing really substantial to fight about). All you are pointing out is that the world is complicated...What's it all about? Someone? Of course Eric Cantona would say it was all about workers failing to be masters of their means of production.

    "Your kind of thinking is why fascism is alive and well."

    Mussolini spent a long time in Rome railway stations. As to Hitler and Viennese and Munich railways and airports - just loved them. Airports ARE the breeding ground of fascists dammit!
     
  124. world is complicated

    Not really, we like to make it complicated. It suits us to make it seem so. Smoke, mirrors, and shadows.
     
  125. Back to the original String: Being in the Aircraft industry, once traveling heavily to destinations far away, you should be lucky this happened in the US. I remember once "being invited" for an interview in a German Police station, complete with the chair and the bright lights, with voices speaking from the shadows.
     

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