A disturbing story appeared last week in the Washington Times.
On his way home from a conference, the director of Development for Campaign for Liberty, Steve Bierfeldt, was detained “for further screening” at a Saint Louis airport by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners.
The TSA screener was suspicious because Mr. Bierfeldt’s luggage contained a metal box with about $4,700.00 in cash and some Ron Paul bumper stickers. This “evidence” — the “large” amount of cash — seems to have made him some kind of security risk in the mind of the screener, who detained and questioned him for about half an hour:
Mr. Bierfeldt was attending his organization’s regional conference in St. Louis and said he was keenly aware, as the situation unfolded March 29, of a controversial report issued to Missouri law enforcement officials intended to identify members of radical militia members.
This report, issuing from a governmental agency known as the Missouri Information Analysis Center, was disseminated to law enforcement and security personnel in February. I went to their site and tried to retrieve what they trerm “open source” documents, but was blocked from doing so. It may be my computer, or the problem might lie at their end. Whatever the reason, the only information for public consumption was bureaucratic boilerplate:
Sign up today and start receiving threat information that could affect your organization or agency.
What is MIAC and why it is needed?
Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) provides a public safety partnership consisting of local, state and federal agencies, as well as the public sector and private entities that will collect, evaluate, analyze, and disseminate information and intelligence to the agencies tasked with Homeland Security responsibilities in a timely, effective, and secure manner.
MIAC is the mechanism to collect incident reports of suspicious activities to be evaluated and analyzed in an effort to identify potential trends or patterns of terrorist or criminal operations within the state of Missouri. MIAC will also function as a vehicle for two-way communication between federal, state and local law enforcement community within our region….
Academics contend that female and minority empowerment in the 1970s and 1960s caused a blow to white male’s [sic] sense of empowerment. This, combined with a sense of defeat from the Vietnam War, increased levels of immigration, and unemployment, spawned a paramilitary culture. This caught on in the 1980’s with injects such as Tom Clancy novels, Soldier of Fortune Magazine, and movies such as Rambo that glorified combat. This culture glorified white males and portrayed them as morally upright heroes who were mentally and physically tough.
“Academics” are always “contend”[ing] a bunch of malarkey no serious person would find credible. Only academics and bureaucrats believe this ummm…this kind of analyis. Sheesh. But how come MIAC doesn’t have to worry about the deleterious effect of blaxploitation films on African American culture? Why is the black Nation of Islam not singled out as something to worry about? How come this be only about honkies?
I digress, but only slightly, just to show you the motivation for detaining Mr. Bierfeldt. Here’s what the Washington Times quotes from the report:
“Militia members most commonly associate with third-party political groups,” said the report, issued Feb. 20 by the Missouri Information Analysis Center. “It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitution Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr.”
Here’s what retired Marine Corps Colonel J. Karl Miller has to say about the report (which he calls “absurd”) in an essay from the Missourian:
As if there were not enough bogeymen — terrorism, climate change/global warming, the perils of red meat, obesity, greenhouse gas emissions, Rush Limbaugh and the evil Wall Street bankers — the Missouri Information Analysis Center has given us yet another reason to look under our beds each night. Never in my wildest dreams would I have suspected that the seemingly mild-mannered, elderly neighbor with the Ron Paul yard sign prominently displayed was a prospective militia man or urban terrorist.
The analysis center-compiled report flagged certain activities of individuals or groups, linking them prone to militia membership or domestic terrorist activity. These indicators include “subversive” literature, selected political bumper stickers and religious and anti-abortion paraphernalia. The “Modern Militia Movement” document identified supporters of third-party candidates and those displaying the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag of the Revolutionary War and even the American flag as objects for added surveillance.
…Missouri’s analysis center, one of 58 Homeland Security “fusion centers” created to collect local intelligence, overstated its mandate with the warning, “Due to the current economical and political situation, a lush environment for militia has been created. Unemployment rates are high as well of costs of living expenses. Additionally, President Obama is seen as tight on gun control and many extremists fear he will enact firearms confiscations.”
Do read the whole essay.
Meanwhile, back at the St. Louis airport, Mr. Bierfeldt is being held and closely questioned:
Mr. Bierfeldt recorded the event on his iPhone, and provided a copy to The Washington Times for review. (Click here to listen to the [MP3] audio)
On the tape, Mr. Bierfeldt is asked repeatedly where he works, where he obtained the money and why he was in St. Louis.
In each instance, Mr. Bierfeldt asked whether he was required by law to answer the questions.
“You want to play smartass, and I’m not going to play your f–ing game,” the TSA official said.
Mr. Bierfeldt continued to refuse to answer, asking whether he was compelled by law to do so. The officers accused him of “doublespeak” and “acting like a child.”
“Are you from this planet?” one officer asked.
The officers threatened to handcuff him and turn him over to the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration for questioning.
“You’re going to have to prove why you have so much money to the DEA,” a second unidentified officer said.
“We’re going to help you understand [the law],” the TSA official said.
As he was being led away by the officers questioning him in the recording, another unidentified officer approached the group and asked Mr. Bierfeldt whether he worked for Mr. Paul and whether the money was campaign contributions.
Mr. Bierfeldt responded, “Yes,” and was told by that officer that he was “free to go.”
But one of the detaining officers said he was “not all that ready to let him walk” back onto the concourse, and held him for another five minutes.
The incident which Mr. Bierfeldt recorded on his iphone is mind-blowing. We have traveled very fast and very far into the twilight zone of Gestapo tactics. In Missouri, of all places! So much for the heartland of America, folks.
The Times says:
The Transportation Security Administration is investigating the detention and harassment of a Ron Paul organization official by airport screeners, an incident that was caught on tape at a St. Louis airport.
Good for Mr. Bierfeldt that (1) he had a way to make the recording, and (2) that he was aware of the report issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center citing Ron Paul supporters as “militants” and “extremists”. Had he entered the room with the TSA screener without any means to record the interview, it would have been his word against that of the person in authority. Had he not been aware of the MIAC report, he would not have been privy to the screener’s mindset regarding the fact that he was carrying Ron Paul materials.
Without those two factors, the battlefield would have been tipped in favor of the screener’s tactics. However, armed as he was, Mr. Bierfeldt will prevail in this one.
What is never metnioned, but I think is obvious, is that this is a young (you can hear on the recording that he was born in 1984) white conservative male being accosted by a low level black bureaucrat who is determined to enforce a bully session using “security” as an excuse. Had the races been reversed, had it been a white TSA screener bullying a young black man, the “racist” charges would be flying by now. Every grievance pimp in the country would have been on this. But this is just a young white guy; he doesn’t get the same consideration. He’s got to pay for someone else’s past.
In his interview with the Times Mr. Bierfeldt reiterated what he’d said in the room:
“I was not refusing to answer the questions. I was only saying, as per the law, ‘Am I legally required to answer the questions?’“
“We are becoming far too eager to give away our liberties in the face of false security. We want to make our plane and we don’t want a five-minute hassle so we are eager to give up our freedom, and that is unfortunate,” Mr. Bierfeldt.
“I don’t believe I was legally required to tell them. Carrying cash is not a crime,” Mr. Bierfeldt said. “It is a dangerous precedent if the government can order you to tell them where you get your money, and no law requires them to know where I work or where I spend my free time and where I go on vacation.”
Asked whether his employment with Mr. Paul’s committee prompted more scrutiny, Mr. Bierfeldt said: “I don’t know, but it may not have helped that they were aware of where I worked.
“I was obviously with the campaign and I was aware of that report. I didn’t want to tell them off the bat that I worked for the campaign and Ron Paul, because the report said we were potential members of the militia, and that’s why I asked what my rights were,” Mr. Bierfeldt said.
Ron Paul is the honorary chairman of Campaign for Liberty. On being questioned about the incident, Dr. Paul said:
“Steve’s experience is a prime example of how our liberties are in real peril and that we need to wake up to what’s going on in our country.”
One way to “wake up” is to be as alert as Mr. Bierfeldt was during his detention, especially if you are a white male between the ages of, say, sixteen and sixty:
- Carry your own recorder or camera and be prepared to use them.
- There is an old technique called “broken record” which is taught in assertiveness training groups. Mr. Bierfeldt’s responses and behaviors under pressure are a perfect example of the proper utilization of this skill.
- Go public. Give your proof of attempts to bully or intimidate you to a media outlet that you know will disseminate your information.
- If you have done a camera recording, don’t forget to upload it to You Tube. If they take it down, try Live Leak.
I don’t think this is as much of a problem for women. Outside of being patted down unnecessarily, women do not face the same kinds of risk that men do. Just re-read that paragraph I copied from the screen cap of the quote. This is about targeting white men. Black conservative men face another set of issues, including being labeled “Uncle Toms” by their colleagues.
As for the rest of us, we might as well begin to put our reading material in plain brown wrappers when out in public.
And we might consider what bumper stickers we affix to our cars. One of the nice things about driving an old car is that having it dented a bit, or “keyed”, is no big matter. You can put “Don’t Tread On Me” stickers all over the old heap and putter down the road in freedom.
Until they outlaw those, too — both the old heaps and the bumper stickers that keep them together.
Hat tip: Get Liberty