We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Michael Yon arrested by morons

I thought this might interest and rile up some of our readers, many of whom I expect are as great fans of Michael Yon as I am:

Got arrested at the Seattle airport for refusing to say how much money I make. (The uniformed ones say I was not “arrested”, but they definitely handcuffed me.) Their videos and audios should show that I was polite, but simply refused questions that had nothing to do with national security. Port authority police eve…ntually came — they were professionals — and rescued me from the border bullies.

He was not at all pleased by the treatment and has written:

When they handcuffed me, I said that no country has ever treated me so badly. Not China. Not Vietnam. Not Afghanistan. Definitely not Singapore or India or Nepal or Germany, not Brunei, not Indonesia, or Malaysia, or Kuwait or Qatar or United Arab Emirates. No county has treated me with the disrespect can that can be expected from our border bullies.

When, I ask you, are we going to FIRE these un-american, untrained, brainless, worthless, useless apes? (I beg forgiveness if I offend any of our near relatives by use of this comparison. Great Apes are marvelous creatures.) Of course, they might have to go on welfare if we fired them because no one but a government bureaucracy would be stupid enough to hire people whose only contribution to America will be their retirement.

Mad? You are damned right I am mad. The TSA and INS are out of control. Disband it. Fire them all. NOW, DAMN IT!!!

New info from Yon in addition to the above on FB: “The Customs people (CBP) were the actors who handcuffed me.”

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VKEmail this to someone

22 comments to Michael Yon arrested by morons

  • ErrolC

    After Peter Watts, and the stupid reaction to the undiebomber, I’d already scraped my tentative plans to go airshow-chasing in the US in summer.

  • James

    Gobsmacking, but not surprising.

    In a way, it’s good that this is happening to respected people with a platform, like Yon. It can’t do the TSA much good if a well-liked war vet like Yon is being hauled aside for such trivialities.

    Is there a direct link to the story?

  • Dale Amon

    Only place I have found it is on his Facebook page.

  • Paul Marks

    The TSA was formed when the Democrats demanded that airport security be nationalized (after 9/11).

    The Bush Administration resisted – for about a micro second (then Bush caved in).

    I agree that the TSA should be abolished.

    Treating visitors (and Americans) like dirt is what the terrorists want – it is a victory for them. And it will NOT stop terrorist attacks.

    After all a terrorist would have the replies off pat – and would be most likely be telling the truth.

    “I am a wealthy man – here are some bank statments and other such proving it”.

    “Also here are some pictures of my charming wife and children – that just happen to fall out of my wallet as I am showing you something else”.

    Such a nice wealthy person with a wife and children could not possibly be a terrorist.


    The only justification for asking for proof of income is not to deal with terrorists (most terrorists are rich kids with nice jobs that daddy got them – you know sort of like Economist magazine writers), it is to deal with potential illegal immigrants.

    The theory being that someone with a good job in his home country is not going to be trying to con their way in to the United States, if they say it is just a business or pleasure trip that is all it is.

  • llamas

    With the usual caveats about oneside of the story, etc, I have to say that my immediate reaction is to believe this story.

    The requirements for an Illinois cosmetology license are more onerous than the requirements to become a TSA ‘screener’. These people have apparently (by my observation) been hired with a special selection for ox-like stupidity, and then further conditioned by government service to suppress both intelligence and initiative, replacing both with that peculiar brand of dumb fascism that only a really big Federal ‘law enforcement’ agency can develop.

    Maybe it’s just the ‘screeners’ at DTW, but the combination of out-of-shape slobs, the Ruritanian-admiral uniforms that are always unlaundered and unironed, the ghastly shoes, the filthy fingernails, the greasy mops of hair, the barely-passing connection with the English language – I have no problem believing that the ‘screeners’ who detained Mr Yon treated him just as badly as described.

    Someone needs to school these clowns in the fact that they are not law enforcement officers, but little more than mall cops, and they do not have the right to exercise their Bruce Willis fantasies on the public.

    At least real coppers came and released Mr Yon from his kidnappers. A few of these jobsworths need to be loudly and publicly canned for their ineptitude and/or their institutional abuse of the public, and sued into bankruptcy for a chaser.

    20,000 citizens have 10-20 hours of their lives stolen and get treated like s**t besides – all because some Elmer Fudd of a TSA ‘screener’ couldn’t process the fact that a person went by him in the wrong direction? The cure is worse than the disease. Most of these people, and those who ‘manage’ them and set their ‘policies’, aren’t doing one single thing to suppress terrorism. We should put a stop to this inane theatre, which does little more than provide a venue for these dingalings to play out their domination fantasies.

    After observing the events of the day, and the President’s completely inane and generally-useless statement on the matter this evening, I’m now convinced that ‘airport security’ is about as effective as a chocolate teapot. Terrorists bypass it at will and with apparent ease, while millions of innocents are abused and mistreated daily. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that ‘airport security’, as presently practised, was actually the terrorists goal all along – to make the lives of millions of people miserable at vast expense and to no good purpose.

    Shut it down and start over. Hire the Israelis.



  • James Waterton

    A ridiculous charade.

    On a side note, I whole-heartedly agree with you about Michael Yon’s work. Simply, the quality of his journalism – and perspective – is unavailable anywhere in the MSM. He’s a one man jewel-in-the-crown of New Media reporting, and an exemplar of how the Army of Davids (to channel Glenn Reynolds) will eventually smite Goliath – and why.

    It’s definitely worth contributing to his expenses.

  • Andrew Duffin

    When are you going to fire them?


    They are part of the Leviathan State’s apparatus for ensuring that you understand who is in charge.

    It’s a useful function, it won’t be discontinued.

  • llamas

    Here’s an excellent video report from the WSJ on how Israel handles airport security:


    I think the takeway from this – the base lesson – is that Israel has learned not to let the terrorists lead them around by the nose, while the TSA is more-or-less of a puppet, that simply jerks in response to what the terrorists tried last. The TSA is always protecting against a threat that has already failed, and so will not be tried again. Israel works to respond to the threat that has not yet been tried.



  • Dale Amon

    llamas, fyi:

    Just picked up another tidbit from Yon’s FB page and added to the article. It was the CBP who mistreated him. They all report to DHS though, so it is ultimately the same folk responsible somewhere up the chain…

  • llamas

    Well, see my note about ‘the usual caveats’. I stand by what I said about the TSA/airport ‘security’.. They deny boarding to Joan Rivers because of her ‘fishy’ passport, but Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab – that’s fine, no problem. These folks are a living joke.

    Michael Yon has written scathingly in the past about the shenanigans of CBP. Could that have anything to do . . . .?

    If, as it appears, he was re-entering the country from Hong Kong, then there may be some basis for CBP detaining and inspecting him more-carefully, to be sure that he is the US citizen he claims to be. But asking him what he makes for a living, and who he works for? These might be legitimate questions to ask a foreigner attempting to enter, but not a citizen, who has a virtually-unrestricted right to enter regardless of any other circumstance.

    And indeed, CBP cut him loose, without charges, even though their questions went unanswered.

    The whole thing smells to me. Even allowing a degree of latitude to CBP officers in determining that he’s a citizen. Sounds to me like he got harassed and singled out for ‘special treatment’ because he would not show sufficient deference to the officer, aka ‘contempt of cop’. CBP and TSA officers have a unique power to ruin your life for days or weeks to come, by the simple expedient of making you miss your connecting flight.

    There’s a deal too much of this sort of general trawling at airports. Remember the political operative who was detained by TSA because he had some middling amount of cash on his person – like $4000? Nothing to do with TSA, of course, but they decide to take him away, lock him in a room, question him, and when he fails to answer, threaten him with the police and the DEA? They seem all-too-happy to use their powers for things that have nothing to do with travel security, nothing to do with border security, but to simply set themselves up as some sort of uber-cop – we have the power to stop you and rifle through your belongings, so we’re going to operate as some sort of general Crimestoppers franchise. No 4th Amendment, no 5th Amendment, and if you don’t cooperate, we’re going to ruin your week and cost you beaucoo bucks.

    It’s troubling. It’s especially troubling when one reads – again and again and again – the stories of how these tactics seem to be used disproportionately on those who are considered least-likely to resist – Lutheran grannies, mothers with children, uniformed servce members(who will get into deep sh*t for getting into trouble with civilian authorities) and epople who have a lot to lose if their lives get disrupted in this way.

    Why do these popel seem to default to an aggressive mode of threats and intimidation? Who taught them that this is a good way to catch bad guys or illegal aliens? Watch the Israeli security folks – they never so much as raise their voices at anyone.

    I think it’s compensation. Airport security fails miserably and continuously, as repeated testing shows. The borders are a leaky sieve. And the only people these mooks have to take it out on are the overwhelmingly-innocent civilains in front of them. They have to appear to be doing something, to keep their phony-baloney jobs – so everything becomes a movie-plot drama.



  • I am a HUGE fan of the TSA. I hope they get more funding and hire more people and that they add 3-4 dehumanising hours to everyone’s travel times. Indeed every unreasonable fucktard they hire makes my smile a wee bit wider. No I am not joking and anyone who knows me can no doubt understand why I love the TSA with all my heart 😉

    And every time we get a terrorist attack regardless of all that shit, folks like the TSA can be seen as a state funded recruiting agency for the minarchist/libertarian world view.

  • Watch the Israeli security folks – they never so much as raise their voices at anyone.

    This is even more impressive considering that they have to deal with actual Israelis – heck. they are actual Israelis themselves!

  • Everyone hates the TSA. I run out of fingers quickly, counting the good reasons why.

    As someone who has been employed in airport security, and whose girlfriend was a TSA supervisor for over a year, I think there is more to this story than Yon simply being detained for refusing a question about income. It was actually Customs agents who cuffed yon for being difficult, not TSA, but their missions and working conditions are similar.

    I am a BIG fan of Michael Yon, and am sure that the authorities abused their power. But for balance, I would like to mention some insider info about TSA that might get you to at least think twice before you so readily dismiss these people as driftwood:

    – You must pass a drug test, background check, and some screener training to work for TSA. There were lapses in background checks when the TSA first got going, because of boneheaded management and a rush to get people in place, but those issues are now resolved.

    – TSA employees make about $12/hour, with some variation for cost of living across the country. While not minimum wage, it isnt a boatload of cash either, so the kinds of employees you get on the line are not the best kind of worker one would hope for. One only has to look at the quality of low-paid employees in other industries (say, Education) to understand this.

    – Screening is tedious, thankless, physically taxing work, even if it is your turn at the x-ray machine monitor for the next couple of hours. You try to stand for 8 hours in dorky dress shoes and go through the motions of wanding a variety of body shapes with 2 15-minute breaks.

    – The majority of people who apply at TSA want to do a good job, want to help their country, and want to go home with a living wage. But TSA has been created from the top down as a primarily *political* branch, and as such, have to put up with all manner of dingbat requirements for behavior, rather than letting policy be driven by actual security needs. This sucks, and everyone knows it. Keep electing idiots who put these kinds of bureaucracies in place, and that is what you get.

    – Nobody wants to be at the airport. So anyone who delays them even longer is certain to be despised, no matter if any good comes of it or not. I can assure you that TSA people regularly weed out a bunch of idiots, some of whom are actually dangerous.

    Now, having said all that, I finally get to the point of my comment, which is:

    1) How much extra safety do we get for all the expense that DHS, TSA, INS, and other such security agencies provide?

    2) Are there more cost-effective ways to provide the same or better service?

    3) If there are drastically more cost-effective ways to provide better security, what does it take to hold responsible the people who instituted these bonehead policies in the first place?

    4) At what point will air travel become so overburdened with regulation and aversive stimulus, that it ceases to be a viable service?

  • Dale Amon

    It is, in a word, what one expects of Socialism. This is Socialized Airport Security. I suspect it has much in common with its old brethren in the USSR with the exception that you don’t get beaten up (yet) or sent to Siberia.

  • How about that timing?

    I post a comment which tries to show most of the screeners working in the trenches in a sympathetic light, and then there’s this:



  • Laird

    TSA agents know they’re God, they’re just not permitted to say it out loud.

  • God (…heh), this is beyond parody.

  • Laird

    Oh, no it’s not! Try this.

  • Yes, but this is actual parody:-)

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Boycott USA.

  • Paul Marks

    Actually Alisa that youtube film was NOT parody – not technically.

    Certainly it pretended to be from the TVA and was not – but every single word was true and was not taken out of context.

    In parody (by definition) there has to be some exaggeration and distortion for effect (by the way – that is why I disilke the form).

    But there was no exaggeration or distortion in the film at all – that is what the TVA are like, that is what they do.