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Bosses using September 11 to control lives

March 22, 2002 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,

Our country is moving closer to a police state. ChoicePoint, a company that does background checks for corporations, reports that the number of checks it does in a month has increased from 3,000 to nearly 25,000 in February.

One company ChoicePoint services is Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, which began doing background checks on employees of outside contractors after September 11. Lilly has banned a number of workers based on these checks.

It banned one man who had been convicted of possessing marijuana nine years earlier. It also banned a single mother who had once bounced a check for $60. Apparently the logic here is that if you have bounced a check, you could be a terrorist.

There also have been increasing complaints about the new security measures at airports. The Los Angeles Times reports that there have been dozens of complaints from female airline passengers about being groped and subjected to demeaning sexual remarks by male security screeners.

At a Phoenix airport, an 86-year-old man was repeatedly searched after screeners found a "suspicious article" on him. It turned out to be a World War II Medal of Honor.

At a Florida airport, screeners took aside a three-year-old girl for a manual scan. The child's father recalled, "There was no acknowledgment that this was silly exercise. He said he'd done several 3-year-olds that day."

Big business and the government are using terrorism as an excuse to exert greater control over our lives. We can end this intimidation, but only if we fight back.

Evan Kornfeld, Los Angeles

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