"If you have nothing to hide..."

My friend Amit Singh points to this disturbing recording made by Steve Bierfeldt as he was being questioned by security agents at the St. Louis airport about the cash he was carrying.

Full recording Part 1, 2, 3

A few observations:

1) The people questioning Bierfeldt did not have sufficient knowledge of the law to answer his question of whether he was required to provide details about the cash he was carrying. They shirked their responsibility.

2) The people questioning Bierfeldt did not see themselves as having a job to do while being constrained by the rights of individuals. They became angry that he did not completely yield to their authority. They presumed absolute power.

3) "If you have nothing to hide..." says one of the agents without any hint of irony in his voice. The Patriot Act was passed by making similar arguments. Only the bad guys would be bothered, right?

Are we nation in which people are presumed guilty until proven innocent or is it the other way around?

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don't try it in Washington State

We require two party consent to record a private conversation.

Absolute Non-Compliance

My personal policy for dealing with people drunk with power is absolute non-compliance. I won't say a word in any language you understand. I won't move. I will (try to) avoid any form of physical contact with the least energy required. I won't express anything, verbally or non-verbally. I'll look far behind you or away at all time.

(This was experimented with great success on CBP workers by relatives of mine when they traveled to the US two years ago. It's also the recommended stance for psychatrists when confronted to aggressive patients, save for the "not a word" aspect.)