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Implications of Backscatter Millimetre Wave Imaging

After a Christmas day failed terrorist attempt to blow up a commercial jet flight over the US, the response under the Homeland Security Act and Patriot Act was to implement measures and install imaging devices that can be seen as an invasion of privacy, violation of civil rights, violation of child porn laws and a risk to health. The technology consists of a scanner that that can image people through their clothes in such a manner that the body underneath reflects the waves that are then recorded and processed by computers. The waves will also backscatter from metal, plastic, medical prostheses such as pacemakers, arterial stents or bombs like those made from plastique.


These scanners were rushed into service at the Vancouver Airport (YVR) in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics, giving security a host test population of millions from Feb. 12th to Mar. 1st. They well be continued in use at Vancouver and every other major city in an increasing profile around the world. The state is not subject to the laws they make for the masses who travel by air or who go to airports for other reasons, like work. Thus they can violate the conditions above and as a sideline, satisfy the sexual cravings of airport security against the will of those scanned. This electronic strip search is a type of rape, or at least a prelude to rape. Some news articles suggest that these devices are of interest to perverts. But lets look at the deeper issues; issues of privacy, civil rights and health.


So called soft X-rays or millimetre waves may not be harmful if one is subjected to them once a year; but what of return flights or repeated air travel. Further, soft X-Rays are often used in a confined way such in hospital situations and reproductive organs are usually shielded against even this radiation. X-Ray visits are often used with jurisprudence to lower radiation risk. At the airport scanner, the entire body is scanned from all sides by a rotating, head to toe scanner. The soft X-Ray or millimetre wave penetrates a few centimetres of tissue from skin, into muscle, fat, bone and body systems close to the surface. These layers undergo ionization where plenty of free radicals are created in the process. Some of the radiation is back-scattered in a process familiar to nuclear physicists. It is why the images tend to be of poor quality as opposed to professional model photography. But the quality is high enough to detect foreign objects like keys, pacemakers, metal plates, plastic bottles, belt buckles, garters and other metallic and non metallic objects on a person and under the clothing.


Once through the scanner, the damage has been done, which some think can lead to cancers like skin melanomas and leukaemia. It is unknown what the Rem or Rontgen dosage is that a person receives from one of these machines, but there is good knowledge of what is an acceptable dosage for a person to “safely” receive on an annual basis externally and/or internally. Nuclear medicine from experience sets the standard at 5,000 millirems (5 Rem) per year for the entire body. No two organ systems are the same for radiation susceptibility. Some like intestines are more easily harmed than skeletal articulating muscles. Organs like eyes are very delicate and almost entirely within the range of such scanners. As the scanners penetrate up to three centimetres into soft tissue, organs like fingers, noses, toes, penises and testicles have radiation go right through them with little backscatter. Examining images that are available to public viewing from media shows that detail breaks down at precisely these points. What we get by way of an image is more useful by way of detecting contraband like hidden devices, flasks of alcohol, colostomy bags, baggies of marijuana, smuggled drinks, cigarette cases, metal plates and such. This means that radiation passes right through the finer points of the body, but does ionizing damage all the way through in the process; hence the possibility of temporary or permanent sterilization of males due to complete passage of ionizing radiation through their testicles. Even if full recovery is made from sterilization, the chance for mutations in future generations is increased numerically by number of exposures to the device. Frequent flying males have a greater chance of complete sterilization or if they recover, greater chances of contributing to mutations in future generations. But the very nature of the scanners means that contraband cannot be detected if it has been swallowed or absorbed like a suppository. It is interesting to note that security personnel who use these devices must remain at least 50 feet away as they will be running these devices on jet passengers thousands of times a day. Given the radiation intensity inverse distance square relation, we can gain a sense of proximity hazard to such radiological instruments. The closer one is to the radiation source, the greater the exposure to ionizing radiation, hence the required standing off by security when the machine is fired up on passenger after passenger.


What you may feel after being scanned is a feeling of unease and slight nausea. You may also feel tired as if you just had a through work out. It may persist for some time; in some cases for a few days. There may difficulty in falling to sleep and odd pains. There might even be a temporary loss of appetite. As people are embarrassed about such things and may attribute them to jet lag, nervousness or something else, they keep quiet. Thus ignorance persists over the population base. The effects will differ from person to person depending on several complex factors we will not delve into here. To simplify, if this is the case, you have a light case of radiation poisoning. If not treated, you will have lowered immunity for about a year and be susceptible to getting ill easily. But, you can take immediate measures to counteract these tenancies. To counteract this immediately, you need antioxidants to mop up free radicals such as strong green tea for drinking periodically and 400 IU vitamin E. To restore appetite, you will need medical marijuana. For longer term protection against massive DNA damage, you will need to procure and eat lotus seeds and other herbs that will counteract the long term effects of ionizing radiation. If you are a frequent flier, you will need to make these items part of you daily diet.


There is a home grown way to estimate the amount of radiation you have absorbed by the rapid onset of radiological based symptoms. This can serve as a kind of rough gauge of what you need to do and how long. 5 Rem of radiation is considered to not cause symptomatic response and that is what is considered a total safe does for a year. At 20 to 50 Rem, there is a fall off of white blood cells and lessened immunity that can lead to easily getting sick and frequent illness, but there are few immediate symptoms. Above 50 Rem gives one mild radiation sickness that is described above. If you have the symptoms described above, then you have received ionizing radiation to the tune of 50 to 100 Rem, up to 20 times the annual allowance. This is an important benchmark, so take note, even keeping a journal if you are a frequent flier. At 100 to 200 Rem, there are symptoms that increase with dosage with a 10 percent chance of fatality in 30 days after exposure at the high end of dosage. Dosages up to 300 Rem cause moderate symptoms with hair loss, vomiting and diarrhoea at the high end with a 35 percent chance of death in 30 days. Up to 400 Rem, these symptoms become severe and include bleeding from the mouth and bowels and a 50 percent chance of death after 30 days. Anything beyond this is usually considered fatal either shortly after or s couple of months depending on doses above 400 Rem. These statistics have come to us via atom bomb experiments, nuclear war and nuclear medicine.


The fact that the state has deemed it necessary to expose the public to unknown quantities of radiation and placed the traveller at risk due to an alleged threat of terror, tells us plenty of what they think of us and how we can be coldly and callously treated for profitable ends. Those who get sick, for instance, may rush to their doctor to receive ineffective treatments at a considerable cost. Further, repeated exposure will sterilize you, so that you will not be able to have children and neither will you be able to have sex if you are a male as radiological poisoning kills sex. The scanner in question has more impact on male fertility than female fertility due to the anatomy of the male sexual organs that are exposed completely to incursions of this radiation. It would not be surprising to learn that male fertility drops to zero at least temporarily.


The involuntary submission to the invasive use of scanning machines is both a violation of privacy and civil rights as they exist in many countries, the UN Charter of rights and even under sections of the Geneva Convention. There are specific laws dealing with privacy centred on technological issues. Since the attack of Sept. 11Th, 2001, civil rights have by law been suspended as a counter against terrorism that can come from any direction. Under the Bush (Junior) administration in October of the same year, the US constitution was virtually torn up after generating the mass hysteria and paranoia of terror. Since then, the US and many other countries have drifted inexorably into the condition of police state fascism. It is thus required for people to absorb unknown levels of radiation for the sake of the war of terror and the peace of mind of the rulers. But it does not end there.


There is a reason why people like privacy and it goes deep into the history of life. It is primordial and instinctual to want privacy when involved in certain acts that place individuals in situations of vulnerability to predation. Such situation are activities like sex and elimination, where animals have to seek shelter while they are vulnerable to predation. Thus, most animals like to hide when performing such actions. As far as sex is concerned, we make each other desire sheltering away because of so called moral attitudes against uncontrolled sex and so called deviations like same sex activity, despite the scientific evidence that such things run the gamut of species, at least in higher animals. Privacy has extended itself in civilization to include the privacy of one's home, of thoughts and associations. All of this arose due to prejudices. Included in this as a result are civil rights concerning privacy of the person.


There exists plenty of speculation that has some foundation in historical truth about eugenics and population control. Indeed, China has been involved in a two parent, two child program for decades. Recently, Israel enacted a law against immigrants having any children on pain of expulsion from the country. In the US, implants were placed in the arms of black women to render them infertile. In past, whole peoples have been driven to extinction, or at least have had populations severely curtailed in eugenics programs such as against the First Nations in the “Trail of Tears”. Some modern conspiracy theorists give us a scenario described in the video “Endgame” by Alex Jones where the world rulers would like to eliminate up to 93 percent of the world's population to bring it down to 500 million people in total for all time. There is even a monument erected to proclaim this ultimate goal. This means that either 93 percent have to die, murdered off or be rendered sterile in order to lower the population down to desired levels by attrition as no children can come from a sterile male population. As it is, pollution has already sharply reduced male fertility across all species around the planet.


The setting up of these backscatter scanning devices started at airports, but will soon spread from there because of the fear of terror that is ever kept to the fore in the media. It started at airports because of a recent terror situation. It could have been as easily large venues like sports events or on cruise ships. For now, people who have visited events like the 2010 Winter Olympics are scanned not only by the backscatter scanners, but also by metal detecting wands, video cameras and the ever watchful eyes of security, police and military. It is a foregone conclusion that such devices will become common place, even on heavily used rapid transit in major cities, especially if they have suffered a terrorist attack.


The answer to this runs deeper than what we are allowed to see on the media circus level of popular consumption in an anti terrorist fervour. The answer lies in the fact that war is profitable, even a war on terror. It also lies in the fact that damage caused by such machines will also stimulate the medical industry. Both these conditions are symptomatic of a capitalist world order in a state of decay, seeking answers to keeping their system going. As long as the compliant masses continue to war against one another, then that is as long we will have to endure such activity. When the toilers of the world become aware of just what is going on, they will no longer tolerate such abuse. They may well awaken and erupt into a revolutionary movement that will sweep away the corrupt capitalist order and agenda. Those of us who are already aware and know what to do, must win trust and point the way to a new society and a new world; a world with a planned economy run by the dictatorship of the proletariat.












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Comment by William Prest on March 5, 2010 at 2:38am
Backscattering Imaging technology and pregnancy

Women who are early in the first trimester of pregnancy are susceptible to ionizing radiation, especially where the foetus is under early development. In addition, during the early days, immunity is lowered in the pregnant woman. For the foetus, receiving an early ionizing dose of radiation increases the chance of birth deformities in the newborn child. Now the child itself may not get radiation directly in such and application, but it will get the by products of irradiation from the mother via the placenta. Medical establishments take great care to avoid an X-ray of an unborn child, preferring ultrasound instead for imaging processing. But security usually has no medical background, especially where radiative imaging is concerned. The job of security is to make certain that access points are safe and secured places are free of threats. Many forms of low and high tech processes are used in securing from threats, real or imagined.

In 2003, Falllugah, Iraq was bombed by the US which used spent uranium bombs ostensibly against armoured vehicles in the city. Spent uranium as it is called is not really spent, but is actually the less useful, non radioactive uranium235. It is not useful in atomic or H-bomb technology. These need the unstable uranium238. In mining uranium, 97 percent is the stable form, which is why people who want to make bombs need a good centrifuge system to separate the radioactive isotope. But uranium235 is extremely toxic. Rods of this material are made into armour piercing bombs, which vaporize on impact. The result is that the vapour becomes a fine dust that is then spread by prevailing winds. People, especially children, who ingest dust will get radiation related diseases like leukaemia. Pregnant women will pass the dust to their unborn child that will often be born deformed as a result. Instead of the typical 1 or 2 deformed children born in a year in Fallugah, the total is now two to three a day since and after 2003. This should be an object lesson in radiation in minute doses.

Women who have recently become pregnant should reconsider entering a full body bacscatter imaging device for the sake of the forming foetus. They should be at least as concerned as men who don't want to be temporarily or permanently sterilized by radiation.
Comment by William Prest on March 5, 2010 at 8:31pm
Physics of Backscattering; Effects of Radiation

From experiments in atomic physics, we have come to learn that atoms and hence molecules, are mostly empty space. By targeting atoms with charged and neutral particles, we have found that most just go straight through as if nothing stood in their path. This is a key to understanding penetrating radiation. A tiny minority are deflected or turned back and thus are “back scattered”. But back scattering is something of a misnomer as only as tiny amount or number of radiation or particles are back scattered in a direction that will return to the detector. An even smaller number are absorbed and "disappear." These particles that “disappear” are the ones that make the changes in our DNA if we are the target. These create the free radicals that go on to do further damage. By taking counter active actions like drinking anti-oxidants, we can mop up such free radicals by getting them to react with the anti-oxidants rather than DNA or other cellular structures. Some trigger a burst of particles when they split the nucleus. If a large and complex nucleus is struck, a rain of particles is the result and some of these will strike other nuclei in the immediate area. Thus a chain reaction is sustained. We have found that Uranium238 nuclei are best for creating chain reactions. Conversely, Hydrogen nuclei are "hard to detect" by this method, as they often consist of a single proton. The electron probability field very seldom ever deflects anything. Rather, electrons are easily stripped from nuclei if the electromagnetic stimulus is right according to the photo-electric effect. All chemical relations depend entirely upon very specific arrangements and sharing of electrons. In the end, most of solid matter is "empty space." In fact, electromagnetic radiation like X- rays can easily pass through "solid" objects. When they do, some energetic photons ionize the matter, making it unstable. The resulting instability is the source of highly reactive molecules and atoms.

This empty space postulate of matter is further asserted when one considers the degeneration of matter under certain gravitational and fusion conditions within stars. In particular are the neutron stars, so called as all the electrons, protons and neutrons are crushed together under tremendous gravity, radiative pressure having been exhausted. A star the size of the sun, collapses down to the size of a large city. Before this finality, are several stages of fusion that end with the collapse when the iron stage of fusion is reached. Typically, a cubic centimetre of degenerate matter "weighs" a billion tons. At a certain critical level of mass, even the radiative pressure of this degenerate matter is insufficient to prevent it from winking out of the space-time-matter-energy relation altogether as a singularity within an event horizon. Ultimately, matter seems composed of dynamic fields and what is called a tensor. There is no more significance than relationships of gravity, electromagnetic force, light velocity, vector relationships and space-time outside of event horizons. Inside an event horizon, everything we know, breaks down. So then, what exactly are we, since matter is apparently so ephemeral? We are the stuff of the cosmos, organized in a curiously complex and dynamic manner. Since we know so little of simple things, we know less about complex things that are self and cosmos conscious.

To understand how ionization works, one needs to understand the complexities of the atom and the various various elements. To begin, Einstein wrote his seminal paper on the photoelectric effect in 1905 that inadvertently opened the door to quantum mechanics. The basic premise of the photoelectric effect is that atomic elements all respond to very specific frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum. This became the physical explanation for the Fraunhoffer emission-absorption spectra of the elements and this allowed us to define atomic structure. For example, hydrogen has two visible spectral lines, one red and the other blue. There are other lines as well, but they are beyond the visible spectrum. It is interesting to note that photosynthesis works best at the specific hydrogen frequencies where the photoelectric effect exists. When the right frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum interacts with hydrogen, it will ionize, i.e., lose and electron and become an ion, in the case of simple hydrogen, a loose proton. This proton, and also the separated electron are highly reactive and in the right circumstance, are the foundation of chemical energy. In the wrong circumstances, these “loose cannons” can cause a lot of damage. More complex elements have more protons and more electrons and react to different frequencies. In order to have a successful interaction, some conditions have to be fulfilled.

1.The exact electromagnetic frequency for the photoelectric effect to occur in any atom must exist.
2.That photon must connect with the electron probability cloud directly. A near miss does not work.
3.Copious amounts of specific frequency photons must be present to increase chances for the photoelectric effect to occur.
4.The atom must be exposed to the radiation.

Human bodies are about 70 percent water by composition. Two out of three atoms in water are hydrogen. Other elements in the body also react to radiation. The more complex the atom, the more frequencies it will respond to. Those who are familiar with radiation technology can design instruments that put off the exact frequencies required in order to effect changes to the target. Some of these changes are necessary in order to explore inside complex systems without dismantling them or to backscatter from the target for other purposes. It takes a lot of radiation in order to create an overall image on film or on a charge coupled device (CCD). Of the two the CCD is preferred as they are more sensitive, so less radiation is required to activate them. CCDs can be directly coupled with computers and thus will allow real time video imaging such as in backscattering imaging. But real time imaging requires a constant flow of appropriately tuned radiation according to the physics of photoelectrics from specifically tuned emitters. In the case of the human body under various clothing, these have to be tuned to mainly hydrogen and oxygen frequencies as human bodies are mostly water and clothes, unless wet, are not. The tuned radiation passes through the clothes unimpeded and then is backscattered from the surface tissues of the body underneath, reflected back to CCDs. In this case, the frequencies are tuned to those below infra red frequencies and above ultra-violet ones. Why below infra red? A living body emits copious amounts of infra red radiation in an unequal manner. Anything close to the body will absorb this and also emit infra red radiation. The body does not emit any millimetre radiation, nor does it emit ultra violet or soft X-ray. These frequencies are thus useful to penetrate just enough to “strip search” a person without removing clothes, but also reflect off the body. The ultra-violet to soft X-rays will penetrate the body to slightly more than an inch which will will involve the endothermis, fat, muscle, cartilage and bones in fingers, capillaries and bodily fluids. This radiation will not penetrate objects like belt buckles, jewelry, plastic containers and hidden munitions and this is just what security is looking for, but violating privacy in the process.

We now look at radiation measurement:

External Background Radiation from sun, cosmos.............60 millirem/yr, US Average
Natural Potassium-40 and Other Body Radioactivity..........40 millirem/yr
Air Travel Round Trip (NY and LA or equivalent)..................5 millirem
Chest X-Ray Effective Dose (average three shots)...........10 millirem per film taken
Radon in the Home from ground level...............................200 millirem/yr (variable)
Man-Made radiation (medical x rays, etc.)...........................60 millrem/yr (average)

Table 1

While looking at Table 1, consider that an “acceptable” amount of radiation per year according to the AMA is 5,000 millirem or 5 rem. According to the above, the average person gets anywhere from 300 to 395 millirem a year. This suggests that in nature, we get 300 miilrem a year. Anything beyond this wanders increasingly into dangerous and unknown territory. Radiation comes in many forms as we know, but there are four principle radiation types; being alpha, beta, gamma and X-radiation. Consider the fact that medical or dental X-rays are usually taken over limited areas of the body as opposed to an entire body scan from a bckscattering imaging device. Using mathematics and the known quantity of radiation from a source, we can calculate what a whole multi-direction scan of an entire body scan will expose a person to by total radiation from that source. We also know what occurs in cancer therapy where radiological sources are used to kill cancer. Typically, these patients will lose hair demonstrating that they are receiving dangerous levels of ionizing radiation. What we don't know is the radiative output of the backscattering imagers. We can surmise from the images that it is somewhat less than a standard chest X-ray, but over the entire body from all directions instead of the typical two or three X-rays for a chest examination in specific directions.

Alpha Radiation
Alpha radiation is a heavy, very short-range particle and is actually an ejected helium nucleus. Some characteristics of alpha radiation as follows: Most alpha radiation is not able to penetrate human skin. Alpha-emitting materials can be harmful to humans if the materials are inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through open wounds. A variety of instruments has been designed to measure alpha radiation. Special training in the use of these instruments is essential for making accurate measurements. A thin-window Geiger-Mueller (GM) probe can detect the presence of alpha radiation. Instruments cannot detect alpha radiation through even a thin layer of water, dust, paper, or other material, because alpha radiation is not penetrating. Alpha radiation travels only a short distance (a few inches) in air, but is not an external hazard. Alpha radiation is not able to penetrate clothing. Examples of some alpha emitters are radium, radon, uranium and thorium.
Beta Radiation
Beta radiation is a light, short-range particle,and is actually an ejected electron. Some characteristics of beta radiation are described as; Beta radiation may travel several feet in air and is moderately penetrating. Beta radiation can penetrate human skin to the "germinal layer," where new skin cells are produced. If high levels of beta-emitting contaminants are allowed to remain on the skin for a prolonged period of time, they may cause skin injury. Beta-emitting contaminants may be harmful if deposited internally. Most beta emitters can be detected with a survey instrument and a thin-window G-M probe (e.g., "pancake" type). Some beta emitters, however, produce very low-energy, poorly penetrating radiation that may be difficult or impossible to detect. Examples of these difficult-to-detect beta emitters are hydrogen-3 (tritium), carbon-14, and sulphur-35. Clothing provides some protection against beta radiation. Some examples of some pure beta emitters are strontium-90, carbon-14, tritium, and sulphur-35.
Gamma and X  Radiation
Gamma radiation and x rays are highly penetrating electromagnetic radiation. Some characteristics of these radiations are as follows; Gamma radiation or x rays are able to travel many feet in air and many inches in human tissue. They readily penetrate most materials and are sometimes called "penetrating" radiation. X rays are like gamma rays. X rays, too, are penetrating radiation. Sealed radioactive sources and machines that emit gamma radiation and x rays respectively constitute mainly an external hazard to humans. Gamma radiation and x rays are electromagnetic radiation like visible light, radiowaves, and ultraviolet light. These electromagnetic radiations differ only in the amount of energy they have. Gamma rays and x rays are the most energetic of these. Dense materials are needed for shielding from gamma radiation. Clothing provides little shielding from penetrating radiation, but will prevent contamination of the skin by gamma-emitting materials. Gamma radiation is easily detected by survey meters with a sodium iodide detector probe. Gamma radiation and/or characteristic x rays frequently accompany the emission of alpha and beta radiation during radioactive decay. Some examples of some gamma emitters: iodine-131, cesium-137, cobalt-60, radium-226, and technetium-299.

The radiation that we are concerned about in this application is electromagnetic radiation that triggers the photoelectric effect. It is the photoelectric effect in these applications that causes ionization in the body, producing free radicals that leads to that tired feeling. There is confusion over radiation measure as well, due to the existence of several scales. But these are cross convertible and we can still come to a sense of dosage.

“In North America, radiation absorbed dose, dose equivalent, and exposure are often measured and stated in the older units called rad, rem, or roentgen (R), respectively. For practical purposes with gamma and x rays, these units of measure for exposure or dose are considered equal. This exposure can be from an external source irradiating the whole body, an extremity, or other organ or tissue resulting in an external radiation dose. Alternately, internally deposited radioactive material may cause an internal radiation dose to the whole body or other organ or tissue.
Smaller fractions of these measured quantities often have a prefix, e.g., milli (m) means 1/1,000. For example, 1 rad = 1,000 mrad. Micro (μ) means 1/1,000,000. So, 1,000,000 μrad = 1 rad, or 10 μR = 0.000010 R.

The International System of Units (SI) for radiation measurement is now the official system of measurement and uses the "gray" (Gy) and "sievert" (Sv) for absorbed dose and equivalent dose respectively. Conversions are as follows:

Gy = 100 rad
mGy = 100 mrad
Sv = 100 rem
mSv = 100 mrem”

“The Health Physics Society (HPS) reports that a person undergoing a backscatter scan receives approximately 0.005 millirems (or 0.05 μSv) of radiation; American Science and Engineering Inc. reports 0.009 mrems (0.09 μSv). According to U.S. regulatory agencies, "1 mrem per year is a negligible dose of radiation, and 25 mrem per year from a single source is the upper limit of safe radiation exposure".


2. Layton, Julia. "Do 'Backscatter' X-Ray Systems Pose a Risk to Frequent Fliers?" HowStuffWorks. 27 February 2007. 18 Mar. 2007 . "Backscatter" X-Ray Screening Technology". HowStuffWorks.


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