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Street Mimes Join The Fight Against Terrorism In Project MOBAD
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NEW YORK - In addition to the demand for fingerprints and photographs, travelers to the United States now face what some are calling Big Brother tactics. They are referring to the new pilot program being tested in New York, Mimes Observing And Disturbing, or MOBAD. Each foreign visitor is assigned a mime, who walks around with the individual, mocks their behavior, waves at them at inappropriate times, and generally makes the visit unpleasant. At the same time, the mime observes the foreigner's actions and reports anything suspicious to authorities.

"It's been very successful," said James Gorner, spokesman for the project, "People are immediately turned off by mimes, of course. And nobody likes to be observed. The result has been almost universally negative, which is exactly what we're looking for."

The program is likely to discourage travel to the U.S., especially when it is rolled out to the rest of the nation. This concerns some businesses. "Fifty percent of our business is foreign travelers. Fifty percent! This is going to kill us," said Orlando Douglas, manager of The Wedgeway, an upper-class hotel near LaGuardia International Airport. "The angrier, edgier, grumpier people don't spend as much, don't browse, don't tip. And nothing pushes people's angry, edgy, grumpy buttons like a mime," said Saddar Monohar, owner of The Airport Lounge And Gift Shop.

"They're right, there's no doubt about that," responded Gorner, "business will suffer in the short run. But think of the business losses of 9-11. How many sandwiches and snow globes do you have to sell to get that back? These street performers are helping us protect their businesses, whether they can see it now or not."

The mime industry has lobbied for over a year to get the program started. They could often be seen following congressman and their aides, sipping invisible lattes and silently talking on invisible cell phones. None of their representatives would agree to speak with us, but one did give us a thumbs up and a huge grin. Projections show that over 150,000 mimes will need to enter the industry to meet the demands of the program.
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