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The Bottom Line – Fear of Flying

Author bio: 
Richard Cottrell

I have a sneaking suspicion that the aggravation and industrial molestation that has seized the US airport industry has much less to do with protecting travellers than dragooning Americans into a comatose state of obedience. The nation is being schooled into ever more pervasive inspections and examinations in the most sensitive regions conducted in the full glare and bustle of an airport’s daily activities. I am quite sure this will end up, and sooner rather than later, in random full strip downs and intimate and invariably protracted cavity searches. Never mind if passengers are consoled these ultimate invasive practices will be performed in private cubicles, as they will be, at least for a while. The issue is the extinction, quite literally, of human rights, in this case to the patents of ownership to one’s own body.

Remember how we got here?. Yes, its the story of the Christmas Day pantsbomber puffball back in 2009, who was alleged to have boarded a US-bound plane in Amsterdam with the intention of blowing it up. That incident is the sole excuse for the humiliations which Americans – not to mention many Europeans and travellers in Asia – are now enduring. A young Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab set off some chemicals sewed into his shorts which started a fire in the cabin. A bomb it was certainly not. This guy surely hailed from Central Casting. Within days he sported a gold plated pedigree as a militant jihadist in thrall to American-born alleged Al Qaeda big shot, Anwar Al-Awaki, who is currently on Obama’s famous shoot to kill list, although evidence to conclusively prove that link never showed up.

Just about everything in this story reeks of a just-let-it-happen set-up rap. There is no dispute he was on a number of airport watch lists, including the US, yet he was allowed to board the Detroit flight, despite being initially refused, understandably since he did not have valid passport in his own name. How can anyone get on a plane these days, or for that matter, ever……. without a passport?. Several passengers observed just before take-off the curious business of a smart Indian-looking minder kindly escorting the forthcoming pyrotechnic artist straight to his seat. Brought to America, he chattered away to the FBI for less than an hour and then clammed up. A guy who could spill the beans or so it was claimed on many Al Qaeda inner secrets was formally read his Miranda rights to stay silent, which is a privilege most Al Qaeda suspects on their solemn way to the waterboard are generally denied. So he took the proffered vow of silence.

Homeland Security big sister Janet Napolitano was soon wailing and wringing her hands at the ‘failure of the system.’ The real story is different. Airline travellers are being exposed, and that is the correct word, to uniformed perverts with a passion for groping or keyholing because the system was deliberately rigged to suggest ‘the bomber will always get through.’ That’s how a man without a passport, on a near universal watch list and ignitable materials nestling against his manhood gets on an airplane.

The airport scanner mania and worse began right there and then. ‘Every citizen is a suspect’ - that old Stasi mantra – switched into overdrive. Now, my short sketch of the underpants affair contains all the relevant clues that you need to identify a classic false flag incident. So it stands to reason that when the next turn of the screw is required something very similar will occur, requiring the notching up of security to poke fingers into body cavities, male and female, irrespective of age or infirmity.

What I am suggesting is the roll out of the so-called security screen which has no limits. Having bared one’s privy parts to the electronic Big Brother will not in future spare selected travellers for the maxi body grope in a back room, or the ultimate indignity, for public display.

For some time now I have nursed the idea – which I have not seen rehearsed anywhere else – that there is a deeper explanation for airport security over-kill. I think it may well be intended as a kind of rationing system organised around deterrence to travel. When Michael O’Leary the boss of budget airline Ryanair, who is not exactly everyone’s cappuccino when it comes to saying, or blurting as some would say, exactly what he thinks begins to imply something similar then it is time to sit up and take notice. It also may well explain the salvo British Airways and its allies recently aimed at over-intrusive US passenger clearance procedures, on the straight grounds they spill red ink. Let’s say the industry sniffs a disturbing rodent.

Last year the annual Bilderberg plotfest was staged in Sitges, a pretty resort not far from Barcelona. For the very first time the event was copiously invested by the media and a mass turnout of protestors. Accordingly it got the full G8/G20 treatment from the local cops. The cosseted Bilderbergers were overheard to swear over their cocktails remarks like ‘who let them in’ and ‘how should they have the money to fly here and make such a rumpus.’

The stripe of any fascist society – beneath which term I include incidentally the former Soviet Union, with its legendary internal passports – is restrictions on freedom to travel, even domestically. Now, if you are going to turn up at the airport sweating at the prospect of being pulled out of line for the full monty, how keen will you be to repeat the experience? So far all the evidence suggests that Americans are largely swallowing the making us safe line, although the take-up in Europe – except of course US clone Britain - is far less accommodating.

The difference is that the American airline industry offers a major travel opportunity of plane-hopping choice over medium range distances. In Europe, excessive workovers at the airports will spill even more people onto a significant and rapidly expanding competitor, the massive train network, key routes operating close to near airline speeds. In the US, the long distance passenger train network is strictly retro love-in for those with time on their hands.

But Europeans are not themselves in a state of grace. The EU is sponsoring the massive roll out of an RFID (radio frequency intervention device) network that will track every moving vehicle 24 hours a day under the deceptive title of the ‘intelligent car programme’. There are similar plans in the United States, and elsewhere, disguised as road pricing (which London already has). It will not be long before scanners become mandatory for all Channel Tunnel users. Experiments are already taking place in London and Paris to employ them at main railway stations, and underground stations on the London subway system (a hark back to the 7/7 bombings).

RFID has all the contingent gubbings to switch off vehicle engines, over-ride technology pioneered incidentally in the US by GM. Its an alternative, sold under the safety delusion, to explaining to people that they are going to require some kind of documentation, proof of necessity etcetera, to travel around the country or abroad, that would be certain to provoke uproar. With airline travel, the option is psychological, namely dread of increasingly intrusive searches, to discipline the population to understand – taking a cue from the famous wartime poster in the UK – “Is your journey really necessary?”

If Americans prove stubbornly resilient to all the death ray scanners, soft pat downs and now genitalia and mammary caressing, plus for good measure hands-in-pants if you happen to be wearing baggy clothes, then obviously further remedial measures are a matter of urgency. The economy is not picking up, foreclosures are out of control, a fifth of all kids in the country exist at poverty level, food stamps are replacing the buck and celebrity junkalia no longer seems a reliable antidote to the germ of popular resistance.

If you ration freedom of travel, then you can choke the oxygen of resistance. In their different ways, pantsbomber and that odd man in the White House seem to be on parallel paths. Coming soon: a Can Fly rather than No Fly list. And no prizes for guessing who will get the magic ticket. Try Business Class for a clue.

Richard Cottrell’s book Fighting Dirty: How NATO, Neo Nazis and the Mafia Fought a Secret War in Europe is a forthcoming attraction from Progressive Press.