April 29, 2014
Having got out of bed at 4.30am on Thursday morning, for what I imagined would be an enjoyable trip to Guernsey, although work related, my experience of the day in terms of airport security at both London Gatwick and Guernsey Airports left me in no doubt that unless we put a stop to what can only be described as an abuse of, and an attack on, human dignity and personal freedom then all notion of such human dignity and freedom will be forever lost.
My day started well with the drive to the airport event free. My trouble started almost immediately as I made my way to the departure gates.
The first thing I found that had changed since my last outward flight from the airport was in the check-in system. I approached the area only to find that it had become akin to a railway station platform with the requirement to scan the barcode from my boarding pass before entry to the departure gates. This is the same type of system used by the Oyster card.
The main difference here was that I was also required to look directly into a facial recognition device, which duly scanned me to check I was who I said I was. The obvious question would be… who did they think I was and why was I already being treated like a wanted fugitive?
So having had my barcode verified, and after my face being digitally tagged, I was then permitted to enter the departure area.
Thank you so much Gatwick Airport! I felt so much safer in the knowledge that you knew who I was!
I then made my way to the small queue formed at one of the many baggage-screening machines and took my place.
As there were very few people taking their footwear off I didn’t bother and watched as some went through the normal metal detector with no difficulty. However, it was obvious that regardless of the fact that these so called ‘metal detectors’ were not picking up any evidence of metal objects on the passengers, it transpired that they were being directed towards the highly invasive and radiation spewing back scatter x-ray machine, with all passengers complying by inflicting DNA damage on themselves under the guise of ‘keeping them safe’ from each other.
As my turn came I stepped through the metal detector and as expected I was sent towards the Fukishima friendly x-ray machine. At this point I am sure that there was no ‘bleep’ of alarm from the ‘metal detector’. I certainly didn’t hear one. This is an obvious indication that the ‘metal detectors’ were deliberately set NOT to go off as an excuse for the use of these human body toasters to keep us all safe from ourselves.
As is usual in these circumstances which I’d again found myself in, although it was my first experience of mandatory body scanning, I refused to go through the ‘safe’ microwave oven to ascertain if I was dangerous to my fellow irradiated passengers. I was then asked if I had a pacemaker, to which I replied “no”.
I was then asked my reason for not wishing to be scanned. I replied honestly that having witnessed my 4 year old son die after having an x-ray a number of years ago, I was not going to subject myself to an unnecessary x-ray as I was not a criminal and that Gatwick airport had no reason to suspect I was. They had already scanned my face and ascertained that I was who I said I was and therefore they knew I was no threat. (My son was resuscitated at the time but that’s not the point)
At this point the ‘Borg’ called for a supervisor to attend.
I am quite used to this, as it is normally myself who calls for a supervisor under these circumstances. The reason I have had to call upon a supervisor in the past is as a result of being stopped to fulfil a requirement for a body search on no less than 7 out of the last 8 times I have left a UK airport. The only time I wasn’t within this period was when I was travelling with a girlfriend and she was searched. This is apparently ‘random’. I know this as I was told by a member of Edinburgh Airport staff, on one occasion when flying from Edinburgh to Dublin, that the so called ‘metal detectors’ are not an efficient method of detection and that they are set to ‘bleep’ at random’. The current situation brought that number up to 8 out of 9 ‘random’ searches.
After briefly discussing the situation with the supervisor I was told I could decline the cooking cupboard for a pat down. I expected this and stated that I was only consenting under duress and that being a journalist I wished to film the search. That request was refused on the grounds that I was in a secure area.
It hardly needs to be said that as this point I felt far from secure, although I was aware of the procedure having been groped on 7 previous occasions. However, it then transpired that I was to be searched by 2 young Asian gentlemen, no doubt earning minimum wage and desperate to keep their jobs.
Let me be very clear, I am not making any racist points here, I am simply pointing out that the use of Asians to counter an assumed ‘terrorist threat’ such as myself, is simply a psychological tool to instil a feeling of hatred within someone who may be inclined to racist views. I am not such an individual.
However, it is clear that this is a deliberate tactic by the airport security system to antagonise at a time when we’re fed voluminous film footage and mainstream press column inches showing and stating that those Muslim people over there need to be bombed back into the stone age because they’re all violent Islamic ‘extremists’. If that were truly the case there would be no Muslims working anywhere near an airport or any other major transport hub, government office or even a local council and we would certainly not be allowing anymore of these apparently violent Muslim ‘extremists’ into the country.
I, unlike the vast majority of our political ‘unrepresentatives’, have lived with Muslims in their own country, I have studied with Muslims and worked for many in this country and found them to be admirable people. We could learn a lot from them.
But I digress…
At this point I expected to be searched there and then. However, the procedure has changed it seems.
The airport camp guards now required me to go with them to a private room for a private search. At this point the white supervisor insisted on helping me with my belongings. I politely told him that I didn’t consider him to be my ‘mate’ and that I was well capable of carrying my own belongings the meagre distance to the interrogation suite at which point I took them off him. The room was approximately 8 feet square with a simple table for putting your belongings on.
The procedure then followed the same process I had experienced on the previous 7 searches with the frisker running his latex gloved hands over my arms legs and torso. As he got close to my crotch I warned him that if he so much as brushed against my genitals then I would defend myself. I asked the supervisor if he understood this. The young Asian gentleman, who was clearly embarrassed at having to carry out this degrading function, took my advice and steered clear of any potential painful repercussions on himself and finished his search.
Whilst the search was taking place, and due to being rightfully irate, I did on a number of occasions use bad language directed towards the supervisor who stated that this was unnecessary to which I replied. “It would be unnecessary if you creeps weren’t assaulting me”.He replied with “I’m only doing my job’.
I also pointed out that, “If I or any other ‘terrorist’ was in the slightest bit intelligent, they would avoid airports at all costs and simply walk into a number of Tesco stores and blow themselves up. That would be real terror.” Needless to say, this clown didn’t understand the concept of terrorism at all.
I then asked if he’d ever heard of Nuremburg to which he declined to reply. I further pointed out that the Nuremburg defence didn’t work in Nazi Germany and that one day it wouldn’t work here either and that as a Nazi himself he would be held liable for his crimes. He refused to comment of course other than to say as I left the room, “Thank you for your co-operation, have a pleasant flight” to which I replied “F*** you”.
For anyone who has gone through this type of experience and who has the capacity for normal human emotions and reactions to what amounts to a sexual assault they will understand my attitude. For those who haven’t been subjected to this, you better be prepared because it will be happening on the streets of Britain in the very near future. For those who have experienced this system and haven’t had any objection to it, then you deserve all the physical abuse coming your way from a system, which will become even more overtly totalitarian and brutal. Good luck to you… you’ll need it!
The search again followed the familiar rountine as the groper then proceeded to remove a metal detector from the wall and sweep me with this implement. Mysteriously, this device showed that I was not carrying metal which obviously makes a mockery of the first ‘detector’ I had gone through which ‘randomly’ showed I was carry metal objects, if it was actually working at all.
Therein lies the proof of this absurdity, but the story doesn’t end there
Each time this has happened in the past I have either had to have a stiff drink to calm down or talk to a friend. I called a friend and explained what had gone on and was duly calmed enough to carry on with my journey.
I proceeded to the departure lounge where I had yet another security level to go through. This involved handing over my passport, which I expected but I was also asked to look up to have my face digitally raped yet again. My initial anger at having been groped by the previous security goons, not being that far under the surface, I couldn’t help stating that they’d already scanned and groped me already and that they knew exactly who I was to which the reply was that they “weren’t looking for that”. To prevent further anger rising I walked away in disgust at the imbecility of these robots who have no capacity to engage any intellectual brain activity whatsoever.
I was then ‘allowed’ to board the aircraft. I almost felt that I should be on my knees thanking the airport security Gods for their kindness and generosity in permitting me to travel at all, but thankfully that is not in my nature.
Prior to boarding the aircraft, I observed the energy rating information on entry to the cabin. I was rather unreassured to see that the machine had a low energy rating. Personally, I’d like any aircraft I board to have a very high energy rating to ensure that it stays in the sky, but perhaps i’m just being a little too pedantic? I can’t say I’m impressed with an airline which prides itself on it’s aircraft having the same eco-friendly characteristics of an electric toothbrush.
Anyway, after a pleasant and eco-friendly, if a little bumpy 2 prop plane journey I arrived in Guernsey.
On exiting the terminal a black clad official stepped in front of me and then demanded to see my ID. I enquired why he needed that when nobody else had been stopped? The robot stated that it was a ‘random’ stop, a phrase I’m beginning to hear a little too repetitiously these days.
Thus my entry to the lovely island of Guernsey was permitted.
After spending an enjoyable few hours in the company of my colleague, a nice meal and some interesting conversation, it was alas time to head back to Police State Britain.
I arrived in plenty of time for my return flight and was met with a sign informing me that the computer system dealing with online check-in was out of order and that passengers, who had made the effort to check-in online and save themselves a ridiculous fee at the airport, were now to go to the check-in desk for a ticket.
It struck me that it might have been a good idea to suggest I charge the airline for the inconvenience with a bit of good natured banter but my experiences of earlier in the day suggested that perhaps there may be a sense of humour deficit amongst airport staff and so I said nothing and duly got my ticket.
My good humour wasn’t to last as I put my jacket and bag into the x-ray machine at the security desk and as usual walked through the ‘metal detector’ which as per the previous 8 times duly chirped and alerted the airport security that I was once more, despite the 8 previous searches, still on a most wanted list for acts of potential terrorism which only they suspected.
The security company in this case and much to my dismay was the much-maligned G4S.
However, and to my surprise, they were extremely pleasant and insisted that they would not be too invasive. They were true to their word and then requested to search my bag. At this point I was a little chagrined as my bag had already gone through the x-ray machine and so I enquired as to whether this piece of high tech detecting machinery was as reliable as the arched ‘metal detector’ I’d just walked through, which I knew did not work at all.
I was assured that the machine worked but as I’d been stopped for a pat down my baggage also had to be searched. The lady was very pleasant and waited until I was ready to observe, but in the meantime as I tied my shoe laces, taking my time to do so before approaching the desk where my bag was, I had the opportunity to speak to the G4S team about my experience earlier in the day.
At the mention of radiation, the lady holding my bag mentioned that she used to live near Sellafield and knew of the cancer clusters associated with that area of the country. I remarked that if she suspected that Sellafield was responsible then why would she think that putting her body through, what is in effect, a microwave oven was such a good idea?
She asked what I did for a living I told her, “I’m an independent journalist; not a mainstream journalist, but one who reports the truth. Doesn’t that make you wonder why I’ve been stopped 9 times out of 10 ‘randomly’?”
I could see the cogs beginning to turn as she engaged her brain a little.
She said she could see where I was coming from and that she’d look into what I had said. She then, very gingerly and briefly, looked into my bag before telling me that I was ok to go.
I thanked her for being so empathetic in regard to my airport experiences of the day and went on my way.
Despite the fact that I had been assaulted on 2 occasions within a 6 hour period by the airport Stasi and asked for ID for no apparent reason, had my bag searched, and curiously only once for some reason, I took a little heart in this attitude of the G4S lady bag snatcher in the perhaps, optimistic hope that maybe just one more person will look at something which may just open their eyes and change their life forever and for all the right reasons.
Originally published by The Community Press Group