Why I will Never Fly Through the US Again

By John Ward

TSA = Taze Suspect Air-travelers


TSA-AgentIt was a flight to Amsterdam in the winter of 2010. I checked in early and left my hold baggage with the airline. Soon I was heading for the security check point and found a line of people waiting for a preliminary interview before the electronic gauntlet. The single line was intelligently created so that as soon as an agent came free, the next person in line would go to that agent and be served in order of arriving. Unfortunately an extremely well fed woman, who was fluent in Ebonics and packed into a uniform like a sausage into casing, decided that she had an even better system. She started taking people from the source line and telling them to go and stand behind people who were being interviewed, effectively negating the first-come-first-served effect of the one line system.

As I got to the end of the source line she motioned for me to stand in the line for interview booth number five. I said “If you don’t mind, I would rather wait for the first booth that comes open.” She looked at me as if I was a simpleton, shook her head in pity at my obvious inability to grasp her genius and told the person behind me to “go to five” and then the next person was sent to another booth line and so on. Realizing that no booth would come open if she continued, I allowed myself to be sent to a booth line with two people already in it.

As luck would have it, people who were sent to booth lines after me got to their interview before me, because I was now in a line with a white-haired, octogenarian lady who was obviously a mad terrorist bomber and who was now suffering through a very comprehensive and aggressive interrogation at the hands of an irritated security man with one frozen glass eye and one very animated sighted eye. He was extremely agitated that her responses were at human speed, whereas his questions were fired at her as if he had already determined she was a threat to the country and his career was about to leap into the stratosphere with this astounding revelation. 

After reducing the lady to tears and placating whatever personal animosity he had towards his own grandmother, he motioned the next person over. I stayed back, not because there was a yellow line or anything of that nature, but because I wanted to avoid the shower of saliva his enthusiastic interrogations produced.

When my turn finally came he asked me first: “Do you hate the USofA?” “Not at all!” I said. I wanted to add, ‘just the goose-stepping neo-Nazi martinets in immigration that purport to protect the country…,’ but - I held my tongue.

What do you think of Jane Fonda?” A red flag went up in my mind… I knew this was in reference to her opposition to the Viet Nam “Police Action” but I just said: “Well, I think she’s a fairly good actress.”  “I mean her politics!?” he interrupted sharply. “I don’t know her personally, so I’ve never asked about her politics…” He glared at me. I wanted to say, ‘do you realize that it is now common knowledge that the claimed “attack” on the destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin was a lie, that in fact Captain Herrick of the USS Maddox fired first at what he later claimed were “radar ghosts” to provide an excuse to enter the conflict? Do you know that this action and misinformation resulted in an unwinnable war that caused 58,000 American deaths and unfathomable numbers of veterans with horrific psychological problems?

Do you realize that after the “carpet bombing” by B-52s of Cambodia, which was not in the war, a small, insignificant, rag-tag band of political nut-jobs called the Khmer Rouge got enough support from that bombing to swell into a major political force which, in turn, resulted in the grotesque, wholesale genocide of one and a half million innocent Cambodians, who were killed for as little as wearing glasses and appearing intelligent?’  But - I held my tongue.

Are you Australian?” he demanded. Thinking of Julian Assange I said: “Nah, no way, mate.” “You talk funny” he continued. “Yes” I said “It’s a speech impediment” hoping that the ADA might provide some protection. “Do you believe Iraq attacked the US on 9/11?” Red Flag! “Well,that’s what I heard…” seeing his good eye start to jitterbug I continued “and yes I think those Iraqis were behind the suicide bombers Alcaida sent to destroy the US. In fact I believe, although he’s a Saudi who hides in Afghanistan, Bin Laden keeps a summer condominium in Bagdad from which he issues all his anti-American orders.” His jaw relaxed slightly… “How do I know you ain’t a terrist?” he continued. I wanted to say ‘a terrist sounds like someone from planet earth and in that sense I am terrorist,’ but instead I answered: “I guess you can tell by the fact that I haven’t yelled Allah au Akbar yet. Isn’t that an hourly requirement for terrorists?” I could see this question actually got him thinking. Without dismissing me he shouted “Next.” The fact that asking the question allowed me to utter the phrase didn’t seem to occur to him. I was relieved, but the best was yet to come.

Look for the rest of the story in next month’s Ojo….


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