måndag 6 september 2010

Terror weapon

marmite, originally uploaded by dontcallmeikke.

I asked a friend of mine to bring a couple of pots of Marmite with him from Britain. They were impounded at Stanstead airport on the grounds that the jars contained more than 100 ml of fluid.

This confiscation of property is unacceptable. In the first place, my friend would not have gone to the trouble of buying the stuff if he had been informed about the restriction, so the publicity was obviously inadequate. In the second place, the security officer could easily have ascertained that the contents was indeed Marmite and not something that could have been used to blow up the aircraft he was travelling in, so this is just the usual story of officials deliberately being awkward. In the third place, he should have been able to leave the offending item somewhere and retrieve it on return, or post it back to his home address.

But the most worrying and serious matter is that the 100 ml limit is not sufficient to prevent anyone from doing serious harm if they were so determined. There is an almost endless list of substances of which a mere 100 ml would be sufficient to cause mayhem and the death of hundreds of people. So is this really to do with security or is it more about exerting control by causing difficulties for people and humiliating them? And if the aim is security, then all fluids should be taken from the passengers, placed in an envelope and transported on the aircraft in a secure container, the items to be recovered by the owners on arrival. These is something amiss here.

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