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Farnborough Airport 'terrorist' plane spotters

Keith Parkins | 23.10.2008 16:19 | Repression | Terror War

Terrorism legislation is being use to question and search plane spotters outside Farnborough Airport.

Farnborough Airport
Farnborough Airport

Farnborough Airport is designated as an area of high risk of terrorist attack. All of Farnborough and Aldershot is a designated zone within which police have powers of stop and search without having to give any reason.

Police are using these anti-terrorist powers to question and search plane spotters. The search extends to vehicle searches. Checks are being made against criminal records and 'other systems'.

Plane spotters claim that individuals have been questioned and harassed by the same officers as often as seven times!

Hampshire Police are now requiring that plane spotters provide name, address, date and place of birth, e-mail address and vehicle details. They will also be required to carry at all times ID provide by Hampshire Constabulary.

Who next, the fisherman on the banks of the Basingstoke Canal, a favourite place to fish being the end of the runway, cyclists and walkers passing along the tow path?

Whatever you do, do not engage in a few war games brandishing paint ball guns in the nearby local woods and hills. Unless that is you are a fully paid up member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in full camouflage gear with real guns and knives, then it is ok. Unlike a Muslim kid who got suspended from school and questioned by the police for being photographed brandishing a paint ball gun!

In 2006-7, the last year for which figures are available, Hampshire Police used stop and search powers under terrorism legislation 2,459 times, second only to the Metropolitan Police. In the previous year, this figure was 7,027.

Makes Sussex Police in their dealings with Smash EDO look like bumbling amateurs.

In London, you are not allowed to protest or demonstrate outside Parliament without written permission of the police. You can be picked up and charged for holding a one man demonstration for wearing a protest badge. One person was questioned for having a picnic on Parliament Green. She had a cake with the word 'peace' written on it.

If there was a real concern about security and criminal activity, the police would be looking at what happens inside the airport not outside. They would be looking at the lax security, customs and immigration at Farnborough Airport, to which curiously everyone in authority turns a blind eye. It is possible to fly in, be met at the steps of the plane by car and drive off. A significant proportion of the traffic in and out of Farnborough is from the Middle East. Farnborough Airport is owned and controlled by Saudi money hidden behind off-shore front-companies in tax havens.

If anyone wished to carry out a terrorist act, they would not even need to hijack a plane. They would lease one, the Saudi money channeled through the Pakistani ISA as happened with 9/11. An American journalist who got too close to following the money trail through ISA was brutally killed.

A Boeing Businesses Jet is a Boeing 737, but can have a fuel payload of a Boeing 747. Fully fueled for long haul, it could be carrying 80 tonnes of fuel. It is not many minutes to Downing Street. The nightmare scenario would be to head north to the nuclear weapon facilities at Aldermaston. The time frame is so short that there would not be sufficient time by the time it was realised the aircraft had deviated from its posted flight path to scramble fighter aircraft to shoot down the plane. And even if there was, where would the plane be shot down, over London, over Reading?

By contrast, Trident Ploughshares will be holding a non-violent blockade of Aldermaston on 27 October 2008. No doubt the protesters will be heavily out numbered by police.

An alternative terrorist scenario would be to use a surface-to-air missile from the nearby heathland to bring down a plane on the approach to Farnborough. The plane would crash on residential Farnborough, possible taking out Farnborough Tech and a few thousand students. The US-supplied shoulder-launched missiles that were used successfully by the mujaheddin in Afghanistan are largely unaccounted for.

The only security risk the airport has to fear, is that local people disgusted at an expanding business airport will cut through the perimeter fence and en masse occupy the runway. The likelihood of that happening when there is no effective airport opposition is approaching zero.

What therefore is going on? Why are the plane spotters outside Farnborough Airport being fingered by Inspector Knacker? Outside of the Farnborough International Airshow it is rare to see any plane spotters.

The only explanation can be to deter plane spotters from Farnborough, and if they are there, to know who they are and what they are recording. Why? Because of what is flying in and out of Farnborough.

Under a Section 106 planning agreement, all flights in to and out of Farnborough Airport have to be supplied in real time via a data link to the local authority the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. In theory, this information is in the public domain. In practice it can only be obtained with great difficulty. Diplomatic and military flights 'officially' do not exist. The only independent audit of flights in and out of Farnborough Airport are those kept by plane spotters.

Farnborough was named as one of the airports being used for extraordinary rendition. It made sense. Lots of flights from the Middle East, no questions asked.

TAG Aviation denied it, but then they would wouldn't they? And that is even assuming they know.

A couple of months ago, Oxford CND got excited when they found B2 Stealth Bombers flying into RAF Fairford in broad daylight. Not usual. Possibly a bit of sabre rattling at Iran, possibly a lame duck plane. Oxford CND were tipped off by local plane spotters. Those viewing the planes were subject to police surveillance and harassment.

The pictures posted by the plane spotters, mysteriously disappeared!;act=ST;f=9;t=52784

Headquartered alongside Farnborough Airport is BAE Systems. A case for allegedly bribing Saudi officials being brought by the Crown Prosecution Service was dropped following pressure from the Saudis and Tony Blair. BAE Systems recently reached an out of court settlement for knowingly supplying defective body armour to a US police force.

Maybe, just maybe, the police in targeting plane spotters have their priorities a tad wrong.

The government is planning a huge database which will record all internet and telephone activity. Soon you will be required to produce ID to buy a mobile phone.

Meanwhile, on the rough estates in Farnborough and Aldershot, criminals act with impunity. The off-the-shelve response from Hampshire Police is that they lack the resources. The do not even have the resources for Farnborough Police Station to be open on a regular and reliable basis.

Further information and background

Pete Castle, Airport terrorism scheme, Farnborough News, 17 October 2008

Oxford CND, B2 Stealth bombers fly into RAF Fairford, Indymedia UK, 28 August 2008

Keith Parkins, TAG Aviation seek massive expansion at Farnborough Airport, Indymedia UK, 6 October 2008

Keith Parkins
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Display the following 4 comments

  1. Passports needed to by mobile phones — Keith
  2. don't jump to conclusions! — ..
  3. Even more reasons for security — ex-squaddie
  4. missing pictures — planespotter