Or, how to get arrested
In today’s Guardian, an interesting article with a firsthand experience of being arrested as a terrorist suspect, for trying to catch a tube train whilst carrying a rucksack and wearing a big jacket. And, interestingly, it includes a list of things that the police are looking out for that mark you down as a potential terrorist.
They’re all very mild, innocuous things that anybody might do – looking at other passengers on the platform, not looking at policemen guarding the station, appearing to enter the station with a group of people. What amazed me even more, though, was that suspicious behaviour includes keeping your luggage with you at all times. Given that, if you travel anywhere in Britain by train, you’re constantly being told to do this – because if you don’t, stations get evacuated and trains stopped for hours – it was quite surprising to hear that doing it is a good sign that you might be a terrorist. You have to ask just how many people don’t look like terrorists to your average police observer.
Update, September 24th 2005: more about this story on Going Underground and on Slashdot.