A Melbourne man was hauled off a Tiger Airways flight by federal police on Saturday after claims he was seen doodling and writing sentences in a notebook satirising the current terrorism threat.
The incident has highlighted the growing sensitivity among officialdom and the public following the decision of the Abbott government to raise the national threat level and a series of raids were staged against alleged home-grown Islamic fundamentalist terrorists linked to the Islamic State movement.
Oliver Buckworth, 28, claims he was removed from a Gold Coast-bound flight after a fellow passenger saw the contents of his notebook over his shoulder and informed Tiger staff.
“The irony is I was writing a sentence about the absurdity of the fearmongering when we live in such a happy country of ice-cream and beaches and fluffy things,” he said.
A page of Mr Buckworth’s notebook seen by Fairfax Media contains the sentence: “In a land of melting ice-creams, sandy feet and fluffy bears, how could anyone be fearful of terrorism.”
Other doodles include a sketch of a chandelier – Mr Buckworth is an interior designer – and the play on words: “Terrorismadeup.” In a cartoon of a child clutching his head, Mr Buckworth wrote in a thought bubble: “Tyrannosaurus Rex. Terodactyl. Tarantula. Terrorist.”
Mr Buckworth said a neighbouring passenger told a flight attendant: “Look what he’s writing.” “I turned to him and said, ‘Yes, look what I’m writing. Read the whole sentence. I’m just writing some notes.’ ”
Tiger Airways notified the Australian Federal Police, who “offloaded” Mr Buckworth. After being interviewed and undergoing a background check, Mr Buckworth was released.
An AFP spokesperson confirmed they had “responded to a request for assistance” from an airline at Melbourne Airport. “The AFP briefly spoke to the individual concerned. No further AFP action will be taken.”
Mr Buckworth has branded Tiger’s conduct “ridiculous”, especially after learning he had been “blacklisted” by the airline for an indeterminate time.
“My concern is what it looked like to the rest of the people on the plane. I did tell them as I was leaving, ‘I’m not a criminal. This man simply took something out of context that I was writing in my book. Just so you know and this whole fear thing isn’t instilled even further.’ ”
A spokeswoman for Tiger has defended the airline’s conduct, claiming air crew were responding to a “disruptive passenger”.
“Tigerair has a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate and antisocial behaviour. Safety and security of staff and passengers underpins the operation at all times and is never compromised,” she said.
The airline declined to comment on whether Mr Buckworth had been expelled from the flight for the contents of his notebook.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/passenger-ejected-from-flight-over-notebook-doodles-20140920-10jrhs.html#ixzz3DzynixGH