Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Briton's love of The Clash, Led Zeppelin sparks plane security alert

A love of punk and hard rock anthems by The Clash and Led Zeppelin led to a British man being hauled off a plane bound for London by police on terrorism fears, newspapers reported.

Indian-born Harraj Mann, 23, played "London's Calling" by The Clash and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" through the stereo of a taxi he caught to Durham and Tees Valley Airport in northern England.

The taxi driver, however, grew suspicious of his passenger after listening to the lyrics of his chosen songs and alerted the authorities after they reached the airport.

Two police officers boarded Mann's flight to London's Heathrow airport shortly before take-off last Thursday.

"I got frogmarched off the plane in front of everyone, got my bags searched, asked every question you can think of," Mann, a mobile phone salesman, told his local newspaper, the Hartlepool Mail, on Monday -- a story that was picked up by the national press on Wednesday.

"I was being held for questioning under the Terrorism Act," he said.

By the time Mann was set free his plane had already departed.

The offending lyrics by The Clash include the lines: "London calling from the faraway towns, now war is declared and battle come down."

"London calling to the underworld, come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls."

"Immigrant Song", for its part, starts: "The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands, to fight the horde singing and crying Valhalla, I'm coming!"

A spokeswoman for the Durham Police confirmed that a man was escorted from the London-bound flight, questioned by police and released without charge.

"Safety is paramount and we respond to concerns from members of the public in the way they would expect us to," she said.

"In this case the report was made with the best of intentions and we would not want to discourage people from contacting us with genuine concerns regarding security."



The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror VIII


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