SRL Terrorist Suspects.

By M. Pauline

The flight back to SF turned out to be very much out of the ordinary. On Dec 30, 10 of the 14 members of SRL involved in staging the Tokyo event got on the plane to leave Japan. All was normal, then as we were sitting in the plane, getting ready to head out to the runway, a flight attendant came up next to me and asked me if any of the group I was traveling with had been speaking about terrorist topics like guns and bombs etc. while on the plane. I said no, that I was not aware of that, and that in any case we were all in separate seats and that would not have been possible. Then he told me we would all have to leave the plane with our carry on bags and undergo a search. We got off and were surrounded by armed Japanese security police. One of them started searching our bags but stopped and we were told to go into the lobby of the airport by an airport security chief. Then a JAL rep told us that we could not return to the flight as the captain decided he didn't want us on his plane. Apparently, the pilots decision is final. We then were quickly ushered to another part of the airport as they were going to bring all the passenger's off of the plane and search the entire plane. Airport security didn't want to have us subjected to the animosity of the remaining passengers. We eventually were booked onto a flight to Honolulu with a connecting leg to SF.

Apparently what had happened was that while we were in the lobby of the airport, sitting and talking in the coffee/snack zone , some guy, sort of a hipster looking guy, tall, all in black, was staring at us. A lobby TV was on, and there was a long newscast about an assortment of terrorist related topics. We were discussing these topics, ( the shutdown of Narita earlier that day due to a bomb threat, y2k disasters, also about a guy being released from prison who was the head of Aum Shinryku chemical engineering. )

When we got on the plane and several of us saw him talking to the flight attendant and again staring at some of the group who were seated in the back area of the plane. All we could figure was that he must have reported our earlier conversation to the flight attendant. We almost had to stay in Tokyo another night. We only got to get on the Honolulu flight after we insisted that we all had very important business in SF today. About 2 hours later, as we were being shuttled out to our plane, we passed the original plane we were to depart on, it was still on the ground, being searched. When we arrived in SF, it was not on the boards and apparently never left the ground.