Recently, a US television news programme presented the following headline:
“US issues global travel alert over Al Qaeda threat.”
There will be many such announcements in the future from the government of the US (and, for that matter, from the EU). Whether the “threats” are real, or trumped up for the occasion, will matter little. They will serve to remind citizens that international travel is portrayed as not only potentially dangerous, but, in fact, a national security threat.
Over the years, we have predicted frequently that, as the Great Unravelling progresses, one of the developments will be the control of movement outside one's borders. The movement that will be restricted will be both monetary and physical.
The governments of the First World (particularly the EU and the US) will increase currency controls. In the US, the manner in which this has been playing out has had mostly to do with reporting requirements. The US has required reporting of all accounts and transactions by all the world's financial institutions to the US Government, allowing them to know where every dollar held by every US citizen is located at any given time. Once this process is complete, the shearing of the sheep will begin.
The EU is a bit further down the road, having already moved to the confiscation stage in Cyprus. Poland has begun confiscation of pensions. In time, confiscation will spread throughout the First World, as nations fall further into economic decline.
Of the two predictions, this is the one that has received the most denunciation by critics, as travel is regarded as a basic freedom that will never be given up by the populace. But, as we have previously stated, travel will not be attacked head-on. Instead, governments will declare that their intelligence has uncovered an increasing frequency of travel by “terrorists.” Therefore, the restriction of travel for others will be implemented for the sake of “national safety.” Just as Mum took away your Cadbury bar “for your own good,” governments will cancel your holiday trip for the safety of all.
At first the restrictions will be location-sensitive. A British holiday-seeker will find at the airport that his travel to, say, Athens has been denied, due to Athens' approximation to Turkey. But, quite soon thereafter, an American's holiday in, say, Jamaica will become suspect. No reason will be given, but who is to say whether Jamaica has recently become a back-door stopping-off point for Al Qaeda members traveling to the US? Whatever the destination, your presence on the flight may be suspect.
Airline personnel and official agents will be issued a list of suspicious behaviours to watch for. Amongst those that indicate that a passenger may be a “terrorist sympathizer” will be an “undue level of objection to being denied the privilege to travel.” Those travellers who do object for more than a few moments may be removed from the queue and questioned. Their fellow travellers may or may not be relieved that they have just been protected from potentially dangerous other travellers, but, either way, all travellers will learn quickly that, if they are denied travel, the wise response will be, “Yes, sir.”
At present, the two paragraphs may seem far-fetched to many, yet they are merely the next step. Just as, only a few years ago, the prospect of pat-downs of private parts and X-rays seemed impossible, we must remember that, it wasn't so long ago that travellers could actually joke with security people at airports. Today, travellers consciously seek to appear meek and compliant, so as not to be pulled into the back room. All that would be needed to bring about the above would be a well-publicised incident of an individual who complained about security treatment, was pulled from the line and later found to have “possible terrorist connections.”
(Editor's note: this is actually already happening. Refer to the treatment that associates of journalist Glenn Greenwald have received at airports, see here.)
Coupled with actual cancellation at the airport will be the denial of travel documentation in general. This has already begun, with the US tying travel documents to taxation. Now, any citizen whose tax compliance is “in question” may be denied the right to travel. As the term, “in question” is loosely defined, it may suffice to restrict any citizen.
In the future, passports may be suspended or confiscated for questions of inadequate tax compliance, or indeed, for questioned “terrorist sympathy” as described above. Further, passport applications and renewals are likely to be denied more frequently due to these vague and undefined suspicions.
And, incredibly, the average citizen will feel safer as a result of this control.
The US has, to date, led the world in creating fear amongst travellers that international travel must be closely monitored. A generation ago, it would have been unthinkable to accede to the demand that the traveller remove his shoes, walk through an X-ray scanner, and accept the confiscation of such “dangerous weapons” as fingernail clippers. Yet, today, this is the norm.
In hindsight, it is easy for us to see that the 9/11 attack on the US gave justification to the US government to crack down on air security (never let a good crisis go to waste). It was easy to convince Americans that the ridiculous charade now evidenced at airports has been essential to “national safety.”
And that is the way it will play out in the future. The majority of people will not only tolerate the control of their movements (both monetary and physical), they will encourage it. As Benjamin Franklin said,
“Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
And yet, historically, this is exactly what the majority in any country do. As a country approaches an economic collapse, a crystal ball is not necessary to predict that, amongst the actions of the government, will be increased currency controls, travel controls, tariffs, and a host of other last-ditch efforts to keep the sheep penned in—to assure their presence for a final shearing.
What remains for the reader to determine, if he is a resident of one of the nations that is presently in decline, is whether he, a) believes that, in the future, his ability to travel internationally may be either restricted or prohibited and, b) whether he should take steps to assure his liberty for the future. If so, it might be wise to do so before he actually has lost his ability to travel due to one of the above occurrences.
Tags: travel controls,