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Airport staff overreacted, Robo says

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Sean Garmire
The Times-Standard
Wednesday, Aug 6, 2008

Related: Student charged in Logan scare

A Humboldt State University student arrested at a Boston airport following his alleged role in an airplane scare spoke to the Times-Standard Monday, calling his arrest an overreaction and saying he was mischaracterized by the Massachusetts district attorney who charged him with disorderly conduct.

Jason Robo, a 26-year-old political science major and student activist, spoke Monday from Boston, where he has been since his arrest last week.

On July 31, Robo was formally charged with disorderly conduct by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. The charges stemmed from Robo’s alleged misconduct on a Salt Lake City-bound plane as it was docked at a Logan International Airport gate, forcing the evacuation of the airplane and a three hour flight delay.

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”I think that this atmosphere of fear is completely unwarranted,” Robo said. “It was not the passengers of the plane that were concerned. These reactions clearly illustrate how vastly things can be blown out of proportion.”

According to information from the District Attorney’s Office, Robo allegedly affixed a sticker reading “9/11 was an inside job! PrisonPlanet.com,” inside the airplane lavatory. Additional stickers were found in the airplane and inside the airport terminal, the office reported.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The office also reported Robo was wearing a T-shirt depicting George W. Bush and Adolph Hitler, which Robo said reads, “Orwellian doublespeak.”

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neither admitted nor denied placing the stickers onboard the plane, but he said “in this country, there’s a nonviolent tradition of civil disobedience. We’re really not told the truth about 9/11. There’s a moral imperative to get that message out.”

After the sticker was found, Robo said the captain announced over the intercom there would be a delay while airport staff inspected the luggage. A second sweep was conducted, which was followed by an evacuation of the cabin.

The District Attorney’s Office reported Robo “charged off the plane after telling a flight attendant, ‘I have to get off this plane right now.’” Robo said that never happened.

”I did not run off the plane,” he said. “They asked everybody to get off the plane. There was no running.”

While authorities swept the plane with bomb-sniffing dogs, Robo said he returned to the terminal. Robo said he arranged for a room at a nearby hotel, and went to claim his luggage when he was arrested.

Following his arrest, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office reported Robo said the stickers were “just a joke.” However, Robo said he was misquoted, and was actually referring to his treatment.

”I referred to the process of my rights being violated,” Robo said. “I wasn’t told what charges there were or what grounds I was being arrested on.”

A former HSU student legislative vice president, Robo ran for student body president in 2008, but was removed from the ballot after he was placed on disciplinary probation. Robo also participates in and leads a number of social activist clubs, including NORML — a marijuana law reform club, and the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Robo was released from jail Thursday, but he said he is now waiting for his Aug. 19 pretrial court date. He faces three charges of interfering with aircraft operation, disorderly conduct and disorderly conduct on a public conveyance.

The Suffolk County district attorney and a Logan airport spokesperson were unavailable for comment Monday.

”After my pretrial I’m going to come back and do my semester,” Robo said. “I look forward to a positive outcome.”

This article was posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 4:42 am

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