forth elsewhere: British police arrest man under terror legislation for internet joke
Mon 18 Jan, 2010
Paul Chambers arrested under controversial law and banned from airport for obvious joke, report forth editor JASON WALSH and MARK HUGHES in the Independent of London
When heavy snowfall threatened to scupper Paul Chambers’s travel plans, he decided to vent his frustrations on Twitter by tapping out a comment to amuse his friends. “Robin Hood airport is closed,” he wrote. “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”
Unfortunately for Mr Chambers, the police didn’t see the funny side. A week after posting the message on the social networking site, he was arrested under the Terrorism Act and questioned for almost seven hours by detectives who interpreted his post as a security threat. After he was released on bail, he was suspended from work pending an internal investigation, and has, he says, been banned from the Doncaster airport for life. “I would never have thought, in a thousand years, that any of this would have happened because of a Twitter post,” said Mr Chambers, 26. “I’m the most mild-mannered guy you could imagine.”
Just demonstrate, that the police’s got absolutely no clue where to start, and what to look at at when it comes to such treats… So find anything, anyone…
By jules on 2010 01 18
The terrorists have won. We’re afraid of our own shadows.
By David on 2010 01 18
Pretty soon, if you fart at an airport, it would be equivalent to releasing dangerous flammable gas in a public area and a punishable offense.
By Not Important on 2010 01 18
By Foobar Baz on 2010 01 18
This guys a real twit!
By mafia man on 2010 01 18
Another example of the death of common sense,
By Anonymous on 2010 01 18
I bet they would of just let it slide if the poster was from another country, how many thousands of posts like this do people make a day on forums, news groups, irc, etc.
Really stupid of the police to single one man out for what is obviously a joke.
I’d like to see what happens if just out of anger ppl start posting the exact same twitter line everywhere they can possible think of
By doh on 2010 01 18
I hate to side with the police on this one (God help me) but they’re right. A bit extreme in their response of a seven hour questioning session, perhaps, but right. This sort of speech has long been held up as not under the protection of the First Amendment in America, and the police following up on any sort of bomb threat at a specific location by an individual is reasonable. I’m sorry for Mr. Chamber’s impending difficulties in terms of his job and travel, but sometimes you just have to use discretion.
By ZanRei on 2010 01 18
Time for Amtrak to expand. I won’t fly now unless there’s absolutely no other way to get there. This is total crap, terrorists can smuggle aboard anything they like, citizens are treated like criminals.
I fully expect a midnight banging on the door by the authorities for this potentially threatening post…
By Baldguy on 2010 01 18
It would be interesting to see a pole conducted where the question was, “who are you most afraid of?” ... “(A) the terrorists, or (B) the police.”
By Ciaran on 2010 01 18
Bomb threats aren’t really the kind of think one should joke about… when was that ever OK? I feel sorry for the guy but one has to learn some lessons the hard way I guess… what does it take for people learn that the such comments are PUBLIC, not your living room or your little circle of friends? Would you shout a bomb threat “joke” from the top of a mountain and expect that everyone will just chuckle?
Personally the one bureaucracy I don’t mind not having a sense of humor is the police. It’s all fun and games till someone’s joke has just too large a kernel of truth… and seriously… the guy got off with a grueling interview and a lifetime ban from an airport…
who wants to hang out in those places anyways???
By DSDW on 2010 01 18
So the police got to hang out in a warm interview room for several hours instead of doing any work…. there’s a shock! Could they come up with any other ways of wasting my money!
By Nathan on 2010 01 18
Well the Fascist States of Europe are progressing according to plan.
No wonder those rent-a-cops never catch anyone, they are too stupid to do that.
By Kermode on 2010 01 18
No surprise here. This has been a long standing policy at airports. You don’t need to blame 9/11 legislation.
All that has changed is the medium, and to tell the truth: if I received that twit, er, I mean tweet, I would probably report it and I would expect him to be picked up.
Oh, and the punishment has real teeth now. Used to be they would spend some time checking you out and after your day was completely ruined, you would get let go. Now you can be fined and jailed much more easily.
Stupid stupid to make a bomb joke and not funny at all.
By Sam on 2010 01 18
More security theater bullshit. This is pathetic really. You can’t say anything bad about an airport, we’re screwed little cowards.
By b4nd0ler0 on 2010 01 18
By Anonymouse on 2010 01 18
I can imagine a million people more mild-manner than this fool. I also feel sorry for baldguy, living his life in irrational fear. :(
By Martin on 2010 01 18
Ih well then! If the police in the US would do the same then it’s a completely reasonable response! FFS ZanRei the guy was obviously venting his frustration and cops are suppose to have a bit of cop on about them.
By The Fezz on 2010 01 18
What kind of terrorists are going to publicly joke about their plans on twitter? You’d have to be completely daft (or a paid shill) to think this action is in any way justified.
By rbot on 2010 01 18
I’m neither daft nor a shill.
It’s the cry of the ignorant to assume anyone who doesn’t agree with them is “daft”. It’s also clearly beyond your grasp to understand the implications and complexities beyond this specific case.
By ceb on 2010 01 18
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