Log In

Brits deported from U.S. over Twitter joke to 'destroy America'

The Theme Building and control tower at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport).
Two British citizens were barred from entering the United States because they joked on Twitter they were coming to the U.S. to "destroy America," and "dig up Marilyn Monroe."
Los Angeles - The Sun reports that the Department of Homeland Security flagged Leigh Van Bryan a potential threat to the United States because, in his excitement over his visiting the U.S., he posted the news to his friends, saying: "Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America."
According to The Sun, Leigh was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport, questioned for five hours, handcuffed and held under armed guard, in the same cell with tattooed Mexican drug dealers for 12 hours. He travelling companion Emily Bunting, was also held by U.S. security officials last Monday .
Leigh tried in vain to explain to the security officials that "destroy" is a British slang for "partying."
The two were amazed when they found that security officials actually took Leigh's expression that he was coming to "dig up Marilyn Monroe" literally. Federal agents searched their suitcases for spades and shovels, and expressed suspicion that Emily came to act as "lookout" while Leigh tried to "dig up Marilyn Monroe."
Emily said: "The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh's tweet. They wanted to know what we were going to do. They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party. I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh's lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe. I couldn't believe it because it was a quote from the comedy Family Guy which is an American show." (The Washington Post explains that the joke about "digging up Marilyn Monroe" actually comes from an American TV comedy show "Family Guy.")
The Sun reports Leigh said he tried to explain to the officials that they had got his meaning about "destroying America" wrong. But one of the officials told him, "You've really f***** up with that tweet boy."
After the two were returned to the airport, they were handed documents that explained why they were refused entry to the U.S. Daily Mail reports Leigh's charge sheet read: "He had posted on his Tweeter website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe. Also on his tweeter account Mr Bryan posted that he was coming to destroy America."
Emily's charge sheet read: "It is believed that you are travelling with Leigh-Van Bryan who possibly has the intentions of coming to the United States to commit crimes."
Orwellian Big Brother monitoring our Tweets
The Washington Post reports this is not the first time a Twitter joke by a British would lead to trouble with authorities. A man, Peter Chambers, who in 2010, tweeted a joke about how bad weather led to closure of the airport was arrested on charges of terrorism and found guilty of sending "grossly offensive" message "by a public communications network."
The Washington Post also reports the case of Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament, who was served a subpoena by the U.S. Department of Justice on tweets she wrote about WikiLeaks. According to Jonsdottir, in a blog warning people who use the web: "Many users do not understand that they are giving away all control of their web usage... Personal data can be used against you...!This is very dangerous to those, like me, who are activists, journalists and researchers. It equally endangers the merely curious."
Daily Mail reports the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains false accounts on Twitter. The accounts are used to scan networks for "sensitive" words and for tracking people.
The online privacy group, Electronic Privacy Information Centre, made a request under the Freedom of Information Act for information about the scans but was ignored. According to Daily Mail, words deemed "sensitive" by the DHS include: Illegal immigrant, Outbreak, Drill, Strain, Virus, Recovery, Deaths, Collapse, Human to animal and Trojan.

15 comments

#1Jan 30, 2012 Jason Talbott
You're gonna say that as a tweet?
You might want to be more discreet.
Big Brother can read
What you post on your feed.
If you say the wrong thing you're dead meat.
http://headlinelimericks.blogspot.com/
#2Jan 30, 2012 Bart B. Van Bockstaele
Americans have no sense of humour. To know that, it is sufficient to look at their boorish stand-up comics, and their boring "comedies".
On the other hand, Europeans going to the US are warned that Americans do not understand nor accept jokes. In that sense, no matter how petty it is, they did bring it on themselves.
Actually, Family Guy is a case in point. The show does have one or two funny jokes (the 'knife in the wife' and the Creationists comes to mind) but they are incredibly rare and it is a boring show indeed, a show that needs a lot of 'fucks' and similar refined vocabulary to remain attractive to an unsophisticated public.
#3Jan 30, 2012 Hans Smedbol
just goes to show ya that the powers that be disapprove of anything that might possibly be construed as advocating so-called criminal behaviour, even in jokes....you can joke all you want, but perhaps twitter is not the place for it, if you wish to go to Yankee land....where the sense of humour is way too basic to understand British slang....they understand pratfalls, and Charlie Sheen, and racist jokes...but anything more sophisticated is beyond them.....(the average security guy i mean)....that being said, if you joke about terrorists or bombs, or guns, or knives or ANYTHING like that at a Canadian airport, you will regret your foolishness quickly in the ensuing arrest and prosecution of the "crime" you committed by "threatening" the security system.
this is typical Fascist Police State tactics....keep the populace scared and uncertain.
needless to say, i'm not planning on spending any time in American airports any time soon either.....i wouldn't be surprised if i'm on one of their no-fly lists, because of my political writing, and my open letter to President Obama that i wrote and published here on DJ a while back....(and sent to the President too)....
#4Jan 30, 2012 Bart B. Van Bockstaele
@Hans Smedbol
just goes to show ya that the powers that be disapprove of anything that might possibly be construed as advocating so-called criminal behaviour, even in jokes....you can joke all you want, but perhaps twitter is not the place for it, if you wish to go to Yankee land....where the sense of humour is way too basic to understand British slang....they understand pratfalls, and Charlie Sheen, and racist jokes...but anything more sophisticated is beyond them.....(the average security guy i mean)....that being said, if you joke about terrorists or bombs, or guns, or knives or ANYTHING like that at a Canadian airport, you will regret your foolishness quickly in the ensuing arrest and prosecution of the "crime" you committed by "threatening" the security system.
this is typical Fascist Police State tactics....keep the populace scared and uncertain.
needless to say, i'm not planning on spending any time in American airports any time soon either.....i wouldn't be surprised if i'm on one of their no-fly lists, because of my political writing, and my open letter to President Obama that i wrote and published here on DJ a while back....(and sent to the President too)....
I would not go that far. Shortly after 9/11, I had to go to Detroit. Security was draconic, they stopped just short of peering and poking into our urethras, and the police at the border was openly joking and laughing about it, because they knew better than many how ridiculously useless these 'safety' measures were. The problem, therefore, is not the police people. The problem is the reason these people are hired. They are hired to obey without question, to execute without thinking and when they do think, they have to make damn sure that nobody notices it for they would be fired on the spot for gross professional misconduct. In a way, nowhere does the phrase "it's nothing personal, it's just business" apply than here.
#5Jan 30, 2012 Alexander Baron
Like the man said, you couldn't make it up. Are the people in charge of US security so dumb they can't distinguish obvious if unfunny humour from...no, don't answer that.
#6Jan 30, 2012 skeptikool
Lacking many genuine threats, Homeland Security has to justify its existence with such stupidity.
I was once burned repeating a joke heard on TV: A Bronx doctor was visited by a Santa Claus who had inexplicably been beaten up by strangers. The very tired Santa, instead of his usual, "Ho, ho ho." would utter a singular "Ho."
You would never believe how I was set upon by several posters who felt they'd found their "gotcha" moment.
#7Jan 31, 2012 Paul Wallis
You have to wonder about any nation where humor is considered a threat. The 911 hijackers said they wanted to learn how to fly a plane, but didn't need to know how to land it, and that was taken literally. A person with a sense of humor might have figured out it wasn't a joke.
Humor, including modern American humor from absolute grad hacks which comes in discreet brain dead 5 minute packages, represents the ability to process information and find the right associations. That's apparently lacking here.
For some reason I doubt that real terrorists (even this lackluster collection of beards) would be terrified by the news that the Feds are watching for someone with the vocabulary of an unambitious or perhaps bored 7 year old. Any word can be used to represent anything, provided that those who read it know what it means.
Intention to commit crimes as a charge could be an own goal for security, and a serious one. Proving intent is often very difficult, and any conscious attorney could file for damages on that basis. Case law could create a basis for endless online threats, some of which could be serious and many of which would be deliberate hoaxes after this incident. US security legal advisers might want to look at this, because it's not a healthy scenario.
#8Jan 31, 2012 Bart B. Van Bockstaele
@Paul Wallis
You have to wonder about any nation where humor is considered a threat. The 911 hijackers said they wanted to learn how to fly a plane, but didn't need to know how to land it, and that was taken literally. A person with a sense of humor might have figured out it wasn't a joke.
Humor, including modern American humor from absolute grad hacks which comes in discreet brain dead 5 minute packages, represents the ability to process information and find the right associations. That's apparently lacking here.
For some reason I doubt that real terrorists (even this lackluster collection of beards) would be terrified by the news that the Feds are watching for someone with the vocabulary of an unambitious or perhaps bored 7 year old. Any word can be used to represent anything, provided that those who read it know what it means.
Intention to commit crimes as a charge could be an own goal for security, and a serious one. Proving intent is often very difficult, and any conscious attorney could file for damages on that basis. Case law could create a basis for endless online threats, some of which could be serious and many of which would be deliberate hoaxes after this incident. US security legal advisers might want to look at this, because it's not a healthy scenario.
The main problem in this case is that Americans have no sense of humour except at crudest and least sophisticated level. How does one teach an entire population to develop some savoir vivre and finesse in a country with an education system at the level of geriatric flatworms?
#9Jan 31, 2012 Paul Wallis
@Bart B. Van Bockstaele
The main problem in this case is that Americans have no sense of humour except at crudest and least sophisticated level. How does one teach an entire population to develop some savoir vivre and finesse in a country with an education system at the level of geriatric flatworms?
Possibly by retiring the geriatric flatworms to nice corporate CEO jobs, where nobody will be able to take them seriously for any length of time except the janitor? Returning American media buyers to their sewer? Explaining that there was no chicken and no road because of Congressional IQ deficits? I had never before seen a comedy which explained what was happening until I saw Modern Family. Next will come user manuals for programs and perhaps The Complete Idiot's Guide to Comedy with special safety crayons. It's so sad to see the home of the Marx Bros and so many others reduced to this.
On the other hand, millions of jobs might be created by hiring people to explain the jokes. A moron-led recovery may be at hand. I'll be in the Andromeda galaxy if anyone needs me.
#10Jan 31, 2012 Bart B. Van Bockstaele
@Paul Wallis
Possibly by retiring the geriatric flatworms to nice corporate CEO jobs, where nobody will be able to take them seriously for any length of time except the janitor? Returning American media buyers to their sewer? Explaining that there was no chicken and no road because of Congressional IQ deficits? I had never before seen a comedy which explained what was happening until I saw Modern Family. Next will come user manuals for programs and perhaps The Complete Idiot's Guide to Comedy with special safety crayons. It's so sad to see the home of the Marx Bros and so many others reduced to this.
On the other hand, millions of jobs might be created by hiring people to explain the jokes. A moron-led recovery may be at hand. I'll be in the Andromeda galaxy if anyone needs me.
Interesting. I'm guessing that they finally discovered that canned laughter was too highbrow a hint for Americans to grasp.
Safety crayons? Too dangerous. Let's try it with air crayons first. But only outside. They might hit something. Come to think of it, it's a good thing that the Jesus myth dates from the iron age. Imagine it would be more modern. We would have Americans poking each other's eyes out with syringes.
As for the explaining, I once tried to explain a Louis de Funès movie. Unrefined as French humour is, It was nevertheless hopeless. Never again. I felt like melting into a puddle of firearm oil.
#11Jan 31, 2012 Tim O'Brien
So true. We have to lighten up. I laughed when I read it and could see someone saying it in jest. No need to "dig up Marilyn" though; she's in a crypt (need other tools for that one). She's right next to the spot reserved for Hugh Hefner (but, at times, he puts his up for sale)... The "sensitive" words idea is a stunner...this story was fun to read...thanks...and I love "Family Guy."
#12Jan 31, 2012 JohnThomas Didymus
@Bart B. Van Bockstaele
Interesting. I'm guessing that they finally discovered that canned laughter was too highbrow a hint for Americans to grasp.
Safety crayons? Too dangerous. Let's try it with air crayons first. But only outside. They might hit something. Come to think of it, it's a good thing that the Jesus myth dates from the iron age. Imagine it would be more modern. We would have Americans poking each other's eyes out with syringes.
As for the explaining, I once tried to explain a Louis de Funès movie. Unrefined as French humour is, It was nevertheless hopeless. Never again. I felt like melting into a puddle of firearm oil.
Carry on Doc. van Bockstaele, I find your conversation with Wallis very witty indeed! And to think an American friend almost tore me to shreds a few years back and forced me to retract when after a comedy show I criticized American humour as dry and unimaginative! Now at last have I supporters!
#13Jan 31, 2012 Bart B. Van Bockstaele
@JohnThomas Didymus
Carry on Doc. van Bockstaele, I find your conversation with Wallis very witty indeed! And to think an American friend almost tore me to shreds a few years back and forced me to retract when after a comedy show I criticized American humour as dry and unimaginative! Now at last have I supporters!
I agree that American humour is dry and unimaginative. I think it is also boring to the extreme. In most American comedies, they have one or two "jokes" that are then milked out until one falls asleep.
Also, for some reason, Americans have to "fuck" all the time. Don't misunderstand me. I am not against the word "fuck". I just think it is an indication of intellectual poverty to use it every other word and completely out of context. To me, all it does, is act as a filler. If every other word is "fuck" the movie doubles in length without having to work at it. At the most, it is evidence of laziness.
But then, it is all rather academic. Who needs American comedy, when there is British comedy? For me, the series "Yes, (Prime) Minister" remains an absolute masterpiece. It's essentially nothing more than three middle-aged men talking together, but boy is it funny.
I can easily imagine doing similar series on alternologists, homoeopaths, intuitives, religionists, creationists and similar quacks and nitwits. When you see people such as Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz, and Bryce Wylde, one doesn't even have to change much to make it all into something truly hilarious. Or maybe, as an example of a more sinister type of humour, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, Peter Popoff, Jerry Falwell, all excellent models for exquisite comedy. No milking-dry and fucking needed, there is more than enough to go on.
They could always make an American version with a smiley face appearing on screen every time something funny happened. Or a loud bang or something, and an explanation before the comedy starts that the loud bang or the smiley face are where people are supposed to laugh.
The metadioxin/dioxin discussion reminds me of alternologists who don't understand the difference between hydrogenated fat and partially hydrogenated fat ^_^
#14Feb 1, 2012 Paul Wallis
@JohnThomas Didymus
Carry on Doc. van Bockstaele, I find your conversation with Wallis very witty indeed! And to think an American friend almost tore me to shreds a few years back and forced me to retract when after a comedy show I criticized American humour as dry and unimaginative! Now at last have I supporters!
You certainly do have supporters- Us paleontologists who remember the real American humor when it was alive. Who'd have thought American humor was extinct? "Dessicated and unconscious" would be my description. Agree entirely with Bart, the Yes Prime Minister series is perhaps a benchmark for real comedy writing, it's one of my all time favorites.
#15Feb 1, 2012 Bart B. Van Bockstaele
Every time is see an episode of Yes (Prime) minister, it is just as funny as the first time. As far as I'm concerned, this is as funny as funny gets. Imagine this in an American-style comedy. One episode could be used for at least a whole season of Family Guy. They would just present two of the jokes every episode, repeated in several variations, accompanied by the standard number of fucks, and their 20-minute half hour would already burst to bits and be too highbrow for the average American.

Top ^

View: Mobile site | Full Site

© 2014 digitaljournal.com | Contact Us
powered by dell servers