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UK Twitter Users Declare 'I'm Spartacus'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-campaign-can't-bomb dept.

Censorship 213

An anonymous reader writes "Tweeters have joined forces to support Paul Chambers, the man convicted and fined for a Twitter message threatening to blow up an airport. A so-called 'I'm Spartacus' campaign encouraging users to 're-tweet' his words has also become a huge hit. The hashtag #IAmSpartacus is currently the number one trending topic on Twitter in the UK, with #twitterjoketrial in second place. Chambers is believed to be the first person convicted in the UK for posting an offensive tweet. After the hearing, actor and Twitter fan Stephen Fry tweeted that he would pay Chambers' fine. Comedian Dara O'Briain tweeted that the verdict was 'ludicrous' while Peep Show actor David Mitchell said it was 'punishment for flippancy.'" I suspect not as many people will re-tweet on behalf of Garreth Compton.

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Just goes to show (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214866)

UKians are idiots.

Re:Just goes to show (5, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214940)

The trial shows that our judiciary are a bit out of touch. And that our institutional sense of political correctness has gone a bit too far.

But expressing solidarity through protest, by repeating the same "crime" - admittedly with a very minor risk of prosecution? That nobility. That's the British spirit. There's a reason that the colloquial phrase for contravention of fair play is "not cricket". It isn't "not baseball", is it?

I view the whole sorry affair as the result of over-exposure to American culture, a culture of flying off the handle, an overinflated sense of entitlement, and above all, an almost complete lack of understanding of the concept of irony. We've lost our ability to cope with the ambiguity and the grey areas in life, instead taking the simpletons viewpoint that right and wrong are black and white, that there is a sharply defined line you must not cross. Deary me. Life is complicated. For those of us who can't cope without a truly rigid set of rules, might I suggest that you go back to kindergarten.

FYI (3, Informative)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215030)

The exact phrase to be re-tweeted is: "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"

Re:Just goes to show (4, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215042)

I view the whole sorry affair as the result of over-exposure to American culture,

Are you kidding me? People in the US look at most of the stuff that goes on in the UK... getting arrested for Tweets, getting arrested for flying certain flags, while guys in America get police protection to obscenely picket funerals. We know that this sort of thing would NEVER fly in America, not in spirit nor in the letter of the law. We've got the First Amendment for that.

a culture of flying off the handle, an overinflated sense of entitlement, and above all, an almost complete lack of understanding of the concept of irony.

Yeah, whatever.

Re:Just goes to show (4, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215352)

We know that this sort of thing would NEVER fly in America, not in spirit nor in the letter of the law. We've got the First Amendment for that.

Sure, you can threaten to kill thousands or ordinary folk, as long as it's not a threat against some politician, which would be covered under section 871 of US code title 18: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000871----000-.html [cornell.edu]

For example, Adam Albrett, who pleaded insanity to get away with it:
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Fairfax-man-accused-of-threatening-Obama-pleads-insanity-1008023-100164259.html [washingtonexaminer.com]

I'm not saying UK law isn't stupid, but the US isn't as great as you might think.

Re:Just goes to show (2, Interesting)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215510)

Are you kidding me? People in the US look at most of the stuff that goes on in the UK... getting arrested for Tweets... We know that this sort of thing would NEVER fly in America, not in spirit nor in the letter of the law. We've got the First Amendment for that.

You can get six months in a federal jail for posting ridiculous threats posting on 4chan though. It seems to me that the main difference between the US and the UK is that you would get punished much more severely in the US.

Re:Just goes to show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215514)

while guys in America get police protection to obscenely picket funerals.

And the current SCOTUS is looking for a way to make those picketers liable for civil damages for hurt feelings without, somehow, completely fucking up the First Amendment -- just because they find the notion of the protests so abhorrent. Once that decision's handed down, we're going to be just as bad as the UK except that free speech will be limited by how much money you have rather than as limited to the upper class as the lower.

Re:Just goes to show (2, Insightful)

kainosnous (1753770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215050)

For a moment, I had started to write to defend American culture, but then a quick moment of thought revealed that you are correct. That wasn't the way in my grandparents' time (from what I hear), but it certainly is the case these day. In the U.S. we live in a culture of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. On top of that we have a political system where common sense takes a back seat to party squables and a media that looks only for the sensational. That's why political ads here focus on the negative: people would rather vote "against" somebody than for somebody.

I do disagree with your explination for the problem. I say that it's not a matter of too little ambiguity, but too much. There should be a sharply defined line that one should not cross. In this case, I don't see how the man would have crossed it. What crime did he commit? It's only since it is left to ambiguity that a judge could rule him a criminal. Traditionally, we were a nation of laws in America, and I think that worked well. That has changed with more and more unconstitutional "legislating from the bench" making us more like a common law system. Don't like the law banning homosexual "marriage"? Just ask a judge to remove that law for you. Want to kill a baby? Don't worry, a few judges is all it takes to make the law go away. I believe that it is exactly this that leads people to sensationalism. They've learned that if you make something emotional enough (e.g. "Think fo the children!") then that rigid line can disappear.

Re:Just goes to show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215220)

That has changed with more and more unconstitutional "legislating from the bench" making us more like a common law system. Don't like the law banning homosexual "marriage"? Just ask a judge to remove that law for you. Want to kill a baby? Don't worry, a few judges is all it takes to make the law go away. I believe that it is exactly this that leads people to sensationalism. They've learned that if you make something emotional enough (e.g. "Think fo the children!") then that rigid line can disappear.

What the fuck are you talking about? This is some of the most incoherent nonsense I've seen on this site -- and that's saying something.

Re:Just goes to show (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215620)

How dare you put my marriage in quotes, you bag of biblical mumbojumbo.

Re:Just goes to show (1)

lexidation (1825996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215688)

Since your God has directed you to "love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matt22:34-40), to quote your sig, and since you are against homosexual marriage, may I presume that you, too, have refrained from marrying? Out of, you know, solidarity for your gay neighbors whom you love.

Or would that be requiring more logical consistency than you're willing to offer?

Re:Just goes to show (0, Offtopic)

Radres (776901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215070)

No one says "not cricket" in en-US, FWIW.

Re:Just goes to show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215230)

The fact that you don't acknowledge the phrase kinda proves his point.

Re:Just goes to show (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215084)

I guess someone doesn't realize just what sort of despicable garbage we in the U.S. have to defend (as someone mentioned earlier, protesting funerals) just so garbage like what is happening to this guy doesn't happen here (not saying our judicial system is perfect, far from it), but with Free Speech protections, it's a lot harder for the prosecution to win.

Re:Just goes to show (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215088)

parenthesis fail.

Re:Just goes to show (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215552)

parenthesis fail.

Man, now I badly want my compilers to say that when I mess up the syntax.

Re:Just goes to show (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215226)

Yes, your judges have been watching way too much Mary Tyler Moore late at night and that's why they made this stupid decision. It has nothing to do with your lack of a written constitution.

Re:Just goes to show (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215734)

I know I'm just an American so my sense of irony is sorely lacking, but how does one blame not being entitled to free speech online on being exposed to our citizen's overinflated sense of entitlement?

Re:Just goes to show (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215760)

But expressing solidarity through protest, by repeating the same "crime" - admittedly with a very minor risk of prosecution? That nobility. That's the British spirit. There's a reason that the colloquial phrase for contravention of fair play is "not cricket". It isn't "not baseball", is it?

That is not unique to the British. Apparently you've never heard of the Boston tea party, the American revolution, the American feminist movement, the Hippy movement, the Vietnam war deserters, and illegal file sharing.

I view the whole sorry affair as the result of over-exposure to American culture, a culture of flying off the handle, an overinflated sense of entitlement, and above all, an almost complete lack of understanding of the concept of irony. We've lost our ability to cope with the ambiguity and the grey areas in life, instead taking the simpletons viewpoint that right and wrong are black and white, that there is a sharply defined line you must not cross. Deary me. Life is complicated. For those of us who can't cope without a truly rigid set of rules, might I suggest that you go back to kindergarten.

Sure thing. I view your whole post as a pompous diatribe of bull shit. You have an obvious superiority complex, and its completely unfounded in reality. In America, you could do exactly what this guy did and no one can do anything to you. Its called freedom of speech, and its guaranteed our government cannot interfere with this natural born right. I can call you Euro-trash and say you deserve to have your ass kicked without my government doing anything to me.

Why Spartacus? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214868)

For those wondering, from TFA:

The I'm Spartacus campaign is inspired by the famous scene in the 1960s blockbuster, when slaves stood up one by one to claim "I'm Spartacus" in order to save their fellow gladiator from detection.

Re:Why Spartacus? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214924)

Oh, and here I was hoping that Paul Chambers is gay...

Re:Why Spartacus? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214962)

You have to ask? That's sadder than not knowing where "KHAAAN!" is from.

Eheh (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215052)

And in the NEXT shot it shows each and everyone of them killed... somehow people always forget this.

Also, is it just me or is there a difference between a man who fought against slavery and a man who made a bomb treath for no reason?

Re:Eheh (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215160)

I'm fairly sure that the whole point at issue is that it was clearly absurd and therefore not a bomb threat.
I did a back-of-the envelope calculation last night:
Knowing that the runway is 2.88km long and 60m wide,
assuming that it's 0.5m deep, and has a density about equal to that of concrete,
and assuming 'sky-high' means the cruising altitude of a 747.

You would need the energy equivalaent of nearly 5000 tons of TNT just to overcome gravity in blowing just the runway 'sky-high'.

I doubt even the armed forces could pull that much explosive together in a week, let alone place it under an airport.

In conclusion, the 'threat' is absurd, and therefore isn't actually a threat. Or do we only read it literally and out of context when it's to the advantage of the prosecution?

Re:Eheh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215282)

Your a little out Robin hood is a former RAF base, the runways are specially reinforced and can handle extremely large aircraft (Antonov An-225 for example). I remember watching it being layed the foundation alone is over 5m deep!

Re:Eheh (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215604)

>>>Or do we only read it literally and out of context when it's to the advantage of the [government]?

Fixed that for you. This is about leaders wanting control over the commoners..... no different than how it was in 1500. Different society of course but still the same root motivation - tyranny.

----- BTW a bomb threat in the US is not a crime. It's protected speech. However if your basement is filled with explosive material, then yes you'd be in jail. Since this Twitter Guy did not have a basement filled with bomb-making material, he would have been found "not guilty".

Re:Eheh (2, Insightful)

internewt (640704) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215736)

>>>Or do we only read it literally and out of context when it's to the advantage of the [government]?

Fixed that for you. This is about leaders wanting control over the commoners..... no different than how it was in 1500. Different society of course but still the same root motivation - tyranny.

It isn't just leaders, it is anyone who wants to "win" an argument, and doesn't care how they do it. Or is lacking logic and reasoning skills, and doesn't realise what they are doing.

We see similar quite frequently on /.: someone will make a statement, and then someone will seemingly take the statement totally out of context. Which is very likely to distract others from the point initially being made, or make the original statement seem incorrect.

It happens in the media very frequently, and even more so in political and economic debates (though politics and economics are very closely linked, and people will advocate differing political points of view based on economic positions, and vice versa).

It is similar to why it can be frustrating to argue or debate with some people. Some people will just do things like constantly change the subject, or interrupt just as you are coming to your point, or ask silly and pointless question as you are approaching your point. Anything at all to stop you making your point, or to make you not present your point how you would like to.

This trait isn't exclusive with leaders, it seems to be common amongst authoritarians. Most of those who rise to the top though tend to be authoritarians, but they probably wouldn't have much support or stay there long if it weren't for other plonkers in society who don't see the misrepresentation due to manipulated context and literal presentation.

Re:Eheh (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215504)

Also, is it just me or is there a difference between a man who fought against slavery and a man who made a bomb treath for no reason?

Who made a bomb threat? There's no indication that the tweeter intended his words be treated as a bomb threat, but was just mouthing off to his readers. As for a reason [bbc.co.uk] ,

Paul Chambers, 26, said he acted in frustration after Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow.

Re:Eheh (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215626)

>>>Paul Chambers, 26, said he acted in frustration after Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow.

Unbelievable. He's not a criminal - just a person who was angry. But of course this isn't about Mr.Chambers or protection of other citizens. This is about *setting an example* to demonstrate by the leaders to the commoners that free speech will not be tolerated. They are training us to be sheep! To be submissive and silent and well-behaved "or else you could end up like Paul Chambers" you worthless scum.

My God.

I sound like Alex Jones.

You need to explain that nowadays? (2, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215066)

I mean... I'd somehow understand if it was "I'm Jack the Ripper". But Spartacus?

What would have happened had they referred to... say... "A Tale of Two Cities"? Or "Les Misérables"?
Would The Internet collapse or just the Twitter?

Re:You need to explain that nowadays? (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215764)

I mean... I'd somehow understand if it was "I'm Jack the Ripper". But Spartacus?

I must confess, I initially assumed it was inspired by "Life of Brian"

Re:Why Spartacus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215582)

Aww, and here the first thing i thought of was this quote.... [bash.org] is that bad?

Re:Why Spartacus? (2, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215718)

Ah, the good old days: when memes came from well-produced blockbuster films, not some annoying teenager with a webcam.

- RG>

Crazy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214874)

Uk are crazy bunch of hopeless idiots.

Re:Crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215004)

People who live in the UK are a crazy bunch of hopeless idiots.

There, fixed it for you. But you're wrong, you're an idiot.

Re:Crazy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215102)

That's a very British attitude. You may insult me all you like, but I shall take offence if you do so with with poor grammar.

(Apologies if you're not British - however your attitude certainly is )

The British Way... (1)

Ga_101 (755815) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214902)

Why get hot and bothered about something when you can make a mockery of it?

It is usually more effective too.

Re:The British Way... (5, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214916)

It is more effective. The judge's ruling was based on the idea that an "ordinary person" would not recognize the joke, take it seriously, and be terrified. The point of this campaign is to demonstrate that that's nonsense.

Re:The British Way... (1)

Ga_101 (755815) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215014)

I couldn't agree more. I just wish there was an effective way to mock other issues in such a decisive way.

Puts law enforcement in a difficult position (5, Interesting)

orbweaver (1936012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215058)

It is more effective. The judge's ruling was based on the idea that an "ordinary person" would not recognize the joke, take it seriously, and be terrified. The point of this campaign is to demonstrate that that's nonsense.

Not only that, but the campaign potentially puts law enforcement in a quandary. They can either arrest, charge and convict hundreds of people (including several popular celebrities) for posting a line of trivial text that harms precisely nobody, or have Paul Chambers' lawyers demand that they explain why they are applying the law selectively and unfairly.

That's one of the biggest problems with taking speech crime this far: it becomes utterly trivial for an angry population to effectively DDOS the enforcement of it.

Re:Puts law enforcement in a difficult position (3, Insightful)

M2Ys4U (1761184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215380)

Not really. The Crown Prosecution Service will declare that it is "not in the public interest" to charge the thousands of solidarity tweeters and nothing will happen.

Re:The British Way... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215280)

Here [youtube.com] is how the "ordinary person" reacts to terrorisim in the UK.

Re:The British Way... (1)

sbates (1832606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215302)

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but Timothy makes an excellent point about who we . Here's what Mr. Chambers originally said:

"Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week... otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"

Here's what Mr. Compton said:

"Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really."

Neither one has the ring of a joke, neither one is in good taste, but the former is defended while the latter is fodder for criticism. Now, back to your comment:

The judge's ruling was based on the idea that an "ordinary person" would not recognize the joke, take it seriously, and be terrified. The point of this campaign is to demonstrate that that's nonsense.

If a complete stranger (and Paul Chambers is a complete stranger for 99.999% of the world) posted the bomb threat on Twitter and you were inside the airport you would probably want to know whether it's a real threat. It doesn't matter what the medium is: Twitter could simply be part of a new MO for a modern brand of terrorist.

In summary:

  • No indication of a joke
  • Posted on what amounts to a popular public forum
  • Threatens death for potentially hundreds of people

That's not even considering the possibility that Paul really was setting up a secret plot to bomb the airport and the evidence simply hasn't been discovered and his friends simply didn't know. That would be rather embarrassing for these kinds of "I'm Spartacus" campaigns..

Re:The British Way... (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215392)

I think that your post, justifying the action against Chambers, is an attempt to draw attention away from your plan to crash planes by sneaking cheese in to the sandwiches of lactose intolerant airline pilots.

Re:The British Way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215522)

If a complete stranger [...] posted the bomb threat on Twitter and you were inside the airport you would probably want to know whether it's a real threat

Why? Were you planning on staying there for a week?

Re:The British Way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215622)

I disagree. Both are clearly facetious and I think every male in the world says stuff like that all the time...

Re:The British Way... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215638)

Actually, they both sound exactly like jokes, poor taste ones perhaps, but in both cases it is quite clear the poster is not serious. Maybe not to non-native English speakers (which seems to include many, but not all Americans), but certainly to those of us from this side of the pond.

this is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214914)

let me be the first to say.

THIS IS SPARTAAAAAACUS!

#IAmSpartacus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214918)

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the place sky high!! #IAmSpartacus

obAMS: Microsoft code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214936)

Just what is it about twitter that makes it so dangerous you daren't write "ahmonga bomb LAX" on it? Are they using MFC libraries?

mm
--
now that's a .sig (once mefus)

Idiots (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214950)

Those same idiots will scream even louder when someone really does blow up something and the cops ignored it because of these protests.

Actually, I don't think cops are that dumb... But if they were, that's how it would go.

Re:Idiots (5, Insightful)

MonsterOfTheLake (880659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214970)

Those same idiots will scream even louder when someone really does blow up something and the cops ignored it because of these protests.

Actually, I don't think cops are that dumb... But if they were, that's how it would go.

Yes, because terrorists have a real tendency to tweet about the attacks they're going to commit.

Well... now that you've mentioned it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215118)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/8072043/77-Inquest-suicide-bombers-used-names-of-A-Team-characters-in-text-messages.html [telegraph.co.uk]

"Mohammed Sidique Khan and Jermaine Lindsay quoted catchphrases used by BA Baracus, played by Mr T in the 1980s television series, and referred to others as Face and Murdock.
.
.
The terrorists then began to argue over which of them was BA and which was Face. On July 4, Khan, who killed six people at Edgware Road, sent a text to Lindsay saying: “Face you motha---- il rearrange ya face if ya stab me wiv dat needle cos i said i ain’t getin on no plain [sic] fool.” "

Also, this interview with Chris Morris should be obligatory reading for everyone.
Particularly for those people who happen to be elected officials of governments. Terrorists are mostly not criminal masterminds. In most cases, they are utterly inept.
I mean, let's face it - if you are blowing yourself up to defeat your enemy, there is a significant chance that you are doing it wrong.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/47332 [aintitcool.com]

Re:Idiots (4, Insightful)

t0p (1154575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214978)

So do terrorists generally issue bomb warnings over Twitter? I don't think so; the police (in their saner moments) don't think so; and the judge in question probably doesn't even know what Twitter is.

Re:Idiots (3, Interesting)

Tukz (664339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215036)

Maybe not twitter, but people have announced terror acts on the internet before, prior to doing it.
That got ignored to and behold, a school got slaughtered.

Not saying we should act on every little internet post, but there has to be a line somewhere of what you can post.
I have not read said "threat", but a threat to bomb an airport does sound like the kind of thing law enforcement should consider.

I think a slap on the wrist and maybe a small fine is in order.
Just to tell the public "think before posting".

Re:Idiots (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215096)

think before reacting would be better advice. Applies to both sides.

Re:Idiots (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215416)

Yeah. Probably something that should have been handled by a chat with Chambers, but then the police are going to be pretty busy if they follow-up on such things.

After traveling through Heathrow Terminal 5 I made similar comments, but said that I planned to first buy the terminal. Presumably that'd be okay, since by that point I'd be blowing up my own personal property.

Re:Idiots (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215288)

In the UK? Not twitter, but phone - yes.

The IRA usually warned the police that they are going to blow up something to avoid collateral damage casualties.

If those bombs were happening today I would not be suprised if they were tweeted instead of phoned-in.

IRA however is a strange exemption to the overall "rules" of terrorism. Most of today's terrorists would go for the opposite - to kill as many bystanders as possible.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215388)

as far as im aware, the IRA did that as they felt they had a legitimate protest against the British government, rather than random bystanders, and they felt they were in a military situation, rather than simply trying to injure and kill as many people as possible

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215712)

Yeah, those car bombs and shopping centres they blew up were certainly legitimate military installations.

Re:Idiots (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215366)

So do terrorists generally issue bomb warnings over Twitter?

No, but in the good old days the American funded terrorists from Ireland used to phone up newspapers/samaritans/etc to warn of bombs before they blew kids to bits. They occasionally got the location right too.

IRA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215506)

So do terrorists generally issue bomb warnings over Twitter? I don't think so; the police (in their saner moments) don't think so; and the judge in question probably doesn't even know what Twitter is.

The IRA usually called-in warnings that a bomb had been planted.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1340995/story.html

Of course "terrorist" is a loaded word (especially nowadays), and many people wouldn't call the IRA that; others would. [shrug]

Don't be so sure... (3, Informative)

Ga_101 (755815) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214984)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Manchester_bombing [wikipedia.org]

Most Mancunians I've spoken to say it was the best thing to happen to their city center.

Re:Don't be so sure... (3, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215148)

Note the important part ; the IRA rang the local TV studio, giving a warning and codeword.

IRA codewords were typically established by issuing a prior warning for an act of terrorism in conjunction with the codeword. The same word could then be used to claim responsibility for other acts, either before or after they occurred (although "before" obviously generates more credence).

If it was the modern era, I'd probably sign my communiques using a public key known to be associated with terrorist acts ; much more secure.

All said and done, they probably wouldn't use Twitter, even if GCHQ has a 250,000 strong server farm scraping it, along with all the other social networks. They'd probably send their communiques straight to people that they know can disseminate the information rapidly. But they do announce their atrocities in advance, because it's the only sure way that they will be getting credit for it.

Re:Idiots (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215072)

So are the only options to do absolutely nothing, and to throw the book at the guy?

The police had several hours to determine whether the guy meant it or not.

And as for taking things seriously, the airport manager didn't consider it serious enough to close the airport. Perhaps what they should do have done is ask the guy a few questions and then suggest that he consider his tweets a little more carefully in future when they determined he wasn't a threat.

Not the issue (5, Insightful)

orbweaver (1936012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215082)

Those same idiots will scream even louder when someone really does blow up something and the cops ignored it because of these protests.

That's not the issue. The complaint is not that the police investigated the tweet; this might well be argued to fall under due diligence. The complaint is that they investigated it, discovered it to be totally harmless, and still brought the full force of the law to bear on the tweeter simply for the hell of it.

Re:Not the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215464)

and still brought the full force of the law to bear on the tweeter simply for the hell of it.

Strictly speaking that was the CPS and not the police. Why, yes it is a pedantic point:)

Re:Not the issue (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215472)

Yeah. This is the kind of thing that should have been settled with a chat, or even ignored. The context of the message strongly suggests a frustrated traveler - not some nutter who'll be running a van full of fertiliser through the airport terminal.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215438)

Security and theater have become so confused that even the actors can't tell them apart. The majority of laws like this were designed to provide a flimsy piece of evidence to use to go after real threats. Unfortunately, after this many years of failing to accomplish real results and a lack or real targets, they are using the laws to intimidate people into submission. It really isn't any different than the new TSA guidelines implemented for those who refuse to pass through the full body scanners.

If you notice, the majority of people aren't saying that the police shouldn't INVESTIGATE statements like this, the dispute is over the PROSECUTION of the event. Once it was established that he wasn't a threat, there wasn't a case. This is just a pathetic attempt by a government to intimidate it's people into complacency.

Crap! (1)

fluch (126140) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214976)

Such kind of failed appeals makes me want to bom.... %$!%$$*&! CARRIER LOST.

How quaint... (1, Troll)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214988)

1943 called.

The Nazis want their laws back.

Re:How quaint... (1)

MrWeelson (948337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215010)

You lose, thread over, Godwin's Law applies. Probably the shortest time into a thread I've seen!

Andy

Seriously though... (2, Funny)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214992)

I am Spartacus!


...other people need to knock that off

Re:Seriously though... (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215358)

I'm Brian, and so's my wife!

If you don't mean it, don't write it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34214994)

There's a difference between saying "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!" among friends who know your personality and writing the same on the public internet. People have very little information which they can use to decide if you're joking or if you're someone with an real anger management problem. At the very least, put a smiley on it. On the internet, nobody knows that you're a dog and nobody knows that you're just kidding unless you make it bloody obvious. The reason why emoticons exist isn't that people are idiots who can't tell a joke from seriousness, it's that people who are not serious on the internet frequently forget that all non-textual cues are left out, so what's obvious to them isn't to others, even if the recipients have a fully developed sense of humor.

Guide to right to free speech in the UK (4, Informative)

radio4fan (304271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215000)

The Human Rights Act 1998 [statutelaw.gov.uk] guarantees freedom of expression in article 10.1:

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

... and then takes away the protection on the contentious speech that might actually need protecting in 10.2:

The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Re:Guide to right to free speech in the UK (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215120)

"Territorial integrity"? Does that mean it's illegal for people to protest about getting Scotland's independence while they're in London?

I think the Brits should try adopting something a little easier to remember. Something like "The Parliament shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech." We've got a similar sort of thing in the US, and it seems to be doing well.

Re:Guide to right to free speech in the UK (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215418)

Except our lawmakers and courts simply make up the second bit about what doesn't constitute free speech as they go.

Re:Guide to right to free speech in the UK (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215174)

yes, more mess. Since we won't get a definitive answer (that anyone will believe) as to whether the get-out clause applies until it gets to Strasbourg, all the human rights act does is put 5 or 6 layers of British courts between this chap and that definitive answer.

Re:Guide to right to free speech in the UK (1)

augustw (785088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215432)

Although the get-out contained in article 10.2 is not a UK invention - it's in the European Convention on Human Rights -- the Human Rights Act 1998 is simply the acceptance into UK law of the Convention.

Well, of course... (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215044)

Everyone knows that the first place you look for hints of where terrorists will strike is TWITTER!

Re:Well, of course... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215106)

i thought the best place would be facebomb

So, why did he do it? (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215100)

Gosh I am paranoid but somehow I just always keep looking for what is MISSING from a story. So why the bomb threat? Which is by the way illegal. Why did he threathen people who had no way of knowing whether he was serious or not?

Some of the highschool shootings had the criminals making claims they would do something as well. So clearly the police now HAS to act when someone makes a public threath.

Yet many a slashdotter is saying that terrorists wouldn't use twitter to announce it? How small minded, only terrorists use bombs now? Only terrorists carry out attacks? Plenty of nutters do as well AND some of them make announcements about it. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_17_112/ai_n27436671/ [findarticles.com]

If only then people had listened. How is the police to know if someone is just spouting off or making a serious threat? Damned if they do nothing, damned if they do something.

But the law is very clear, you are not allowed to make threats, no not even as a joke. Just try this at an airport "he got a bomb" and see what happens. But I wasn't serious? Tell that to the police dog chewing on your crotch.

Should the police have ignored the threat, like they ignored others that did turn out to be right? Or just put a fullscale alert on the airport just in case and let the taxpayer pay for it?

This story is just more evidence of the sad state of our voting population who just doesn't seem to be aware of the real world and its rules. If you do not like them vote to change them but don't go into some kind of hissy fit when long established laws end up biting you in the ass.

It reminds me of a story years ago when the british press went into sob story mode about a mum whose driving license was taking away and she needed it so badly... yeah... those anti-drunk driving laws sure do suck don't they. Guess what, freedom of speech does not exist in the UK, stop being suprised by it constantly and either change the law (and invite anarchy) or learn to accept that bomb threats are not allowed.

Real story: Asshole who wanted to show off got send to jail for breaking the law. Fellow assholes outraged that breaking the law is not allowed!

Really, this guy wasn't making a political statement, this was just someone wanting to scare others because his penis is to small. And before you get all outraged, answer me this. WHY did he send this message out into the world? When THAT reason gets reported I think his public sympathy outside wanker land will be lost instantly.

Re:So, why did he do it? (5, Insightful)

lga (172042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215194)

He didn't send this to the world. He sent this to his Twitter followers, who are not stupid enough to think that a hyperbolic joke is actually a real threat . It just happened to be visible to other people if they took the time to look for it. Maybe if you read the details you might realise that the airport saw it, and deemed it not a threat. The police investigated and recognised that this was not a threat. The CPS and the Judges, however, threw the book at him and prosecuted under an antique law that should not even apply.

This tweet was clearly not a real threat, and anyone with half a brain can recognise that, apart from judges. And you.

Re:So, why did he do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215206)

I'm so glad I don't have to live with your world-view. You must be scared half to death every moment.

Re:So, why did he do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215228)

I am going to bomb your house, and your local airport. In fact, your capital city!

Do you think I'm serious?
 
Well, do ya, punk?

I don't want to live in your world with your view of law. How was this protecting the population, when it was clear he was NO THREAT at all, BEFORE the prosecution began? You're pathetic.

Re:So, why did he do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215236)

tl;dr: I am a sheepish coward who will gladly bend over for the benevolent Government to rape me at its whim (It's the Law!) and rationalise its actions with whatever cowardly arguments I can come up with. I respect power and therefore will always speak against the Government's opponents. The circumstances aren't important, what's important is that someone dares to act against the Government's will. Since there's no chance I'll ever take a stand, I want all the rest of you to do the same as I do, because I don't want to be left alone in my cowardly corner.

Re:So, why did he do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215262)

Gosh I am paranoid but somehow I just always keep looking for what is MISSING from a story. So why the bomb threat? Which is by the way illegal. Why did he threathen people who had no way of knowing whether he was serious or not?

Some of the highschool shootings had the criminals making claims they would do something as well. So clearly the police now HAS to act when someone makes a public threath.

Yet many a slashdotter is saying that terrorists wouldn't use twitter to announce it? How small minded, only terrorists use bombs now? Only terrorists carry out attacks? Plenty of nutters do as well AND some of them make announcements about it. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_17_112/ai_n27436671/ [findarticles.com]

If only then people had listened. How is the police to know if someone is just spouting off or making a serious threat? Damned if they do nothing, damned if they do something.

Erm...yeah...except the fact that this wouldn't stop him from bombing the airport if he actually wanted to. He is still a free man, he is still perfectly able to kill anyone he wants should he choose to - and do you seriously think the police investigate all statements of this nature? Of course they don't because they usually use discretion. Your average police officer knows the difference between a serious threat and a comment made in the heat of the moment and I would guess that most police officers also recognise when people are joking.

A fine and a criminal record will *not* stop somebody who wants to unleash violence on random strangers so what's the point in even doing it? If anything it would just make him even more bitter and hate society even more. If they really thought he was a genuine threat the punishment would have been much harsher and hopefully they would have attempted to rehabilitate him. Instead he just got a fine and a criminal record - an extremely harsh punishment given the supposed "crime" but if he was actually genuine in his desire to slaughter innocent people (which he wasn't) this punishment would hardly prevent him from going through with his threat.

So who does this punishment benefit? Nobody. Now that this guy has a criminal record he is going to find it more difficult to get a decent job, meaning he will contribute less to the tax base than he would of before (he was a trainee accountant). All because of a flippant comment on Twitter. The depressing thing is that it's not even that shocking, it's indicative of the legal system we have forged for ourselves in this country.

Re:So, why did he do it? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215482)

Just try this at an airport "he got a bomb" and see what happens.

This incitement to mass terrorism is much worse than what Chambers wrote. Since you feel so strongly about the law, you should turn yourself in and serve a decade or two in prison.

Re:So, why did he do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215520)

lets see if I can make this plain enough for you..

THREATENING to do something is NOT THE SAME as DOING IT.

If the police thought it was a credible threat, then they are quite within their rights to follow up and try to prevent it happening - when finding the threat not to be credible, they are not within their rights to arrest him anyway.

uh (2, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215252)

uh, HE's Spartacus. I'm not. I'm Biggus Dickus.

no win scenario (3, Interesting)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215310)

Scenario 1.) Airport gets bombed and people are angry. "What?! He tweeted about it, why didn't anyone pay attention to him!?!"

Scenario 2.) Man is investigated, found innocent, taxes are raised to pay for it, and people are angry. "What?! Why was this investigated?! Waste of my money!"

Scenario 3.) Man is investigated, found innocent, individually fined to pay for it, and people are angry. "What?! His rights were violated! Defend the tweeter against The Man!!"

Re:no win scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215682)

Scenario 4) Man is investiated, found innocent. Taxes already pay for police and judiciary. People are happy. "The system works".

A little research.. (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215534)

People do dumb stuff all the time. And scare people.. usually their reaction is.. I didn't mean too, wasn't thinking.. Should they get sent to jail for it? Maybe, depends on the extent of the stupidity. But the police responded and arrested him. At this point, a little research.. is he violent? Does he have a history? Does his explanation make sense? Instead, it's we arrested him and from now on, we are not capable of making mistakes. Doesn't matter if he's just being a wanker, we want him imprisoned and fined. But when you look at the case, the guy doesn't even know how to make a bomb, wouldn't hurt a fly. Was just frustrated.. That's where we need some balance..

The Romans solved this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34215722)

by crucifying the lot of them. Maybe the UK courts will send them all to jail.

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