General

By a Newsnet reporter

Holidaymakers are being advised to watch what they tweet if travelling after two friends were refused entry to the US on security grounds after the US Department for Homeland Security picked up on their undesirable tweets.

Prior to travelling to Los Angeles on holiday, 26-year-old bar manager Irish national Leigh Van Bryan, wrote a message to a friend on Twitter, saying: “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America.”

In another tweet, Mr Bryan said he would be in LA in three weeks time, annoying people “and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up”.

The Irish national and his friend Emily Bunting were met upon their arrival at Los Angeles International Airport and interviewed for 5 hours by Homeland Security agents.

After the interview, Homeland Security’s stated:

“Mr Bryan confirmed that 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 he was coming to destroy America.”

Mr Bryan was prevented from entering the US and sent directly home.

Mr Bryan said: “The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist.  I kept saying they had got the wrong meaning from my tweet.”

Another man Paul Chambers, also fell foul of the Dept of Homeland Security because of a tweet in January 2010.

Mr Chambers was fined £385 plus £2,600 in costs after tweeting that he would blow up snow-affected Doncaster Robin Hood Airport “sky high!” if it didn’t reopen in time for him to be able to see his girlfriend.

The US Customs and Border Protection agency said in a statement that it tried to maintain a balance between “securing our borders while facilitating the high volume of legitimate trade and travel that crosses our borders every day and show the world that the United States is a welcoming nation”.

Trade association Abta said holidaymakers should never do anything to raise “concern or suspicion in any way”. 

Abta added: “Posting statements in a public forum which could be construed as threatening – in this case saying they are going to “destroy” somewhere – will not be viewed sympathetically by US authorities.

“In the past we have seen holidaymakers stopped at airport security for ‘joking’ that they have a bomb in their bag, thoroughly questioned and ending up missing their flights, demonstrating that airport security staff do not have a sense of humour when it comes to potential risk.”


Comments  

 
#
Vincent McDee
2012-02-04 09:56

So the Terror won the “war on terror”?
 
 
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Robabody
2012-02-04 18:30

Indeed
 

 
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Saltire Groppenslosh
2012-02-04 11:47

These folks seem to have a sense of humour failure or is it that they are in fact thick as two short planks?

I prefer Canada, nicer all round. The US is let down badly by their government departments and border security.

Bit of trivia here, did you know that Canada is the only country to beat the US in an open conflict? They don’t like to be reminded of that.

If the US want visitors then they’re going to have to be a wee bit more welcoming at the border.

I took my family to Florida a couple of years back and was not impressed by the way we were dealt with, presenting ourselves as a normal family with all the paperwork filled out properly in advance. We were treated almost as if we were there to start trouble and they made the entry longwinded and difficult. Not needed.

We tried again about a year later to enter Washington State from Vancouver in Canada. This time yet again all the paperwork was filled out prior to going on holiday and we were “selected” to go through the imigration building where we wasted several hours waitting in a queue to be “processed”.

I watched a Dutch bloke in front of me with a young family starting to get a bit riled and had to whisper in his ear to stop behaving like an arse as they would most likely pull him and his wee family out the queue and keep them there for many more hours if not worse. He finally thanked me for my words of common sense. It was a ridiculous farce. I don’t think teh US want anyone to visit them, or at least the dept of homeland security don’t.

Once we got through interestingly enough, when we finally got to a large shopping centre, no one would take our Canadian Dollars which were trading at a higher rate than the US Dollar. No big problem as all we did was use credit cards but you’d think they would grab all the Canadian Dollars that they could and exchange them at the bank and make a bit more profit. I think there’s a bit of a needle going on around that border.

Perhaps that may be a shadow of things to come in Scotland. As Scotland does better as an independent nation, resentment may build up in England against the Scots in the same way.

Well let’s hope that we keep welcoming people to our nation the way that the Canadians do. I’m always impressed by the warmth of Canada and its people. For some reason they like Scottish folk, I can’t think why.
 
 
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scotintun
2012-02-04 12:30

The border between British Columbia and Washington State does not seem to have changed that much in 23 years. I had a similar problem and it would have been worse I suppose if I had not been on a bus full of US citizens who were complaining about being kept back because of what I can only describe as….. – no better not Moderator. He could not understand why I had only $50 US and $150 Canadian. When I said that I thought America was the land of plastic he did not seem to be too happy. However, this proved to be true as I could hardly spend my dollars as they only wanted plastic especially petrol stations – sorry Gas stations.
 
 
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J Wil
2012-02-04 14:35

A bit of revenge by refusing English banknotes, holding them up to the light, asking which country etc.
 

 
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C2DEalba
2012-02-04 12:31

America is the land of the free and the home of the brave for a reason.

I would never visit America, just doesn’t seem an interesting place.

I used to work with Americans and on the whole found them to be very challenging! It always made me wonder about their educational system.
 
 
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flyingscotsman
2012-02-04 14:47

I have a good few friends from the US and I certainly dont detect anything challenging about them. Contrary to popular belief that they dont know much outside their own country, they are all quite knowledgable of the world outside their borders and also knowledgeable about Scotland because of my input.

Plenty of my US friends also support independence for Scotland, so it’s probably not a good idea to generalise about Americans like that. Theres one thing about trying to go it alone and getting independence and another about keeping friends in other countries that support us getting independence.
 

 
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Saltire Groppenslosh
2012-02-04 13:05

I have no quarrel with the US citizens and if they knew what was going on they would be baying at the doors of Congress to “smarten up” their border procedure.

I have to say that whilst inside the US, I spent the neck end of £7000 over the base holiday cost. Now I’m not an economist but if people like me get put off from going somewhere and the spend is even half of that then it doesn’t take a great mind to realise that this will pop a good hole in the tourism industry.

We had a good time whilst we were there but there are things like this that make you feel unwelcome and unlikely to tramp that road once again.

I assure the US citizens that they wont get a bad do like that when visiting Scotland. We value the tourists.
 
 
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flyingscotsman
2012-02-04 14:29

My experiences of the US are varied with one guard at NY who I swear had his hand on his weapon because I had the wrong sort of ticket (long story), but once you get past security then there is nothing really to worry about.

But if you believe that US citizens would get treated as badly over here then I have a very close friend that has went through 2 experiences at Glasgow Airport, one more unpleasant than the other.

7 years ago she came over here to live, travelled alone,and wanted to stay for 6 months with a friend but on arrival she was questioned about why she was here, she had all the relevant paperwork for her to stay, all of this was in order. The security asked her about her children and why she would leave them in the US, and that she wasnt a good mother for leaving them. This security man also said that if she is “going to stay here for such a long time that her kids would be taken away from her, I know this for sure”. They had her in tears. They brought up extremely personal issues that had no connection to her stay which were intended to intimidate her. I am surprised she wanted to come back. So dont be complacent, it happens in this country too.
 
 
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Triangular Ears
2012-02-04 20:28

I’ve found Glasgow airport security staff to have a bit of an attitude problem too, I’m afraid.

No such problems at Prestwick. In fact, the guy couldn’t have been nicer.
 

 
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Jester
2012-02-04 13:08

It’s a story I’ve heard time and time again from people who have visited America. I would not like to go there.
 
 
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Mad Jock McMad
2012-02-04 13:10

Easy – just avoid the land of the ‘unfree’, better: do not have a twitter account.
 
 
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Triangular Ears
2012-02-04 20:27

It was a “tweeter” account. 😉
 

 
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maisiedotts
2012-02-04 14:02

Couldn’t agree more, talk about how to lose friends and influence opinion …..

sfgate.com/…/…

What is it about mind your own business they don’t understand?
 
 
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McHaggis
2012-02-04 22:24

Amazed to read so many narrow-minded opinions here from contributors who are traditionally open and intelligent enough on worldly issues.

I’ve never met an american i didnt like.

To say the USA is a country that “doesnt interest you” is simply bizarre. Rocky mountains, vegas, apalchians, new york, deserts, etc. a beautiful, vibrant country.

Its true they dont generally know much about the rest of the world, but in my view its because they are spoiled to live in a country where you dont really need to look outwards. Im truly jealous of their ability to be positive in life, confident and assertive. Traits sometimes missing in Scots!

Dont confuse american politics and foreign policy with the ordinary joe in the street. We nationalists are often accused of hating english when its the parliamentary rule we dislike, based in westminster.

If you ever get the chance to visit the usa… Grab it with both hands.

Imiigration officials anwhere in the world never have a sense of humour and i would never judge an entire nation on the basis of that.
 
 
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Aplinal
2012-02-05 09:32

I have met quite a few Americans, and like any other peoples, some I liked, and some had an ‘attitude’ problem. BUT, and this is a big but … those I met were OUTSIDE America. Already these are, IMHO, the cream of the crop. They do show ignorance of much of the world, and these are the traveled ones, so who knows about the rest.

Americans don’t often travel internationally  , this is known,but they also do not travel much internally either. There are many wonderful sights to see in the USA, but the vast majority of Americans haven’t seen them either.

My perception is that they are generally an insular peoples, with paranoid tendencies, and easily led by the MSM/Political classes.

Personally,I gave up wishing to visit the USA after the Patriot Act was passed that basically assumed that ANYONE visiting was a potential terrorist and they began to treat everyone like criminals. The “War on Terror” has already been lost – and terror definitely won.
 

 
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Kinghob
2012-02-04 22:36

Reading that exceptionally biased San Francisco based newspaper article, an article lacking in the most basic of facts and with no balance whatsoever………made me chuckle!

God alone knows what this type of belligerent journalism hopes to gain although one may believe quite strongly that the nuclear warheads housed in Scotland and the Trident submarines (the renewal of would end up being cancelled-England can’t afford to house the warheads particularly) has something to do with it as they are America’s North Western hemisphere ‘defence’ against who knows what nowadays?
 
 
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Kinghob
2012-02-04 22:41

As to how immigration officials or airport workers treat tourists or those who are going on a holiday-in any industry you will bump into jobsworths, who are usually people who are not very good at their jobs and with dealing with the public.

I have always found both Edinburgh and Glasgow airports to have very courteous polite staff-but there will always be the odd incident that tells a very different story and that’s life.

In the US, I found the officials at the airports to be quite shout types, very unmotivated and very stressed (and most probably poorly paid) I surmised.
 
 
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tartangladbach
2012-02-05 01:32

i’ll bring you up to speed on the why! they do this to reduce the traffic they have to screen! every airport (security) now reads ever text & tweet you make within an airports grounds in real time! to stop you clogging their ability, they decide now and again, about every 18 months to have a ridiculous case that will definitely make the media and keep you in your place! allegedly 😉
 
 
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Aplinal
2012-02-05 09:58

Hmm,if I want to visit San Francisco,will the entry forms state, “Are you, or have you ever been,a member of the SNP?”
 

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