How reassuring to know that the various and sundry agencies monitoring the Twitter accounts of the world in the Orwellian-American nightmare we seem to have suddenly woken up in are not going to let the obvious escape them.
When a twenty-something British couple decided to tweet in typical Brit style slang that they were on the way to "destroy America" and "dig up Marilyn Monroe's bones" the two were detained at the airport and refused entrance to the US.
According to Huffington Post:
"The tweets had been sent a week before their trip, indicating the U.S. government had flagged the pair well before their arrival.
Both claimed the messages were lost in translation.
"They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain "destroy" meant to get trashed and party," Bunting told the Daily Mail.
Bryan also said he was asked about a tweet that he says is a quote from the television show "Family Guy" that read, "3 weeks today, we're totally in LA p***** people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!"
"I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh's lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe," Bunting told the Daily Mail. "It got even more ridiculous because the officials searched our suitcases and said they were looking for spades and shovels."
But things quickly became less humorous to Bryan and Bunting.
Speaking with the Daily Mail, Bryan said officials told him, "You really f***** up with that tweet, boy," before handcuffing and putting him in what Bryan described as a "cage" inside of a van. He said he was then transported to a prison with other border offenders.
"It's just so ridiculous it's almost funny but at the time it was really scary. The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist," Bryan told the Mail.
"We just wanted to have a good time on holiday. That was all Leigh meant in his tweets," Bunting told The Sun.
This isn't the first time a tweet has gotten someone in trouble with the U.S. government.
And other social media outlets, such as Facebook, have also been used by police to prevent potential crimes. Just last week, an Arizona policeman drew a Secret Service probe for posting a photo of a man holding a T-shirt with the image of President Obama riddled with bullet holes.
This news comes at a time when Internet privacy and censorship are hot issues. Just last week, controversy erupted when Twitter revealed it would comply with censorship laws in countries like China and Thailand where much of the content on the internet is restricted." HuffPost.com
So whatever you take from this, whether you find it reassuring to know that the U.S. watchdogs, be they the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, the Feds, or whomever they may be, are keeping an eye out; or whether you find it frightening that an innocuous young British couple could be treated like terrorists without any real justification. Let's face it, had Homeland Security really been concerned would they not have looked deeper into these two in the week prior to their arrival and learned that they were just what they appeared to be - a hip young couple - savvy to the trendy slang of the times - and completely and utterly innocent of even so much as a bad thought towards the USA?
The fact that border guards treated them so roughly and with such disrespect and ultimately sent them packing back to England is cause for deep concern. This pair should probably thank their lucky stars that they aren't languishing in some secret FEMA camp somewhere along with other poor foreign nationals with perhaps a bit of a "way with words" or a good sense of humour! Because if you're planning on destroying America, for the love of all that's holy don't Tweet it or share it on Facebook! Big Brother is watching, and frankly, he seems to be in a really pissy mood.
Tweets are being subpoened into court also, as in the case of an Occupy protester who was one of those arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge last fall. For reasons unknown, it appears that the police are attempting to prove someone responsible for calling the protesters together, is my humble guess - the tweets of one individual are being asked for by the courts from Twitter. The court also requested a gag order so that Twitter would not let the individual know of this fact. Twitter ignored the order and informed the gentleman, however.
I have thus resisted any temptations to title this piece with any catchy but possibly offensive titles, such as "For God's Sake If you're going to Destroy America don't tweet it!" or "Feds In A Flutter Over Twitter!" for genuine fear.
Goodness knows I would like to come visit America someday soon and would hate to be labelled a terrorist because I was writing about someone that tweeted something! I am a great supporter and lover of the USA - because I believe it is the greatest experiment in democracy ever created to date on the planet. It is a beautiful concept, and I have true admiration and feel strong solidarity for the people of America - for Americans.
As annoyingly brash as they are, a culture suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder true, but hey - which of us doesn't need therapy? Let's face it, Canadians then are all suffering from depression and lethargy - probably not enough Vitamin D - take it folks come on! But I digress - America, like all narcissists, is lovable and intoxicating and infuriating all at the same time, but ultimately one cannot help but fall in love over and over again. So please Mr. Homeland Security guy reading this article don't put me on your list!
The need for surveillance is undisputed, but it is a very fine line between protection and a police state. Tempered with a strong sense of vigilance and alertness, border authorities need to utilize all the tools available to them to assess risk. In this instance, they had a full week to ascertain this couple's threat potential. Their failure to do so should be a national embarrassment. Brits are the allies of the States, and treatment of British Nationals coming to enjoy a holiday in America in such a manner is inappropriate and should have been avoided at all costs. It really is terribly "bad form" America! Shame!
Only in America you say? "Pity!"
Author's note: (Canadians will know that this is reference to Red Rose brand of tea commercial from the 1970s - showing Brit aristocracy drinking tea and stating "Only in Canada you say? Pity!")
See Red Rose commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUnbJAWk6