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back to article 'Suspicious comment' provokes LAX terminal evacuation

The FBI yesterday detained an unnamed passenger who provoked a two-hour closure of a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport by making a "suspicious comment". Details are sketchy, but the unnamed man was on Southwest Airlines flight 1182 from El Paso, Texas, when he apparently joked to another passenger that he had …

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Joke

obviously...

He was shouting "The government is barmy!"

He was fined $50 for a breach of the peace, and sentenced to 20 years for revealing a state secret.

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Joke

And the suspicious comment was...

"My goodness, I'm really impressed with the quality and efficacy of these airport security arrangements... I'm impressed..."

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Coat

Comment

I wonder if he used the coat icon?

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Pirate

so..

.. you can now be detained if you say something that is "suspicious" i feel that somebody has been a little overzellious there,

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Alert

All your thoughts & comments are belong to us!

I guess Bin laden/AL Qaida has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams by getting under the American's skin, helped in no small measure by the media Propoganda & frenzy whipped up by the Bush Admin.

Such paranoid knee jerk reactions are proof enough of that!

Its more like a war on peoples psche now. All your thoughts are belong (& to be controlled by) to us, even if inappropriate!

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Silver badge

What did he say?

I'd be curious to know what he said that provoked that level of response.

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Fair Dinkum

is enough to get you arrested for speaking back to a US flight attendant a few months ago.....wonder what it was this time? Dain Bread?

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Coat

What a surprise

I got held at George Bush Intercontinental (Houston) for 45 minutes at gunpoint, to have every item in my laptop bag chemical tested for explosive.

Then to have the counter assistant say... it was a false positive.... A FALSE POSITIVE.... I was shitting myself surrounded by guys with machine guns pointed at me without explaination...

Obviously my laptop and a copy of Jackass the movie were going to cause a terrorist incident.. either that or me wearing a green day t-shirt upset them...

Mine's the coat with the wires hanging out the back.

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g e
Silver badge

hehehehe

Next time you go to USA, pick a random person you don't like the look of and then say to some security guard 'I heard him saying something like "our glorious brothers"' or something suitably spy-parody-comical

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Alert

Terrorism just got easier.

Al-Qaeda training can now be done by mail as all they will need to disable the transportation system is a group of people distributed around the country making suspicious comments in airports.

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Heart

And so we continue to do precisely the opposite of what we should do

Anyone who remembers the IRA's bombing campaigns in the UK will know that the governmental response at the time, whilst often hugely overblown in its treatment of Irish people, was essentially to ensure "business as usual" for as many people as possible.

Since 9/11 the US, and by extension the UK because we now apparently take the lead from them in this area, have operated quite the opposite policy, and it is a disaster. They and we now jump at the slightest squeak, talk up every threat, and promote the idea that if one terrorist attack is prevented then this policy is justified.

No, it isn't.

We need to say to anyone who wants to change us via terrorism that while we will do our best to stop them, we will not change our lives to achieve that. We need to say that you can continue to blow us up, but you will not change our minds. We need to tell them that they will not make us run scared by threat alone. To make a difference they will have to penetrate our defences every time. A threat, or a failed attempt, should have no impact on our lives.

It seems cliched and obvious to say it, but terrorists win when we react to them, in any way. Yes we should continue to act to prevent acts of terror when we discover them; but we must get far better and facing down the threat, telling and showing them that we are not scared of them, and that we will not capitulate.

Otherwise we have already lost.

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thought police

obviously if he said something suspicious he must be a dissident! its the facial twitch that gives you away, you'll all have to use doublethink and doublespeak from now on!

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Anonymous Coward

Watch for the post justification, & 911

Watch for the post idiocy witchhunt, where, having blow some guys comments out of proportion, they will then attempt to punish him hard for their own idiocy to justify the situation.

Particularly watch for the mention of 911, that's a dead giveaway that they know they were overreacting.

Same as the Boston bomb scare when they blew up "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" LED signs then tried to prosecute the ad agency for making this 'terrorist hoax' that existed only in the mind of the Tom Menino mayor of Boston.

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Stu
Pirate

Under their skin...

Too true, just reminds me of the student woman who was busted for walking thru an airport with circuit boards stuck to her in various places. Some kind of art stunt. You see circuit boards = Bomb triggers.

And to a lesser extent the whole Boston Mooninite fiasco a year ago - Some comedy channel publicity stunt involving an LED illuminated cartoon character billboard thing, hung in various places throughout Boston - put the whole city into DEFCON ONE! TERROR ALERT TERROR ALERT TERROR ALERT.

You see LED illuminated cartoon characters = Bomb.

The TV and print press, and various government departments all contributed towards it.

Idiots.

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I know what he said

'Watch me sneak this 105 millilitres of mineral water onto a plane.'

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Unhappy

@ Duncan Hothersall

If we change the way we do things in response to acts of terror, abandon our principles and crack down on our citizens we lose.

We have abandoned our principles and cracked down on our citizens.

Therefore, we have already lost.

Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

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Alert

Probably trying to be "humourous"

Jokes and (especially US) security people don't mix.

Few years ago on BBC "airport" series there was as wise-guy with a violin case who when asked by security what was inside thought he'd be funny and said "I come from Chicago and we keep guns in these" ... and was the shocked to find police were called, he was arrested, cautioned and informed that the airline (one of the big US ones) had placed a lifetime ban on him. And this was well before 9/11 etc.

Similarly I heard someone describing how before flight from US to UK they'd been pulled over for random security screen. After placing all bags, items etc on counter for search she noticed mobile phone was still on so she picked it up saying "I better turn this off before I get on the plane as we don't want it to crash" (meaning she was following rules on no mobiles on in flights) ... however US security interpreted this as a direct threat to the flight (and told other family members travelling with her this) and immediately pulled her off the flight. Fortunately she was travelling with BA so after several hours of grilling by security pilot from next BA flight interviewed her and rapidly concluded there was no problem and was happy to allow her on the plane but added that due to what US security had sad there was still a questionmark as to whether Heathrow would allow a plane carrying her to land ... in the end it was all ok.

Maybe security do need to take everything seriously but there's a point where some common sense should come into the equation!

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He said...

"I watch me sneak a litre of Dioxihydride on board"

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Coat

I think all these comments ...

... are pretty suspicious to be honest.

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@Duncan Hothersal

Couldn't have put it better myself!

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jim

Muslim

Apparently he looked like a Muslim. Need I say more ?

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Black Helicopters

Q. Anything to declare sir?

A. Yeah baby, I got something explosive in my pants for you.

Of course, your average terrorist who has spent the best part of a year planning his own fiery death is prone to making stupid mistakes just like this. You'd think that stopping someone who behaves suspiciously would be a waste of limited resources, surely the terrorists are trying extremely hard NOT to draw attention.

BTW, I use Linux, I roleplay and I listen to 'Heavy Metal' so I am pretty much never getting into the USA (unless I cross the border from Canada).

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Anonymous Coward

@Duncan Hothersall

Here in Spain everytime there is some injustice associated to ETA, or the anniversary of the Madrid train bombings, invariably there are marches the following weekend with people waving white sheets about and ranting on about peace in virtually every major city. If a death was involved then the marches might be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Also a time will be given for a miuntes silence when everybody except me will pile out into the streets in observation. I sit there alone in the office thinking what better way to show the terrorists that people are taking notice of them, what better way to encourage them to do worse next time and get a bigger reaction. I explain this to my colleagues and though they can see the logic behind this they still go out.

I was a student in London during a very active time of the IRA and the most reactionary thing I can remember is the police taking away the rubbish bins from the streets. How things have changed...

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Joke

I know

He probably ticked the box where it reads "Are you or have you ever been a member of a terrorist organisation?"

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@Duncan Hothersall

While I totally agree with the sentiment, I think your memory is a bit suspect. Perhaps you never had to drive into the City of London during the IRA campaigns, past the road blocks, cameras, and armed police. Not really "business as usual".

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Coat

Just remember the Foreign Office advice:

"LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Do not make flippant remarks about bombs or terrorism, especially when passing through US airports."

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xjy
Paris Hilton

Daleks

He himself said nothing, it was his dvd with classic Dr Whos and the Daleks were intoning w-e s-h-a-l-l e-x-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-e y-o-u . Obviously resonated with the security peeps.

Anyway, the only way to survive a trip to the land of the brave and home of the free is to switch everything off and go zombie during the journey. Name rank and number is all. No jokes, no smiles, no thinking, no silent insubordination, no emotion. Zombie role: big polished shoes, white socks, an ulcer, and BO.

Once you're thru the gate, though, way-hay!!

(Paris, showing us how to think during the trip...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Steve Taylor

I was a student, the BSM (Blessed Saint Maggie) had just over turned Red Kens' public transport charges and I couldn't afford a bloody bus fare so I had to walk everywhere. So this is very early eighties, the memory might be going but I think the camera stuff came much later.

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Maybe......

Maybe he said "If I don't get to the toilet soon I am going to explode"

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Re Steve Taylor and AC

You're referring to the "Ring of Steel". This was a response to the early '90sbombing campaign by the IRA where they blew up the Baltic Exchange and Bishopsgate. Way back in the '70s, and '80s, it was pretty much business as usual.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Steve Taylor

Granted, the armed police and roadblocks were there (much like they're nowadays swarming through airports) but the difference is they werent at the stage of evacuating london and carting you off to a "detention facility" for trying to pass one of the road blocks with a brake light out.

Nowadays, that'd be a clear indication that obviously your brake light isnt working because you re-wired the electrics for it to the hundred pounds of semtex you clearly have strapped to the underside of the car.

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Probably...

...just said something like "I'd vote for Obama" and it all went smelly from there.

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Joke

Re: Terrorism just got easier

No, easier than that. New budget terrorist kit:

1 x packet of Post-Its

1 x biro

Instructions for use:

1) Write suspicious comment on Post-It

2) Stick to backs/fronts/sides of random passing people

3)Errr...that's it.

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Happy

Dioxyhydride? Sounds suspicious.

If you'd said "Dihydrogenmonoxide" I might have let you off with a caution, but O<sub>2</sub>H sounds...expolosive.

To gitmo with him!

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Coat

I'm surprised

That you're still allowed to take such a potectially explosive liquid as water onto a plane. Lets face it, if an aeroplane toilet is the equivalent of the sort of chemical lab required to make a liquid explosive, then seperating water into its, highly explosive, components using one shouldn't be too hard.

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Anonymous Coward

UK and IRA

I was a policeman during some of this time and a student in London later and, even later, working in the centre of London. Apart from very special cases, I know for a fact fact that in most of life the IRA, despite their successful acts, were widely ignored in that day to day life went on as normal, despite some annoying delays at major stations as I tried to get home. There were even three IRA bomb explosion in the road where I lived as a student.

I, even as a policeman myself, do not recall seeing armed police evident on streets, stations or airports. Apart from the removal of litter bins and some worry about tartan holdalls (at one time a favoured way of carrying explosives), I recall no fear and no avoidance of Irish people (indeed, some good police colleagues and fellow students were Irish and very much liked as such). I knew people who had been caught up in Birmingham and the Harrods bomb, still no fear and loathing, at least in my circles.

Of course, a big difference was that the USA was supporting the IRA with money and arms, so that was all right then. Wonder why it took the USA so long to discover "terrorism". Perhaps that is the difference.

Even English speakers are adopting Americanisms as fast as possible; that affects the way we think. Is that part of the problem? Funny, mainland Europe seems to have less fear, even though far from immune.

Anonymous for working reasons.

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Anonymous Coward

That Dihydrogen Monoxide is dangerous stuff

A container of 100mls is enough to kill someone, even the flight crew. Highly corrosive; almost anything dissolves in it. Can react explosively with metal given the right encouragement.

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Coat

suspicous

no no I did not make a suspicous comment no no do not drag me away plese noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

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@ xjy...

...all you've forgot is the mandatory bible...

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That comment in full:

"Does anyone here remember Noraid?"

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Black Helicopters

Airport Security?

I recently flew from Manchester to Amsterdam via Gatwick. I had the full security check at Manchester and then, even though I went through flight "transfers" at Gatwick I had to go through the security rigmarole again not once but twice, a seperate x-ray of my shoes after having gone through the x-ray / metal detectors the first time.

Contrast this with my Experience at Amsterdam. I walked into the airport, walked straight to the gate for my flight where I went through a normal x-ray / metal detector. No long queues for everyone in the airport to get through just a simple x-ray machine and a metal detector dedicated to that gate.

I know I didn't feel any less safe at Amsterdam but I did feel a little more relaxed!

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Anonymous Coward

Fearthink

"Funny, mainland Europe seems to have less fear, even though far from immune."

I think you're mistaking something else for actual fear amongst the populace.

I was much more concerned that the IRA might detonate a device in my vicinity than I am that some deluded God-botherer will. The IRA were far more active.

What you're seeing and identifying as "fear" is the Government's attempts to inculcate Fear as our base mental state. It's working to some extent, but as far as I can tell amongst my friends, colleagues and other associates, it's generating more resentment than fear.

Everyone knows that the 100ml restriction on liquids in the passenger cabin of aircraft is utter codswallop and resents having to remove their shoes.

Everyone knows that all the government control measures have nothing to do directly with defeating Terrorism and everything to do with trying to make themselves look good so we'll vote for them next time. This becomes a self-sustaining vicious circle as they have to keep adding to their excesses to maintain the illusion that they a) know what they're doing and b) are acting only in our best interests.

Another thing that feeds the paranoia-generators is the fear of having not been seen to have done "everything possible" to prevent atrocities. Our *leaders* are *terrified* of the terrorists. Look at Spain. The Spanish Government got blamed for the Madrid train bombings and was, to all intents and purposes, overthrown by it. Or that's the way it looks to the terrorists and to the gutless wonders we've got in charge of us.

HMG fears an atrocity, not for the deaths that would occur, but for the public relations backlash.

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Coat

He'd just seen his mate ....

Obviously he had just seen his mate and called across the lounge: "Hi Jack".

I'm off to delete all Johns from my address book.

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Anonymous Coward

Alot of people mentioned the 'Troubles' so..

I thought it worth mentioning that the only time there was any headway made in finding a solution was when they all started thinking pragmatically and sitting down to resolve the underlining issues, which there was even the DUP stopped saying 'Never/No'.

Terrorism just doesn't pop out of thin air after all. The internments, thousands of soldiers and hardline RUC done nothing to curb the problems diplomacy and reconcilary action did.

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Silver badge

Dihydrogen Monoxide is safe

In some countries they even add it to your drinking water.

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what was that motto again?

'Land of the free and the home of the brave'?

Now, land of the free and home of the weenies, or more accurately, land of the self-suppressed and home of the we-jump-when-a-canary-says-boo.

I live in London and was here during the busy IRA time in the 80s. There was a real bomb in the tube station just below my building. We were told to stay away from the plate glass windows, and that was that.

The former stoic courage and plegmatic calm of the British was always admirable. I'm sorry that we now see a rise in the flap-doodle, let's-make-everything-a-drama mentality, presumably shipped over from the States.

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J
Joke

@ Airport Security

"I know I didn't feel any less safe at Amsterdam but I did feel a little more relaxed!"

Hm... Maybe it was something in the air? Airpot security indeed...

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Alert

remark

He probably said: "security sucks"

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Pirate

I was lucky

Coming back from the US once, I was singled out for a brief pat-down, then I was asked what I had in my pocket. I replied "gum" and took out a mangled packet of chuddy to show him. At the time, being a worn out unit of airline cattle, I wondered why he gave me a funny look. On a later connecting flight when I had chance to think about it, I shat myself.

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Thumb Down

@Just remember the Foreign Office advice:

"Don't bother visiting America, go somewhere else instead!"

PS "The Ring of Steel" in London was more commonly known as "The Ring of Tissue Paper" given how easy it was to get through...

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