Dutch girl arrested after posting terrorist threat on Twitter as a joke

Posting threats on Twitter, even as a joke, can have some very serious consequences. That's the lesson that a 14-year old Dutch girl from the Netherlands is learning today after she was arrested and charged with making a threat against American Airlines.

The girl, who used the name "Sarah" on her Twitter account, posted up the following message over the weekend to the official American Airlines feed, according to Business Insider:

Needless to say, American Airlines took "Sarah's" note seriously, even after she quickly posted follow up messages that her first tweet was a joke that was made by a friend of hers.

Today, the Rotterdam Police announced on their own Twitter feed that the 14-year old had been arrested in connection with the American Airlines threat. A spokesperson for the department told Business Insider, "We're not in a state that we can communicate any state of charges at this point. We just thought it was necessary to bring this out mostly because of the fact that it caused a great deal of interest on the Internet."

Source: Business Insider | Image via Twitter

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ShAsadAhmad said,
Sad deductions! So what they* are watching!? One doesn't need to bother about this crap until you have any such destructive/antisocial things up your mind. : \

That was the whole point. The deduction is still correct that online is not as anonymous as people wants to believe.

Auditor said,
The deduction is still correct that online is not as anonymous as people wants to believe.
While I agree with your deduction for other reasons, are you suggesting that her actions would have been ok if she'd found a more anonymous way of carrying them out?

Ok she made the joke and she was arrested, ok that is understandable but now what "investigations" they are doing? Just leave her, the police system is so weak that they are so afraid that they arrest a 14 year old girl and take his words as a threat? Are they that much vulnerable?

I don't see how this is so hard to understand. They have to take all threats seriously and carry out a thorough investigation, or if something happens for real who do you think will get blamed and whose heads will roll?

Yeah! The Netherlands is a terrorist country. We've been training them and have an army of dangerous terrorists!!!!

Every 14 year old making a stupid threat should be taken very serious!

Shadowzz said,
Every 14 year old making a stupid threat should be taken very serious!
Yes it should. I hope you were simply joking, because if you think 14-year olds can't carry out threats you're living in a fantasy world. If you think 14-year olds can't be used by adults to get detestable things done you're unfortunately quite mistaken. Also the tweet was claimed to be posted by one "Ibrahim", and the authorities can't automatically assume it was a 14-year old who wrote it even if it was her account. All threats absolutely have to be taken very seriously indeed. Of course, in this case after it's proved that it was just one stupid girl's silly antics she should be released with appropriate consequences (can even be just a stern warning) so she hopefully never does anything like this ever again.

Edited by Romero, Apr 17 2014, 5:43pm :

Not saying it shouldn't be looked into, but in this case they would quickly find out she is anything but a serious terrorist.

No point in wasting my countries resources so much on these things.
Pick her up for questioning, keeping her locked for a day or so and send her home.

Can understand if this would be taken serious if there would be real threats like this coming from here. But they aren't. There's numerous of 'threats' like this.

Shadowzz said,
Pick her up for questioning, keeping her locked for a day or so and send her home.
I agree with this. About how much in terms of resources was "wasted" in this instance I can't say, but one might easily argue "better to be safe than sorry".

Shadowzz said,
Can understand if this would be taken serious if there would be real threats like this coming from here. But they aren't.
You know, I'm glad there aren't, so far. The problem with the twisted ideology and hatred these groups spread is that they can infect anyone anywhere, especially people on the margins of society (or those who just feel marginalized in their mind). These are realities we all need to deal with in this world of ours and being naive and believing implicitly in the goodness of all men unfortunately just doesn't work any more. Yes, an over the top response would be ridiculous when it's been conclusively proved that there's no real threat, but till that time they have to take all such things seriously. It's just how it is, sad but true.

i think this is happening, because nowadays kids have everything - smartphones, personal computers, laptops, instruments, everything that they can think of, and still they get bored with it really fast

so they start doing really stupid things

when i was 14 i still didnt have my own PC and i would go to internet cafes to play games, where every secound counted, now i get so bored with games, i have to push myself to launch them

and even further back, we were all playing outside, playing football (the one that you actually use your feet to kick the ball, not that one where you smash into each other like animals), we would play trading card games and think of our own games, every day was like a blessing from the gods and no one was ever bored or left out

now 2 year olds' first toy is a tablet

its so sad i dont even know how to describe it, by and large thats why i think this girl turned stupid, just like the rest eventually do

Semi-related info:

In a lot of EU countries small groups of muslim kids are becoming actively involved in the war in Syria. They leave their homes, often at young ages of 17, to travel to Syria and help out their 'muslim brothers' and fight with them.
Leaving their families behind in horror about their fate. Or they come back in the end, traumatized by the experience.

This is also a reason why there's such a strong reaction to things like these nowadays, as the intelligence services fear they might also received training for terrorist attacks. It's something that's not often reported on the Syrian War outside the EU.

Also due to this, threats of any kind are taken very seriously these days in Holland. A while ago there were a couple of girls that placed a bom threat on their school, and they were also quickly apprehended - despite having placed their call from a phone booth in another city.

In these days, 'jokes' likes these are not the smartest thing to do.......

Thousands of Brits (including George Orwell) travelled to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War (1939-1939) too, it didn't mean that were automatically considered terrorists. There was no need to arrest the girl in this instance - a simple visit to her house and a warning not to do it again would have been more than sufficient. By making this so high profile it just encourages copycats, something we've already seen, and makes it more difficult for intelligence services to distinguish the legitimate threats from the childish pranks.

What she did was immature and reckless but this was not a sensible reaction.

Not saying the response was a sensible one. I agree the tweet was a immature one.
But all threats are taken very seriously these days.

And unfortunately the war in Syria has a religious basis, so anyone traveling there to assist in the fighting will be a subject of surveillance once they come back.
That's the world we live in today :-\

An arrest is nice though, but let her go the day after and not make such a global fuss about it might help.

Now they're only giving people that love attention a new platform to get their 15 minutes of fame.

And um, American Airlines.. Um are you stupid, really?

What terrorist would threaten you in English and without even mentioning Jihad, the Qur'an, and Allāh.

You knew it was BS from the moment you firsts saw it.. But ok.. Let's make a big deal of it and ruin a kid's life. Good job!!

*sigh* yes, no joking allowed these days on some topics... sad realities of today's world. I can sure understand it, but somehow I kinda feel we lost something.

Breach said,
I kinda feel we lost something.
I don't recall a time when it was ever ok to suggest you were a member of the world's most hated terrorist organization, and that you were going to do something "big" on a given date. And if at all it was ever fine to do this I for one am glad it no longer is, and that these sorts of "jokes" are frowned upon as they should be.

Read this comment on another blog:
If a 14-year old girl gets arrested over a "joke" tweet then terrorists have won already.

Something to think about... ironic considering the so-called security that was put in place to protect freedom ends up limiting freedom, probably to a greater extent still. Agreed this was a very bad joke, but personally I would not have arrested a kid over this. Maybe a good long talk with her and her parents but that's it.

Yeah, sorry, but this doesn't even come close to classifying as a joke.

If someone walked up to you and said "I'm going to kill you and burn your family" would you (or anyone that isn't a psychopath) think that is funny? No...

If you want to take the day off work and call your office and tell them there is a bomb planted at your desk, would the fire department think that is funny? No...

Bottom line - kid is messed up and needs to be set straight. Getting arrested is a great way to do that. And I hope that the parents see that, and maybe try doing some parenting....

Saying "I'm going to do something big" is entirely different to walking up to someone and threatening to kill them and their family. There was no specific threat here. A threat is defined as "[something] likely to cause damage or danger" - a fourteen year old girl making a vague statement does not meet that threshold.

Certainly such claims need to be investigated and it is reasonable for her to be warned of her actions but arresting her is taking things too far.

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