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He Fought the Law and Law Won

SO this guys plays a tune from The Clash and suddenly he has The Police On His Back.

Playing The Clash made man a terror suspect

A mobile phone salesman was hauled off a plane and questioned for three hours as a terror suspect - because he listened to songs by The Clash and Led Zeppelin.

Harraj Mann, 24, played the punk anthem London Calling and classic rock track Immigrant Song in a taxi before a flight to London.

The lyrics to both tracks made the driver fear his passenger was a terrorist.

The words of the Clash track begin: "London calling to the faraway towns, now war is declared and battle come down." And Led Zep's Immigrant Song goes: "The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands, to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!"

Mr Mann, of Hartlepool, Teesside, had boarded the plane at Durham Tees Valley Airport when the flight to Heathrow was stopped and he was arrested by police.

I guess the guy fit the Right Profile of a terrorist. Obviously the Taxi Driver was a Long Time Jerk who should go Straight To Hell. Just becasue the guy liked to Rock the Casbah doesn't mean they had to turn him into The Prisoner... I mean, it's not like he pulled a Tommy Gun and told the driver it was Armagideon Time. You'd think this poor music fan was one of The Magnificent Seven or a Bankrobber.

This never would have happened back in the 1977 but of course those were Groovy Times. This is why it is important when you are trying to decided if you should Stay or Go that you Know Your Rights so you can tell to police to Cut the Crap or you're likely to spend 48 Hours behind Jail Guitar Doors.


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Comments (19)

So, they'll detain you over... (Below threshold)

So, they'll detain you over tunes but let burglars off with a warning (presumably to be more careful not to get caught).

Good thing Harraj wasn't li... (Below threshold)

Good thing Harraj wasn't listening to the Gap Band.

On the other hand, imagine ... (Below threshold)

On the other hand, imagine the stink if the taxi driver reported "suspicious activity", the police took 2 minutes to riff with the guy on song lyrics and then he did turn out to be a terrorist.

In the air force they teach about "honoring the threat". That even when the threat doesn't look to be very serious, that doesn't mean you blow it off. You have to honor the threat.

On the other hand, this taxi drivers credibility has probably not been enhanced. He is less likely to report what he sees as suspicious and he is less likely to be believed. Such is the nature of trying to protect thousands of vulnerabilities and why the long term solution of transforming the culture pushing the terrorist is so critical to our success.

I can only imagine what wou... (Below threshold)

I can only imagine what would have happened if he'd played "Muskrat Love" and "Seasons in the Sun." <l;shudder>

You mean listening to Clash... (Below threshold)
John:

You mean listening to Clash and Police aren't capital crimes already? Should have been a law to that effect...

Hmmmm.I always tho... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I always thought the very definition of a terrorist is someone who *would* play "Muskrat Love".

On an accordion!

yetanotherjohn, I understan... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

yetanotherjohn, I understand that concept fully - I'm a guard myself. A few weeks back when Bill Quick mentioned an incident where a bomb squad was called out for a bike featuring a rock band sticker that said "this bike is a pipe bomb", I stuck up for the authorities with exactly that argument.

But this incident is just plain stupid. Anyone who calls in a threat due to a freakin' Led Zeppelin song is an idiot, as is an officer who fields that call and then detains the person in question for 3 hours.

Shall we detain and question people for three hours because someone called in saying they have blue socks on? How about eating a ham sandwhich? I think the cab driver has some screws loose to have even reported it in the first place.

Truly; The Only Band That M... (Below threshold)
ClashCityRocker:

Truly; The Only Band That Matters...

I'm sure Joe Strummer is either spinnning in his grave, or laughing his ass off...


Hmmm, I guess Mann's effort... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Hmmm, I guess Mann's effort was just a Train in Vain. Or, rather, an Airplane In Vain. Either way, as we all know, Rudy Can't Fail.

I always thought t... (Below threshold)
I always thought the very definition of a terrorist is someone who *would* play "Muskrat Love".

On an accordion!

Either one by itself would qualify. Both together is a crime against humanity.

A friend of mine once left his accordion on the seat of his car as he ran into a store. When he came out the window had been smashed, and when he got to his car his worst fear was realized. Someone had left another accordion on the seat next to his own.

Tim in PA,We don't h... (Below threshold)

Tim in PA,
We don't have all the facts. If the guy really did nothing more than play those songs, then both the taxi driver and the police need to sit down over a cold beer and contemplate their life. But I have a hard time thinking that that is all there is to it. I remember reading an account of an El AL security guy who stopped a plane bombing. I forget the exact facts, but the sum was that something he couldn't identify was making him think the blonde woman he was dealing with was a threat. The more time spent, the more he thought it. Until they found the bomb in some electronics a friend had given her. Maybe there was something that made both of these guys twitch.

I guess I am conservative enough that I would rather be safe than sorry. Maybe this incident is just the tip of the iceberg, maybe it is the isolated case that stands out. I know that our planes flying into buildings is a sign of a broken system. A guy spending several hours under questioning may make sense or not, I would need more facts to be sure.

But as I said before, if both the taxi driver and the police twitched on this guy and didn't follow through before he did a terrorist act, that would be the real tragedy.

p.s. Some freinds of mine have been debating the definition of terrorism. Trying to find one that fits everyone of us from the left to the right. I'm going to love putting the "muskrat love" on the accordian definition out there.

Anyone that would play "Mus... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Anyone that would play "Muskrat Love" should be executed regardless of terrorist affiliations.

Paul, nice ending to the piece with the Clash songs references.

What are we supposed to do ... (Below threshold)

What are we supposed to do when "It's Time To Get the Led Out?"

First, I give the taxi driv... (Below threshold)

First, I give the taxi driver his due for being able to understand the lyrics. That is pretty impressive in itself.

Second, I do not think he is a jerk at all, much less deserving of eternal damnation for being suspicious of someone I presume is Arabic, listening to disturbing lyrics about waging war. Was he also in Muslim garb? The article doesn't say. In today's context the driver did exactly the right thing. Virtually no one except a Muslim terrorist is likely to take those lyrics literally, but they are alarming in light of recent events. For all the cab driver knew, the guy may have been on his way to wage Jihad. Better safe than sorry. Apparently the authorities agreed.

The man was questioned for three hours and probably had a background search. Boo hoo. Cry me a river.

This is definitely a reason... (Below threshold)

This is definitely a reason to use earplug ear phones. Then you can listen to Muskrat Love on an Accordion from your phone or iPod without fear (except of destroying one of the last two functioning grey cells in your brain).

If you listen to Led Zeppel... (Below threshold)
Tim:

If you listen to Led Zeppelin III backwards, it lays out detailed plans on how to hijack a commercial airliner. Side 2 has a great recipe for dip.

>Second, I do not think he ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Second, I do not think he is a jerk at all, much less deserving of eternal damnation for being suspicious of someone I presume is Arabic

Pssst, Jeff....

You might notice a WHOLE LOT of caps in the middle of my sentences. They were there for a reason buddy.

Google is your friend.

I have nothing to add other... (Below threshold)
Cox:

I have nothing to add other than this:
While your knowledge of Clash songs is truly wonderful; punning the titles can only hurt the reader, and never help.

Yeah Paul, stop hurting the... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Yeah Paul, stop hurting the reader!




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