Non-Existent Bigger Than 7/7 Plot

by craig on February 22, 2013 10:22 am in Uncategorized

The BBC has used “Bigger than 7/7″ as the strapline for every alleged Muslim terror plot these past years, and the latest conviction was no exception. This conviction of three men from Birmingham was purely for thought crime. They possessed zero explosives and zero detonators. They had identified zero targets – the prosecution did not even claim they had. The prosecution did not know if they “planned” suicide bombs or times bombs, which is unsurprising as they did not know either, having not developed their fantasies that far yet. They had not made a practice bomb. They did possess some sports fluid which apparently they did believe might be of use in bomb making, but it did not in fact contain what they were said to believe it contained. They possessed none of the ingredients for a bomb.

The state did however have genuine and incontrovertible evidence that they had driven around in a car impersonating the highly distinctive voice of Murray Walker, saying “Now here come the suicide bombers, driving around, taking on England”. There does appear good evidence that they supported the idea of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, and thought about doing it themselves. The evidence that what they were doing in Pakistan was attending terrorist training camps was non-existent – they had obvious reasons why they might be in Pakistan.

Their fantasies and views were unpleasant, perhaps extremely so. But they had not actually done anything practical about it. This is thought crime – expressing sympathies with terrorism can in itself get you life imprisonment.

The comments by the judge about what dangerous, evil terrorists they were, are repeated with relish by the media. The judge said this so it must be true. But his comments are no more blood-curdling than the comments passed by a succession of judges on the tortured and wrongly convicted Birmingham Six. This article by Gareth Peirce is essential reading.

I strongly support the jury system, but there is plenty of evidence that where a recognisable ethnic group is societally identified as “the enemy”, juries are over-ready to convict them – and so, as Gareth Peirce’s article brilliantly illustrates, are the judiciary. The Catholic Irish suffered repeated injustice in the 1970’s. The Muslim community do so now. That is not to deny the existence of actual terrorists. But injustice inspires terrorism, it doesn’t reduce it.

Convicting “terrorists” with no bombs, no parts of bombs, and no targets is shameful.

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63 Comments

  1. Good job they don’t know what I am thinking now.

  2. With acknowledged ignorance on my part – I really can’t stomach Rd 4’s Today programme anymore – but are you saying they shouldn’t be jailed because they were shit at being terrorists? Should we only jail successful ones? I only read the durge in the metro so it may all be bollox, but even so – people get jailed for attempted stuff all the time; threats to kill, attempted murder, supply of drugs etc

  3. On you, Craig. Keep exposing the phony bastards, the sycophantic press and the crooked judges. (There is a T-shirt on sale here in Australia that states: “Why hire a lawyer when you can buy a judge”.) The politicians, compliant press and judges are surely the cause of this slide into zionist-dictated islamophobia, and lucre is most surely involved, as well as blackmail and other threats. But so long as people like you keep shining the spotlight on these slimey bastards surely the cause is not yet lost.

  4. DtP Yes and if they had attempted to kill anyone or threatened to kill anyone they should have been charged and convicted for it. It is not that they were crap terrorists, it is that they were not terrorists. You don’t have to wait for someone to set off abomb, of course not. But you do have to wait until there is an obvious irrevocable intention to do it, indicated by things like actually acquiring some components and having a realistic target.

  5. So will they appeal against their sentence?…I am lost as to what on the mainstream news today is real! Even the horsemeat debate…!…All I can see too is London is forever becoming more polluted in both senses of the word …Tennessee Williams uses that lovely word mendacity ‘ the smell of mendacity’…

  6. Craig, can you outline in some more detail why you ‘strongly support the jury system’? (happy with just a link if you’ve done so elsewhere already).

    Coming from a continental European background, I never quite understood the Anglo-American love for juries. In my country, which is arguably the most direct democratic polity in the world (though also the one which banned minarets…), the last remaining jury trial procedures for murder/rape cases were abolished in 2011 when the Criminal Procedure Code became federal rather than cantonal – and no one objected – not even the party which advocates awarding citizenship by popular vote rather than administrative decision.

    For me, this has always been puzzling: the people – through their elected representatives or in rare cases directly – make laws, the executive implements them and the judiciary judges whether the implementation is according to law, most obviously in public law cases, but also in criminal cases where the government (represented by the CPS / police) wants someone to be convicted, but the courts have the last word.
    So – why bring ‘the people’ (ie. a random subset of them as jury) into this last process?

  7. According to some reports these men were chemistry graduates. If that’s true the state of science education in UK is far worse than we thought. Most people who did science in the 1950s or 60s would try a bit of bomb making using either gunpowder from fireworks or weed killer, or more ambitions nitrogen iodide or metal carbides. People could buy carbide over the counter. Another feature of our idyllic rural life was the use of detonator caps on the railways. We did not know what they were there for, but some kids tried to set them off with stones or tree branches or whatever.
    When I lived in Northern Ireland in the 1990s I heard of several people who had grown out of their bomb making days in their early teens, having frightened themselves to death with narrow escapes from serious accidents.
    Even today there are places in the UK where people can collect spent ordnance from (former) police and military firing ranges which are completely unguarded when not in use.

    There is also the question about implied guilt from downloading jihadi videos. Since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict and the propaganda war waged by both the regime and its opposition, videos showing tanks & helicopters being trashed (& much worse) along with shouts of ‘Allah Akbar’ are common on the computers of _anyone_ who is concerned with world affairs. The conventional bourgeois media and their paid for talking heads who are often astonishingly ignorant simply cannot fit a coherant narrative to
    the momentous events taking place in the Middle East. One of the reasons is that our ‘Great Leaders’ have willingly condoned torture and police states whenever it suits them to exploit the countries concerned for economic or strategic reasons.

  8. Sorry meant also to say about London because it’s where ‘news’ is made….though the trio hauled before the courtroom TV audience’s eyes of course are Birmingham based..!…

  9. I understand that they recorded suicide bomber videos; is this not evidence of irrevocable intent?

  10. Craig, I don’t understand your reasoning.

    We have had for a very long time a number of ‘pre-cursor’ offences on the books that make it unlawful to take steps towards committing an actual offence. Conspiracy, possession of materials  or weaponry and other overt acts that are judged an ‘attempt’ are common pre-cursors that get people into trouble.

    I am unsure of the evidence against these men who have been convicted but I did quickly read an article by our all-time favourite online news website, The Guardian, and it spoke of plotting.

    As you would know, plotting is conspiracy which is not a thought crime but conciously talking with others with the outcome of agreeing to commit an offence whatever the possibility of its success.

    These guys were accused of talking to each other about committing serious offences.

    I can accept that the media response might be disgracefully excessive, but I cannot understand how you believe that these men did not commit a serious offence, if the reports are basically true.

  11. My friend the other day was pointing out one of the bridges on which the heads of traitors in years gone by, were placed on spikes…kind of gruesome reminder of the history of England…so anyone entering the city…was mindful of their behaviour…there now stands one monumental ‘spike’, that I thought must be a war memorial..(not)…London Bridge..he also pointed out…that every bridge or entrance to the town of London is guarded by an image of a fierce dragon…which I found interesting..however..little seems to have changed in history…though we’re a little less gruesome I guess…public humiliation seems the way now…but hopefully the flame of justice will prevail…digging out the dirt..is difficult..but I think no one could really sleep peacefully if they had robbed someone of freedom unjustly…

  12. I can answer my own question: it is not evidence of irrevocable intent to commit a specific act, only a deed of villany in general. But I wonder whether the jury system can be bettered in the UK.

  13. Maguire 7 all over again.

  14. @Abe – there was a quite remarkable turn of events in the case of Vicky Price the other day where the jury was so utterly gormless and stupid that they asked the judge if it would be alright to ‘base their judgement on absolutely no evidence’ at which point the judge kicked them all out for being complete wankers. So, yeah, the jury system has its problems.

  15. Jemand,

    If they had scouted out Portcullis House, agreed to blow it up, and started buying the equipment to do it, that is a conspiracy and should justifiably be prosecutable as “Conspiracy to…”

    But to fantasise about it, say “hey, let’s all be suicide bombers”, and make videos (a video never killed anyone), but not make bombs or have a target, is fantasising that has not reached conspiracy. The conspiracy has to be to commit an actual ACT – there wasn’t one in view. I doubt they would ever have got there. They were under surveillance and control, and could have been stopped had they crossed the line. I doubt they would have crossed it, but now we’ll never know.

    The point is, that terrorism is born of extreme desire for revenge for perceived injustice. There are a thousand revenge fantasists to every actual terrorist. Now we are starting to lock up the revenge fantasists for life.

  16. This is the British version of the FBI sting operation. It used to be called “entrapment” and such prosecutions would fail, but no longer.

    NYPD and other police agencies are at it too.

    All totally corrupt, and to no useful purpose other than pretending that the agency is useful in protecting you from something bad that might happen were the agency not around to protect you from it. It used to be called a protection racket. Remember how that worked.

    “Here’s how it works: Informants report to their handlers on people who have, say, made statements sympathizing with terrorists. Those names are then cross-referenced with existing intelligence data, such as immigration and criminal records. FBI agents may then assign an undercover operative to approach the target by posing as a radical. Sometimes the operative will propose a plot, provide explosives, even lead the target in a fake oath to Al Qaeda. Once enough incriminating information has been gathered, there’s an arrest—and a press conference announcing another foiled plot.

    If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because such sting operations are a fixture in the headlines. Remember the Washington Metro bombing plot? The New York subway plot? The guys who planned to blow up the Sears Tower? The teenager seeking to bomb a Portland Christmas tree lighting? Each of those plots, and dozens more across the nation, was led by an FBI asset.”

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/fbi-terrorist-informants

  17. Gareth Peirce is a great human rights lawyer. Praise to The Guardian for publishing such a controversial, though accurate, view which everyone should read before jumping to the conclusion of BBC partiality to the establishment, of which judiciary and government are inseparable. All credit too to the New Statesman for publishing this article about Gareth Pierce’s client Talha Ahsan.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/02/impossible-injustice-talha-ahsan%E2%80%99s-extradition-and-detention

  18. I only saw some of the BBC ‘news’ output yesterday. Endless repeats of interviews with senior W Mercia policemen and June Kelly’s reports. It was pure demonisation of Pakistani Muslim men with beards in white robes. The propaganda was so obvious it was laughable but not for those convicted.

    Sentencing of the three plus two other men still to be tried will be carried out in March or April.

    The BBC yesterday –

    21 February 2013 Last updated at 15:47

    Birmingham men guilty of mass bomb plot
    The BBC’s June Kelly reports on how the plot unfolded

    The joker who wanted to be a bomber
    Trio ‘were real deal’ Watch
    Bomb plotters in their own words

    Three would-be suicide bombers who plotted to carry out an attack to rival the 7 July and 9/11 atrocities have been found guilty of terrorism charges.

    Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, from Birmingham, were found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court of being “central figures” in the plan.

    Jurors were told they planned to set off up to eight bombs in rucksacks
    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21534048

    and today

    22 February 2013 Last updated at 10:25

    Birmingham terrorism threat ‘remains high’, police say
    The convicted men lived in the Sparkhill and and Sparkbrook areas of Birmingham

    Three guilty of suicide bomb plot
    The joker who wanted to be a bomber
    Trio ‘were real deal’ Watch

    There is a “high” threat of terrorists working in Birmingham, a senior police officer in the city has said.

    Three would-be suicide bombers from the city who plotted to carry out a terror attack to rival 9/11 were found guilty of terrorism charges on Thursday.

    Muslim community leaders in Birmingham want to meet West Midlands Police to discuss how to stop extremism.

    Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale urged anyone who knew of people being “radicalised” to come forward.
    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-21545773

  19. The concept of impartial justice is a beautiful one – among the best that have been produced by the mind of man – but you won’t find it fully implemented very often.

    Little has changed where it really matters (in the limbic system) since our ancestors were a bunch of apes bound together by respect for their leader and hatred of “the others” (the apes who lived across the river, or in the other forest).

  20. Michael

    To prefer judges to juries, you have to believe that judges and governments are separate, and that both are not corrupt.

  21. When I read about such cases I immediately ask how many PII hearings were there. PII hearings are a device very often used to conceal the presence of an agent provocateur or participating informant.

    With regard to juries it is absolutely crucial to keep them as it’s more difficult to corrupt a jury than a judge. The state has certain judges that are used in cases which have the potential to reveal information sensitive to the government, information that shows high levels of corruption within the government and its agencies particularly the intelligence services.

  22. One of worst cases involving corruption is the Lockerbie trial. No jury thers

  23. Agreed Craig, the physical evidence was a joke. Looking at the accused, they appear to be near-do-wells and strikingly are even described as “fantasists”.
    I do not expect it was that hard to provocateur them.
    Just provide an agent of the right skin colour talking the jihadi talk and wearing a wire. They probably hung themselves in matter of minutes.
    Remember, the depth of depravity that MI5 has been show to descend to:

    Ken Livingstone reveals, Kincora boys home child abuse that MI5 filmed for blackmail purposes:

    https://soundcloud.com/gypsumfantastic23/ken-mi5

  24. In the course of their trial were they ever asked why?

    It’s never allowed to be printed or broadcast, their justification, in western media.

    But surely in the course of a trial and investigation. It has to have been questioned at some point.

  25. O/T The Guardian and Observer staff are going on strike this afternoon.

  26. At least in the days of the IRA bombing campaign the terror threat was genuine and we didn’t need convincing of it. Hence the authorities told us to remain calm and go about our business in as normal a fashion as possible. The current terror threat, by contrast, strikes me as largely synthetic. Hyped up to scare us all and justify the resource wars we are engaged in. Now instead of telling us to keep calm they tell us over and over ad infininitum how terrible the threat is. Remember the tanks at Heathrow? Can you imagine them pulling a stunt like that against IRA bombers?

  27. Lee Kwan-Yew, the dictator of the Tory paradise Singapore (anyone who wishes to query that description should begin by checking out the hanging and flogging), has boasted that although his legal and judicial systems are very English, he had to get rid of jury trials because juries kept acquitting people whom he wanted to get hanged. He describes how he was especially displeased with the idea that the supposed randomness of jury selection might lead to pregnant women serving on juries, whom he thought would be predisposed not to want to play a role in killing someone.

    @Michael – you’re appraising a regime in terms of what it says about itself, which it’s always a mistake to do, and which in this case is based on 200 years of bourgeois ideology (not much more): all the crap about the separation between legislature and executive, and the ‘independence’ of the judiciary. In both cases, these ideas are lies. Both the legislature and the judiciary are part of the executive, which is controlled by big business interests.

  28. @Craig: To prefer judges to juries, you have to believe that judges and governments are separate, and that both are not corrupt.

    I’m wondering whether an inquisitorial system with a panel of three judges might be better than either a judge alone or a jury.

    But no system is better than the people who make it up. That is why I am not sure that we can do better than the jury system as it is. People can appeal against an unjust verdict.

  29. @Abe – I support jury trial too; in fact, I would support defendants being able to opt for jury trial, with no increase in the maximum possible custodial sentence or fine, in all criminal cases.

    You say people can appeal against unjust verdicts. Be aware that people can’t appeal on the grounds that the jury got it wrong.

    They can only appeal on the grounds that

    a) there is new evidence, or old evidence that the prosecution or police had but kept quiet about, or

    b) the judge got something wrong, e.g. one or more rulings (e.g. disallowing evidence he shouldn’t have) or misdirection of the jury (e.g. saying that if the jury decides that X is a fact then they must also decide that Y is, when that is not so).

    Judges often try to influence juries by communicating their own view of the facts, and then try to hide this by making sure that they say the facts are only, wholly, and completely a matter for the members of the jury themselves, wink wink. Court documents don’t record inflections of voice etc., that can play a significant role.

  30. Keith Crosby

    22 Feb, 2013 - 1:57 pm

    @ Abe Rene: No system is proof against bad faith. This case stinks of the entrapment of fools by frauds, because fraudulence is the essence of minority rule. Juries are better than the alternative, because they are not as predictable as state employees with their snouts in the trough, which is why so much nobbling goes on. Ask Craig what happened to his glittering career when he did his job without fear or favour.

    The only remedy for tyranny, is the abolition of the structures that allow it to thrive. Abolish the state and we abolish fascism’s unfair advantage.

  31. In times like these we need to strengthen the jury system not scrap it. Juries are not perfect, but they are an important bulwark against totalitarianism. It is worrying to have articles like this one by Simon Jenkins appearing

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/21/juries-time-ducking-stool

    When Craig says “To prefer judges to juries, you have to believe that judges and governments are separate, and that both are not corrupt.” he is quite correct, but judges dont actually need to be corrupt to favour a government agenda.

    In the UK we have a good system of randomly calling up jurors and allocating them to trials, but I’m not sure we have the right of the defence to challenge jurors that the US has.

  32. O/T After a two hour summing up Pistorius has been granted bail.

  33. “In the UK we have a good system of randomly calling up jurors and allocating them to trials, but I’m not sure we have the right of the defence to challenge jurors that the US has…”

    The problem is not the defence’s limited right to challenge but the prosecution’s wide discretion in jury selection. Here in Ontario the Appeals court recently ruled that police checks, by the prosecution, on jury lists are acceptable.

    Juries are not always right, in fact they are, often enough crass conformists intimidated by the Establishment. But sometimes they are right and thwart authoritarian governments. The case of William Hone (God rest his soul) is famous: not only did a jury acquit him but, in doing so appear to have shocked the judge- the corrupt and vile Lord Ellenborough-so much that he was a shadow of his appalling self for the few months of his life that were left to him.

    This story is a reminder of why the Establishment is so keen to have secret trials at which the Emperor’s nudity, and ugliness, are ‘redacted.’

    For years the right has warned of the breakdown of law and order, now we know why they were so certain that it was going to happen: they were determined that it should.

  34. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Feb, 2013 - 3:33 pm

    ‘but there is plenty of evidence that where a recognisable ethnic group is societally identified as “the enemy”, juries are over-ready to convict them’

    Unfortunately this is very true. Again this is as indication of biased human nature. Human have feelings which means that they are sympathetic to some or something more than to others. Alternative would be to allow machines to decide on the verdict, but this would mean that millions of high paid criminal lawyers around the world will be jobless.

  35. Just to get the facts right here…

    In England and Wales the defendant’s right to ‘peremptory challenge’ of up to 3 jurors was abolished in 1998.

    Before then, a defendant had the right to object when a given person was about to be sworn in as a juror, without giving a reason, and if they exercised this right, the person would then not be allowed to serve on the jury.

    I believe this right had existed in England since before Magna Carta (1215)

    In Scotland the right was abolished in 1995, and in Northern Ireland in 2007.

    Note that for many less major criminal offences, a defendant does not have the right to trial by jury. They should have, but don’t.

  36. It is not just the sand**ggers whom are in danger of getting banged up for trumped up silly charges.

    Here is the case of a “white man” for evidently leaving a message on a face-book page, that has resulted in his arrest and being held in custody with his bail getting refused time and again.

    The fact is our liberties have been eroded to the extent that now we all are criminals without even knowing the nature of our crimes and misdemeanour’s.

    After all fifteen thousand laws on statute (thanks to Anthony Linton Blair and his lot) leave little room for error, and given the push for private prisons, soon we all can look forward to communicating through tapping Morse on the toilet plumbing folks.

    The stupidity of the charges brought against Reese Elliot of South Shields are beyond comprehension, and only show the over reaction of a fascist system that runs rampant spreading fear and through that fear and intimidation propagates conformity, and ensures the acquiescence of the would be trouble makers (that is you and I).

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/communities/south-shields/2013/02/14/south-shields-man-refused-bail-again-72703-32811758/

    http://tyneandwear.sky.com/news/article/55928/tyneside-man-remanded-in-custody-after-alleged-threats-to-kill

  37. quick point on juries:

    juries can be bribed/threatened too by a government – indeed as they have less power and influence, and probably less wealth, than an average judge, they are arguably easier to bribe than a panel of say three judges.

    More importantly, juries also display e.g. racial prejudices. Look at majority/all-white juries judging black or Muslim defendants in the US for example. Alas, quite a lot of people who make time for jury duties and don’t evade it somehow are also regular Daily Mail commenters and probably don’t care much for human rights.

    I always used to think that democracy (in its literal sense of ‘the people deciding’) is a good bulwark against authoritarianism and human rights abuses. However, in my country (Switzerland), some of the most egregious human rights abuses have been introduced by popular initiative and popular vote *against the will of government and the majority of parliament* (yes, this can happen here). So please excuse me if I don’t have that much faith in the jury system / ‘trial by your peers’. Sometimes, peers can be nastier than the establishment.

    If the people of the UK/US were to vote in a referendum on a question like ‘Should torture be allowed against Al-Quaeda members suspected to plan a terrorist attack’, any bets on what the majority would vote for?

  38. Craig, thanks for your explanation. I’m not familiar with the case, just the reports of conviction I saw on the news and read a bit about online. I am sceptical by nature but this disparity in reporting seemed puzzling. I’ll be reading more about it and would appreciate some good links from those here who have been following the case.

  39. Hit the nail right on the head here, Craig, as you do so often. Where is Martin Niemoller when we need him?

  40. “My brothers, I am sharing in your pain…”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9cTDKQ7DFpA

  41. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    22 Feb, 2013 - 10:58 pm

    On the issue of Juries; There are plenty of protocols for preventing jury-tampering. Voir dire by both prosecution and defense is kinda like throwing out the highest and lowest grade for classroom study, making the overall mark recorded, more representative of the student’s merit in the course.

    They can root our prejudice and pre-conceived attitudes of the jurors. It’s not perfect. But it’s the best we have. Sure beats the hell out of Imperious Rex within the judiciary.

    Personally I would prefer a Solomonic and Benevolent Dictator, but who is going to choose me? : )

  42. O/T – News of Britain’s AAA credit rating downgrade has just reached Paris.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200781585561739&set=o.177222022344935&type=1&relevant_count=1&ref=nf

    (click, )

  43. Good post again Craig.

    Spot on.

  44. English Knight

    23 Feb, 2013 - 6:32 am

    This is another manifestation of the “Bloombergs” NYPD muzzy surveillance tactic (no arrests in 10 YEARS) inducing mass anti-muzzy hysteria, resulting in us goyim looking the other way from 911. Or as here,the Cadbury factory and jobs being sent to Poland, and so forth! Like the FoI match in the Commons, Agent Cameron v Agent Milliband refereed by Agent Speaker Bercow, with Leveson to arbitrate if any dispute arises ! So us goys are kept busy complaining about the “vast” power held by terrorist mehmet the Turkish kebabist, to close his shop early on pub nights, and have us all starve in the cold of winter !!

  45. Now, I am obviously not a lawyer, nor should I have to be to have a friendly discussion on the legal minutiae of this case and of jurisprudence in general. So let the guard dogs just chill first before giving chase. I’m also not doing a Rudling on Craig. If anybody can faithfully represent Craigs view, to save him from commenting himself, that’s fine by me. Whatever.

    I’ve been reading a bit about this case and cannot find a nice article or blog post that gives me a concise primer. No wikipedia page yet. So I have to wade through a lot of shit reporting to get any idea about what actually, or allegedly, transpired. Many of the allegations either paraphrase or selectively quote fragments of statements by those convicted (The Three Lions). We’ve seen this dubious kind of reporting before and often end up depending on volunteer researchers and analysts, like Arbed, to collect the salient facts into a comprehensible narrative that we can digest many months after the event.

    The overall impression I get from MSM reports is that there was a lot of circumstantial evidence that the authorities allege forms the basis of a charge of conspiracy. I’ve looked hard for the judgement, including court websites, to no avail, to inform myself of the formal legal particulars including what charges were brought and successfully prosecuted.

    Anyway, Craig appears to be presenting the case that the conspiracy was so nebulous that it shouldn’t even qualify as a conspiracy. That it failed to have sufficient detail to manifest as a coherent plan to knowingly commit a serious offence. That might be true but I can’t find anything yet that supports that case. Can someone throw me a link?

    But a discussion about conspiracy is fascinating in itself regardless of the particulars of this case and Craig’s reference to thought crimes should not be read past as a glib exaggeration. The law and policing has increasingly attempted to prevent actual crimes from occurring by looking for and penalising precursor manifestions of crimes that will surely happen if they are not stopped.

    Of course the problem is that nobody knows what will surely happen so we have to be a little reasonable about how to achieve this, once we know what ‘reasonable’ means.

    What many people do not know is that research into neuroimaging is so advanced now that its use in identifying thought processes is on the verge of realising the once sci-fi concept of mind reading. Not quite like reading a book or series of dreamy images. But rather as incontrovertible patterns clearly measured in response to carefully developed stimulae and questions. A bit like a lie detector but far more reliable, comprehensive and potentially FORENSIC. Put simply, if the technology continues to be developed to produce a powerful tool more reliable than fingerprinting, we might eventually see people convicted, literally, of thought crimes.

    Until then, we’re stuck with conspiracy laws that require people to open their mouths, or otherwise communicate messages, that unambiguously describe their converging criminal intentions. I think there is some disagreement here about the nature of conspiracy and want to offer the following fictitious scenario that I believe represents Craig’s argument in a simplified form.

    A man and his friend sit around talking. He says to his friend, “Hey, we should go out and find a girl and rape her”. The conversation is overheard by a third person who records it.

    Despite the absence of specific details – who (victim), where, when and how – there is clearly an incitement to commit an indictable offence, which is in itself an offence, and if the statement was followed by a clear agreement that such a deed would proceed, still absent of the above details, it would then be a conspiracy. Am I wrong? That would leave the third person in a very awkward position of not knowing what to do about what could be an imminent or distant crime in development but unprosecutable.

  46. Jemand

    So if I were to have this conversation:

    “Hey Jemand, let’s rob a bank”
    “Great idea Craig. Which Bank?”
    “Err dunno. But a bloody big one”
    “Yeah, and we could have a great getaway car, like a Ferrari”
    Impersonates Murray Walker: “Here come the great bank robbers in their brilliant super getaway car”.

    You believe that consitutes a criminal conspiracy?

    Jemand, I did not object to your comment about the typos on another thread, and I am sorry that you feel other commenters (or commentators, I care not) are attacking you. But you do recently seem to fall into the category of people apparently determined to argue with whatever it is I say. I guess that is what upsets people. Sometimes it is good, just from time to time, to find points of agreement as well as dispute buried in what others say, just to keep human relationships going.

    Just a thought.

    There are problems with your rape simile. The first is that by introducing rape as the proposed crime you seek the support of those who claim that particular crime should have a lower bar of proof than others, and itnroduce a powerful emotive element. The second is that if two people were overheard agreeing to rape without specifying any victim, and had actually done nothing about it, it would be very hard to prove they were not indulging in an extremely tasteless joke, or rehearsing a theatrical performance, or the other reasons they might give to explain the conversation – if the conversation was the only event which had in fact occurred. The third problem with the comparison is that bomb-making needs obvious equipment and preparation. If three people were proven to have discussed blowing something up, and then made the preparations, that wouldbe a conspiracy. But just talking about something is usually mere fantasy.

    I say again, if everyone who had fantasised about committing a crime were locked up, there would be tens of millions in jail in this country.

  47. Craig, thank you for your reply. I’m going to respond in point form, not to be curt but to keep each part separate.

    1. Re typos – Mary provided the first humourless reply that was barely even worth her effort. Villager weighed in with his usual abuse, normally directed at others. Fred supplied the final one suggesting I “get a life”. That sounds like an attack to me. So as you can see, I don’t “feel” I was attacked, I know it. And I reserve the right of defence. But I acknowledge that you’re the boss.

    2. I have not lately given to arguing with you Craig. I rarely criticise your positions because I mostly agree with you. I often read your posts and the commentary that follows without commenting myself because I have nothing to contribute. You might feel like I’ve turned to challenging you because I am generally a staunch defender, and that will not change unless I later read that you drown kittens as a hobby. The fact is I’m a supporter and independent thinker, not a fawning fanboy like a couple of others. You wouldn’t expect any of us to not occasionally disagree with you?

    3. The dialogue in your fictitious bank robbery does constitute a conspiracy, but one fit for a comedy only. I haven’t found a good source yet that gives me an objective account of the material evidence that demonstrates the comical scene that you depict. Was it really that silly or were you exaggerating?

    4. I did not choose the rape simile for emotive effect. It’s the first non-terrorist, violent crime that popped into my head, perhaps because it is so topical. A bank robbery will do almost as good but I wanted to choose a violent crime where people are targetted rather than property. Murder would have been the best example. In any case, you imply that people are so emotional here that they cannot see the elements of criminality beyond their personal outrage. I am not interested in arguing with those types – we’ve seen plenty here and elsewhere.

    5. Conspiracy does not require (as far as I understand it) any physical development of the plot as the crime hinges exclusively on an agreement to commit an indictable offence. Of course, physical evidence supports the case of conspiracy and sometimes other offences that represent precursors, such as possession of bomb making materials. I agree that conspiracy is hard to prosecute because it often depends on evidence that is hard to discover. Of course, these guys were under surveillance so maybe it was just a matter of time before someone said something stupid – I guess that’s what you’re asserting here. I am happy to be corrected on this by a lawyer or a legal article. Can Courtney provide us with an opinion?

    And I agree with the general thrust of your post that the authorities are extending their arms pretty damn far into our heads to obtain a strategic advantage in detecting and preventing crimes and behaviour they want to be crimes.

    PS – Whatever happened to the gaols in the UK?

  48. I forgot to include the following link in my last post. It’s a good read. Might even be worth bookmarking.

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/conspiracy

  49. Jemand

    No worries, as our antipodean friends say

  50. Now, yes, thats an agreeable sense of humour.

    And, of course there’s a time and place for everything.

  51. Blimey anybody would think you have no faith in Chilcott hustling Tony Bliar to the Bailey for all his deceptive utter filth and lies and murderous politiking re IRAK. Well his is married to a CHERRY PIE after all. ‘Course GARETH PIERCE is bound to have a GIGANTIC hump she’s been at it so long she’s set in her ultra inspiring ways.

  52. Abe Rene said:

    22 Feb, 2013 – 11:25 am

    I understand that they recorded suicide bomber videos; is this not evidence of irrevocable intent?

    No, the ‘Airline Bomb Plot’ of August 2006 featured so called ‘martyrdom videos‘. The videos did not, though, persuade the jury to convict any of these men (see here)for conspiracy to murder. The ‘Airline Bomb Plotters were tried 3 times and a second jury did not believe that the videos constituted sufficient evidence to convict (these men).

    Martyrdom videos‘ are powerful evidence, however a number cases (including the August 2006 case) reported off-camera prompts from others who could easily be an agent provocateur geeing up the (not too bright) patsies….

  53. It’s all very different if you’re a white nazi: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/jul/31/ukcrime.thefarright

  54. Terror alert! Army in conspiracy against Parliament!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037449/quotes

    Pvt. Ted Brewer: Only one good man ever got into Parliament.
    Pvt. Herbert Davenport: Oh really? Who?
    Pvt. Ted Brewer: Bleedin’ Guy Fawkes

  55. Yes, it’s dreadful, the manner in which the entire justice system in teh UK has been eroded by what are political imperatives. Gareth Pierce’s essays over recent years have been collected in an excellent slim volume – well worth a read, and in lots of libraries: ‘Dispatches from the Dark Side’. She makes the point that whereas the Irish, during the recent ‘Troubles’ subjected to similar patterns of injustice over a prolonged period, had the powerful Irish-Amercian lobby, no such lobby in the USA exists wrt the current grouping of relevance. The case of Talha Ahsan is shocking.

    I reiterate that I speak as someone who has absolutely no illusions about the reality of Islamism in Pakistan (and Saudi Arabia/Gulf States, etc.) and the need for the people in that country to dismantle the military-security-feudal and legal structures that underpin, generate and make immense profits from it. It is very big business and the UK military-security is in cahoots with it on a tactical basis – witness, Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s, Libya and Syria now and of course Afghanistan in the 1980s-90s.

    Similarly, we, here in the UK, must address the politicisation of our legal procss, the junking of hard-won freedoms in pursuit of similar motives – profit, military-security hegemony, perpetual war, control of dissent of all kinds through the invocation of fifth columnism. In fact, the real fifth column – that which consistently acts against the interest of the people of Britain – resides inside, and defines, the power and wealth apparatus of the UK.

    http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/11/05/gareth-peirce-discusses-her-new-book-dispatches-from-the-dark-side-on-torture-and-the-death-of-justice/

  56. Interesting read Suhayl. I still find the whole PFLP-GC thing to be a bit incredible, while accepting the universal considered view that the Libyans were framed and innocent. But the whole ‘it was the PFLP-GC wot dun it, Case Closed!’ is all just a bit too superficial itself. Who really ran the PFLP-GC? The idea of such a group, hiring itself out to whoever, terror plots to order, is a bit preposterous. Then the groups involvement in drug mule operations out of Lebanon into Europe and from there to the US, really leads to the conclusion that the PFPL-GC was Palestinian only in the loosest possible sense, with some shopfront Palestinian names and cover on the exterior but really was a CIA-Mossad run and controlled operation. Our bungling chumps, caught with radio-cassette based bombs and explosives in Germany, and astonishingly just being allowed to walk away, then Lockerbie with the same devices, likeley not a simple timer, but with identical barometric triggering etc. too, follows, could only have been manufacturing the evidence trail, left for any half-competent investigation to ‘uncover’. By conspicuously having inexplicable clout from on high in W. Germany -protection even, which does tend to discredit their credibility or authenticity, the group had reached the end of their usefulness. Having gone to all that trouble building this phamtom terror group bogeyman, a prototypical Al-Quaeda, why didn’t Israel particularly, kick up a rumpus when these hand-picked Palestinian patsies evaded the full vigour of a kangaroo court and media demonisation of them and the Palestinian cause.

    Has anyone delved the PFLP-GC, or indeed PFLP if there is such a body of lowly foot-soldiers and found anything other than wayward Western and Israeli security agencies running the shop.

  57. I was a bit confused about how the police reconciled saying that these men were “fantasists” who “would have made rubbish terrorists” with their simultaneous claim that if their plot had been carried out it would have killed more people than the 7/7 bombings. It could be one or the other, but surely not both at the same time? (assuming no doublethink is involved)

    On trial by jury i support it because the jurors are chosen randomly so you’re more likely to get people looking at the case from a variety of perspectives. If you only have a judge deciding guilt or innocence you are likely to get only one perspective and usually a very conservative and establishment one, combined with a tendency to respond to pressure from tabloid newspapers (certainly still get that in sentencing here)

    Occasionally you’ll end up with a jury of idiots (or people who just want to get out of jury duty) who don’t have a clue, but usually you end up with all the evidence looked at and from a range of perspectives with different jury members hopefully balancing each others’ bias.

  58. Duncan,
    .
    Very often in ‘terror’ trials, the finally selected jurors are whittled down through the processes of ‘voir dire‘ (‘one of the unspoken purposes of the voir dire is for the attorneys to get a feel for the personalities and likely views of the people on the jury panel’.

    In fact, at the commencement of the trial of Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil (alleged ‘7/7 Helpers’) of April 2008, 150 potential jurors that they would be asked to complete a 16-point questionnaire to help him select a 12-member jury for the trial at Kingston Crown Court.
    .
    So it ain’t as random as one would think….

  59. Yes, thanks, Cryptonym. It seems likely that the CIA was up to some very dodgy activities in/via Germany which they really didn’t want exposed. Of course, the fact that they may have engaged in a cover-up and framing of the two Libyans doesn’t mean they did the Lockerbie bombing. But if one looks at, say, the UK state’s tactics wrt The Troubles in Northern Ireland and the CIA’s own track record, really one cannot put anything beyond investigation.

    I was out on those hills, the morning after Lockerbie. The town was certainly filled with Americans in wellies – some clearly USAF from European US bases, some I don’t know who they were. Of course, no-one goes around with ‘I am CIA’ emblazoned across their chests. I assumed many were flight investigators. There were lots of squaddies – possibly cadets, it looked like, they looked very young – from the British Army bringing relatively small varnished wooden containers filled with human remains into the curling rink. It was like a scene from Hieronymous Bosch.

    I don’t remember there being any Americans among ‘my’ small group. We were the furthest out from the town of all the groups that contained medical personnel. If there had been, I think I would’ve remembered. There was a local amateur radio ham-type, part of some amateur network – in those days, mobile ‘phones were enormous and specalised – a uniformed police constable from the Dumfries and Galloway force, me (in a silly, useless and ill-fitting ‘Major Event’ suit complete with white Wellingtons and a hard hat that I had to hold onto my head to keep it from falling off!) and a young, local man who knew the hills and fields. I was there solely to pronounce death, had we located any bodies. We did not locate any bodies, just quite a lot of baggage, sinks, parts of chairs and – this image remains in my mind – a child’s single shoe.

    I think about those who died in that ‘plane and in the town and I think about the Iranian children and their parents who died in the ‘plane shot down by the sadistic gung-ho US Navy earlier that year. And I curse those – whoever they were – who committed those acts – may they burn in Hell.

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  61. Suhayl Saadi

    Very much appreciate your eye-witness personal account of the aftermath of this tragedy.

  62. Thanks, Jemand.

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