Non-Existent Bigger Than 7/7 Plot 63

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 thoughts on “Non-Existent Bigger Than 7/7 Plot

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  • DtP

    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

  • Gideon

    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.

  • craig Post author

    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.

  • Katherine Da Silva

    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’…

  • Michael

    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?

  • antony goddard

    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.

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    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.

  • Katherine Da Silva

    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 difficult..but I think no one could really sleep peacefully if they had robbed someone of freedom unjustly…

  • Abe Rene

    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.

  • DtP

    @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.

  • craig Post author


    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.

  • Herbie

    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.”

  • John Goss

    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.

  • Mary

    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

    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.

  • Tom Welsh

    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).

  • Ruth

    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.

  • Jay

    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:

  • Michael

    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.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    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?

  • N_

    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.

  • Abe Rene

    @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.

  • N_

    @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.

  • Keith Crosby

    @ 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.

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