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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  • Phil W

    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

    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.

  • Chris2

    “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.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    ‘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.

  • N_

    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.

  • November

    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).

  • Michael

    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?

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    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.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    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? : )

  • English Knight

    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 !!

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    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.

  • craig Post author


    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.

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    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?


    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.

  • bert

    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….

  • Suhayl Saadi

    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.

  • Cryptonym

    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.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    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.

  • bert

    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….

  • Suhayl Saadi

    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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