back to article The War on Terror's professional witness

The recent conviction of Mohammed Atif Siddique on terror charges highlighted the role of globetrotting professional witness Evan Kohlmann. Defenders in the US and UK have come to recognize him as a figure brought in to furnish opinions which are only of use to prosecutions in the frightening of juries. Kohlmann was also tapped …

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Anonymous Coward

How many fingers are there Winston ?

What do u want me to say ?....

1984

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Witless for the prosecution

yes, the subject is spelled correctly.

this is from the "intent is equivalent to action" school of thought crime. the argument is the same for those who obtain a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook, the Qu'ran, or The Little Red Book of Mao (ask for that last one from a US library, and you may receive a visit from Homeland Security, absolutely free! see here > http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/12/17/213003.shtml).

it is deeply ironic that most of the defendants in these show trials are so incompetent and naive, they are more of a danger to themselves than to anyone else. If Osama thought such people could be associated with his organization (the man is a master of media manipulation), he would probably have them killed just to protect his reputation.

it is even more ironic that these fools are convicted by "a jury of their peers". that jury would have to be just as ignorant as the defendant, so some twit with an agenda can show up and yell "Boo!", and thereby obtain a guilty verdict.

truly, if a man of such dubious qualifications can be considered an expert witness (or an "expert" anything, other than a demagogue), the Western systems of jurisprudence are fundamentally broken. these "thought crime" verdicts are more characteristic of tin-pot dictatorships and established totalitarian regimes (China/Falun Gong, Robert Mugabe/everybody, Kim Jong Il/everybody, etc.), which makes the practice even more absurd here (or maybe not, with Dubya at the helm).

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Anonymous Coward

Good job if you can have it

Quoting one of the Emil Kosturica's films: "What cannot be bought with money can be bought with a lot of money".

Next time the expert wannabie testifies he should be cross-examined by a couple of trained experts to ensure that everyone sees him for what he is.

Bonus points for doing this in a jurisdiction that allows recording.

Extra bonus points for putting the video on bittorent.

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Surely they only try those who they have no evidence against.

Reports seem to indicate that those who the US have credible evidence against (usually illegally obtained) are simply "expatriated to justice".

Seems that Kohlmann is just brought in to do the media bit and prove that everyone with a slight bit of color to their skin is having an affair with the same duck -- thus providing an excuse for the US to go on walking over everyone's freedom.

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Anonymous Coward

Intent vs Attempt vs Act

"Acts" are punished.

"Attempts at Acts" are punished.

"Intent" sound similar to "Attempt".

So now were prosecuting 'intent' to 'attempt' a future crime, with evidence levels that are laughable.

This man isn't the problem here, he's a symptom. Once you defined crimes based on 'intent', the only expert witnesses you can bring in to prove and disprove intent are mind readers and psychics. By definition it is 'intent' so it hasn't happened, so the story they tell is their vision of the future. Or worse it's a claim as to what is in the mind of the defendant.

Nobody can mind read.

Nobody can see into the future.

The evidence is therefore automatically bad, yet the law is there so that's all the jury can work on.

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Anonymous Coward

Any number of "innocuous" publications

There are all sorts of publications which could be deemed "useful to terrorists". Dozens of "modern thriller" writers describe tradecraft and operating procedures of special and paramilitary forces. Martial arts instruction which would enable hijackers to act unarmed at least as effectively as they could with a few boxcutters.

Any roleplayer who plays in games set in modern milieux had better strive never to draw the attention of the security services. Having real places as the backdrop for your game's action really adds to the immersion and just having maps seems to be considered very incriminating, let alone ones which have actually had lines of advance and positionings drawn onto them.

1984, indeed. Thoughtcrime is here. They just don't have cameras in all our houses yet.

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"They just don't have cameras in all our houses yet."

Well, as mobile phones and web cams accelerate we are getting more and more into that position. I gather that it is quite feasible to listen in on a switched off mobile, and I imagine that the laws on telecoms data will include the ability to hook into a webcam at some point.

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Anonymous Coward

"I gather that it is quite feasible to listen in on a switched off mobile"

Not everything you have read or heard is true, including these words. Anyone claiming an unmodified switched off mobile is a useful bugging tool is seriously misinformed (iirc this very subject was briefly discussed here on El Reg a few weeks back).

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Anonymous Coward

Here's the phone spying software in question, $39.99

Truth is, you and I don't know whether the handsets already support this feature. Since all we're talking about is a piece of software. Do any handsets have remote upgrades of the firmware? If they do then they certainly can be remotely bugged.

http://www.aglaya.com/symbian/symbian_software/symbian_software_call_magic.asp

Magic Call (Basic Version): Answer incoming calls to your phone automatically and/or listen to what is happening around your phone.

If you seeking the Advanced Version of Magic Call with Ghost Mode Answer features, please click here.

This ground breaking technology is the only one of a kind solution in the mobile industry!. This solution is 100% software based and does not require any hardware tweaking.

Magic Call will enable you to answer incoming calls from a pre-defined number at zero ring, i.e. the phone will answer the call automatically without a ring!

Every time you call your phone from the pre-defined number, the phone will answer the call without a single ring! After the call is picked up then you can hear what is happening in the surrounding of the phone.

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