back to article The New Order: When reading is a crime

Is this what it is going to be like? When simple possession of a proscribed document will be enough to see you clapped in irons and whisked down to the local police station? About two weeks ago (May 16), Nottingham University campus was agog as police arrived to interview former student Hicham Yezza. After some ten years' study …

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Re: Does this mean... (Anonymous Coward, Friday 30th May 2008 13:38)

"...that they're going to ban the Quran??"

Of course not! The one thing that we have surely learned from this "War on [Nouns] Terror" is that one must do nothing to aid the winning of the war. It is essential that the war is extended indefinitely, thereby permitting the removal of even more of the rights of the citizen. Indeed winning the war will be seen as an act of treachery.

For this war is only a means to an end. The end is a New World Order government. The end justifies the means.

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The Problem...

"Why would an intelligent man like Hicham Yezza not know how dangerous downloading / posessing a terrorist training manual could be, regardless of whose academic reading list it might be on?

Particulary so for someone currently seeking permanent UK residency.

How stupid can you get?"

The problem is not the police - the university - even the government.

The problem is people like Paul Delaney kow-towing to this frightful state of affairs. If we didn't have people like Paul, who advise following the state party line whatever it is, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today.

And i just know that, when this tyranny is overthrown, Paul will be sitting at the back saying "Yes, I always said it was wrong..". Well, why not STAND UP AND BE COUNTED NOW???

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@ Doug Glass

Does that mean you're tough then?

Try reading the details (though even skimming the article would have told you!!) instead of just rolling back over whenever you are told that something was done 'to stop terrorism.'

Why did you even bother to comment when you obviously did not process any part of the article?

This guy was not doing anything wrong, and he was not being dumb either.

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@ John Stirling

No, you're not a radical. Well said.

And that shouldn't be a comment. It should be a whole article, or possibly an domain, or better yet a political manifesto, writ large.

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Anonymous Coward

once again...

They have got it the wrong way around.

Why are they trying to lock up and ruin downloaders and apple core-throwers lives when there are murderers and rapists running amok in here.

They are going completely schizo on the small crimes, and frankly NON crimes, and shrugging their shoulders at the real issues.

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@ Joe K

The document was - wait for it - ON THE READING LIST.

That is a list of documents you are *expected* to read in order to have sufficient knowledge to pass the course.

NOT reading the books puts you at a serious disadvantage.

The department and university chancellor's department have acted like total cowards. When the download was brought to their attention they should have investigated the department, found the book was on the list and taken it no further. They should hold their heads in shame.

As for the comments by the frighteningly sane Alan Simpson MP. I assume he's tolerated by the politburo to show that New Labour is not a totalitarian organisation.

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Unhappy

Let me fix this for ya...

"Is this what it is going to be like? When simple possession of a proscribed document will be enough to see you clapped in irons and whisked down to the local police station?"

Nope. This is not what it's GOING to be like.

This is what it IS like, now, dude....

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Boffin

Post Scriptum...

"My government has radicalised me to the point where actually I think that Al Quaeda or however you spell it have a point...."

John S*******

You and me both, John. Only difference I can see between us is that I don't have a Mensa card - I use VISA...

Looked at from the point of view of the 'horrible Iraq/nian and Afghan terrorists' (TM), what they would like is for us to get out of their country and stop killing them. As far as I can see, that's what the vast majority of the UK population would like as well. I'm pretty sure some kind of agreement along these lines could be brokered.

Of course, that would involve a loss of face for the intelligence services, the military, and all the politicians who voted for this scandalous and pointless war, so that's not going to happen.

The geek sign, because the above argument involves a bit of joined-up thinking, which appears to be beyond the current administration on both sides of teh Atlantic...

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Be careful what you say - or think

The Court of Appeal ruling of Feb 2008 was long overdue. Almost anything could be construed by the plod as be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. A street map or OS large scale map; rail, bus or air timetables; domestic and gardening chemicals; an unregistered mobile phone; he address of a member of the House of Commons. The catch-all potential left entirely within the discretion of the constabulary.

The vindictiveness of the threat of deportation (and the threat inherent in that clear to those who have the simplest of comprehensions of Algeria 2008) not only affirms the racism but exhibits a warning of what is in store for anyone if you frustrate the police in their ambitions. This is not new. I recall a time under a Thatcher government when, after giving evidence in Court which cleared an admittedly dodgy character, it required the intervention of my solicitor to bring the regular random stops, tests of my car and snide comments from the officers concerned to a halt on a rather more minor issue than is reported here.

The collective paranoia, whether of Institutional authorities or of the people who don't look at each other on the street or Tube any more, where we have forgotten that it is only by being together that we can be aware of our humanity, is what opens the door to the ignorant, abusive and self-serving policing so evident here. And the system rallies round to defend its own, such is the reluctance to admit error and insist on the primacy of that authority.

But there is no error. We are on notice that our lives are now scrutinised for offence whether that is through thought, through word or through action. Perhaps such thought, word and action should seek to establish an effective International Criminal Tribunal such as that of Nuremberg to bring to account those who conspired to launch an aggressive war and who have constantly sought to feed a zeitgeist of fear in order to justify themselves and divert attention from the true issues.

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Black Helicopters

@ mike brockington

Me too, I still have the notes I took for my B1, as well as other material gathered in NI. I've downloaded the "documents" from the DOJ website and there similar in content to the IRA handbook issued in the 70s.

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shame on the university management,

¿Is this the free University that loathed book burning in 1936?

Nex time some one tries to read mein kamph for a history class they should report to police first.

Don't trust your local dean to rise up and beligerantly defend free thought.

Shame on them, shame on their careers.

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Anonymous Coward

the

The notion that an Afghan training document wouldn't be of interest to somebody studying a wide range of subjects from geopolitical to historical to social and cultural is the height of arrogance and yet another prime example of just how sick and twisted this nation has become. How do you expect to deal with people when you have no understanding of how their world developed? How can you think that a critical piece of military campaign literature wouldn't provide some insight?

The fact that the police then decide to persue the case beyond their initial remit once again shows this sickness.

But hey - in the New West one is only allowed to study approved documents. Only allowed to learn of approved history. Only allowed to believe in approved enemies. Only allowed to masturbate to approved porn. and why would any good citizen not want to suckle from the nipples of freedom? We don't need to understand other cultures, other nations, they should simply accept ours, conform, or die.

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Sod the UK

The only mistake this poor guy made was that he mistook Britain for a democratic and free nation... the poor guy

Ps. The "training" manual is such a dangerous a document thats its free for download at the US Goverment site...

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Gates Halo

I've read the article three times now and I just can't see the "government conspiracy"

As far as I can see, the course of events was

1) University overreacts and informs plod

2) Plod overreact and arrest him

3) Someone notices he's lied on his immigration forms and he gets shipped home

I can't find the part that says "OMG, the evil government were monitoring his emails/telephone conversation/browsing history/thoughts because he was a forrin"

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Honey pot?

Is it possible that the fact the document in question is hosted on a US.Gov website means it's actually a honey pot?

How did someone at the University notice that this document had been downloaded? Surely it's 'just another PDF' from the proxy side of things?

Is it possible that the US DoJ contacted the University to inform them of the download, sparking the whole thing off?

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@Steven Cuthbertson

>> "Under s.58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a person commits an offence if they

>> “possesses a document or record containing information”… “of a kind likely to be

>> useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”."

>>

>> Seems a bit broad? A train timetable could conceivably count..

I don't see how having a list that shows the times at which trains will almost certainly not be at stations is of any use to a terrorist. The only useful information contained in most timetables is the probable order in which the train will be stopping at the stations.

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Coat

Thankful

He should be thankful that he (or someone with a similar complexion) wasn't shot in the head. Goodness knows what would have happened if he had been wearing a rucksack at the time of arrest.

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Pirate

@ AC

@ AC above:

"...and Jacqui Smith, the soon to be ex home office minister, herself have read it. ..."

There is no evidence of the present Home Secretary having ever read anything to do with her present post other than pre-digested Home Office briefings and the da-glo tags in the red box that say "sign here >".

Blunkett may have been crude, a brute populist (with some excuse for being underinformed), but by comparison with this ultra loyalist business studies teacher, he sparkled as an example of considered personal opinion.

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Paris Hilton

It's days like this I'm glad to be a Nottingham Trent dropout

All the fun and partying and less fuss like this :)

To be fair though I don't think the uni have really done anything wrong in this case - they reported a suspicioin and there's probably something in the law someplace where they would be legally responsible if they didn't report 'reasonable suspicion'.

so the police make a ballsup of it and everyone gets their name dragged through the mud. If his visa was really that bad how come he stayed in Nottingham for 10 years and got that job?

Bloody immigrants, coming over here, contributing to society fairly and holding down a job... who do they think they are?

Paris - because she's been lawfully entered by a few good men, none of which overstayed their welcome

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Ian

Or to twist the story another way

Let's face it, there's a guy of African/Middle Eastern descent with a strong Islamic interest here illegally somewhat under the radar looking at an Al Qaeda training manual.

If that's not something the police should be suspicious of what is?

The guy was found to be innocent and left alone on that charge so nothing was done wrong there by the police, it turned out however from that investigation that he was indeed here illegally and now quite rightly he's being deported.

What is the problem exactly? Everything has been done correctly and by the book by the police which is more than can be said for the supposed "victim" here who quite clearly wasn't in this country by the book.

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that's me %ucked then....

...as I work at a university and just visited that certain U.S website....

maybe being white and middle class will help! there again, I went to Cuba and smoked a spliff once so I'd just better go and hand myself in and save the taxpayer some money.

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Black Helicopters

If one looks at the terrorist act...

...it says that there's only a defence if you can PROVE that you weren't in possession of said article for terrorist related activities.

Guilty until proven innocent?

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Black Helicopters

@ Ian

Thast still doesn't explain why he was going to be deported, illegally and without a fair hearing, within 2 weeks of being first arrested, does it?

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Anonymous Coward

@Ian

He wasn't found to be here illegally, the police mearly state that they have a suscpicion he lied on his application papers and then they're trying to kick him out before his appeal...

Long live freedom, peace and justice. Who needs enemys when you have a law enforcment community like we in the west now have... Well, as long as we have a law enforcment system like we have we'll never be short on enemies, abroad, at home and we're not just talking guys of middle eastern decent with bombs.

Remind me, where did that guy in Exeter come from?

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@ Ian

Ian, you're a coward, but I will at least credit you with not being anonymous about your cowardice.

This gentleman was not here illegally, he may have had some kind of technical irregularity on his immigration papers for nearly a decade and a half ago. Since entering the country he's studied, and been granted qualifications by reputable institutions. He's trustworthy, so much so that he's been employed by the very same reputable institution. And yet because he does a favor for a student in the politics department to download and print off a book that is ON THE FRACKING READING LIST for students in that department (a task for which being an admin qualifies him for, by the way), he's treated like a criminal and then deported without access to any appeal or any other vestige of civil rights accorded to people in the United Kingdom.

And yet you're more than happy to conjecture all sorts of ill against him and accept that the authorities are acting perfectly correctly - simply because they say they are. What's wrong Ian, afraid that if you stand up and protest you'll be arrested and given an ASBO? Perhaps you're afraid that irregularities on your birth certificate will be found and you'll be reclassified as a man without a nation and thus subject to immediate deportation without appeal?

Maybe you're just a sheep and too shit scared to stand up and be counted in your own country? Must be something. Oh, wait, maybe you work for the City of London Police? I better put that sign calling the Government a cult away, huh? Wouldn't want to be arrested for exercising my rights of protest.

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@ Dana W

But they DID coin the term "Freedom Fries". And in the eatery for the seat of government to boot.

In point of fact I don't think anyone ever used the phrase outside of deperate-to-prove-themselves-relevant politicians. I never heard it used in real life other than to mock the idiots that thought it up.

And consider the consequences of this (as is usual with politicians) over-quick rush to "stick it" to the Cheese Scarfing Surrender Monkeys: The inhabitants of Gaul now officially speak "Freedom", formerly the prerogative of Americans.

While the term "Freedom Fries" has been quietly excised from the menu in question, the American national pastime of mocking the French for being invaded by Hitler's forces while America and the rest of the world sat back and watched is still alive and well and living in the American heartland.

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@The Government

Question : What's the sound of Freedom and democracy dying?

Answer : The sound of millions of apathetic voices saying "Oh, that's OK then."

Fast track deportation for little more than being inconvenient? It's not OK, it's never been OK, it's not OK now, and it never will be OK, ever. If you think otherwise, you'd be very at home in any of the Totalitarian regimes that western governments publicly decry.

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@ Righteously Indignant

"All that has happened here is a immigrant has been found to be 'less than truthful' in their application to stay and is being - and quite rightly so - deported."

Not remotely true. What has happened here is that the Home Office have merely *claimed* that an immigrant has been less than truthful, and then attempted to deport said immigrant in great haste in order to avoid the bother of actually going to court and involving themselves in troublesome things like abiding by the law or actually making their case.

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Black Helicopters

UK 2008

Half Life 2

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Unhappy

It's funny

That my brother and I'd been saving up for the past couple of years for a holiday in England this year, where I was born and where I have not set foot for over three decades. But after reading hundreds of articles like this one El Reg, other news sources, and talking to people who live in the UK, we've decided to spend the money on a holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia instead. Seriously. A friend of ours just got back from there and says both countries are awesome, and treat tourists like kings for a few dollars a day!

What does that say of the UK when one would feel safer touring corrupt third-world autarchies like that than returning to the Mother Country? I'll never set foot in the land of my birth again. That country died right after Thatcher got in, and its putrid corpse just kept on rotting from there.

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So let me get this straight

I download the book, let a few people know I have it and there's a good chance I'll have my plane ticket out of the country paid for by HMG?

What's that link again?

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Coat

Academia?? What's that?

There was a time when academia was just that.....about academics, learning , teaching , debating , discovering , passing on knowledge - through the classroom and most importantly through the written word which transcends all time , barriers and boundaries known to man kind

sadly this will probably become an urban legend within the next decade...

I don't think a lot of people would find it debatable , from what I've read and gathered over the past few years the majority of people are all on the same side with this issue - clearly not the side the feds and suits would like us to be on .I think a lot of people would be questioning what Britain is coming to - totalitarian? Sounds a bit like old Russia in a sort of Brave New World/Orwellian type of way. Next there'll be book bans and scarier than that book burnings?

What's next? A fatwa for academics who dare research, analyse and propose anything contradictory to what our governments anti terror laws dictate OR worst yet the horror of producing literature on conciliatory methods , preventative measures for terrorism , peaceful resolutions , oh I could go on and on ...i won't.

Here's a bit of what the law entails:

"Under s.58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a person commits an offence if they “possesses a document or record containing information”… “of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”."

Very broad and wouldn't a train timetable or bus route schedule fall under this heading? Seems under this law they would.

As one woman posted even a "shoe" or "bag" ( of any kind , carrier , sports, hand bag ) would count as intent to terrorise?

Im waiting for the day they start honing in on people (who fit the racial profile for terrorism of course ) who buy large quantities of Peanut butter ( it has more power than an atomic bomb apparently , Christ I said the B word! ) - after all I've noticed non-westerners love their bulk buys. Maybe that’s the downfall - buying everything in bulk , from peroxide to vinegar to fertilizer - shoes and handbags?!

I better stop before MI5 come and get me.....oh wait, let me grab my "hand bag" just incase so that I'm ready to be hauled off..

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Ethics and guidance

Another question to be asked is if faculty had clear research guidance for the use of sensitive materials when dealing with such a subject.

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Guardians of Nations or their Gaolers

"I download the book, let a few people know I have it and there's a good chance I'll have my plane ticket out of the country paid for by HMG?" ... By milan Posted Tuesday 3rd June 2008 06:49 GMT

And I suppose they can even try not letting you back into the country, if you happen to leave for business/pleasure/whatever elsewhere, although that would lay them open to charges of Selfish Elitism/Fascist Dictatorship if the Supposed Offence were not Viably Prosecutable, and thus Creating a Political Refugee in an Asylum System for a Resident Alien .....Earthling.:-)

And that is nowhere near as crazy as it at first seems.

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Anonymous Coward

"what does that say of the UK when I ridiculously claim I would feel safer visiting blah blah blah"

Probably that the person saying it is completely over-reacting.

" my brother and I'd been saving up for the past couple of years for a holiday in England this year, where I was born [...] we've decided to spend the money on a holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia instead. [...]"

"What does that say of the UK when one would feel safer touring corrupt third-world autarchies like that than returning to the Mother Country? I'll never set foot in the land of my birth again. "

Where exactly do you live? There are not many better places. Here (and in America, in fact I would say MORE so in America) we are being spied on and having psychological problems and dealing with restrictions, but in other countries the police just bust in and do what they want, shoot you, steal all your stuff and cover it up. So i'd say that it's not quite as bad as you're making it out to be in the UK. Don't be freaking ridiculous.

I hope you're not one of those people who moved to the USA and inherited their holier than thou, America is the best place in the world, oh I really feel sorry for everyone else attitude.

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Tim
Pirate

Can't keep running away..

We have to make a change. Civil unrest isn't the answer, infiltration is the answer. Stand side by side with the enemy and lead them by example. Just don't go native on us, stick to your guns and keep your powder dry.

So join the police, get into politics, be a teacher, whatever you think you can manage and be the kind of authority figure that can be respected without fear.

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@Running Away

Poor Timmy. So kind hearted and believing. I remember when I was like that too.

Just before they kicked in my door and took my Mom and Dad away in black hoods.

I'm sure they're OK though. The man who came to see me said they were in a nice place that provides lots of exercise and great shower facilities.

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Even the jobs worths agree

I am finding that the people who carry out the orders handed down agree that they are stupid. They are actually supportive when I decline to comply with their silly rules. It's like they don't have the corrage themselves but like someone who does. It's similar to when you ask people to sponsor your crazy charity stunt, they give you money and clap and are happy that it's you and not them.

Eventually they cannot avoid the action, they get a fine for putting the wrong thing in their dustbin and then they are prepared to join you.

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Ahh just like it used to be.

If anyone here thinks this is a new development of Blair's sycophants currently in power perhaps they should take a good look at British political history. This kind of thing has been going on for years.

Just look at the political history in the UK for the last 30 - 40 years or so (that should cover the age range of most of us). It used to be that you were, "presumed innocent until proven Irish". (Birmingham 6 ring any bells?) Now in today's climate of government inspired fear and loathing it has changed to, "presumed innocent until proven Muslim".

Yes Britain has draconian terrorism laws but it always has done. Successive British Governments have played on people's fears to introduce these laws. Laws that will "only" be used on "really, really bad people" and "only" when we "really, really have to", so don't have to worry about a thing honest. "Would your Government lie to you?"

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Book burning

I hear there will be a Nation Wide book burning fenzy some time this summer, anything not meeting the current governments criteria will be burned in public places, bring your children for a lesson in democracy.

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Paris Hilton

Terrorism and ducks

[...]

ARTHUR: A duck.

CROWD: Oooh.

BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically...,

VILLAGER #1: If... she.. weighs the same as a duck, she's made of wood.

BEDEMIR: And therefore--?

VILLAGER #1: A witch!

CROWD: A witch!

[...]

Reading this article made me think of Monty Python's Holy Grail... Worst part is that the logic behind both cinematic and real life events are dangerously similar

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@ Academia?? What's that? poster

Well, from one anonymous coward to another, about another..

I just wanted to ask what makes you think that the Anonymous poster who mentioned the shoes was a woman? ;-)

There was zero mention or indication of gender. Or even the type of shoe. No stilleto was mentioned. They could have been talking about a big 'manly' boot with big metal buckles, battered and covered in mud for all you know.

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