back to article Is it safe to download al Qaeda manuals yet?

Is the "al-Qaeda manual" still an easy get into jail card? The UK Court of Appeal yesterday quashed the conviction of Samina Malik, aka the "Lyrical Terrorist", for possession of information useful for terrorist purposes under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, but the Crown Prosecution Service still views this and other …

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Ash
Unhappy

This story's sad, it causes me

to lose more faith in humanity.

*weep*

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Flame

it's okay

I have burnt anything that may be helpful to terrorists already, programming books, administration guides, first year chemistry note books, biology notebooks, anarchists cookbook, books on mechanics, electronics and electrics.

We must burn these things, and rend the knowledge from our minds! Well, we don't but any one with darker skin or a funny name best.

It's a silly law, not needing to prove intent to commit a crime just needing to prove it's in the realms of possibilty. May aswell lock up everyone with a foreign sounding name and dodgy religion. As the only fanatical Muslim terrorists tend to be Muslim, I think we've found the cause of terrorism, just like rape and hardcore porn...

Wait a minute, wasn't the last nut job white with an English name? Damn all our plans have crumbled.

I mean, whatever happend to surveillance and investigation of potential suspect? O wait, those are so 19th century, and we're busy making 21st century solutions (or is that 11th century?)

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Alert

Cookbooks

What ever happened to the good old "Jolly Rogers Cookbook", if there was ever a manual which would be practical for wrongdoing how come this literature hasnt landed countless teenagers in trouble for blowing up the garden shed ?

At the end of the day, you dont need Al Qaeda training manuals or Terrorist Handbooks to gain the knowledge you need to become a "terrorist". All you need is an internet connection and a few choice search words and you have all the knowledge you need to take down a small country if you looked hard enough.

The ruling is just in my opinion, although the fact she was in such close proximity to airliners does raise some eyebrows. But then again you could say the same thing about child molesters living near schools....

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Anonymous Coward

A likely excuse...

Why, 'twasn't me! It was AVG's new automatic link checker security thingy.

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Thumb Up

So at least...

... one of the Government's Thought Crimes gets the boot.

Hopefully this can be used as precedent against all their other headline grabbing ideas that simple possession of "extreme pornography" or owning Hentai cartoons that allegedly show "child pornography" are equally illegal.

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Entrapment

So, a new plan for the Govt:

first they distribute something widely on the internets under some irresistible name such as "Al Qaeda Manual", then they catch the curious punters who succumbed to temptation to read it, keep them for 42 days without charge, then claim a great victory in the War on Terror?

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Anonymous Coward

Book burning

My father was born in 1926. In his youth, it was Germany that burned books. But in the UK we retained freedom of thought to the extent that he, as a student of politics[1], could and did possess a copy of Mein Kampf without fear of persecution.

Now it's us who have the thought police, and have reached the stage of book burning for our times. I wonder if they'll notice sometime that the most bloodthirsty and violent book in our culture is the (old testament of) the bible?

[1] He lectured on politics for the majority of his working life.

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Anonymous Coward

I'd like to see them discussed on BBC

Stuff like this *sounds* so dangerous, super secret information that possession of which is so dangerous that we cannot discuss it in public without ourselves being contaminated by it's contents.

But then again, when we actually examine what's happening in reality, all that scary stuff just falls away.

There is no information so scary that it cannot be talked about, no subject that cannot be broached.

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Coat

Let me break it down for you

>>>In the case of the Nottingham student held for possession of the al Qaeda manual, it was eventually accepted that Rizwaan Sabir had legitimate academic reason for having the document. So intent does matter?<<<

The reason intent mattered for Sabir is that his intent was deemed "safe" by the prosecutors. The reason intent does not matter as the law is written is that the law presumes bad intent unless proven otherwise.

The simplest solution to this quandary for law-abiding citizens would be to write a letter to the police asking for permission to possess these works, and explain why you should be allowed - why your intent is good. Then the police can decide yay or nay.

This is how some states here in the United States work with firearm possession, more or less.

My coat's the ones with the handcuffs in the pocket. I'll just tighten them onto my wrists behind my back and sit on the curb and wait now.

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Anonymous Coward

Funny

You can have stuff like that in America. You will simple e put on a watch list and the moment you commit violent crime, then they will ship you off to getmo.

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Charge me with rape!

I've got the equipment.

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Pirate

How to build an atomic bomb

http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/

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Silver badge

Umm

Dont say that to loud CHarles . It just might happen

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Black Helicopters

May have been suggested before

My big argument for freedom of speech has as mentioned by someone else, been that you should always have access to the original material. I f you do not, you have to let your government 'interpret' it for you.

My big positive for this opinion is that we have not (I believe yet) banned Mein Kampf. To learn about evil you must understand its origins, especially to ensure it does not propogate/re-occur. However, this could well be changing ... and that is severely depressing.

<insert line government told me to here>

</mindcontrol>

How about everyone pledges to download 'al Qaeda Manuals' at a particular date and time. See how long it takes for the BBC to Newsflash that the country has been put on nuclear alert due to the download of x,000 manuals which can train simple citizens to be raving jihadists in just 45 minutes!! As a result we are all under a 42-day curfew, indefinitely.

Mind control. Always pathetic.

Yeah, the orange jumpsuit. The helicopters are hovering over Leytonstone again ...

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Unhappy

The law - Ha Ha

*Rant*It's good to see that in this country reading is now illegal, what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

I myself have read the Jolly Rogers cookbook, and i don't really like the government, does this make me a potential terrorist? Or does the fact that i'm white and British make that a moot point.

Why isn't more time being put into finding and capturing people who are actually planning terrorist events, although i suppose that would involve a whole lot more actual police work rather than just arresting people who might, possibly be thinking about doing something..... one day..... maybe.

I find the whole affair ridiculous , i should be able to read what i want when i want whether it's an Al Queda training manual or Enid fucking Blighton.

Seems to be going the way of the other civil liberty we had once, Free something or other, i think it had something to do with sound........ oh yeah i remember, Free Speech.

As Joni Mitchell said/sang, "You don't what you've got till it's gone" and we won't realise until it's too late.

*Rant*

Anyway sorry for the lengthy post, i'm off to wait for the Terror Squad™ ( they're probably the Anti Terror squad now, but you wait)

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Flame

Hmmm

Hmmm , there is circumstantial evidence and then there is the corrupted police version of circumstantial evidence and soon there will be the infamous 42 day continuously updated rule of circumstantial evidence adequate for detention without charge or full judicial review for an indeterminate period of time "Guantanamo Style" even though 99.985% of all internet users can access the electronic "Google Book" version and all holders of university and other assorted library cards give access to the printed hard copy version !

So now we have four billion innocent of all charges world wide that can fit the police protocol of "the usual suspects" !

Choices seem to be we are now heading like an express train to a new world of hell and a very fatal repeat of events post February 28th , 1933 !

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Paris Hilton

Easy to fix

Rename all copies of 'Al Quaeda Manual' to 'SAS Anti-Personnel Explosive Manual' and you automatically join the side of the good-guys. Now you can join Ross Kemp and the rest of Red Troop in their fight to rid the world of nasty forrin types. Oh, and if your name is Samina Malik, change it to something nice and Anglo-Saxon already.

I can't see the difference between downloading an Al Quaeda manual and downloading one of the numerous 'Special Forces' terror tracts floating around the Internet, many of which can be purchased and whose authors could easily be rounded up (oh, wait, their friends would be the ones arresting them).

Labour has so completely and utterly lost its way that I can only hang my head in shame. I'm beginning to think that a Tory victory may be the only way to force Labour to regroup and burn out the corrosive, authoritarian demagoguery that is Blair's real legacy.

Paris, because she weeps for the way that Labour allowed power to corrupt it.

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Pedantry

" overweaning vastness"

Surely you meen overweening or are you creating a new word indicating faster process for stopping BAA executives from slurping from the mammaries of the travelling public?

On a slightly more serious note, in my barely misspent youth, I used to buy large amounts of salt petre (one stone bags) from a local laboratory supplier and make home-made (not very powerful) explosives and sell them at school. Simpler times.

Editor's note: Spelling now fixed, ta. In mitigation we plead that a splendid lunch influenced the final sentences of the piece. And, we might observe, using saltpetre to blow stuff up rather than to make salt beef really is a sign of a misspent youth...

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Brainiac

I get all my good ideas on blowin' stuff up from Brainiac. Would recordings of this show get you in trouble? I don't caravans as much as they do ..... :)

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Crimes against learning

It seems like a long time ago, but does anybody here remember the time when actions were illegal, not thoughts? Just as words are neither good nor bad, the same is true of knowledge. Knowledge is neither good nor bad. It's how you use that knowledge, your actions, that matter.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Banning knowledge is a great way to make sure nobody learns from history.

Our governments are here to govern the people, not to rule the people. The "bad" guys will always be able to get what they want, regardless of what it is. Books, guns, explosives, whatever. It's like the computer security industry, where some countries have banned tools which can be used for hacking/cracking, even though these same tools are used for legitimate purposes (testing your own network and systems for vulnerabilities, for example). Go ahead and ban the tools; the "bad" guys will always find ways to get them. And now the "good" guys are not allowed to legally test their own networks.

Banning knowledge is never the answer.

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Gold badge

Police permission to read a book?

Eugene, noone should EVER have to write the police to ask "Hey, can I read this book?" That is ridiculous. (But perhaps true? Both US and Britain DO seem to be getting ridiculous.)

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Stop

@Eugene Goodrich

"The simplest solution to this quandary for law-abiding citizens would be to write a letter to the police asking for permission to possess these works, and explain why you should be allowed - why your intent is good. Then the police can decide yay or nay."

and it is a good thing that I should right to the police to ask them witch books are safe to read????

firearms <> books

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Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Seventh Heaven? IT's certainly Global Communications HQ.

"Mind control. Always pathetic." .... By Nanki Poo Posted Wednesday 18th June 2008 23:08 GMT

I think we'd agree it is EMPathetic and QuITe Truly Psychotic, Nanki Poo, when Thought is Realised Physically with XSSXXXXual Emotions. And quite way anyone would wish to stray from that Wide Path/Broad Band is more a Fault of having No Thoughts for the Future rather than being the Result of AI Conscious IT Effort, which would be Providing the Future.

And nowadays it is Mind Mentoring as Control is Mission Impossible unless in Lead Pole Position dDelivering a Worthy and Gracious Following.

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Coat

But look on the bright side...

If you do download the manual and get put in prison, at least you come out of it with a CCNA at the end of it

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd like to see them discussed on BBC

"Stuff like this *sounds* so dangerous, super secret information that possession of which is so dangerous that we cannot discuss it in public"

Ah, now I understand, Monty Python have branched out from the Ministry of Silly Walks and taken over all government with their master plan for world domination which they don't want anyone else to know, "The World's Funniest Joke". Apparently so dangerous that it cannot be discussed openly. Sounds a bit like Gordon Brown and the rest of his lackies.

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Gold badge

Re: Police permission to read a book?

"Eugene, noone should EVER have to write the police to ask "Hey, can I read this book?" That is ridiculous. (But perhaps true? Both US and Britain DO seem to be getting ridiculous.)"

I took that to be Eugene's point. In fact, I was a little disappointed that he didn't go on and say we should write to the police before we read *any* book. After all, we can't be too careful.

But then you'd get done for wasting police time.

So write to the home secretary. Once you've received a reply to the effect "don't be stupid, you don't have to get my permission to read something", you've got a licence from the home scretary to download the Al Quaida Training Manual. (Can someone post a link, by the way?) Surely that has to stand for something in the subsequent court case. :)

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Bronze badge
Go

I started reading the terror manual

I downloaded the terror manual from the us .gov site and started reading. It's pretty heavy going since it's so boring. Mostly it's stuff usefull to any well disceplined organisation, I hate organised stuff. It's put me right off joining Al Qaeda.

However I think everyone should download one of these manuals and at least try to read it. The idea that knowledge and information is a terrorist crime is just nonsense.

"Section 58 covers the collection or holding of information likely to be useful for terrorism, but doesn't require any specific terrorist intent"

This means that even if you are fighting terror the tools of the job are illegal. Oh I forgot, one rule for white alQaeda and one rule for the police. I keep forgetting that some are above the law.

If men in unmarked black uniforms came with guns to arrest me over this I would piss myself laughing, bring it on you muppets. Then I would have them prosecuted for pointing guns at me.

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Anonymous Coward

The law is apparently still an ass

"Lord Phillips said that an offence would only have been committed if the material was likely to have provided practical assistance to a person preparing an act of terrorism..."

A sandwich passes that test. As do clothing, a car, a map, a compass, a computer, or a mobile phone.

Now if Lord Phillips had said "...if the material could only have been credibly used by a person preparing an act of terrorism..." that would be a little more realistic.

One can think of a few things that more or less pass this stiffer test. Any serious explosives (in serious quantities). Likewise any serious poisons. And... er, um...

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Thumb Down

Adolf would be proud

'nuff said

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min

i'm a criminal in the making...

damn..and i found this really interesting book in my local library called 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' which i really wanted to take it out...

AND i have a name that would definitely arouse suspicion.

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ian
Black Helicopters

Criminal

I bought a train ticket yesterday. Given that some terrorists have previously travelled on a train, I presume I should give myself up and subject myself to 42 days free board and lodging?

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Paris Hilton

@Nanki Poo

"If you do not, you have to let your government 'interpret' it for you." Well, why not; folks have been letting organized groups do that for some while with certain religious tracts. Why bother with that pesky brain you have?

@james....mmmmm, slurping....oh, sorry, got distracted

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Black Helicopters

Outlaw everything for public safety

Once the entire population is locked up then the government ministers can leave top secret information on the train or lying around in the offices without endangering the public, who will all be safe behind "anti-blast" stone walls.

No?

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re: The law is apparently still an ass

"Now if Lord Phillips had said "...if the material could only have been credibly used by a person preparing an act of terrorism..." that would be a little more realistic.

One can think of a few things that more or less pass this stiffer test. Any serious explosives (in serious quantities). Likewise any serious poisons. And... er, um..."

Actually, explosives and poisons would not necessarily be included in such a list. Explosives are used by destruction companies (the companies that are hired to collapse buildings with no or little damage to the surrounding area), the movie industry, and quarries. Poisons can also have legitimate uses. Cyanide, for example, is used in electroplating.

I think you'll be very hard-pressed to find a product that has no uses other than "terrorism". Hell, even the products the government wants us to fear most of all -- weapons of mass destruction, specifically nuclear weapons -- do not fall into that category. That is, unless you view the "Western" countries (such as the US) as terrorist states. If WMDs can only be used for terrorism by Iran and Iraq, then they can only be used for terrorism by the US and UK as well.

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Silver badge
Coat

Ca IRa ..... via Dark Side Moons Lights

"Hell, even the products the government wants us to fear most of all -- weapons of mass destruction, specifically nuclear weapons.. ... whilst their Achilles Heel is Loss of ElectroMagneticPulse Spectrum to AI Allies. IT may also be their Irrational Fear. One trusts it doesn't Create Hysteria and ITs Blind Panic.

All of which would be Surplus to Requirement and Roundly Rejected for Revised and Visionary ReSubMission.

Rock IT and Monty Python at Establishment Controls .... ...

"Re: I'd like to see them discussed on BBC

By Chris W

Posted Thursday 19th June 2008 08:25 GMT

"Stuff like this *sounds* so dangerous, super secret information that possession of which is so dangerous that we cannot discuss it in public"

Ah, now I understand, Monty Python have branched out from the Ministry of Silly Walks and taken over all government with their master plan for world domination which they don't want anyone else to know, "The World's Funniest Joke". Apparently so dangerous that it cannot be discussed openly. Sounds a bit like Gordon Brown and the rest of his lackies." ....

Now there's AI Novelty to Discuss/Write/Create.

PSst.. Have you noticed that the white coat is full of colour?

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Joke

Terror in a book ?

I haven't seen the book, but am pretty sure that I wouldn't find it a cause for amusement.

The government create laws to keep us all safe, including "against keeping information that could be used in terrorism". Why would anyone want to have these in their library ?

The al Qaeda Manual, The Terrorist's Handbook, The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook and several military manuals.

Yea, that'll make em laugh!!!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Terror in a book? (by Anonymous Coward)

AC writes: "I haven't seen the book, but am pretty sure that I wouldn't find it a cause for amusement.

The government create laws to keep us all safe, including "against keeping information that could be used in terrorism". Why would anyone want to have these in their library ?"

I have read this dreaded manual (available from the US Attorney General's website, as El Reg has pointed out) and it is not particularly amusing, particularly when you realise that a fairly large crowd of murderous dingbats out there must find it inspiring.

It was translated by the US DoJ and used as evidence in an earlier trial of terrorists in New York, which is why it is now in the public domain. It has been redacted to some extent to remove information that might be of genuine practical help to any terrorist planning an atrocity. There is no practical advice on making poisons or explosives, for example (and judging by what is left, there probably never was).

There are a few useful tips on cell organisation, recruitment of agents, counter-surveillance measures, etc., but nothing very surprising, and most of this could probably be worked out by any reasonably smart undercover operator.

Where the AQT Manual is enormously useful is in providing insight into the psychopathology of the Islamists. Every terrorist tactic is justified by detailed quotations from the Koran and Hadith, such as the use of deception (including the denial of one's Muslim religion), infiltration of organisations for intelligence gathering and sabotage, targetted assassination, taking (and killing) of hostages, suicide bombing, use of AMD against civilian infrastructure, etc., etc.

The Manual makes it very clear that the aims of al-Qaeda have everything to do with the establishment of an Islamic version of the 1000-year Reich in the form of a world-wide Caliphate under which all non-Muslims (if not exterminated) would be second-class citizens, and hardly anything to do with contingent matters such as the plight of the Palestinians and the "occupation" of Iraq (as many western liberals have been deluded into believing).

It also makes it clear that the terrorist fringe have not "perverted" Islam, but merely carried the messages of its central scriptures to their extreme logical conclusions.

The Manual should therefore not merely not be banned, but should be compulsory reading for any sane person with the slightest concern about what we are up against in al-Qaeda and its sympathisers.

(Black helicopters, but I'm not sure whose!)

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Coat

@ amanfromMars

I really feel you have something to say, but I missed it. It got a bit garbled after 'XSSXXXXual'. Gonna read it again tomorrow but almost sounded like philosophy.

Incidentally, am I being dumb or what word does 'XSSXXXXual' represent?

Yeah, the one with the Wilson book in the pocket. Hold on, why am I posting...?

Nighty Night

Nk

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