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In the UK, Possession of the Anarchist's Cookbook Is Terrorism 602

Posted by Zonk
from the orwell-would-have-been-so-proud dept.
Anonymous Terrorist writes "Back in the midsts of time, when I was a lad and gopher was the height of information retrieval I read The Anarchist's Cookbook in one huge text file. Now it appears the UK government considers possession of the book an offense under the Terrorism Act 2000 and is prosecuting a 17 year old boy, in part, for having a copy of the book. 'The teenager faces two charges under the Terrorism Act 2000. The first charge relates to the possession of material for terrorist purposes in October last year. The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism.'"
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In the UK, Possession of the Anarchist's Cookbook Is Terrorism

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  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:26AM (#20896091) Homepage Journal
    Watch as some people get upset about this but still go on to say why we need to "prevent" terrorism and other crimes.

    Watch as they call me an extremist for suggesting that crime prevention is an absurd attempt to trade freedom for security and will *never* work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Watch as they call me an extremist for suggesting that crime prevention is an absurd attempt to trade freedom for security and will *never* work.
      Like many things in life, it isn't that simple. Saying crime prevention will never work is far too glib. I lock my car doors to prevent the crime of grand theft auto, and so far my car hasn't been stolen.
      • by Retric (704075) on Monday October 08, 2007 @08:51AM (#20898065)
        Reduce is not the same as Prevent. By locking car doors you can help reduce the amount of grand theft auto but as people can and will steal cars with locked doors it's a reduction.

        Lock all the doors you want there will still be theft.
        Make any drug you want illegal there will still be some users.
        Trade all the freedom you want there will still be terrorism.

        Anyway, it's all smoke and mirrors cars kill far more people than terrorist's and most people don't seem to care that much. IMO the reason people care has more to due with movies than any real threat. IMO the fastest way to render them meaningless is to ignore them. (Aka remove them from political speeches, TV, video games, and movies.)

        The goal should be to balance risks and the effort you expend reducing them. You should not assume any one solution is going to work all the time.

        PS: The same thing happens in software. Most programmers assume RAM is going to work etc but sometimes that machine calculates 2+2 and gives you 18.
        • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Monday October 08, 2007 @09:49AM (#20898843)

          Reduce is not the same as Prevent.


          When you Reduce, you've Prevented some. Maybe that's not as good as Preventing all, but just becuase Preventing all isn't a reachable goal doesn't mean that Preventing some is worthless.

          Chris Mattern
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by torkus (1133985)
            See now, this is just playing with words. Lingual masturbation? anyhow...

            I can definitely 100% guarantee this ship is unsinkable in most circumstances. GP is correct - REDUCE != PREVENT. You're using them in a different context and trying to equate the meanings.

            You can reduce the incidence of *all* GTA but you can not prevent *all* GTA.

            You can prevent a *portion* of GTA by locking your car doors.

            And finally, do you think that locking your car doors really prevents you car from being stolen? Locks, keys
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:27AM (#20896099) Journal
    Having read the Anarchist's Cookbook, I'd say anyone actually attempting to use the "recipes" to make explosives should be considered suicidal rather than terrorist.
    • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:32AM (#20896135) Journal
      What you really need is a copy of the US Army's improvised munitions handbook.
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:40AM (#20896195)
      Having read the Anarchist's Cookbook, I'd say anyone actually attempting to use the "recipes" to make explosives should be considered suicidal rather than terrorist.

      In the process we forget the mere possession of a book doesn't necessarily mean we're attempting to do what's written in it.

      Wow, I just protested against a government policy, they better put me in jail before I kill someone.
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:27AM (#20896573)

        Wow, I just protested against a government policy, they better put me in jail before I kill someone.

        They would, but the jails are all overcrowded, so there just isn't space...

        This all just sounds barmy to me. There was probably more information useful for bomb-making in my A-level chemistry textbook (which I read at the age of 17) than in the Anarchist's Cookbook. Perhaps we should arrest everyone studying chemistry (and presumably physics, engineering...). And anyway, what self-respecting geek didn't read some book or other with a similarly provocative title at that age?

        There are words that describe attempting to keep knowledge from the population, and criminalising people just for reading or watching something. There are words that describe governments that do it, too. But I guess they only apply to the bad guys, and our government are obviously the good guys.

        • by darjen (879890) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:34AM (#20897227)

          This all just sounds barmy to me. There was probably more information useful for bomb-making in my A-level chemistry textbook (which I read at the age of 17) than in the Anarchist's Cookbook. Perhaps we should arrest everyone studying chemistry (and presumably physics, engineering...). And anyway, what self-respecting geek didn't read some book or other with a similarly provocative title at that age?
          I suspect it is not the information on explosives that they are after. Rather, the viewpoint from which the book is written. If there is ever an excuse for the state to go after someone that threatens their power, it is terrorism. And the anarchist cookbook, however misguided it might be, is an affront to state power. It is certainly in the best interest of the political class to contain the anarchist view as much as possible.
      • by digitig (1056110) on Monday October 08, 2007 @08:10AM (#20897603)

        In the process we forget the mere possession of a book doesn't necessarily mean we're attempting to do what's written in it.
        We don't forget it, but our legislators choose to ignore it. Under current UK law, possession of material likely to be useful to terrorists is an offence; there is no need for there to be any sort of intent. And the law is written in such a vague way that even possession of a local street map could be considered an offence. Effectively, the law makes everyone a criminal, so the police can arrest whomsoever they wish.
      • The Article:
        >>> "The first charge relates to the possession of material for terrorist purposes in October last year.

        The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism. "

        So basically the Police are charging him with "possession of materials" that are modified for, or clearly indicate, terrorist activity (they'd just observe him otherwise to wait for some real evidence and look for co-conspirators, etc.). The fact he had the anarchist co
    • by vtcodger (957785) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:51AM (#20896299)
      ***Having read the Anarchist's Cookbook, I'd say anyone actually attempting to use the "recipes" to make explosives should be considered suicidal rather than terrorist.***

      Amen. That's a book that we should encourage terrorists to own and experiment with. Be a lot fewer of them it they did.

    • by Lunarsight (1053230) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:13AM (#20897031) Homepage
      I agree. I used to run a BBS, and I had the file available for download. After I read a story about how some kids nearly blew themselves sky-high trying to construct one of the bombs, I took the file down. To me, it was more an issue of liability and conscience.

      I found the text fascinating as a curiosity, but it's not the sort of thing you'd actually try, if you value all your body parts remaining arranged in the proper order.

    • by Mark_in_Brazil (537925) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:17AM (#20897061)
      It's really interesting that The Anarchist Cookbook is neither anarchist nor a good "cookbook" (as the parent post noted).
      The book contains nothing about anarchist political beliefs or history. There is no mention of Lao Tzu [wikipedia.org], Kropotkin [wikipedia.org], Bakunin [wikipedia.org] (yes, that's the name they used for the guy with the Russian accent on Lost, but I'm talking about the original), Proudhon [wikipedia.org], Emma Goldman [wikipedia.org], Alexander Berkman [wikipedia.org], Murray Bookchin [wikipedia.org], the Anarcho-Syndicalists [wikipedia.org] of the Spanish Revolution [wikipedia.org] (specifically, the anarcho-syndicalist organization and administration of Catalonia [wikipedia.org]), or Food Not Bombs [wikipedia.org]. There is no mention of the centuries of anarchist thought and political philosophy [wikipedia.org]. There is no mention of the Haymarket Affair [wikipedia.org], which was used to give anarchists the image of bomb-throwers, nor of the fact that of the eight Haymarket anarchists (labor leaders), four were executed and one killed himself in his jail cell before Illinois Governor John Altgeld [wikipedia.org] pardoned the three survivors when he investigated and found that there had never been any proof of the guilt of the "Haymarket Anarchists," and that the jury had been stacked to guarantee a conviction even in the absence of evidence. Altgeld's Reasons for Pardoning Fielden, Neebe, and Schwab [pitzer.edu] is worth reading. Follow the link and you can read it free.
      Also, the author of The Anarchist Cookbook apparently knows nothing about the subjects covered. He (or they, if it's not really one author) apparently just copied stuff from a bunch of different sources. If you read the explosive section, you'll see a given explosive mentioned on one page as being relatively stable and safe, and on another page the same explosive will be described as being very unstable. It appears that a lot of the information was just copied from other sources without any analysis of what was being copied. Further, it appears that the chunks of text copied are sometimes incomplete. It may be that The Anarchist Cookbook is somebody's idea of a practical joke, making gullible kids do things ranging from goofy (like trying to smoke banana peels to get high) to deadly (like blowing off limbs or burning their skin and eyes with chemicals when trying to follow the explosive and drug recipes). It has been suggested that the book may have been put in the market by the FBI as part of its COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org] program. To me that seems a bit tinfoil hatty, but some of the things the FBI actually did in that program really were bizarre, and a person describing them without showing proof (and yes, the proof of some really scary stuff in COINTELPRO does exist) might sound like a tinfoil hat type.

      So The Anarchist Cookbook may be nothing more than a sick joke, but even if the book actually contained any useful information, the idea of banning books about how to make arms is not new. Governments want that for the same reasons they want to ban firearms: to keep the people easier to control. The overblown "threat of terrorism," when you consider how few people are killed by terrorism each year, is just the tool governments an
      • by demachina (71715) on Monday October 08, 2007 @10:07AM (#20899057)
        Its largely forgotten but "Anarchists" were, in the early 20th century, what "Terrorists" are today. They were used by governments to terrorize their people to justify their power grabs. Anyone who was against abusive, power mad, greedy politicians and governments was a bomb throwing "Anarchist". The term anarchist was used in nearly every other sentence in political speeches to evoke fear, just like terrorist is used today.

        Probably the single most effective methodology for countering Anarchism and Terrorism would be good governance. But it seems nearly impossible for people who acquire political power to govern wisely and effectively. The quickly become drunk on their power. They tax one group to line the pockets of another. They persecute one group to curry favor with another. They make Anarchists and Libertarians look good by comparison, more so everyday.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2007 @10:48AM (#20899591)
        Also, the author of The Anarchist Cookbook apparently knows nothing about the subjects covered. He (or they, if it's not really one author) apparently just copied stuff from a bunch of different sources.

        You would be correct to assume so. Apparently the author admits it, and even wants to take the book out of print, but unfortunately he doesn't have the means or rights to do so. As an ex-adolescent I have to admit that I purchased this book when I was younger, and still have it. It was an intriguing read, but even then I wasn't crazy enough to try any of them. Some of the plans didn't even sound like they would work. All the same, it was an interesting read and good brain food. Curiousity is a good thing, you just need to be able to recognize bad ideas and misinformation, and read between the lines.

        http://www.righto.com/anarchist-cookbook-faq.html [righto.com]

        For the lazy, here's the author's comments in full:

        Dear Mr. Shirriff,
        I have recently been made aware of several websites that focus on The Anarchist Cookbook. As the author of the original publication some 30 plus years ago, it is appropriate for me to comment. I would appreciate it if you would post these comments as part of your website on the Anarchist Cookbook. Please do not include my e-mail address. However, should you wish to confirm the authenticity of this message, please do not hesitate to contact me at the above address.

        The Anarchist Cookbook was written during 1968 and part of 1969 soon after I graduated from high school. At the time, I was 19 years old and the Vietnam War and the so-called "counter culture movement" were at their height. I was involved in the anti-war movement and attended numerous peace rallies and demonstrations. The book, in many respects, was a misguided product of my adolescent anger at the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that I did not believe in.

        I conducted the research for the manuscript on my own, primarily at the New York City Public Library. Most of the contents were gleaned from Military and Special Forces Manuals. I was not member of any radical group of either a left or right wing persuasion.

        I submitted the manuscript directly to a number of publishers without the help or advice of an agent. Ultimately, it was accepted by Lyle Stuart Inc. and was published verbatim - without editing - in early 1970. Contrary to what is the normal custom, the copyright for the book was taken out in the name of the publisher rather than the author. I did not appreciate the significance of this at the time and would only come to understand it some years later when I requested that the book be taken out of print.

        The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change. I no longer agree with this.

        Apparently in recent years, The Anarchist Cookbook has seen a number of 'copy cat' type publications, some with remarkably similar titles (Anarchist Cookbook II, III etc). I am not familiar with these publications and cannot comment upon them. I can say that the original Anarchist Cookbook has not been revised or updated in any way by me since it was first published.

        During the years that followed its publication, I went to university, married, became a father and a teacher of adolescents. These developments had a profound moral and spiritual effect on me. I found that I no longer agreed with what I had written earlier and I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ideas that I had put my name to. In 1976 I became a confirmed Anglican Christian and shortly thereafter I wrote to Lyle Stuart Inc. explaining that I no longer held the views that were expressed in the book and requested that The Anarchist Cookbook be taken out of print. The response from the publisher was that the copyright was in his name and therefore such a decision was his to make - not the author's. In the early 1980's, the rights for
  • ugh.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mstahl (701501) <`marrrrrk' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:28AM (#20896103) Homepage Journal

    Don't people know most of the stuff in that book is a good way to get yourself blown up? Dangerous or not, though, censorship of any kind is just not acceptable in a free society. Everybody should read banned books [ala.org].

    • Re:ugh.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by GrievousMistake (880829) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:43AM (#20896217)
      Well, I'll bet an fair amount of UK children are going to read Anarchist's Cookbook now. Let's hope any media coverage is informed enough to mention that the stuff in the book is less than 100% factual, but I doubt it. They'll probably make it sound like a really cool read.
    • Re:ugh.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vtcodger (957785) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:14AM (#20896475)
      ***Don't people know most of the stuff in that book is a good way to get yourself blown up? Dangerous or not, though, censorship of any kind is just not acceptable in a free society. Everybody should read banned books.***

      The Anarchist's Cookbook is one of the few solid examples that comes to mind of a book that really should be kept away from children. The problem isn't that it might warp the mind (based on the results, there's little justification for leaving that job to parents, churches and TV). It's that the mind in question may be splattered all over the fridge if kids try cooking up some of those recipies in the kitchen.

      At what point do the dangers of censorship overcome the dangers of content? I'd say 16 years of age, but I'll settle for 18 or 21.

  • Amazon.co.uk (Score:5, Informative)

    by rvw (755107) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:28AM (#20896107)
    This means Amazon is a terrorist organization! See Amazon.co.uk: The Anarchist Cookbook (Paperback) [amazon.co.uk].
    • by some damn guy (564195) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:07AM (#20896975)
      The police, the military, and my parents are terrorist organizations too. Not saying that in a provocative way either (except in the case of my parents ;) )- terrorism is a tactic, not a moral position. You scare the shit out of your adversary, in order to get your way while minimizing or avoiding direct confrontation. Remember shock and awe? That the heck do you think that was? Operation 'Terrorize the Iraqi Army' wouldn't have been so politically correct, but we wanted to scare them so they gave up.

      Police live by this tactic, they don't call it that but they know they can't catch everyone so they grab someone and throw the book at them once and a while to send a message.

      And take nuclear terrorism, we (the US) INVENTED it. We didn't have enough bombs to level Japan, but we acted like we did and pretty much everyone turning blue in the face over 'the terrorists' these days would say it was a good thing (it probably did save millions of Japanese lives, you have to admit that- they weren't exactly ready to give up). Of course, that wasn't the only city we leveled. Some we leveled more or less to send a message. Some cities weren't great military or industrial centers and were relatively untouched in targeted bombing, so they just made that much more of a statement when the whole thing burned to the ground one night in a massive firestorm.

      At any rate, someone in the government needs to look up 'moral superiority' in a dictionary fast. All this emphasis on 'Terrorism (tm)' just makes us look like hypocrites, when we, in strict numerical terms have killed far more old men, women and children than Al Queda ever has (not that they're not working on it...). That's just a fact. Americans have killed lots of innocent people and when you look at the justifications, you cannot deny that many of these people were killed simply to scare, demoralize and disorient our enemies. Sure we were fighting Nazis, but we forget sometimes 'the good war' was pretty much the most unholy fucking disaster to ever befall mankind. Taking the lesser evil, even the far lesser one, requires one to do evil, and we only came out 'clean' by comparison. Al Queda are horrible people and they need to die, but just saying they're terrorists and we're not isn't going to convince anyone other than ourselves.

      Al Queda chops people's fucking heads off if they shave or sneak a sip of whiskey. It should NOT have been hard to convince the Arab world these people are a dead end. You see, it's a simple (but not easy) war to win- the moderates who make up the majorities of these countries turn against the extremists. We just had to help them- and yet we couldn't even do that. It was a PR war all along and we lost it so fast no one noticed. We've been so determined to hunt grasshoppers with our howitzers, we missed a pretty obvious point: the average modern war, even one conducted with restraint, is a absolute PR nightmare. So much so, I often wonder if Al Queda WANTED us to invade Afghanistan.

      Soft power used to be our greatest asset, you know, the Statue of Liberty, Elvis records, cheeseburgers. That's what really brought down the Iron Curtain, enough people finally saw us and said, 'screw this, we're doing it their way'. Our enemies were dying to hang themselves and when they had enough rope the alternative for their oppressed people was obvious.

      Nowadays in the Muslim word, seeing your broken Government and thinking it would be great to do things the American way is a good way to get your head chopped off. So if they fall, it sure won't be the democratic types taking over.... We've conducted the worst advertising campaign for democracy in the history of democracy and are clearly our own worst enemy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        it probably did save millions of Japanese lives, you have to admit that- they weren't exactly ready to give up
        I keep hearing this repeated, but it doesn't become true as a result. The Japanese had already offered to surrender (though not unconditionally) to the Russians. The atomic bombs were dropped to make them surrender to the USA instead, and to make their surrender unconditional.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "..So much so, I often wonder if Al Queda WANTED us to invade Afghanistan...."

        Not exactly. No one in the world cared much about Afghanistan. But Iraq, that was a different matter.

        Iraq and Iran had been fighting each otherfor the last ten years. America supported Iraq in an attempt to knock the stuffing out of Iran. So Iran wanted Iraq overthrown.

        Do you remember all those stories about Iraq looking for Uranium, and planning 'weapons of mass destruction'? Where do you think they came from? Yup, planted by SAV
  • by neokushan (932374) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:30AM (#20896119)
    The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism

    Doesn't this mean they can pretty much charge anyone for having any kind of information relating to Bus/train/airplane times? Software Vulnerabilities? Google Earth? The Location of the White House?
    • Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Xiph (723935) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:37AM (#20896165)
      Don't you think that'll come in handy when fighting Terrorism?
      What do you have to be afraid of, if you're not a Terrorist?
      Now that i think about it... You'd better come in for questioning, seeing as you're in on a Terrorism charge, we can hold you indefinately while we investigate which books you have.

      Aaarrgh.... too much paranoia.
       
      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:41AM (#20896689)

        Aaarrgh.... too much paranoia.

        It's only paranoia if they're not out to get you.

        As the current administration has so capably demonstrated, it has no qualms about going after anyone. There was a story just last week about armed police taking two disabled guys down to the station and questioning them because they had the audacity to sit outside their local pub having a drink, open an item of mail, and look at the (heavily armed) police officers nearby. They were just outside the Labour Party conference — the same event, IIRC, where an 82-year-old, long-time member of the party and Holocaust survivor was forcibly ejected a couple of years ago for daring to heckle the man who took us into a highly dubious war, and then preventing from re-entering under the same Terrorism Act referred to in this story, and the following day an elected MP's camera was wiped because he had taken pictures of the queues to get in. Apparently that individual has enough backing that the people are willing to elect him their representative and let him make law on their behalf, yet he can't be trusted with a couple of photos of his own. Was that security, or just trying to prevent politically damaging material leaking out?

    • by alexhs (877055) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:49AM (#20896277) Homepage Journal

      The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism.
      Also every student in chemistry, materials science... can be charged. Hey, they are dangerous people, they know stuff...
    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:17AM (#20896499) Journal
      Yes it does. It's a bit like that question on the US visa waiver form that asks if you're coming to the US to commit crimes. This means if you do commit a crime, they can give you extra punishments by adding the crime of making a false declaration on the visa waiver form.

      This is the same thing. It gives the authorities extra charges they can add to increase the severity of the punishment and make it more likely that they can secure a conviction. If the state starts sliding towards a real police state, it also allows them to arrest anyone for practically anything - for instance, for a government to have political opponents arrested, by using nebulous laws that can practically make any object "useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism". A police state would go through, say, the government opponent's garden shed and find some sodium chlorate weedkiller, and arrest the opponent on the grounds that this is an ingredient for explosives and useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        When I applied for security clearance here in the UK (it's lapsed now), one of the questions was 'have you ever attempted to overthrow the government through violent, political, or other means?' This was particularly badly worded, since the government in the UK is the party with a majority in the House of Commons. I have tried to overthrow them via political means every few years since I've been eligible to vote, simply by voting for a candidate from a different party. I suspect this isn't quite what the
  • Honk! Honk! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tripwirecc (1045528) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:31AM (#20896133)
    The last time I've perused the section of textbooks for education, I've come across books for aspiring pyrotechnicians and chemists that create pyro-stuff. They've also contained instructions, recipes, handling instructions and whatever else. Because of that, I almost die laughing seeing all the attempts to ban said material on the web.
  • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:33AM (#20896143) Homepage
    Maybe it is finally time for a constitution? In writing, with guarantees of free speech?

    Just a wild, crazy idea.
    • by Zelos (1050172) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:38AM (#20896171)
      I would have said that the Human Rights Act provided that, but reading the actual text it doesn't: Article 10
      Freedom of expression
      1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
      2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
      • by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:44AM (#20896223)
        1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
              2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.


        Hmm, didn't know the exact text. So, in short:

        People should have rights, except for when they don't

        Nice.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security,

        Actually, that's fair enough. For example, allowing blanket freedom of speech without any responsibility for the consequences is naive.

        However, since the sort of thing described here is hardly in the interests of national security nor necessary in a democratic society, I fail to see how that exception applies.

        Of course, with this government the Human Rights Act upholds a very important principle, except when it gets in the way of being heavy-handed and authoritarian, in which case it's just a criminal

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spad (470073)
      Yeah, because that's working out so well in the US these days ;)
    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:53AM (#20896315) Journal

      This may confuse many an american who live in a country that isn't free but they think it is. In europe we know we ain't got many of the supposed freedoms of the US of A and more or less, we like it that way. In for instance Holland the rules about banned books is VERY clear, it is the goverment that has banned them and those books are banned and ONLY those books. NO OTHER BOOKS CAN BE BANNED BY ANYONE ELSE!

      No withholding funding from libraries that stock books somebody doesn't like. No pressure on printers, no self-censorship. IF the goverment wants to ban something, they got to come out and do it openly.

      The US is very different, in theory every book is free, just that libraries that stock the wrong ones get no funding. An even greater evil exists in self-censorship. It allows the politicians to wash their hands off any anti-freedom policy while still having censorship.

      Freespeech does not exist (shout fire in a crowded room to see just how free you are) so why even pretend it does exist? Far better to have extremely clear rules about what can and what cannot be said and make it very clear WHO wants it to be that way.

      IF the british goverment wants to get rid of the page 3 girl, they would have to do it themselves, directly and show it to the public. In the US, the goverment would just hint at regulation, then the industry would self-regulate and nobody would be any the wiser.

      Do I agree with the cookbook being under the terrorism law? No, but at least it is clear who is responsible for it (Labour party/Blair), it is clearly banned, not just not in stock at the local library. You go and live in lala land screaming to yourselve that you got freespeech. I prefer to live in the real world and KNOW what is forbidden and who forbids it. At least that gives me a target.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by vidarh (309115)
        Do I agree with the cookbook being under the terrorism law? No, but at least it is clear who is responsible for it (Labour party/Blair), it is clearly banned, not just not in stock at the local library.

        No, it is not clearly banned. The law on purpose was made so vague that it allows the government to claim almost anything as being in violation of the law, and leave it to the court to sort out whether or not they think it's ridiculous. Lets really hope the courts actually have the sense to reign this in (o

  • Horrible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mvanes (1169073) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:39AM (#20896179)
    It would be horrible to be prosecuted for owning something trivial like The Anarchist Cookbook. I'm of the opinion that information should be free, it's what people do with that information is what should make them eligible to be prosecuted. Just because someone has a degree in Nuclear Physics doesn't mean that they're going to construct nuclear bombs and cause anarchy. Information can be dangerous but we need to convey logical conviction. I'm hopeful that the courts will show some common sense and rationalize.
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:44AM (#20896231)

    One thing the headline, summary and article itself don't make clear is that this guy had half a kilo of potassium nitrate, 250g of calcium chloride, videos of beheadings and he had recently visited Pakistan. More information article. [yorkshirepost.co.uk] There's a lot more to this story than "kid reads forbidden book and gets arrested". It sounds more like "this guy looks like he was planning on blowing people up".

    • by ritesonline (1155575) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:00AM (#20896379) Homepage
      Thanks for the link. For anyone too busy to go there here's a quote:- "A Yorkshire schoolboy was found with chemicals used for making bombs under his bed, a court heard yesterday. The 17-year-old, from Dewsbury, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of plotting to make bombs following a trip to Pakistan. He is also alleged to have had a copy of the Anarchists Cookbook on his computer. Piers Arnold, prosecuting, told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court the book had instructions for "viable" bombs" Look's like most Slashdotter's took the bait with the original post...
    • by Fred_A (10934) <`fred' `at' `fredshome.org'> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:44AM (#20896741) Homepage

      One thing the headline, summary and article itself don't make clear is that this guy had half a kilo of potassium nitrate, 250g of calcium chloride, videos of beheadings and he had recently visited Pakistan. More information article. [yorkshirepost.co.uk]
      While this is certainly potentially more incriminating, it's still quite puzzling that his documentation was this lame book (that most network old timers must have read or browsed) and not one of the many proper military manuals on the same topic that float about.
      If he indeed went to Pakistan and had contacts with some sort of indoctrination organisation there, one would expect that they would have pointed him to some proper documentation with recipes that actually worked or didn't blow up in your face.
      Based on the little information leaked, it seems to me that he's some kind of wannabe that just wanted to get noticed.
    • by Soldrinero (789891) on Monday October 08, 2007 @08:50AM (#20898057)

      this guy had half a kilo of potassium nitrate, 250g of calcium chloride, videos of beheadings and he had recently visited Pakistan,


      You do realize that this means he had a pound of fertilizer, half a pound of ice-melter, and some gross but widely-distributed web videos? Oh, and he visited a country that is supposedly our closest ally in the "War On Terror."

      Nice sensationalism there.
  • never mind... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by carndearg (696084) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:50AM (#20896289) Homepage Journal
    Never mind. We can't read the Anarchist's Cookbook over here any more but at least we can still wear a flashing LED on our clothing without having guns pointed at us.
  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:52AM (#20896311) Homepage
    ... it was the "cookbook" part.

    Those of us who have eaten British cuisine will realize fully its hazardous potential.

    Yeah, it seems innocent enough, until the kid opens a delicatessen and starts whipping up some kippers & marmite. I'm sorry, but free speech has its limits, and kippers & marmite lie squarely on the other side of it. Blech!

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:53AM (#20896313)
    Knowledge has become illegal.

    Could someone try to explain why knowing something is a crime? I know how to build bombs, I know how to create LSD, I have done neither. Why do I know it? Same reason man flew to the moon: It's there, and I wanted.

    Did he build a bomb? Did he threaten to use it? Did he do anything resembling a crime besides wanting to know something?

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, we're getting to where Pol Pot wanted to be: The dumber you are, the better citizen you are. We're really where it is becoming dangerous to know too much. Now you don't only get to be liable for something happening to you if you ought to know what you're doing, now knowledge itself is becoming illegal.

    I, for one, don't welcome our new stupid overlords.
  • by el_munkie (145510) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:04AM (#20896403)
    before the Columbine massacre and the rest of the bullshit that was going on in that era. I brought it, in printed form, to school and studied it whenever my obligations to school had been fulfilled.

    Yes, the intent of the manual was malicious, but I think I gained some insight from it. The computer stuff was obsolete by the time I had it, and the chemical stuff was shaky, at best. However, it inspired me to study science and the potential for change it possessed.

    This file contributed more to my love of science than any teacher or professor I've had. Prosecuting kids for being inquisitive is a surefire way to lose one's edge in the natural sciences. Goddammit, don't fuck this up as we have.
  • Where does it end? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smerity (714804) <smerity@smerity.com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:24AM (#20896547) Homepage
    Where does it end?
    This doesn't directly effect me as I don't live in the UK, but sure enough these same undercurrents are affecting my country as well. Terrorism is pushing rationality to breaking point. When I was 12 or 13 I read the Anarchist's Cookbook as well - curiosity gets you at that age. I had no plans to actually use anything from it, and it's unlikely that this kid did either. It's the same interests that lead me to the summer camp that taught us how to make gun powder (shock horror you say in this post 9/11 world!) - science, chemistry and that little pyromaniac who lives inside of every one of us.

    The real worry that is brought forth here is that in this case merely the possession of knowledge is a crime. I'm sorry, but a chemistry book I have lists gunpowder and some pretty volatile reactions too - will they charge me with possession of that? I have another Manifesto [wikipedia.org] - am I now a political dissident too? As they whittle down the prerequisites to treated as criminals we shall soon discover more and more of us come under scrutiny...

    "In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me."

    PS. Sorry to Godwin this, but in this case it's actually relevant. =]
  • by Datamonstar (845886) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:36AM (#20897247)
    If the book were sitting on his nightstand, bound and in physical form, there would be no problem here, perhaps. At least I hope there wouldn't. The debacle is probably due to that ever-so-bewildering element of digital devices to over-complicate the legal process into such distorted and out of shape lines of thought as criminalizing the digital theft of a piece of media far more than the physical theft of the same media. Maybe it's due to ignorance and and the puffed-up and over emphasized importance placed upon computers in this so-called "digital age" as they directly aid so few of us yet completely mystify the great majority of us that we're seeing these trends such as the translation of the ASCI words of a .txt file into something perceived as far more dangerous and threatening than the printed words of a book. One could also suppose that it is the same phenomenon that transforms the digitized violence of a video game into being more harmful than that which is featured on film. Such is the result of extreme ignorance by a great majority of the populace and the nature of the powers that be to placate this populace with ineffective, unnecessary and and unfair judgments such as this one that make no sense to the rest of us, those few that are left to marvel at the situation and hope that somehow, someday everybody else will get a clue. And maybe one day the use of a computers won't immediately baffle authorities into letting fear and ignorance direct their actions instead of common sense.
  • Free men... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rwyoder (759998) on Monday October 08, 2007 @09:13AM (#20898357)
    ...don't need their government's permission to own a book.
  • UK = police state (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@eaRASPrthshod.co.uk minus berry> on Monday October 08, 2007 @10:09AM (#20899081)
    Britain is a police state. No doubt about that. The next election has been deferred until Gordon Brown can work out how to make it a criminal offence not to vote for him.

    However, there is a healthy population of outlaws. Dope smoking, movie downloading, blowing things up and dancing all night are alive and well ..... just under most people's radar. It's mostly stupid people who get caught, and frankly they're no great loss.

    Britain is basically two countries in one. The mainstream media, with its split personality (turning ordinary people into mindless, celebrity-obsessed chavs and simultaneously castigating them for being that way) created the whole mess (and look at this from 2001 [tvtropes.org] for an example of mainstream-media hypocrisy ..... though this one was about paedophilia, not terrorism ..... it's saying something when the two are virtually interchangeable). The deep underground movement ..... well, if you haven't heard of it, you're not meant to hear of it.
  • Guy Fawkes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by psykocrime (61037) <mindcrimeNO@SPAMcpphacker.co.uk> on Monday October 08, 2007 @11:29AM (#20900161) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like the UK needs a modern day Guy Fawkes [wikipedia.org]. Only the modern one needs to succeed in blowing up Parliament.

    Speaking of that, if anybody in the RTP (NC) area is interested in having some sort of Guy Fawkes Night [wikipedia.org] event this year, gimme a shout. I'm thinking we should co-opt the British holiday and celebrate the Guy Fawkes of the world, maybe burn an effigy of a cop or George Bush, instead of an effigy of Fawkes. Make it a celebration of the spirit of those who would oppose The State. After all, historically us lot here in the U.S. have taken ideas like Freedom and Liberty a little more seriously than our British kin.
  • The second [charge] relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism.
    Oh my God ... Nuke the universities!!!
    • Physics books...
    • Chemistry books....
    • English books (for preparing effective demands letters).
    • Photography and arts (for preparing terrorist training materials
    • Computing Science (for calculating the best mixtures)
    • Human Kinetics (to learn how to carry the bomb).
    (you might as well burn the libraries, too).
  • Could be anything (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:39PM (#20902807) Homepage

    The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism.

    That could be anything. A road map, rail pass, bus ticket, blueprints...just about anything on paper could be useful in preparing an act of terrorism.

    This whole war on terror is getting loony. The real terrorists are probably laughing their ass off watching us twist ourselves in knots.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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