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In UK, First "Anarchist's Cookbook" Downloaders' Convictions

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the ok-are-you-following-this dept.

Censorship 418

analysethis writes "In the UK last month the author/compiler of the well-known-in-Internet-circles 'terrorist handbook' pleaded guilty to seven counts of collecting information that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism, with a maximum jail term of 10 years. Today the first people caught with downloaded copies have been put behind bars — a white-supremacist father and son pairing getting 10 and two years respectively, convicted of three counts of possessing material useful for acts of terror. How many will be emptying their recycle bins after this conviction? As of writing, the book is still freely available on Amazon.com to buy." Note: it seems that there's some overlapping nomenclature at play. Terrance Brown, the man who pleaded guilty to terror charges last month, is said to have been distributing a CD set including among other things extracts from Al-Qaeda manuals. His "cookbook" differs then from William Powell's 1971 book by a similar title, though (confusingly enough) the linked Wikipedia article implies that the father-and-son pair arrested possessed a copy of the Powell book as well; its text may well have been among the materials that Brown distributed.

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Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (5, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218212)

...could have been the fucking chemical weapons.

I have the feeling the conviction has more to do with a bunch of white supremacists holding large quantities of ricin, than that actual act of learning how to make it.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (0, Redundant)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218244)

That was my thought as well. There's a difference between a guide on making a few kinds of small scale explosives and even manuals on geurilla tactics and a manual for making illegal weapons of indiscriminate destruction.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218270)

And a difference between owning the instructions, and owning the instructions, the raw materials, and the finished products.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218280)

It could be a step-by-step walk-through on how to build the dirtiest, world-endingest nuke ever for all anyone should care about its content.

The important point GP was trying to make that you seem to have missed is these retards were actually making bombs, not just reading about them.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218316)

If anyone is actually looking for instructions and materials to build nuclear weapons or simple dirty bombs, please contact me by leaving a message on this board.
@

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218572)

Thank you for your kind offer, My name is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and I would very much like to hear from you.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218302)

I think you miss the GP's point. The GP's point is there's a difference between possessing a manual/guide and actually creating the banned substances itself (at least banned in the form and quantities found).

I don't see a problem with people having manuals for making such weapons (unless they obtained them illegally, or those manuals are banned by the laws of their country for some reason). It's when they start making them then it becomes a problem.

I don't care if my neighbour has a manual for manufacturing anthrax, as long as he never tries.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (-1, Troll)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218426)

"I don't care if my neighbour(sic) has a manual for manufacturing anthrax, as long as he never tries."

You mean like this dude?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hahn [wikipedia.org]

Sometimes you really do not want to know what the neighbors are up to, sometimes EVERYONE should know.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218434)

However if he DOES get caught with some AND the manual then the manual goes a long way towards establishing intent. That's why I start off agreeing with the GP.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218622)


Surely for something like this, it's not even the case that you'd need instructions. A quick hit on Wikipedia tells me that Ricin occurs in Castor beans and the pulp of about eight beans contains enough to kill an adult human. Well I thought ricin came from rice (don't know why), but once you've crossed that bit of ignorance, it surely can't be that hard to derive ricin, can it? Buy castor beans, pulp them up and try a few experiments at getting a solution out of them. You can test it on mice bought from any old pet store. (I wouldn't, I'm vegetarian, but I'm presuming some terrorists have fewer reservations about animal testing). That's assuming that the information isn't already out there. I quick search finds that the process for extracting ricin is actually FILED AT THE US PTO [google.com] . It's a matter of public record! Hillarious! :D

I think every other student has a copy of the Anarchist cookbook. Big deal. Terrorist used to mean someone that scared people to get their ends from the government. These days "terrorist" means someone used by the government to scare you with.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (2, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218456)

That was my thought as well. There's a difference between a guide on making a few kinds of small scale explosives and even manuals on geurilla tactics and a manual for making illegal weapons of indiscriminate destruction.

I have a lot of Astronomy books. They describe what is needed to create supernovae and active galactic nuclei. Do you have any idea how small these terrorist books look in comparison? Should I be locked up for that? (The one weakness to my argument of course is that we don't actually have the tech to assemble supernovae let alone galaxies, but hey).

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218672)

Nah that's like Lewis Black pointed out. If you kill enough people and it sorta wraps around and nobody really knows what to say beyond "Wow, you must have worked very hard on that..."

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (5, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218400)

The article says that the son was convicted only of the thoughtcrime. I would've thought that if he was actually involved with making the poison, both could've been convicted for that.

Like most overreaching laws, the first few people convicted will obviously deserve it, and could've been convicted for a proper crime if people were prepared to do their jobs properly. Serious misuse will happen when we've all accepted the necessity of the new law.

Is there a list of what we can't read? Are there especially accurate works of fiction we can be arrested for reading? Perhaps the law will be used against people collecting information about unpleasant things our government does (remember, taking photos of police is already illegal, if the photos could be "useful for terrorism")?

For example, there are people that try to discover the routes taken by trucks transporting nuclear materials in the UK, in order to inform communities along the routes and peacefully protest. I guess they are terrorists now.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218468)

For pity sake mod this man up!!!

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218532)

I would mod him up, but I don't want to be seen publicly supporting terrorists.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (-1, Flamebait)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218490)

The article says that the son was convicted only of the thoughtcrime. I would've thought that if he was actually involved with making the poison, both could've been convicted for that.

The police sometimes need small over reaching laws. For example in the UK its illegal to walk your dog in an unban environment off the lead. Now its a law that is almost never enforced but its a handy tool to have, for example it was recently enforced on a guy who lives down the road from me. He staggers drunkenly down the road with a snarling doberman off its lead and frightens local people. Suddenly the police have a handy tool for stopping this. They don't want to abuse their over reaching laws because then there is inevitably a public outcry and they loose a useful tool.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218522)

Surely he was already guilty of a breach of the peace, or at least behaviour likely to provoke one.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218558)

What you're advocating is making most people criminals and then trusting the police to only arrest the ones who 'deserve it'.

Honestly, that method probably would result in more criminals being convicted, but it also vastly increases the power of the police to act without oversight. Anybody who pisses off an officer could quite easily and legitimately be convicted, despite having done nothing (really) wrong.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

Ja'Achan (827610) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218636)

Seems to work in the Netherlands, I think: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gedogen [wikipedia.org]

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218570)

The article says that the son was convicted only of the thoughtcrime. I would've thought that

I stopped right there; I don't want to risk jail time just to see how that sentence ends.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218632)

Ah, yet another bunion in their jackboot.

happy sailing

fucking-chemical weapons? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218442)

...could have been the fucking chemical weapons.

fucking-chemical weapons? Chemical weapons now exist that know how to fuck? This war on terra is getting out of hand!

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218450)

Read the first link - the BBC story is about a guy who simply collected and sold information, while the Telegraph story is about those who were caught using it.

The charge that the former pleaded guilty to was "collecting information that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism". It's an insanely broad law which can and (if history is anything to go by) will be used to stifle legitimate collection of factual information, not to mention the chilling effect from simply having it on the books.

Any number of things, not least the majority of university level science and engineering textbooks, could be extremely useful to terrorists. The law is probably there to be selectively applied to those who they can't get anything else on. Sure, it probably will rightly convict a few potentially dangerous people, but in doing so we are suffering a huge abridgement of our rights.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

parazite.org (976809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218552)

http://web.archive.org/web/20080410231952/http://www.anarchist-cookbook.com/ [archive.org] "Following the recent terrorist activities, new laws are in progress to ban the information contained in our CD-ROM. This is against all the freedom of speech that we have had for so long, but we will abide with the law and bring the cookbook (as we know it) to an end." ... I guess so.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218518)

a kid was arrested for posession of this book a few years ago. http://hightimes.com/news/ht_admin/3720 [hightimes.com]

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218590)

this is why we kicked there asses out of our country over two hundred years ago.

Re:Could've been the Anarchist's Cookbook.... (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218594)

'I have the feeling the conviction has more to do with a bunch of white supremacists holding large quantities of ricin, than that actual act of learning how to make it.'

However, in the other case mentioned in TFA (the most worrying from a civil liberties point of view), Terrance Brown was apparently just compiling stuff available elsewhere (mostly or entirely online) and selling it on a CD:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070108155556/www.anarchist-cookbook.com/CD.htm [archive.org]

This includes everything from 'Fruit Machine Cheating' and the 'Big Book Of Chemical, Powder, And Thermonuclear Explosives' to the infamous 'Al Qaeda Training Manual' - looks like he indiscriminately trawled the net for anything vaguely terrorist/anarchist related and lumped it all together. It was probably the AQ manual that caught the attention of the police. This has featured in other UK cases and is apparently illegal here, though freely available from many respectable sites including one at the US Department of Justice and another at the USAF Air University:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Qaeda_Handbook [wikipedia.org]
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/30/notts_al_qaeda_manual_case/ [theregister.co.uk]

I guess the implications of our Trusted Ally in the War on Terror distributing terrorist material via official government and military websites have never been fully explored...

"white-supremacist father and son" (1)

dollarwizard (1806856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218228)

How is that "white-supremacist" part relevant? It's not illegal to be ignorant, is it?

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (2, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218236)

Actually from what my foreign friends have told me America's one of the few countries where these kinds of groups aren't strongly discouraged by some means other than public attitude.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218256)

If you are referring to anyone saying "I am a white supremacist" being either thrown into prison or beat up, maybe you should be happy about that?

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218470)

Here in the UK we have an openly white-supremacist political party that fielded candidates in the recent General Election: the British National Party. They are trying so hard to appear "honest" and "reasonable" but they're really just a front for racial and religions bigotry and neo-Nazism.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218514)

Cite some actual proof then.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (1, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218656)

Here in the UK we have an openly white-supremacist political party that fielded candidates in the recent General Election: the British National Party. They are trying so hard to appear "honest" and "reasonable" but they're really just a front for racial and religions bigotry and neo-Nazism.

Here in the US, we call them "Republicans". And the Tea Party doesn't think they go far enough.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (4, Insightful)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218264)

I consider that a sign of one of the strengths of Americas freedom of speech. That a group can say something politically and socially unpopular but still have a right to have and hold that message.

Please correct me if that is wrong or has changed.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (5, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218408)

Not only that, but by allowing them to express their views openly we can confront them with the facts instead of letting them fester underground. I ran into some of those type preaching their hate in Dallas and told those standing there listening to their hate about my grandfather's experience in WWII, how he was there when they liberated one of the camps, how they had the bodies of prisoners stacked up like cordwood, how you couldn't tell male from female because they were all so starved, how they were warned before hand not to give them any food because the rich diet of K Rations that the soldiers had would cause them to have a systemic collapse, a real fucking horror story.

I would MUCH rather have those types of speech out in the open, where they can be confronted, than to allow them to fester underground unopposed, and my grandfather believed that as well. When I asked him if watching the protests against the soldiers in Viet Nam bothered him he said "We fought the Nazis so we would be free to speak, so even if I don't support their words, I support their right to say them". i know this crap like "free speech zones" would have grandfather spinning in his grave fast enough to power the southern US.

So while I say bust their ass if they are making bombs I do NOT support anyone getting busted for simply reading or possessing a book. Too close to thoughtcrime for my tastes. And never forget there are plenty on the far sides of the political spectrum that would just looove to throw anyone in jail who reads Marx or Mao or anything that is other than "Capitalism Fuck Yeah!"

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (5, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218460)

Not only that, but by allowing them to express their views openly we can confront them with the facts instead of letting them fester underground.

In theory yes, but as we see on slashdot, ignorant people with incorrect facts are often celebrated by the community with up-modding, while those who try to counter with facts and logic are down-modded.

It works similarly outside of slashdot, in politics and society in general, the person with the loudest voice is often the victor, despite the faults in their argument.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218284)

Yeah it's the flipside of that pesky old Freedom of Speech thing.

Given the choice between allowing White Supremacists and Free Speech Zones, I'll begrudgingly take the White Supremacists.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218414)

Yeah.

Unfortunately in the US you have both.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218438)

Honestly I don't see why we don't do away with the pretense and instead of "free speech zone" tape and sticking both groups inside it we just straight up make it a cage match.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (1, Informative)

P0ltergeist333 (1473899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218494)

Didn't we already have 'Free Speech Zones' since the Vietnam war? And then wasn't limited use of free speech zones greatly expanded when Bush was pResident? (http://www.aclu.org/FilesPDFs/dissent_report.pdf)

Let's face it, when Republicans are in power, you get a larger dose of both white supremacists AND Free Speech Zones. Just look at Arizona.

It could be very relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218282)

In cases like this, I think that it does matter why you would want to see material like that. If you try to get your hands on a guide about bomb making, I think that it is relevant whether you are just a curious teenager or an extremist who has acquired the rather specific materials to actually build that in your home. The simple act of downloading a file is very different depending on a number of other variables.

Now, in this case the people who were arrested are two white supremacists who had been building chemical weapons. I don't see how you could possibly consider that thing to not be relevant to the subject.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (2, Interesting)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218300)

Well I'm glad to know that it's not normal every day people. When I was 17 and read Fight Club for the first time I got terribly interested in this kind of crap, (amateur explosives and general mischief, not white supremacy!) and probably downloaded a lot of stupid things out of curiosity, it was a phase I grew out of, and I never intended to do anything for a second.. I do remember finding an awesome shaving creme "bomb" though.. . it would have made some mess! My mom would have been so surprised! And I wanted to put an "out of order sign" on an ATM (to free people from their dependence on money... oh my god I was an idiot)

Anyway my point is I feel it's important for them to mention that these were serious nasty people, and not just hobbyists who want to blow up their old fridge because they're stupid and explosions look so cool on tv.

Re:"white-supremacist father and son" (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218348)

As it happens I found a relatively easy to understand link that might help
http://www.bestofsicily.com/genetics.htm [bestofsicily.com]

The brotherhood of mankind has ancient roots. In the remote shadows of human pre-history, there was only a single primitive culture. "Genetic tracking" is a new science but it indicates that "modern" man existed as a hunter-gatherer in eastern Africa around 150,000 years ago, with evidence of these same people discovered in the Middle East dated from around 80,000 years ago. A well-researched hypothesis that all humans are descended from a "mitochondrial" Eve (a reference to the mitochondrial DNA traced to a female ancestor living in east Africa 150,000 years, or about 7,000 generations, ago) emphasizes the "commonality" of all humans and our descent from a single "race." At one point, there were probably only around 10,000 humans in the world, and they gradually migrated, leaving a DNA trail behind them.

In other words we are all a mixture sharing common genes there is no master race so no matter how white you think you are you still have genes of black people in your DNA. Wack jobs white black muslim or christian need a little education but if that fails prison is probably the best place for them.

It isn't the literature that is a problem it is what people do with that information. I don't need an instruction book to make some sort of bomb and neither do most other people however there is no real desire to make a bomb either. I believe that the anarchists cookbook is reckoned to be flawed and the recipes likely to harm the cook to a greater or lesser extent which tends to suggest its safer to leave the cook book in circulation.

Free speech wrinkle (1)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218362)

If they are white supremacists who frequently use eliminationist rhetoric, their conviction on possessing weapons capable of killing a large number of people in Harlem or Brixton could turn their rhetoric from protected speech into credible threats.

Oh no am I in trouble. (4, Informative)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218252)

When I was a teenager I taught myself about everything from religion and witchcraft to bombs, computer hacking, and chemical weapons. Guess that means I'm a terrorist.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218276)

well you never did anything with that knowledge...

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218338)

well you never did anything with that knowledge...

Welcome to the wonderful world of thought crimes. Terrorism is one of the excuses to introduce them.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (2, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218394)

I'm sure what I did would be considered a crime today. In my day it was considered boys being boys.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218416)

Well, does it still matter? You're already suspicious if you happen to want to know. While the US may still have its 1st amendment, other countries that don't have such stopgags to the suppression of information are already way ahead.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218686)

Ha. You're already suspicious if you read slashdot! There's load of articles about security and computer hacking...

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218684)

thermite is loads of fun, especially if you manage to get hold of the proper materials.... And what we used to do with it was not really all that legal.
We didnt hurt anyone, but quite a few pieces of steel fencing etc got melted somewhat over a few years time *cough*

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218318)

I know you aren't supposed to RTFA but please note that these people didn't only possess the instructions. They were actually manufacturing the chemical weapons.

If you also did that, yeah. I would have no problem with you having been throwin behind the bars.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218358)

Did the CD contain something about not voting for the major parties, pro Clegg?

Terrorism is when the Criminal Justice system warehouses criminals at loose in the community, as they are too cheap to actually lock them up. And to get away with it, they gag opponents.
Terrorism is Lehman and Enron and Iceland having a party - and the rest us supporting them.

Imagine 5000 convicted, repeat pedophiles out in the community, and some law making it illegal to
out where they live or name them (sorry, you have no rights).

And 200,000 crims doing community service part time, and re-offending as their 2nd job.
These are cosmetic distractions to hide the real terrorism: financial terrorism and economic panic.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218366)

Yeah I learned those things in case the apocalypse aliens or whatever my most paranoid fantasies can conjure. Comes and I have to defend myself. Knowledge is power. I guess Knowledge is now also terrorism.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218446)

Knowledge in the hands of those that are being ruled has always been a threat to those that are in power. Knowledge has always been the primary tool of revolutions, not a single revolution in the history of mankind has been led by uneducated people. And the primary tool of oppression has been withdrawal of information and knowledge. With a growing resentment against the ruling group, their paranoia grows, to the point that they see anyone with knowledge and information as a threat to their power.

For reference, see Pol Pot.

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218412)

So you've read this book too!

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218430)

i went through much the same thing as a kid. access to reasonable information on the nature of chemical formulae and energetic reactions, along with computers and weaponry, and books in general.

the part of all this that really bothers me is my son has talent in these areas. the problem being economic however. without the ability to purchase knowledge through recognized 'safe' channels, every google search he makes from my home using common terms that reflect the contents of the original cookbook, leaves me just slightly cold wondering if i should expect a knock on the door.

i can't help but think back to an old 'new' twilight zone episode called 'examination day'
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734708/

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218464)

I taught myself about everything from religion and witchcraft to bombs, computer hacking, and chemical weapons.

No, it means, you're a witch.

BURN THE WITCH!

(Quick, weigh him against a duck.)

Re:Oh no am I in trouble. (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218540)

Don't worry, you're only a danger to the public if you had sexual thought about somebody < 16 years old...

Illegal? (3, Interesting)

wmspider (1333299) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218296)

convicted of three counts of possessing material useful for acts of terror

Can sombody explain why this is illegal? Every highschool student taking a chemistry course 'possesses material useful for acts of terror'. The fact that somebody owns something that COULD be used for some illegal activity doesn't make that person a criminal. Else, everybody would be in prison. Have you ever used a knife? A car? A computer? Thought so.

Re:Illegal? (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218354)

Comparing private ownership of dangerous material to access in a public institution (presumably for learning) is a bit of stretch. Educational institutions frequently have different controls. A less dangerous example: You can not let anyone copy a copyrighted book that you own, whereas libraries are allowed to do that.

Also, a knife, a car, a computer each have many legitimate uses.

I am not saying that I agree with the conviction (I don't know the details), but saying that the law being applied to ownership of kitchen knife should be the same as the one applied here is naive.

Re:Illegal? (1)

parazite.org (976809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218424)

Hey! They have legitimate uses. Counterterrorism and freedom fighting.

Re:Illegal? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218618)

You can not let anyone copy a copyrighted book that you own, whereas libraries are allowed to do that.

What are you babbling on about?

Re:Illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218660)

You let someone come to your house and make a private copy of book you have. This is exacly why libraries has photocopier, so you can go, read and make yourself a private copy. fuck you, you dont know shit. And owning chemicals or even weapons dont make one a criminal. One is juged by his actions, not of what he own or think.

Re:Illegal? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218356)

Explain the practical uses of Ricin for the lay person. He created enough ricin to kill 9 people (500mg is lethal dosage according to Wiki). There's some hope it can be used for Cancer, but right now it just seem like it's really good at killing people.

Re:Illegal? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218614)

To quote myself:

Read the BBC link, it relates to a different case. The guy had collected together a bunch of information and was running a business selling CDs of it. Factual information, nothing more. He was charged with "collecting information that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism", "recklessly disseminating the information" and "transferring criminal property".

This is all despite the fact that "the court was told that Brown made tens of thousands of pounds from the business but had no terrorist sympathies". I see nothing in the article to suggest that the court believed his intent was anything other than that of making money.

Re:Illegal? (4, Funny)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218378)

You think that's bad? Imagine what happens when the powers that be find out, that about 49% of the population have the tools needed to rape women?

Re:Illegal? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218500)

You think that's bad? Imagine what happens when the powers that be find out, that about 49% of the population have the tools needed to rape women?

Only 49%? I would think that close to 100% of the population has the tools needed to rape women. Most people have hands, fingers, feet, tongues, etc. Of those who don't, they would have access to objects that could be used for the purpose. You'd practically have to be in a coma to not have tools of rape.

Re:Illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218640)

I'm in a coma because all my blood is in my penis, you insensitive clod!

Re:Illegal? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218380)

You could easily argue in court that the materials you own are for personal, educational purposes. Unless, of course, the police had just found a load of homemade ricin in your house...

Re:Illegal? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218606)

Read the BBC link, it relates to a different case. The guy had collected together a bunch of information and was running a business selling CDs of it. Factual information, nothing more. He was charged with "collecting information that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism", "recklessly disseminating the information" and "transferring criminal property".

This is all despite the fact that "the court was told that Brown made tens of thousands of pounds from the business but had no terrorist sympathies". I see nothing in the article to suggest that the court believed his intent was anything other than that of making money.

Re:Illegal? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218390)

Every highschool student taking a chemistry course 'possesses material useful for acts of terror'.

Wait, what? High school chemistry students sit down with pencil and paper and do chemical equations and draw what 2-phenyl-3,7-dichloro-whatever-cyclononane looks like. They don't actually mix things together - that would be too dangerous!

And the books are too busy being pedantic about the definition of acids and bases to say anything useful about how to make stuff go boom.

Chemistry teaching in Britain (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218472)

Every highschool student taking a chemistry course

It seems to be almost impossible to take a pure chem. course these days. What chemistry there is, is taught in such a watered down manner that it's almost an abstract philosophy class - mixed in with "vinegar and baking powder" level experiments, all done behind a safety screen with full protective gear. I doubt there are many children today who could even tell you what H2SO4 smells like.

Comparing the Chemistry O-level I took a few decades ago with the BBC's example Chemistry GCSE (on their website) almost makes you want to cry. These days it contains questions like "what is the most environmentally appropriate use for a limestone quarry, that's been mined out?"

However nowadyas our wonderful law enfarcement officers automitcally assume that chemistry only means either drugs or bombs, it's hardly surprising it's been demonised

Re:Illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218554)

Are you familar with the US law concerning short barreled rifles?

Normally there are kits you can purchase, but this requires a permit from the ATF first.

However, the law is written so broad that the mere posession of a hacksaw and rifle is in violation.

Re:Illegal? (4, Insightful)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218588)

convicted of three counts of possessing material useful for acts of terror

Can sombody explain why this is illegal? Every highschool student taking a chemistry course 'possesses material useful for acts of terror'. The fact that somebody owns something that COULD be used for some illegal activity doesn't make that person a criminal. Else, everybody would be in prison. Have you ever used a knife? A car? A computer? Thought so.

The conviction in this case was almost certainly (although I can't find confirmation) under section 57 or 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. These provide, respectively, that a person is guilty of an offence if he:

- "possesses an article in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that his possession is for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism."
- "collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or [...] possesses a document or record containing information of that kind."

A legitimate reason to own the information is a defence to both of these charges - so if you're studying chemistry, for example, and your research involves making explosives you aren't guilty under this act. To make it clear what we're talking about, this is the same formulation as is used for knife crime in the UK - you can carry any knife you want as long as you actually need it, but you can't just carry a knife around because you want to. The fact that most people aren't even aware that there is a legal question operating when they carry their gardening tools illustrates the fact that the distinction works quite well.

Since British law is defined largely by judicial precedent it is important to bear in mind that this act was based on the provisions of the Criminal Justice act 1994; the effect of this is to mean that the decision in Rowe (2007) is likely to be binding, i.e. that if the defendant introduces evidence of a non-terrorist motive it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that this defence is not valid.

Note also KvR (2008) where it was held that only a document:
- Providing practical assistance in the commission of terrorist offences, and
- That was intended to be used to assist in the preparation or perpetration of an act of terrorism
will lead to a conviction.

The effect of these precedents is that this law allows the conviction of people who deliberately gather information to aid in the commission of terrorist attacks - it does not make mere possession of the information a crime, since intent is also important. It seems to me entirely reasonable that people who abet terrorists should be guilty of an offence.

Re:Illegal? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218630)

The article seems to suggest that the court accepted that Brown "had no terrorist sympathies". His reason for possessing the information was to sell it for profit. Is there any reason that this would not be a legitimate defence?

Useful to commit acts of terrorism? (4, Informative)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218304)

Not the Anarchist's Cookbook. Rife with inaccuracies and dangerous, or so my chemist friends tell me.

Re:Useful to commit acts of terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218566)

Thanks to CIA messing with it.

The original is safer, or so my friends tell me.

Re:Useful to commit acts of terrorism? (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218670)

If the CIA wanted to fuck with the Anarchist's Cookbook, I bet they wouldn't touch a single recipe.
They'd make changes and typos here and there to watermark copies made available to people under online surveillance and then watch for other people making copies of it available.
If Jerry S. in Wichita has a copy, and the next thing Carl W. is found to have a printout of it in his possession there's a connection between them, however tenuous.

Bad summary. (2, Insightful)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218322)

Summary:" first people caught with downloaded copies have been put behind bars" TFA: "White supremacist who manufactured ricin jailed" Big difference. Now, we can focus on the charges against the author/writer, but make it a bit more clear please. Its retarded to arrest someone over information, but its the UK, so what can you expect. Who draws the line, do they arrest authors of high level physicist books about nuclear devices? UK is quickly revealing the police state mentality they have been hiding for so long, I guess next time I'm on that side of the pond I'll be sure to avoid it.

Re:Bad summary. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218332)

Yeah, I agree the summary's bad, though it is somewhat unpleasant that the judge in the case appears to consider the instructions themselves also illegal:

Judge John Milford expressed surprise that the Anarchist's Cookbook was still available to buy on the Amazon website, and asked the authorities to look into it.

Re:Bad summary. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218458)

There's a good reason why the original "Cookbook" is still in circulation: It's no threat. Well, at least to nobody but the poor idiot actually using it as a cookbook. It's a compilation of inaccurate and outdated information. If anything, putting this into the hands of wannabe terrorists is a good way to ensure that nothing bad happens.

The "new" book, otoh...

Re:Bad summary. (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218388)

I think the key point is that the prosecution had to show that the information these people had obtained was actually being used for terrorist acts. With the presence of the ricin, the possession of the instructions to make it became a crime because they clearly weren't being obtained for curiosity/education.

Re:Bad summary. (4, Interesting)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218604)

As I've explained above [slashdot.org] , this law does not criminalise the possession of information. It is only an offence to gather information that would help in the commission of an act of terrorism with the intention that it be used to assist the commission of this act. I think we can all agree that people who are part of a plot to perpetrate acts of terrorism should be jailed.

Recycle bin? Bad move? (1)

Gri3v3r (1736820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218340)

If you want to get rid of something, first destroy it then delete it. Otherwise, you just have evidence sitting on your disk, because whatever you delete, just has its flag changed. So it remains there , till it gets overwritten. People who would look for the file will not just use windows' search. i bet many are going to burn their HDs now.

I'd always assumed the 'Cookbook'... (1)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218374)

...was full of guarantied-to-fail receipts---bombs that would blow up their builders, acid that would give you bad trips, opiate analogues that are a one-way ticket to LDopaville.....

Ban Bibles not Bombs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218376)

Interesting that the authorities don't ban various religious texts and holy bibles that are used to promote terrorism and hatred.

In reality books don't kill people, and guns don't (even) kill people. Religious and authoritarian ideologies are used to kill people. But I don't expect the Authorities to ban authoritarian and bigoted hate-filled religious texts which help encourage violence. It's another great hypocrisy.

(And I'll emphasize that I don't WANT religious texts banned, I'm just emphasizing and pointing out the logical fallacies tend to develop around Leadership and Law Enforcement).

this reminds me of a kid I once knew etc. (5, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218384)

FWIW, I knew a guy at school who was investigated by British police about 14 years ago for downloading manuals like this and being involved with a group of people involved in distributing such material and building shit for kicks... a Bachelors and a Masters later, he is now working at the Ministry of Defence (the UK DoD) as a strategist.

This doesn't surprise me at all. He was a fairly bright chap - though nothing spectacular - but his heart remained that of a pathological kid who liked pain and blowing shit up. The military want a monopoly on that sort of person; they'll either catch you when they can mould you, or get rid of you.

RTFA people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218396)

It's more to do with the production and subsequent storage of ricin rather than downloading the cookbook!

I'm burning all my wife's cookbooks (2, Informative)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218428)

She's been terrorizing me with her cooking for years.

Sex Pistols track == incitement? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32218436)

I've got a copy of Never Mind the Bollocks which contains a track called "Anarchy in the UK" so I guess I'd better turn myself in as presumably this makes me a terrorist

Theres ricein my soup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218476)

Every day I'm more and more thankful to be living in the US.

"seven counts of collecting information that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism"

Taking a picture of a friend standing in front of a public building could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism? How cowardly and disconnected from reality do lawmakers have to be to inact laws with this kind of language? Who isn't a criminal in the UK? Why not just pass a law saying anyone the government does not like can be sent to jail for 10 years and just get it over with already.

I'm assuming publishers of university chemistry books will soon be publicly hung for providing information en mass that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism? Banning information only cultivates ignorance.

Guilty of having a book with a banned *title*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218520)

(Posting anonymously 'cos I don't trust the UK Government)

His "cookbook" differs then from William Powell's 1971 book by a similar title,

Is that in any way related to "The Anarchist's Cookbook" that I picked up on a 3.5" Atari ST floppy disk circa 1983/1984? It was freely available through a publicly advertised freeware/shareware repository.

From what I can remember, more than half of it was WRITTEN ON AN APPLE II BY AMERICAN SCHOOLKIDS and probably wouldn't work. The most useful thing I saw was the proper ratios for mixing thermite, which nowadays is the kind of info you could pick off Wikipedia. But, because I can't remember what I did with it, I'll keep my post anonymous. I don't want my front door being kicked in by armed police and my house torn apart as they look for it.

Anyone with basic education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218524)

Anyone with basic education from before the 1990ties can make explosives or chemical weapons from thing bought in any drugstore.

Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218526)

Let's start arresting and jailing chemistry students as well now, THEY'RE ALL TERRORISTS, THEY CAN MAKE BOMBS!

Wait, that happened indirectly by watering down Chemistry courses to the point of making it a joke. (same with all the sciences, in fact)

My favourite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218564)

My favourite recipe from TTH was the one for smoke bombs / slow burning fuses. You mix sugar and potassium nitrate in a ratio of 2:3, soak some braided string for the fuse. It makes quite a lot of smoke (and a bit of heat).

Absolutely ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218644)

This is ridiculous, and scary.

First off, I had the original Anarchist's Cookbook as a kid, it's easily available a million places fo sale on the web - a lot of the info is outdated, and some of it is wrong.

I have also seen the homemade version of this, which slightly improves on some of the stuff, but still is far from the "terrorist manual" claimed.

As a teenager, me and many others built bombs, traps, all kinds of stuff. We never hurt anyone, we never wanted to hurt anyone..We were being boys having fun..A lot of people are just fascinated by this stuff, and there's nothing wrong with that

Being a white supremacist may be ignorant, but it's not a crime. The only thing that concerned me about all of this stuff is the Ricin that was allegedly produced - charge people with that, but but having information that is freely available everywhere? That's thoughtcrime and it's bullshit and people need to wake up and start fighting against this kind of crap or eventually none of us are going to have the right (according to the govts of the world) to know anything that isn't govt approved.

Nothing to hide; nothing to fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32218646)

I don't see the problem guys.

Regards

Mr Dimwit Speakes

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