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Plot? What plot?

by ThatBritGuy Wed Dec 13th, 2006 at 01:18:49 PM EST

I don't have time to write more about this, but I've been following with some interest the aftermath of this Summer's terror hysteria, with the suspicion that there was really no serious plot of any sort.

So I'm not entirely surprised to see that the BBC is reporting that a Pakistani judged has ruled that there is not only not enough evidence to convict the alleged ringleader, there is no real evidence at all.

The arrest of Rashid Rauf in Pakistan triggered arrests in the United Kingdom of a number of suspects allegedly plotting to blow up transatlantic flights.

The Pakistani authorities described him as a key figure.

But an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi found no evidence that he had been involved in terrorist activities or that he belonged to a terrorist organisation.

As well as forgery charges, Mr Rauf has also been charged with carrying explosives.

But his lawyer says police evidence amounts only to bottles of hydrogen peroxide found in his possession.

Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant that can be used for bomb-making if other chemicals are added.

Peroxide can also be used as a mouth wash. I have some bottles (plural) in my bathroom. I suppose it's lucky the police don't know this.


While UK prosecutions will supposedly go ahead, this seems to be part of a clear pattern to either lie about non-existent terror scares, or - more generously - to take misleading intelligence at face value.

Not only were the scary brown people - with beards, no less - involved in the Forest Gate incident completely innocent; in fact they were innocent, to the extent that Commissioner Sir Ian Blair offered a formal apology to the victims. Although not, alas, to the public for the £2 million that were wasted.

But there are also some interesting questions about how exactly one of them came to be in possession of child pornography - which was touted for a while as a justifcation for the raid, when the terror angle clearly wouldn't stick - while lacking the knowledge to download it.  

Police said computer and electrical equipment had been seized during the search of Mr Kahar's house and passed to the Child Abuse Investigation Command for further examination.

On Friday a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said 44 indecent images of children had been found in the memories of a Dell computer, an external computer hard-drive and various mobile phones.

Of the total, 23 had been "embedded" images - which could have been inadvertently downloaded on the back of other computer files - and 21, on the external hard-drive and a Nokia 3G mobile, had been "deleted".

The spokesman said: "To transfer to the phone, the suspect would have to have specialist knowledge.

"There was no evidence that Mr Kahar had possession of, or access to, equipment or the technical knowledge to do so."

My prediction is that those involved in the Summer terror plot will turn out to be similarly innocent. Or at least, the only charges that will stick will prove that the most exciting thing they'll have done is bought some peroxide in bulk.

I suppose it's possible that the Pakistani decision is really part of a government and ISI plot to cover up a prospective attack.

But I'd rather take the decision at face value. And hope the UK legal system has as much of a sense of justice as the Pakistani one.

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Peroxide can also be used as a mouth wash. I have some bottles (plural) in my bathroom. I suppose it's lucky the police don't know this.

You're a scary guy, TBG. Peroxide can also be used as a hair dye -- you weren't going to tell us that, were you? Those bottles are clearly part of your embedded terrorist kit, along with the brown shoe polish, which enable you to be a dumb blonde one day and a vivacious brunette the next.

"We had no idea!" said next-door neighbour Mavis Twiggett, 83. "She was such a nice lady, even if she did have a beard."

Said Ron, Mavis's fourth husband, 33 : "I think those plane flights are all an experiment in social control. They want to see how far they can push us before we stop behaving like sheep."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 13th, 2006 at 03:36:31 PM EST
Now now. Best to keep those fantasies to yourself, eh? :)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 13th, 2006 at 06:30:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nod's as good as a wink. Ssshh!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 03:02:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]

?

by Sassafras on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 01:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The spokesman said: "To transfer to the phone, the suspect would have to have specialist knowledge.

what like I must use the software and cable that came with the phone?  that's setting the specialist knowledge bar surprisingly low.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 13th, 2006 at 03:46:17 PM EST
I've given up trying to make sense of official pronouncements. It's difficult not to imagine the police staring at a 3G phone and asking suspiciously 'So what's this then? Ooh - looks like an iPod to me...'

And so on.

IT forensic people seem to be fairly clueful, so there may originally have been some technical point. But if one did exist, it seems to have been lost in translation.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 13th, 2006 at 06:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
isn't it true that if you buy a second hand computer, with a wiped memory, porn on it from the previous owner could be uncovered, with the right equipment?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 13th, 2006 at 09:26:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes,the only truely efective way of removing data from a hard drive is breaking it apart ,and removing the magnetic material from the metal disks.

if you've wiped a machine, reinstalled an Operating system, you can recover most of the old files with a $30 piece of software, and that's without the expense of using any costly techniques using expensive equipment.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 03:16:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True. But one should always use any of the many available security-oriented Linux distributions (ex: Knoppix STD) to re-partition and re-format and wrote 0s all over a used disk before installing anything on it. It then becomes a much more complicated task to get anything from it.
by balbuz on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 06:42:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're really paranoid you can write all kinds of byte patters onto the disk at partition time.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 06:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about "Elvis was here" ?
by balbuz on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 07:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember, some years ago, reading an account by a journalist of how he was stopped leaving the Eurostar terminal in London because the police suspected child pornography was being smuggled in on laptops.

Rather bemused, the journalist pointed out that no one needed to smuggle porn through Customs in the age of the internet, but decided, for the sake of a quiet life, to let them examine his machine.

Alas, his laptop was an Apple. It appeared that the computer crime department only did Windows. After several embarrassed minutes, they handed it back unsearched....

by Sassafras on Sat Dec 16th, 2006 at 05:18:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but is someone is sufficiently determined, they can still get things back. I do know of at least two places whos disposal procedure involves a hammer to open the drives and Industrial grade sandblasters to strip the surfaces.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 07:42:50 AM EST
So, do I still have to buy new toothpaste after a flight?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 08:12:16 PM EST
You could use baking soda instead, until the Authorities realise that powders can explode, too.

Eventually, we'll be able to carry nothing at all, then someone will board with a belly full of swallowed explosives, then we'll be x-rayed before boarding, or perhaps dissected.

Then perhaps some public figure will point out that this whole paranoid nightmare started because aircraft were used as a weapon, and that an on-board bomb isn't at all the same sort of threat. Or maybe some public figure will have the guts to say that the Trade Center attack merely upped the U.S. murder rate by 10%, to the level it was in 1995, and that this aircraft security crap is a grotesque, ineffective, and cowardly over-reaction.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Sat Dec 16th, 2006 at 04:50:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Peroxide can also be used as a mouth wash. I have some bottles (plural) in my bathroom. I suppose it's lucky the police don't know this.  

Too true.  

Once common household items become evidence of terrorist activity, we are no longer talking slippery slope.  

More like freefall descent into hell.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Dec 14th, 2006 at 10:03:52 PM EST
We passed that point some time ago.

The conviction of the Birmingham Six (six people wrongfully imprisoned for the IRA's bombing of Birmingham pubs) relied on dubious confessions and forensic evidence that the men had traces of nitroglycerine on their hands.

Unfortunately, the method used also gave a positive result for nitrocellulose, a substance used to coat cigarette packets.

link here

I wish I were convinced we'd learned something...

by Sassafras on Sat Dec 16th, 2006 at 05:50:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This makes the Poodle a lot easier to understand, though.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Mon Dec 18th, 2006 at 06:10:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that "hydrogen peroxide" or "hydrogen peroxide (3%)"? The kind in home use is a dilute solution. High concentrations are hazardous materials used for specialised purposes, and would indeed be cause for suspicion of some unusual activity.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Sat Dec 16th, 2006 at 04:38:13 PM EST


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