Friday, March 28, 2008

Dummies pt2

A few weeks ago I was sorting through a pile of old books deciding what to keep and what to trash.

Now back when I was a wee nipper of a lad I had a perfectly normal teenaged boy’s interest in the mechanics of blowing shit up.

So fond was I of the mechanics of blowing shit up it was even one of the reasons why I did degrees in geology and geophysics; in the vague aspiration that one day they would enable me to use dynamite on a semi-regular and legal basis. I used to stay on after school with a group of like-minded boom connoisseurs and make all sorts of amusing substances and rocket-powered whatsits under the careful supervision of a friendly chemistry teacher who enjoyed nothing more than combining his twin loves of pyrotechnics and teenaged boys (
but that’s another story) on his otherwise lonely Friday nights

Once a year, my and virtually every other school I knew in London, would organise a day trip to Boulogne or Calais which served absolutely no other purpose than to allow their pupils to buy and personally import satchels full of French bangers and shitty flick knives to throw at each other's faces for months afterwards...

Now that's what I'm talking about

Boy like things that go bang. We give them toy guns. We sell them violent games and movies. We take them to firework displays. When they grow up a little we recruit them into our fucking armies to make things, and people, go bang for Godssake

British teenagers honing their car bombing skills with the aid of some old Dinky toys and a box of French boomsticks - if only the hands in this video were Brown this could have easily formed the basis of a high profile terrorism trial, if only...

To cut a long story short, until a few weeks ago, I had a small pile of books, 30 year old books admittedly, sitting in my place, on the subject of making things go bang

Not any more

I slung them out

Actually, I shredded them and then slung them out

Because, the thing is, nowadays the mere possession of a provocative book, or a CD, can get you some serious time inside if the authorities decide to single you out

As with the lies that spun dummies into supporting the occupation of Iraq, there is now apparently no need to prove any malicious intent or even the capacity to manufacture or use the stuff mentioned in a book or CD. The mere ownership of media which are in themselves not necessarily illegal (or even practically usable) can be spun and used to put people away

And I’m not fucking stupid enough to think that this sort of treatment is going to be restricted solely to Brown people indefinitely

There is the small problem of me still remembering some of the stuff in those books, which I suppose means that my brain could be classified as illegal media until the day I die - but that's nothing a steady diet of aspartame-laced beverage products can't cure

And it’s not just books or CDs that can be used to bang people away. We’ve seen everything from tourist maps to camping equipment to food and kitchenware being used as ‘evidence’ to lock people up. It would seem that, in a country awash with illegal guns and drugs, that a well-funded multinational supercrime network such as Al Qaeda has decided to pass up on importing boring old AKs and Semtex and is planning to crush British civilisation with sacks of flour, copies of MS Flight Simulator and useless FBI produced terror manuals instead


All of which is a potentially self-incriminating, 500 word long preamble to posting this blog button featuring Khalid Khaliq I received in the post yesterday…

The background to which can be found on the J7T blog here

I don’t know the guy. I don’t know if he’s a saint or a sinner but what I do know is that locking people up for owning a CD is bullshit. So even though I only usually decorate this blog with sidebuttons which feature either ironic or fishy themes I’ll make an exception and haul this one up for a while


edit: two candidates for 'Quote of the Month' on the subject of Khalid Khaliq's imprisonment, as seen in the The Sun's readers forum of all places...

"I don't know enough about this individual man to really say anything about him in particular.

Generally, though, it is wrong to even jail someone for the possession of an Al-Qaeda manual. The only justification for jailing someone is if it can be proven that such an individual sought to use such a manual as a guide to commit a crime.

I mean think about it, I have a copy of Mein Kampf on my bookshelf. That doesn't make me a Nazi."

and, in a similar vein...

"I've got the Hobbit, but it doesn't mean I'm going to slay any dragons this week"

Yeah? Says who?



Merkin said...

Kindred spirits.
'in the vague aspiration that one day they would enable me to use dynamite on a semi-regular...'
You should have joined the TA.
Bombmaking for Merkins, Part 1

Anonymous said...

They better add the star trek episode where kirk fights the gorn to the tree of forbidden knowledge.Kirks recipe for black powder led to me and my mates asking for and getting explosives lessons after school.The chemistry teacher wasn't a paedo though,that was the geog/sports teacher.(convicted for it years after I left)
Even though I see your point,its a crying shame those books got shredded.
/farenheit 451 gripe.

Merkin said...

Anon said it right.
They can 'lift' us when they want.
I have all of my notes through a number of degrees and they are all actionable in various ways.
I had always thought of them as being a 'legacy' for my children et all.
Now, they are a stick to beat me.
Fuck them all.

Stef said...

/farenheit 451 gripe.

I must confess that I have held onto a book of 'household' recipes and formulas that dates back to pre-WW1 on the basis that liberal quantities of stuff like laudenum and oil of cloves are a lot harder to come by these days (though not impossible)

I too remember being inspired by Mr Spock fashioning basic firearms out of stuff that just happened to be lying around.

So, yes, that Star Trek Collectors Limited DVD edition goes right out of the window

I also remember trying to adopt the same flamboyant hand to hand fighting style as the crew of the Enterprise only to end up looking like a nonce and getting my arse kicked.

Ditto for trying out chops to people's shoulders and the desperately useless Vulcan nerve pinch :(

Stef said...

... and our school paedo plied his ware's elsewhere in a school outside London and was only transferred over to our school (and much less easier, and considerably more formidable pickings) after promising not to do it any more ...Catholic School ...a quick £20k to the victim (big money back then) in exchange for an undertaking to keep schtum ...the usual story

The Antagonist said...

Great post, Stef.

Worth bearing in mind with regard to the plight of Khalid Khaliq, the case of the 'Bradford 5'.

In the case of the 'Bradford 5' their convictions for possession of literature were overturned within weeks.

The Court of Appeal judges, led by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, noted that the so-called terrorist material was literature and stated:

“Literature may be stored in a book on a bookshelf, or on a computer drive, without any intention on the part of the possessor to make any future use of it at all.”

The CPS have pulled their neck in and aren't challenging the appeal court ruling.

In accordance with the ruling of the Appeal Court and the proclaimation of the Lord Chief Justice, the 'crime' for which Khalid Khaliq was convicted is not a crime at all and a conviction should never have been obtained.

Khalid Khaliq -- the father of and sole carer for three children, two girls aged 11 and eight and a five-year-old son, who has learning difficulties -- was convicted for a 'crime' that the Lord Chief Justice had already ruled is not a crime.


Anonymous said...

"I have all of my notes through a number of degrees " ...

Curiously, the MOD's chief chemist, of ricin plot and D-notice, fame; most probably has similar lecture notes. In fact, if you were to google him; or otherwise search for his work; you'll find a lot of interesting things that could be classed as terrorist activity.

An interesting legal question would be, what are his defences under the Act?

Stef said...

An interesting legal question would be, what are his defences under the Act?

not pissing his employers off would be a good start

Anonymous said...

"not pissing his employers off ..."

I doubt it's in his nature.