If he's a terrorist for buying book off amazon, what does that make you?

As far as I can tell, according to the BBC news article, a 17 year old teenager has been arrested on charges "possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism" and "possession of material for terrorist purposes" - but no physical materials are detailed, just that he:

"had a copy of the "Anarchists' Cookbook", containing instructions on how to make home-made explosives."
Which is a book you can buy from fucking amazon!
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I've not read the damn thing, but how can that be a crime? More importantly if it's a crime to be in "possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism" how many chemists, bioengineers, teachers, students, geeks, chemists are guilty?

One of the reasons I got into science, was that chemistry lessons focused, thanks to a series of brilliant teachers, on how to blow stuff up. We even beano comic style events, like when the teacher used too much gun powder to ignite his reaction, it exploded, and we all had to storm out the building covered in soot as a mushroom cloud leaked out of the windows. It was joyous!

Kids get excited by blowing stuff up* - a lot want of kids want to go beyond the superficial treatment by shows like Brainiac - exploring that knowledge, doesn't necessarily make you a terrorist. I don't think any chemist got where they were today without doing something a bit dodgy with stuff that can explode.

Making many people's career, a terrorist crime seems a strange approach to encouraging people into scientific fields. What about my journal access, if I download certain exciting papers, have I become a terrorist? But hey-ho, it's for our "safety".

* Delight a 7 year old by filling half a kinder egg capsule with vinger, half with bicarb, clicking them back together and then throwing in the air. Tada! A grenade that won't get you chucked in jail.

UPDATE - the Yorkshire Post has more info - apparently he downloaded a copy of the book, and had 500g of potassium nitrate and 250g of calcium chloride, and video's including 'the devil's face made in smoke following the 9/11 attacks, beheadings and references to jihad.' Still it's an interesting example that we'll soon have to address when exactly does science become terrorism?


lewiep said...

I have had a pdf of this bok on my computer at one time.

It contains a bunch of stuff on how to make explosives, both harmless (smoke bombs) and more harmful stuff.

It also contains information on how to hack phone networks, and advice on how to rob places.

I downloaded it because I saw it in con air and was interested in what it was.

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