Sun, 31 Dec 2006

Blog posts for 2006


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 24 Dec 2006

A level of unparalleled threat

Last August, Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale’ while John Reid, the Home Secretary, exclaimed that ‘loss of life would have been on an unprecedented scale’.

Fast forward to December, and Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner says on a Radio 4 (well worth listening to the whole 16 minutes of the interview):
‘We have no specific intelligence [...] The level of threat against the United Kingdom is of an unparalleled nature and growing. [...] Unparalleled in terms of operational threat since the second World War. Far graver threat in terms of civilians than probably during the second World War or the Cold War; that's it.’
So on one hand Sir Ian Blair says he doesn't have any specific intelligence, and on the other that the threat is greater than during WW2 when tens of thousands of people were killed in London. This is irresponsible propaganda.

During the same interview, Sir Ian Blair said: ‘I'd say this: I, for my own part, I am quite confident that I will not face any kind of misconduct... in relation to Stockwell. [...] I'll just say that I'm confident, shall we leave it at that?’ This follows the news the previous week that the High Court of England and Wales dismissed the legal challenge brought by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes against the prosecuting authorities' decision not to bring criminal charges against any individuals in connection with his killing in London in July 2005.

Consequences of shooting Jean Charles de Menezes: a dirty campaign (he was wrongly accused of wearing a too warm jacket, of being illegally in the UK, even of having raped a woman - all this eventually disproved by the family), no individual officer involved to be charged (and one of the officers killed another man since), a promotion for the officer in charge, and possibly a Health and Safety charge for the Police (of which the fine would then have to be paid by taxpayers).

In times of perceived unparalleled threat, one is concerned as well by the uncontrollable actions of a Police so confident in its power over the law.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 21 Dec 2006

Findings of Police investigation now with misconduct office

The next and last step is for the Met Department of Professional Standards' misconduct office to decide what action to take.

Details in the usual place.

Trying to find out a bit more about this misconduct office, I discovered a 156-page 'Misconduct Investigation Guide' that was published under the Freedom of Information Act, which coincidentally happens to be under some threat.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 17 Dec 2006

Turning Britain into a nation of suspects - 2

(Turning Britain into a nation suspect - 1)

Joan Ryan (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office) provided the following written answer on 11 December 2006:
The National DNA Database (NDNAD) records the DNA profile for a particular individual. It does not hold data on arrest and criminal records. This information is held on the police national computer (PNC). The facilities do not exist to cross-refer between all records on the NDNAD and PNC to the level of detail that would be required to provide the information sought.

However, we can say that information provided by the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) from the PNC indicated that as at 14 July 2006, when there were approximately 3,457,000 individuals on the database, 2,922,624 of these persons also had an entry on PNC. Of these, 2,317,555 (79.3 per cent.) had a conviction or caution (i.e. a criminal record). The difference between the two figures is attributable to: young persons under 18 who have a formal warning or reprimand recorded on PNC; persons who have been charged with a recordable offence where proceedings are on-going; and persons who have been arrested for a recordable offence but no further action was taken.
In other words, 1,139,445 of the entries in the DNAD as of last July were for persons never having been found guilty of any crime. A third (32.96%) of the DNAD entries are for innocents.

This also likely mean that previous written answers were a huge understatement and innacurate. For instance Andy Burnham (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office) claimed in March 2006:
As indicated in the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2890W, there were 139,463 people who have a DNA profile on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) who have not been charged or cautioned with an offence. This figure comprised 124,347 people who have been arrested and subsequently not been charged or cautioned with an offence and 15,116 people who had volunteered a sample and given consent to the profile being loaded on the NDNAD.
...and John Reid (Home Secretary), not even two months ago, in October 2006 was stating:
It is not currently possible to determine how many of the 124,347 "CJ arrestees" (persons with a DNA profile on the National DNA Database who have been arrested and subsequently not charged or cautioned with an offence) have never been convicted of an offence. [...] The figures might suggest that the remaining 100,828 persons have never been charged, reported for summons or sanctioned for any offence.
The number of innocents in the NDNAD in a year has gone from 139,463 (Andy Burnham) to 100,828 (John Reid), to eventually more than an eightfold to 1,139,445 (Joan Ryan). Is it alright for the Parliament and us to be misled with such contradictory figures?

(Latest figures via Reid 'buries' news that police hold DNA of 1m innocent people via More than a million innocent people now on the National DNA Database)

More on the NDNAD in Is the UK a police state?

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Tue, 12 Dec 2006

Andy Hayman criticises Stop and Search under Section 44

The BBC (via UK Liberty) reports on the UK's senior counter terrorism police officer questioning the value of the Stop and Search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000:
Andy Hayman, the Metropolitan Police's assistant commissioner responsible for anti-terror probes, said few arrests or charges arose from such searches.


I am not sure what purpose it serves, especially as it upsets so many people, with some sections of our community feeling unfairly targeted.
I raised this very issue with MPA last year.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 10 Dec 2006

IPCC confirms findings of Police investigations

The IPCC has confirmed the findings of the Police. I should now expect a copy of the report from the Police.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 04 Dec 2006

Read, hear, see

Via the Economist:
Mats Lindoff, the chief technology officer at Sony Ericsson, a leading handset-maker, points out that the processing power of mobile phones lags behind that of laptop computers by around five years. Furthermore, studies show that people read around ten megabytes (MB) worth of material a day; hear 400MB a day, and see one MB of information every second. In a decade's time a typical phone will have enough storage capacity to be able to video its user's entire life, says Mr Lindoff.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 03 Dec 2006

Use of biometrics by the Home Office

PITO identification roadmap Joan Ryan (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office) answers:
Planned projects in the Home Office which will make use of biometrics include: In addition there are a number of smaller projects some of which are partnerships with other organisations in the UK and abroad. Existing projects in the Home Office which make use of biometrics include: As for planned projects there are a number of smaller projects some of which are partnerships with other organisations in the UK and abroad. The Home Office is continuing to examine new technologies, and new ways of using existing biometric technologies, to ensure the protection of the public.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office did say "include" - one major omission is the NDNAD (National DNA Database). And the PNC includes data from some of these biometric databases.

Useful search string to keep up to date with the Governement's position on biometric: They work for you.

The facial images national database (FIND) was supposed to be operational this month. (See how this technology worked at the Super Bowl.) PITO has some more details on the current status:
FIND Pilot has now gone Live. Good news on the FIND project is that the FIND Pilot has now gone live in 5 Forces around the country. The Pilot started 06/11 and will run for approximatly three months with an option to extend the system if requested by the Forces and it is feasible. A Benefits / evaluation workshop is happening 29/11 to assess the first months success of the Pilot and capture the benefits gained so far to the Forces. The Forces involved in the Pilot are Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Merseyside (supplying their data and images) and Devon and Cornwal and British Transport Police Leeds Office (read only). We have had requests for access by other Forces '/ goverment bodies and of which need to be considered.

Some of my personal encounters with IDENT1 and NDNAD: fingerprints, palm prints and DNA samples taken. As recorded in the PNC. Raising some of these issues with the MPA. Finding that private companies are keeping their own DNA databases, possibly including my own DNA; complaining about it to the ICO; one response; a further one. Discovering that DNA samples and profiles are kept until death of the subject. Discovering that DNA samples and profiles are kept for eternity and that the NDNAD records information as to whether the subject has been convicted (which can of course be incorrect).

The Home Office is also involved in these changes.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 30 Nov 2006

At least 1,245 overflights or stopovers by CIA planes in Europe

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has a news about report by the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on illegal CIA activity in Europe.
At a time when the EU should have been providing global leadership in the wake of US abuses, European governments were secretly colluding with the Bush administration on secret detention and unlawful rendition
Poland, the United Kingdom and Italy are singled out as having been especially uncooperative.
The committee's report concludes that there were at least 1,245 overflights or stopovers by CIA planes in Europe, and that some of these flights probably involved prisoner transfers.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Tue, 28 Nov 2006

The end of violence

The End of Violence by Wim Wenders, released in 1997 depicts a city (Los Angeles) under secret surveillance from a network of cameras. When this surveillance system detects that a crime will be committed, the suspect is automatically shot. It's the end of violence as we know it.

And now for something completely different, some of this week's news: More on what's happening in the UK.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 26 Nov 2006

Post 911 Blues

I just discovered the Post 911 Blues by Riz MC (it has been available since last April):

Post 911 Blues

For more on terrorist profiling see my essay on techie and terrorist behavioural profiling.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 22 Nov 2006

The DNA good practice manual

The Association of Chief of Police Officers (ACPO) published today the DNA Good Practice Manual, Second Edition 2005. The following table from this document reveals that success rate in retrieving DNA from various samples is different in reality from what movies would make one believe:

Evidence typesSuccess rates
Semen 90%
Blood 87%
Chewing gum 78%
Cigarette butts 75%
Fingernail clippings 69%
Comb/Razor 53%
Hair with roots 50%
Saliva 40%
Hair without visible roots15%
Cigarette lighter10%
Watch strap8%

Unfortunately this document includes other surprises such as the mention that DNA profiles in the NDNAD are not destroyed even when an profiled individual dies. I wrote more about this and some other aspects directly affecting me in a new entry on the Innocent in London page.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Tue, 21 Nov 2006

Practical handbook for border guards

From the Common Recommendations establishing a common "Practical Handbook for Border Guards (Schengen Handbook)" to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out the border control of persons:
Advice for border guards when conducting the border check:

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Air travel

Most of the following activities have resulted in arrests, some in harrasment, some in loss of consciousness...
Some of these entries via TSA Security Round-Up and previous posts.

More on profiling...

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sat, 18 Nov 2006

Selection of events in London about civil rights, Nov-Dec 2006

A few of the upcoming events you may want to participate in, attend or watch. I'll be at several of them. Come and say hi if you're there as well. Informing yourself is one aspect of how you can act to help halt and reverse the erosion of our civil liberties.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

UK Police Terrorism Arrest Statistics (Excluding N. Ireland)

Olly Kendall got some interesting data from the Police regarding some arrest statistics. Check out the article at the top of the page about the point that ‘there is no compelling evidence to increase the period for detaining terrorist suspects and further encroach on our civil liberties’. (14 days was already bad, 28 days is worse; we need to do all we can to ensure it is not further extended.)
UK Police Terrorism Arrest Statistics (Excluding N. Ireland)


266 people were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 and Terrorism Act 2006
11 arrests under legislation other than the Terrorism Act, where the investigation was conducted as a Terrorist Investigation.
277 Total

8 Charged with Terrorism Act offences only
22 Charged with Terrorism Act offences and other criminal offences
32 Charged under other legislation. E.g. murder (incl conspiracies), grievous bodily harm, firearms, explosives offences, fraud, false documents, etc.
9 Handed over to Immigration Authorities
13 On Police Bail awaiting charging decisions
0 Cautioned
1 Dealt with under youth offending procedures
2 Dealt with under Mental Health legislation
0 Returned to Prison (subject to recall)
1 Transferred to PSNI custody
188 Released without charge
1 Remanded in Custody under US Extradition warrant
0 Result of Investigation awaits
277 Total

8 Terrorism Act convictions to date.
25 Convicted under other legislation. E.g. murder (incl conspiracies), grievous bodily harm, firearms, explosives offences, fraud, false documents, etc
26 Awaiting Trial


143 people were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 and Terrorism Act 2006 - To 30/09/2006.
16 arrests under legislation other than the Terrorism Act, where the investigation was conducted as a Terrorist Investigation.
159 Total


31 Charged with Terrorism Act offences only
21 Charged with Terrorism Act offences and other criminal offences
13 Charged under other legislation. E.g. murder (incl conspiracies), grievous bodily harm, firearms, explosives offences, fraud, false documents, etc.
2 Handed over to Immigration Authorities
6 On Police Bail awaiting charging decisions
0 Cautioned
0 Dealt with under youth offending procedures
0 Dealt with under Mental Health legislation
0 Returned to Prison (subject to recall)
1 Transferred to PSNI custody
83 Released without charge
0 Remanded in Custody under US Extradition warrant
2 Result of Investigation awaits
159 Total

4 Terrorism Act convictions to date.
7 Convicted under other legislation. E.g. murder (incl conspiracies), grievous bodily harm, firearms, explosives offences, fraud, false documents, etc
55 Awaiting Trial

I was likely counted in some of these numbers.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 12 Nov 2006

IPCC-supervised investigation completed

The investigation of the Police following my complaint is now complete. The findings have to be confirmed by the IPCC before I am provided with a copy of the report.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 08 Nov 2006

Parliamentary debates and the NDNAD

I updated my account and the Is the UK a police state? article with much more information on how the Police and the Government manager the national DNA database (NDNAD).

Key points:

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 01 Nov 2006

Turning Britain into a nation of suspects

Steve Connor writes in the Independent:
One in four men could soon be included on the national DNA database which is helping to turn Britain into a nation of suspects, an expert group has warned.

The database has been established with little or no public consultation but over the past 10 years has collected DNA profiles on more than 3.5 million people, including 24,000 children and youths under the age of 18.


Sir Bob [Hepple, chairman of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics] said that this implies that the Prime Minister would be happy to see every citizen's DNA profile being stored on the database. "The cost would be enormous but there is also the deeper question - instead of being a nation of citizens we become a nation of suspects," Sir Bob said.
The figures I had included in Is the UK a police state? where from March 2004. A million more DNA samples have been collected since.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is launching a consultation exercise to investigate on a number of questions raised by the ethical issues surrounding the forensic use of bioinformation.

Tomorrow is the third reading of Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

The Reclaiming our rights conference will be on Saturday 2nd December. Register now! I'll be participating.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 22 Oct 2006

Innocent in London - IPCC-supervised investigation close to conclusion

The investigation is close to conclusion, but the IPCC will have to accept the final report before I can get a copy of it.


I just realised that the anniversary of going public, in the Guardian, passed just a month ago.


Other updates: new Independent article by Henry Porter on the limits of liberty and the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 09 Oct 2006

A pawn in their propaganda machine - unfounded claims

From The Times:
[...] Mr Raissi, 32, an Algerian pilot, was the first person to be arrested in connection with 9/11 when armed police raided his West London home at 3am on September 21, 2001. He was held for five months in Belmarsh high-security prison before a judge declared that there was no evidence that he was involved in terrorism.

[...] The alleged terrorist link was one of a number of false allegations made against Mr Raissi. Prosecutors claimed in court that he was the “lead instructor” for the main hijackers who crashed aircraft into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. The FBI was said to have video material showing him in the company of Hani Hanjour, one of the hijack pilots.

However, all the evidence was shown to be unsubstantiated and, in February 2002, District Judge Timothy Workman ordered Mr Raissi's release.

[...] Mr Raissi said: “My life has been ruined. I lost my freedom, my reputation and my career. The courts have said I am innocent – why does the Home Secretary not accept this?” Jules Carey, Mr Raissi's solicitor, said the Home Secretary's decision (to refuse compensation) was “morally wrong. We hope to establish that his decision is also legally wrong.”

I updated this article with a link to this news story. It is very slowly sinking in that I should consider myself extremely lucky not to have been either shot or locked up. I still find it difficult to accept that this is what one can expect in any 'Western democracy', even more so in a country often called the the mother of all democracies. How many more such cases before Justice is restored?

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 08 Oct 2006

Is the UK a police state? - Sentenced after proven innocent

Spy Blog spotted the Times article about Raouf Abdullah Mohammed. He's been acquitted by a jury with four non-guilty verdicts only to be sentenced to a control order at the request of the Home Office (who initially tried to deport him).

This Government not content with passing so many Home Office bills curtailing our civil liberties, is now entirely bypassing the legal system by ignoring the verdict returned by a jury.

Who would have thought this possible in England?

Update:In a comment on Spy Blog, sam_m mentions that this is not the first time the UK Government sentences persons acquitted by the legal system.
For instance: In 1993, John Matthews was arrested and detained for 10 weeks by the Police in connection with an IRA bombing. When the case came before a Magistrate's Court the prosecution offered no evidence and he was told by the Magistrate that he left the Court without a stain on his character.
As he literally left the Court, on the steps, he was served with an "Exclusion Order" and immediately removed to N.Ireland.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sat, 07 Oct 2006

What happened to the Met?

I've been fixing links that went dead on I had several links to the Information Commissioner's Office and most of them went dead, including the direct links to entries in the Register of data controllers. I searched for the entries and instead of giving direct links I included the registration number (which should last for longer).

One entry I cannot find is the one for the Metropolitan Police. It seems to have disappeared from the register. At least I can't find it using all the names (including Metropolis and MPS) or addresses I can think of. If you do find its entry please let me know. At least the MPS has some information on Data Protection on its website.

That is no more the case for the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards. There doesn't seem to be any information at all anymore on it available on the Metropolitan Police's website. The page linked from all over the web doesn't exist anymore. Some review information of Professional Standards is available on the MPA's website and some of the DPS staff are currently investigating my arrest) so this Directorate still seems to exist.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 02 Oct 2006

Travelling while having a tan

British architect Seth Stein recounts how he was assaulted on a flight from New York for having a tan:
‘[...] he felt compelled to speak out to protect other innocent travellers from a similar experience.

"This man could have garrotted me and what was awful was that one or two of the passengers went up afterwards to thank him," said Mr Stein. He has since been told by airline staff he was targeted because he was using an iPod, had used the toilet when he got on the plane and that his tan made him appear "Arab". [...]’

More on profiling...

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 27 Sep 2006

New t-shirt designs

There's a new collection of t-shirts available with one word upper case and the generic URL in lower case beneath it.

New designs include a ‘This t-shirt is too warm for the season’ t-shirt.

too warm

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 20 Sep 2006

Response from the ICO about my complaint on LGC creating its own DNA mini database

Where it is revealed that:
The Information Commissioner is aware of no evidence indicating that the MPS are inappropriately giving away DNA information to third parties or are allowing such information to be used for purposes incompatible with the police forces statutory functions.

and that:
This is not to say however that the Information Commissioner is unaware of media reports or does not respond to them when he becomes aware of things.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Tue, 19 Sep 2006

Department of Potential Evidences - Sixty years ago

Free Unions - Unions Libres. Published July 1946 (1 issue). Dir. Simon Watson Taylor. London.
Planned as a series of texts which would summarize the surrealist position at the end of the war, Free Unions was published 2 years after its conception, due to the arrest of the editors and the seizure of the proofs - thought to be coded messages of anarchists. With its publication, English surrealism became aware of the need for unity following the dissentions of the pre-war period, in order to establish a firm basis for the future. Artistic contributors included Lucien Freud and E.L.T. Mesens.
From the Introduction:
The concept of unity has today come to imply an antithesis to that of freedom. It is this antithesis in politics, morality, art and society that denies life... It is in our search for liberty that we, in the dark jungle of torpor, destruction and imbecility that has dug its roots into the world today, have discovered for ourselves the path cleared by surrealism in the tangled undergrowth.
(Thanks to AB for recently mentioning this story.)

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 17 Sep 2006

Traveling while being Hasidic Jew

Jewish man removed from airplane for praying:
"The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave,"

Shocking on so many levels.

See also Traveling while Asian

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 13 Sep 2006

Is the UK a police state? - Department of potential evidences

Chicago Tribune via UK Watch.
Questions raised over some terror plot charges

By John Crewdson
Tribune senior correspondent
Published August 31, 2006

LONDON -- He is 17 years old, the son of a Muslim family that emigrated years ago to Britain from India. His lawyer describes him as a "steady, strong young man," which is good, because at the moment he is in a world of trouble.

Under British law his name cannot be published because of his age. But public documents attest that he is the youngest person among the 15 so far charged in what Scotland Yard calls a plot to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" by blowing up airliners en route to the United States.

The teen is accused not of helping to plan the alleged attack, but of "possession of items that would be of use to terrorism." Among the items were documents the police described as "suicide notes" signed by other young men preparing to die.

"They're not suicide notes at all," retorts his lawyer, Gareth Peirce, whose application for bail was rejected Tuesday by a London judge. "They're really simple wills. To call these suicide notes was absolutely disgraceful."

The wills, Peirce adds, "all date to 1995," when her client was 6. She says they appear to have been drawn up by British Muslims going to fight alongside other Muslims in Bosnia more than a decade ago, "which was not a crime."

The charge against the youth --along with the release of five suspects and the failure so far to formally accuse five others out of 25 arrested more than three weeks ago--suggests that the British police may have erred on the side of caution in arresting individuals who knew little or nothing about the plan to blow up the airliners.

The alleged plot has been portrayed as potentially another Sept. 11 attack, or worse. Some of those who have seen the prosecution's evidence agree that several defendants seem to have been contemplating the in-flight bombings of passenger jets.

Skepticism grows

But skepticism has grown about some of the initial police claims and charges, reminding some Britons of other recent instances in which police initially overstated the seriousness of purported terrorist plots, such as the arrests two years ago of eight men suspected of planning to bomb the stadium where the famed Manchester United soccer team plays. The suspects were quickly released when the case against them evaporated.

In large part, the skepticism has been fueled by the reluctance of the police to more fully describe the evidence supporting their dire warnings that an attack had been "highly likely."

But two defense lawyers who have seen some exhibits presented by prosecutors in closed court hearings say there does appear to be solid evidence that a core group of the defendants was planning to smuggle liquid chemicals--from which a powerful but relatively unstable explosive can be made--aboard trans-Atlantic airliners.

One of the defense lawyers, who spoke on condition that he not be named because to do so would risk a citation for contempt of court, called the evidence "quite serious indeed."

Both lawyers said that they had seen no evidence linking a number of those arrested to a terrorist plot, and one lawyer termed what the police did Aug. 9-10 as "over-broad sweeps."

The documents in the youth's case, according to Peirce, were found by police in a box in the boy's mother's house, apparently left there by his since-divorced and departed father, who once operated a London charity that collected clothing and medicine for Bosnian Muslims.

The box, Peirce said, also contained another of the items listed in the charge against her client, a crude map of Afghanistan--drawn years ago, Peirce says, by the boy's younger brother: "It's a child's map!"

A third item mentioned by police, recovered from the same box, is a book investigators say contains instructions for building bombs. Peirce says the book is filled with drawings of electrical circuits that might contain information useful in building a bomb, although not the kind of bomb the defendants are suspected of having tried to make.

"He saw a book that had diagrams," Peirce says. "He said it looked like the textbooks at school. What I said in court was this charge can only have been brought by people who are seeing things through spectacles that say `terrorism,'" Peirce said after the bail hearing.

The 17-year-old's only connection to the alleged plot, Peirce maintains, is that some of the other suspects in the case worked for his father's now-defunct charity, which she identified as Islamic Medical Aid.

Questions also have been raised about charges against Umair and Mehran Hussain, two university-educated brothers in their early 20s who lived in the heavily Pakistani-Muslim Walthamstow area of northeast London, where eight of the defendants grew up.

Their father, Fazal Hussain, who labored in a shoe factory to put his sons through college, was described by a family friend as "devastated" by the arrests.

Umair and Mehran Hussain are both charged with a single count of withholding from police information pertaining to a possible terrorist act, a far less serious offense than conspiracy to commit murder and terrorism, of which 11 of their fellow defendants have been accused.

Will allegedly withheld

The information allegedly withheld, according to one source who has seen the prosecutors' evidence, is a Muslim will signed "nearly a year ago" by a third brother, Nabeel Hussain, who was charged Tuesday with conspiracy to commit terrorism and murder.

Umair and Mehran Hussain are not accused of participating in or even knowing about the alleged bombing plot, the source said, only of having failed to tell the police about Nabeel's will.

The prosecution's contention that the will relates to terrorism, this person said, hinges on a quotation it includes from the Koran. Nabeel's lawyers are said to have assembled Koranic scholars who will testify that the quotation has nothing to do with terrorism.

Muslims say there is no ideological significance attached to the making of an Islamic will.

The full range of evidence in the case is not likely to become public unless there is a trial, something lawyers say could be two years away.



websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

'MPA appoints new Deputy Assistant Commissioners to the Metropolitan Police Service'

Cressida Dick is among the four applicants selected by the MPA for appointment to the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner. Cressida Dick was in charge of the operation that led to de Menezes being shot seven times in the head after he was mistaken for a suspected suicide bomber.
A panel of five MPA members interviewed the officers with Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, acting as police advisor. Catherine Crawford, Clerk to the Authority, was also in attendance.

MPA Chair Len Duvall, who led the interview panel, said:


"Clearly there are some sensitive and unprecedented circumstances involved. Candidates were chosen on the basis of their application and ability. The MPA would not prejudice an officer's fair promotion prospects by making assumptions about future disciplinary action. Officers will not be posted into new posts until outstanding issues are resolved."

"The MPA has 23 members who scrutinise and support the work of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)".

Are all 23 members supporting the decision of this 5 member panel? If not will they resign on this issue?

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 11 Sep 2006

Is the UK a police state? - A stampede against justice

I just discovered via Statewatch a superb March 2005 article by solicitor Gareth Peirce. Go read it.
Without protection for the individuals who make up society, society itself founders. Nor is there a balance to be struck between the rights of individuals and national security: national security depends upon every individual in this country having inalienable rights

Reference to this article added. More...

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Are you getting spam from

If you're receiving spam from my domain name, know that it has nothing to do with me or my domain. I'm currently receiving tens of thousands of email returned to tens of different email addresses at

I am a victim of this spamming as much if not more than you.

Update: several hours later, received about sixty thousand spam email messages. My ISP disabled my .procmailrc as I presume it was taxing their server too much deadling with all this spam. As soon as I realised the problem, luckily early on, I created a recipe whitelisting the few email addresses I've used on this domain and saving all other messages to a spam folder. A bit later I moved this recipe towards the top of .procmailrc. It may not have been enough. I kept the spam in case it may be useful to the ISP but I have no intention to go through 60 K of spam. I'd be happy if my .procmailrc is reactivated with this rule moving the spams to /dev/null instead. I did a few other changes to how my mail is delivered and hopefully won't lose any good email.

br -d

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Fri, 01 Sep 2006

Racism, liberty and the war on terror

The Institute of Race Relations is organising a conference titled "Racism, liberty and the war on terror" in London on Saturday 16 September. The program has several interesting sessions:

Morning panel discussions

Afternoon panel discussions

More info at

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 17 Aug 2006

A pawn in their propaganda machine - Security theatre

The Police claim that they proceeded with the arrests related to the recent airplane terror plot following a long intelligence work. If this claim is proven during the trial of some of the suspects, this would be good news as this is exactly the kind of work we should expect from our Police forces. However the propaganda surrounding these arrests is at the very least suspicious. Inconsistent security measures, no-one charged yet...


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Techie and terrorist behavioural profiles are the same - Travelling while Asian

Added a pointer to Glenda Jackson analysis of the latest profiling: Travelling while Asian.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 13 Aug 2006

Fixing blog entries

Sorry for all the old posts that are likely to have appeared in your aggregators. I realised having links in titles was a bad idea.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Unimaginable scale

From the Times:
Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘We are confident that we have disrupted a plan by terrorists to cause untold death and destruction and commit mass murder. This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale.’

John Reid, the Home Secretary, said that ‘loss of life would have been on an unprecedented scale’.
What are they trying to achieve with this unprecedented scale terminology? Isn't one supposed to be a professional presenting dispassionate facts and risk assessment, and the other a politician offering a measured reaction with a way forward? Instead all we get is propaganda.

Go read or re-read Orwell's short essay Politics and the English Language. This should be compulsory reading for anyone writing in English.

You may also be interested in an analysis of why the Metropolitan Police arresting innocents may be motivated by a propaganda strategy. If so, read A pawn in their propaganda machine.

(This w/e, I made some minor updates to the pages Is the UK a police state? and A pawn in their propaganda machine.)

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Tue, 08 Aug 2006

Is the UK a police state? - Hostile reconnaissance

I got too many emails from persons stopped and searched, and some even arrested just for taking pics of buildings. This is apparently considered 'hostile reconnaissance'. This is utterly ridiculous and reminds me of the recent time when the BT Tower (visible from a large part of London) was not on any AtoZ map so it couldn't be found by (then IRA) terrorists. A friend sent me a link to BBC story published today about an Iraqi man charged with filming Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

I've practically stopped taking pics of buildings (in London) and have updated the web page listing some new interesting aspects of English law and Police behaviour with an entry on hostile reconnaissance. This is one of the very few changes of behaviour, with avoiding the tube even more than I used to, that I've adopted.

More needs to be done to expose this further infringements of our civil liberties, however this is not a fight I have the time or energy to take on at the moment (remember that my idle doodles were once considered by the Police to be a plan of Southwark station).


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Innocent in London - ICO explanations

The Information Commissioner's Office explains that LGC may be a data processor processing personal data under instructions from the MPS acting as the data controller. I fill in (yet another) a complaint form.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 24 Jul 2006

Is the UK a police state? - Police accountability

Added further sources about the fatal shootings by the Police since 1993. Also some info uncovered by the Scotsman about the Police Federation preparing us for the shooting of civilians by the Police in case of dirty bombs.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 20 Jul 2006

Innocent in London - DNA samples kept by private company

Where it is revealed that some DNA sampled by the Police is kept by a private company. I ask the Information Commissioner for advice as what to do about it as it may concern my DNA samples and records.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 16 Jul 2006

One Year On - Is Justice Possible?

On Saturday 22nd, I plan to attend the event One Year On - Is Justice Possible? to mark the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of Jean-Charles de Menezes.

Here are the details and programme:

One Year On - Is Justice Possible?
Saturday 22 July
2.30pm - 5pm Friends Meeting House,
173-177 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BJ

Chair: Asad Rehman (Newham Monitoring Project)
Speakers include Patricia da Silva Armani & Alex Pereira (cousins of Jean Charles de Menezes), Mohammed Abdul Kahar & Abul Koyair (Kalam Family - Forest Gate), Inayat Dhogra (Dhogra Family - Forest Gate), Gareth Peirce (leading civil liberties lawyer), Bianca Jagger (international human rights activist), Lord Steyn (Chair of Justice - invited)

Six days later will the first anniversay of my arrest. I feel so lucky, the Police didn't use violence or firearms against me.

Update: see the announcement by the de Menezes family on justice4jean. The family will be at Stockwell station at 10am.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 12 Jul 2006

Before and After 7/7: Interrogating British 'Security' Policies

I went to attend the event Before & After 7/7: Interrogating British 'Security' Policies. Very interesting presentations. The Q&A session was unfortunately partly taken over by consiparicy theorists.

For the past year I have been looking in some details at the impact of our new repressive laws on innocent Londoners. These sessions gave me a better understanding of the bigger context and of some of the related issues. The repressive laws, foreign policies, government discourse and extremism are all interconnected. Going from a system of passive oppression of muslims by occidental regimes to an active oppression such as the war in Iraq has fueled extremism. Many times the case was made that the government is compromised, that its (illegal) actions are endangering lives. Are ministers incompetent or complicit was another way to ask the same question? How far back has foreign policy decisions created strong grievances? The current war in Iraq? The previous war in Iraq? The earlier colonial policies? It is a system that generates conflcts and destroys lives. This is likely why this government is so opposed in having a genuine independent public inquiry in the events of 7/7.

Once more I realised how lucky really I've been in not having been physically brutalised by the Police. Apparently the Police didn't just raid one family in Forest Gate but two houses. No one was shot in the other house but some were hit with the back of a weapon. And this raid was mentioned in the 7/7 anniversary video, again fueling extremism. So counter-productive.

It was my first time inside Westminster. An impressive building... with a very strong police presence.

Demand a public inquiry into the July 7th 2005 London bombings. Sign the petition. More of what you can do here.

Additional notes:

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Innocent in London - Meeting the police

I meet the police and give them my statement. The investigation can now start.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 06 Jul 2006

Innocent in London - Draft statement, another revision

I'll meet the police to give them my statement this Wednesday. I've further edited the draft statement. If you've got the time to have a look at it and find any mistake or have suggestions for improvement, please send me an email before Wednesday 12.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sat, 01 Jul 2006

Is the UK a police state? - The article that may get you arrested

Added links to Henry Porter's Blair laid bare: the article that may get you arrested that did get someone cautioned for "Sitting outside D Street with Notification Around Neck about Bullying. And Reading Today's Independent.".


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Fri, 30 Jun 2006

Innocent in London - Draft statement

I've added a link to a PDF of the draft statement. If you've got the time to have a look at it and have any suggestion for improvement, please send me an email.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Innocent in London - Complaint recorded

My complaint has now been recorded.

The IPCC can't offer any guidance, but a solicitor suggests I can write the statement on my own and offers some helpful advice.

I decide that a full investigation is the most appropriate option and start working on a draft statement.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 22 Jun 2006

Innocent in London - Need a statement

Meeting John Roberts, Chair of the Stop & Search Scrutiny Board at the Metropolitan Police Association (MPA).

Phone call from the Investigative Officer tasked with my complaint against the Police. I need to decide what process the complaint should follow and start working on a statement. If you have any experience in these matters and are willing to offer some advice, please read on and contact me.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Tue, 20 Jun 2006

Innocent in London - Supervised investigation

My complaint against the Police is considered serious enough for the IPCC to supervise the investigation that will be conducted by the Professional Standards Department of the Metropolitan police.

Lord Carlile publishes his Report on the operation in 2005 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Added some new advice (taken from the main text) in the 'what can you do' section


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 18 Jun 2006

Techie and terrorist behavioural profiles are the same - update

Added info from a practice advice issued by the ACPO.

I found this document while looking for any Police guideline on "hostile reconnaissance" and taking pictures. I hear more and more anecdotes of Police intimidation (Stop and Search, and sometimes arrest) of Londoners just taking pictures.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sat, 17 Jun 2006

If you sent me an email this week, please read on...

I didn't get it (unless it was sent to a list).

Unfortunately adding another email address to block in my .procmailrc I entered one two many '|' and all emails sent to me went straight to /dev/null. Hopefully I completely fixed this issue and didn't introduce any new one when improving my Procmail recipes. I've added some logging (yes, I should have had it in the first place) and changed some recipes to be a bit less aggressive. Spent the evening doing Procmail black magic :-(

So if you did send me an email this week, please resend it.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Tue, 13 Jun 2006

Innocent in London - Complaint referred

The matter of the complaint I filed with the IPCC has been referred to the Professional Standards Department of the Metropolitan police for consideration.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Is the UK a police state? - Another mistake

More detail emerge about the Police raid in Forest Gate as the two previously arrested brothers talk about the ordeal the Metropolitan Police had them go through (The Guardian and The Independent write-ups).

On 2005-12-11 (five months after the lethal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes), the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said on the use of lethal force: 'We are doing everything we can... but the probability is that there may be mistakes'.

A week and half ago, Mohammed Abdul Kahar was shot in the chest by the Police in an anti-terror raid at his home at 4am – one of these mistakes. At the press conference after he was released without charge, he talked about the cost of such mistakes:
‘This has ruined my life, I cannot sleep, I have flashbacks, I cannot sleep with the light off.’
The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) issued a press release asking for the MPS to produce a report on the ‘Forest Gate operation’. I would have hoped for stronger language when we learn that at the last Authority meeting the Commissioner misled the Authority. I expect the chair of the MPA wouldn't want anyone to think the MPA is a soft touch when some innocent Londoners are shot by the MPS.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 08 Jun 2006

Is the UK a police state? - 52nd Home Office bill

Notice from a recent debate in the House of Lords, the following intervention by Baroness Anelay of St Johns:
I am told by the Library that this is the 52nd Home Office Bill since the Government came to power in 1997.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 25 May 2006

Innocent in London - Notes from MPA meeting

Some notes from the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) meeting.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 24 May 2006

Is the UK a police state? - CCTV surveillance and DNA

Update to the laundry list of factoids to help everyone realise what has been happening in the UK. I've put in bold some of Britain's success stories: CCTV surveillance and DNA collection. Some new information from a very interesting article on the BBC: Cannes director urges CCTV debate. Completely unrelated news: the membership of Liberty has reached a new high.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

MPA full Authority meeting tomorrow

Apparently Sir Ian Blair, the Met Commissioner, will be at the full Authority meeting as well. Will he use this opportunity to apologise? This would be a welcome surprise.

I prepared a response to the response:

As ‘The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) does not consider the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to have overreacted to the horrific terrorist attacks’ of last July 2005, and that ‘the MPS response in terms of both disaster-management and investigation has drawn respect and recognition from around the world’ we have an essential disagreement. If the MPA finds the MPS is doing a perfect job in respect to its anti-terrorism response then a discussion on how it can be improved is not possible.

This satisfaction can not be shared by all Londoners when there are so many stop and searches under Section 44(2) of the Terrorism Act 2000, and subsequent arrests of innocent Londoners. This does not make us any more secure but does impact the lives of Londoners.

Even Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, appears to disagree with MPA's assessment. He is reported by Bloomberg to have said at the MPA's own 'Together Against Terror?' conference last December: ‘London police have arrested 130 suspects since suicide bomb attacks in July, yet the threat of terrorism continues to increase’.

That's more than all the arrests, whether in connection with terrorism or not, resulting from stop and searches conducted under Section 44(2) during the combined financial years 2003/4 and 2004/5 (the Met arrested 125 persons during this period according to the Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System). And that's only for five months.

Former Home Office criminologist and visiting professor at Kent University, Professor Marian Fitzgerald mentioned on BBC One, on 22 January 2006, that ‘under the Terrorism Stop and search [legislation], the arrest rate there is only 1% and very few of these arrests are anything to do with terrorism.

This shows that that the MPS must work more effectively with more intelligence instead of stopping, searching and arresting Londoners, without reasonable cause, on the basis of a stereotypical profiling.

How can the MPA be satisfied that the MPS keeping DNA samples, fingerprints and palm prints of innocents forever, and PNC records, including mentions of non-conviction, until the Londoner reaches 100 years old increases our security.

The MPA is to be commended on getting the MPS to publish statistics such as the Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System. May I suggest the MPA puts further pressure on the MPS for the statistics to be published earlier and to include the number of arrestees being tried and how many are convicted.

The MPA's 'Together Against Terror?' conference was I'm sure a very interesting. It is unfortunate that its existence was announced by a press release only three days earlier and that the selection of the over 150 (100 in the press release) community members has not been open and transparent. I couldn't find transcripts or videos of the event, either. Hopefully lessons have been learned from organising this event and the forthcoming events will be more open to Londoners.

I am disapointed that your response has not convinced me that ‘in counter-terrorism, as in all other fields of policing, the MPA remains committed to securing an effective, efficient and fair police service for all of London's communities.

I'll have three minutes to cover all these points. I'll update the story after the event.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Wed, 17 May 2006

Innocent in London - Question to the MPA

My written question to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has been published, with a proposed response, in the agenda of the May 25 full Authority meeting. More...

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 15 May 2006

Innocent in London - A more positive entry

How several helpful individuals have been of great assistance. And using my right as a member of the public to put a written question to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA).


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sat, 13 May 2006

Community Safety Focus

My council put through our letter box a brochure titled 'Community Safety Focus'. This included a page on 'Terrorism' with sections such as:
Terrorist need:
Common sense would have prevented such publication. Don't law abiding residents also need "a place to live"? Don't law abiding residents need to be aware of security measures to respect them? Don't law abiding residents ever return goods even for large cash refunds? Don't law abiding retailers sell legal goods and shouldn't be surprised to have people buy them?

Surely, by this description we - local residents and retailers - are all terrorist suspects and should be arrested?

I sent an email to the Council's Chief Executive about how such advice reinforces a climate of fear that will lead to further wrongful arrests of local residents.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sun, 07 May 2006

Leaving do

I eventually had some leaving drinks last Thursday, a week after I left Symbian to join the developer community team at UIQ Technology.

Many thanks to all who came along, I enjoyed the enjoyed the evening very much! JohnP, MarkS, MartinDJ and PanosA gave me a really nice card, and RichardB wrote the following limerick:
There once was a fellow called Mery,
A brilliant techie? Yes, very.
Then to UIQ he went,
Well, perhaps it was meant,
But we hope he'll remain very merry.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Sat, 29 Apr 2006

BBC Programme Catalogue

The experimental prototype of the programme catalogue lists my participation in the Politics Show.

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Thu, 20 Apr 2006

Is the UK a police state? - Acts of Parliament

Added a link to the Statewatch page listing the full-text of Acts of Parliament.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Innocent in London - IPCC complaint

I filed a complaint with the IPCC.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 17 Apr 2006

New sign pictures - lost elephant

Added a few sign pictures including an amusing "lost elephant" sign seen in a pub window on Essex road.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback

Mon, 10 Apr 2006

Innocent in London - MPS report

I received the MPS report into my arrest as part of a Subject Access under the Data Protection Act. I also realise that the information on the Police National Computer will remain until I am 100-year old.


websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback