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UK Terror Bust Caught With Wiretapping 203

1cebird writes "In an AP story entitled Brothers Emerge As Focus of Plot Probe, British sources reveal that the UK -> US plane-bombing plot was uncovered by a UK wiretap. So it looks like they are getting results with their wiretapping program. Will this make governments and citizens more comfortable with the idea?"
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UK Terror Bust Caught With Wiretapping

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  • On the Charlie Rose show last night, an ABC newscaster said that the U.S. and British governments spy on each other's citizens, doing things that would be illegal in their home countries, and share that information with each other.

    It should be mentioned that the U.S. and British governments have been killing Arabs and interfering with Arab governments for more than 40 years, and that's what started the terrorism. See this very brief summary: History surrounding the U.S. wars with Iraq: Four short stories [futurepower.org]. They did this to increase oil and other profits, the same as now.

    Will U.S. government violence end 3,000 years of violence in the Middle East? Or, increase it?
  • Addendum. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:29PM (#15895689)

    In fact, the first reports -- before the higher ups in the real PR department got into full spin -- was that the reason these people were tracked was because after the London bombings a relative contacted the police with suspicions. You will note how that in itelf would TRIVIALLY allow the police the right to do taps under the OLD laws. No massive tapping of everyone, no carte blanche needed. Just the good old normal "We have resonable suspicion, please allow us to tap these people, Judge".

    This is just "Lock The Laws In" spinning. 100% full throttle let us build a Big Brother Government so pervasive that there is no doubt that terrorism is in fact working excellently-spinning.

    And it'll work. The phantom enemy, the "intelligent network", will win. Wasn't it odd that the first press conference I saw had a talking head explaning how this was ''very similar to an Al-Qaeda plot'', trying directly to instill that link to the ''network of evil'' as it were.

    Sickening. Truly.

  • Wait... what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:30PM (#15895693)
    • First off, the arrests, as have been widely reported, originally began as the result of a tip-off from within the British Muslim community [google.com].
    • The investigation had already been ongoing for quite a long time at the point at which the phone call, which gets only a brief mention in the article there, was intercepted by a wiretap. What this article tells us is that sometimes police use wiretaps when investigating suspects. We already knew that.
    • "More comfortable with wiretapping"? Wiretapping has been used by law enforcement for decades, and nobody really has a problem with this. What people have a problem with are:
      1. Indiscriminate "blanket" wiretapping
      2. Wiretapping without warrants or judicial safeguards.
      Neither of these things were necessary at any level of the U.K. investigation there; they knew who to tap ahead of time, and they were in a position to go ahead and follow correct procedures for wiretapping such as obtaining warrants. The current U.K. case in fact weakens the case for these new, neoconservative policies, since the suspects here were caught through good old fashioned police work, not through crazy new vague police powers where the police tap whoever they want whenever they feel like it.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:39PM (#15895724) Homepage Journal
    The question is, "Is unregulated wire tapping of citizens with out oversight more effective than regulated wire tapping with oversight and a 24 hour grace period?"

    I don't think anyone will argue that wiretapping is bad. But many will argue that wiretapping with out oversight will quickly lead to an abuse of power.

  • by Tweekster ( 949766 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:53PM (#15895767)
    Your sig says it all... but the answer is, the US will be immaterial to a violent culture with a long history of extremism.

    To quote syriana: We think a hundred years ago you were living out here in tents in the desert chopping each others head's off, and that's exactly where you're going to be in another hundred.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:56PM (#15895783)
    ..just get a warrant, keep it in the public record, and hold the government accountable when they screw up, so that they choose their wiretaps carefully. Heck, if you want to err on the side of caution and wiretap first, get the warrant second, I'm fine with that too. Just don't hide what you're doing from the citizens of your country, don't pretend like you're smarter than anybody else.

    It's possible to be safe from both terror AND idiot totalitarian governments.
  • Civil rights of 400-500 million violated...
    Well, the UK has a population of 60 million, so you're going a tad OTT.

    and so far one legitimate, serious attack has been prevented.
    So is there some sort of quota that you want? We must stop at least one serious terrorist attack every two months before it's justified action?

    The same attack could likely have been prevented by forcing everyone to check all luggage and allow no carry-ons.
    Ah, so you complain about civil rights being eroded, but you'd have no problem if before 9/11 they'd have said: "Right, you're not allowed hand luggage except the bare minimum, that's passport, tickets and wallet." People would go nuts and ask why it's justified, wonder why they can't take their Gameboy, MP3 player or even a book onboard that really fun 7 hour transatlantic flight. Screw business class and business customers having the ability to work on the move, by-bye laptop, mobile phone, dictaphone and probably even pens or pencils.

    As much as i dissapprove of the idea of only reacting to something after it's happened, if you'd even have suggested the security measures now 10 years ago, you'd be laughed out for costing the industry millions.
  • by molo ( 94384 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @07:19PM (#15896063) Journal
    Never heard of the Crusades then? The current battles are being branded as the "modern crusades" by people looking to drum up outrage. Also don't forget the Ottoman empire's invasion of Vienna, and the Umayyad dynasty's conquering of Spain. This all hapenned well before the 1850s discovery of producing kerosene from petroleum.

  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @09:14PM (#15896371)
    Civil rights of 400-500 million violated...

    Well, the UK has a population of 60 million, so you're going a tad OTT.

    I'm sorry but I don't see a functional difference between violating the rights of 60 million to catch one guilty person vs the rights of 500 million.

    The premise of the constitutions of western worlds is supposed to be innocent until provent guilty. This means the government should not be authorized to systematically invade the privacy of the populus at large with no probable cause in the hope of catching them stepping out of the line of their many many obscure laws.

    You know there are some really obscure laws on the US books which can still be used to imprison people and deprive them of their voting rights by making them felons.
    Even if theyre not felony violations you can still make their life a living hell by datamining them for violations of stupid laws.

    How long is it until someone who said something wrong about the current ruling party flicks boogers into the wind or puts an ice cream cone in their pocket in alabama [fedtrek.com]
  • Re:Next? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IAmTheDave ( 746256 ) <basenamedave-sdNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:01PM (#15896705) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, but so what they use Skype? DARPA will figure out a way to break the encryption.

    It's not about being uncomfortable with wiretaps. It's about being uncomfortable will illegal, non-FISA approved wire taps. If these guys were in a terror cell (and in the US) and FISA was asked for a warrant, it would be granted.

    The general public isn't worried about wiretapping. They're worried about an executive branch that thinks it's a dictatorship, free from the laws that govern this land.
  • Re:Addendum. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:15PM (#15896749)
    Remember when they first arrested Jose Padilla ? They said he was coming to bomb us with a radioactive "dirty bomb." Then they said he was just thinking about it. Then they said nothing at all for a long time. When they were finally forced to file charges in order to keep him in jail, the charges mentioned no radioactive dirty bombs.

    I predict that when all is said and done with this case, no evidence will be shown that the arrested people ever constructed a "liquid explosive." There will be no explosive recovered, only various things that "could be made into an explosive." There will be no evidence of a test explosion in some remote area, no receiving of explosive material from someone else, just various computer files and telephone conversations.
  • by ChePibe ( 882378 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:35AM (#15897054)
    My personal opinion - he got scared. He got scared, he didn't want to go through with it, but was also afraid of being labelled a coward (or perhaps worse) by his handlers, so he went for it, put up a bit of a fight, and let himself get captured. He gets his "honor", but doesn't get blown to bits. Other alternatives: - He was just plain ditch water dumb and wanted to get in his "Allahu Akbar" in front of everyone before it blew. Yeah, that didn't work out too well. Less likely. - The bomb needed to blow up close to an exterior wall, which was not available on that particular aircraft in the bathroom. Really, really poor planning in that case.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @11:29AM (#15898295) Journal
    Somehow a less biased person might look at the middle east and think that their problems stem from lousy...
    ...lines drawn in the dirt by the Leage of Nations in 1920.

    I suggest you read
    The Middle East and the West: Carving Up the Region [npr.org]
    The Middle East and the West: WWI and Beyond [npr.org]

    Then look at these maps
    1914 [npr.org]
    1916 [npr.org]
    1920 [npr.org]

    NPR doesn't come right out and say it, but I will: the borders were arbitrary and cut across ethnic & tribal groupings. Basically, they were drawn up to support British and French colonialism, not independant governments and most certainly not Democracies.

    The U.S. inherited the problems designed by the Europeans when they decided to become a player in the Arab speaking world. Then they spent the next 30~40 years using those countries as pawns in their power games against the Soviets during the Cold War.

    Most countries on the African and Asian Continents have legitimate gripes against "The West" for screwing over their countries.
  • by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <wrosecrans@nospam.gmail.com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:41PM (#15898530) Homepage
    But thank you for the canned soundbite about how the west is responsible for the crappy condition of the avg arabs life. Somehow a less biased person might look at the middle east and think that their problems stem from lousy corrupt governments that have a willingness to kill their own citizens, the subsitution of religous precepts for sane government policy and a willingness to blame everyone else in the world for their own problems.

    You are blaming arab governments on the arabs? My favorite middle eastern country, in terns of messed up history, is Iran. It isn't technically arab, but a lot of westerners don't bother to make any sort of distinction. Especially those making arbitrary blanket statements like yours.

    At the start of the 20th century, there was a movement in Iran to move from a monarchy under the Shah to a nation with a constitution. There was some success, but England and Russia very actively impeded this process, and supported rolling back the role of the constitution. Then, there was a bit of a revolution, and a new Shah who had been involved in getting the constition made came to power.

    The western powers hated this guy, basically forced him to abdicate, and had his son take power. In the 50's, the prime minister was asked to step down, tried to have another little revolution in order to move the country from a constitutional monarchy to a proper republic. The English and Americans would have none of it. So, we reinstalled the Shah, and installed a new prime minister. We also set up some official agreements and contracts about oil. A set of western oil companies had full control over the oil in Iran, and Iran couldn't audit the accounts to see if they were getting their contracted cut. So, basically Iran got shit from the exploitation of their own natural resources, because the West decided how the government should be run. (On several occasions!)

    Interestingly enough, the Islamic revolution happened right about the same time that those oil contracts ran out. The whole history is far more interesting than I can fir into a slashdot post. My research on the subject is also far from complete. And, that's just one country.

    For another interesting tidbit -- after the Islamic revolution in Iran, America was scared, a wanted to avoid having radical Islam spread in the middle east. We wanted to support non-religeous leaders in the area. It was less than a year after the Islamic revolution that Saddam came to power in Iraq.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents