A Bit Odd

Mr Justice Silber, sitting at London\’s High Court, ruled the Iraqi national, known as AE for legal reasons, had taken part in terrorist activities and knowledge from such courses could be used to make explosives.

However, AE said his purpose for studying the courses was to continue his medical studies.

The judge dismissed AE\’s appeal against Home Secretary Jacqui Smith\’s decision last September refusing to permit him to undertake the AS-level courses in the 2008-9 academic year at a regional college.

He had acted on the basis that the Home Secretary had reasonable grounds to believe AE had received terrorist training and had taken part in terrorist activities.

So, we\’ve not proved that he\’s taken part in terrorist activities. At least, not to the point that he has been charged, let alone convicted of any such.

Even so, the Home Secretary is allowed to dictate what subjects he may or may not study? On the grounds that he might use them in the activities which we haven\’t proved that he is involved with?

The bloke wants to be a doctor, and he can\’t study chemistry?

This is consistent with being innocent until proven guilty in what manner?

And what other powers does the Home Secretary have to limit who may study or do what on such hearsay?

10 thoughts on “A Bit Odd”

  1. I understand the logic of what you’re saying, and I understand that it’s not desirable that a Home Secretary has power to determine who may study what.

    But. Just as there’s no compulsion on a shopkeeper to sell goods to anyone, there’s no compulsion on an education provider to sell their wares to anyone, either. And which is the greater freedom? For service providers everywhere to be able to select whether or not to deal with an individual customer, or for a non-national with a murky background to be able to study chemistry?

  2. The state of AS levels there’s not much chance he’d learn anything even vaguely useful for constructing IEDs.

  3. More evidence of the decline of the education system. I knew how to make explosives by the age of 13-14.

    I never actually utilised to knowledge, but I knew all the theory.

    Sad that someone doing AS levels is so far behind.

  4. If he wanted to learn the chemistry of bomb making he could always use the WWW or even go to his local library. So we might as well give him the benefit of doubt, unless we are prepared to ban him from reading books and the WWW.

  5. ” Just as there’s no compulsion on a shopkeeper to sell goods to anyone, there’s no compulsion on an education provider to sell their wares to anyone, either.”

    Yes, except this isn’t a case of a provider chosing not to sell their goods, this is the home security banning the sale of goods to an individual (or banning an individual from purchasing goods).

  6. No one knows what information may have been shown or told to the judge and held in strict confidence because the nature of the information would compromise intelligence sources.

    That does not make me feel a whole lot better – but it does, some. And it requires a minimal amount of trust in some branches of the government – as much as people hoot at the notion. It’s still necessary, you know.

  7. No one knows what information may have been shown or told to the judge and held in strict confidence because the nature of the information would compromise intelligence sources

    We rightly let Coventry be bombed to avoid compromising intelligence sources, because we thought the gains from not revealing our crypto knowledge were greater.

    Either this chap is going to do something so unspeakable that it’s worth blowing the intelligence for, in which case we should do that and try him; or he isn’t, in which case he should go free rather than this halfway house, rumours and lies, free-but-not-free-with-no-chance-of-exonerating-himself nonsense.

  8. If he wanted to learn the chemistry of bomb making he could always use the WWW or even go to his local library.

    It wasn’t so much the chemistry of bomb making they were concerned about but the discipline of lab work. The judgement is worth reading.

    That said, I’m inclined to agree with John B.

  9. “AE is a well-known figure in the Iraqi Kurdish community and since arriving in the UK, there were reasonable grounds for believing that he was involved in providing support for the Jihadist insurgency in Iraq and in radicalising individuals in the UK.”

    If he’s so dangerous we can’t let him study a particular subject here, why is he still allowed to stay here…?

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