UK man jailed for possessing publicly available US Army field manual on terrorism charges.

I strongly suggest being aware of legal issues in your jurisdiction before attempting to obtain any of the publications mentioned in this blog post.

Someone once asked me why I’ve never read the Anarchist’s Cookbook.

I said:

  1. I’m not interested
  2. I can’t be bothered
  3. I don’t want to go to prison in the UK

Today it came to light that the Terrorism Act has been used in a particularly ironic way.

A local 25 year old man from Bolton, Greater Manchester area suffered a break in and handed some CCTV images to police on a memory stick. Whilst investigating they found some other information on the device which

contained details about the toxin ricin, assassination and torture techniques and instructions for making improvised explosive devices.

There is also some other evidence a letter, a photo of him holding a gun in Pakistan, an alleged “shopping list” which I accept may be deciding factors in the case, however a large amount of the press surrounding the case are focusing on the information he had.

Handily, the press has named the information as some documents known as “Improvised Munitions Handbook and Unconventional Warfare Devices and Techniques”.

So I dropped that into Google and guess what? Amazon stocks the book. And similar books and even encourages you to “look inside”.

I didn’t feel any need to “look inside” said book or buy it. I’m confident in Amazon enough to believe that both are possible and confident enough in the operational parts of the UK justice system that looking at it could cause me considerably more trouble than it’s worth.

Who in their right might would publish such books you might ask? It must be some anarchist terror group right?

Actually, it’s “Pentagon Publishing” – aka the US Army/The Department of Defence.

So let’s be clear here: a UK citizen has been jailed for two years for downloading a pirated version of a publicly available allied armed force’s US Army field manual.

Should people expect to get charged for reading the Wikileaks Afgan War Logs on the basis they may come across some descriptions that could be useful for nefarious purposes?

When I was a child my parents gave me a copy of “The SAS Survival Guide” (published by Collins GEM). This contains lots of animal trap designs and deadfalls that could easily take out humans I guess (and it states this in big warning letters).  Perhaps

Frankly, from a personal point of view, I’m not interested interested in reading or acquiring military manuals etc. In fact I’m largely pacifistic, however it’s not that I feel there should be a second amendment style right to bear firearms in the UK; quite the opposite. It’s ridiculously hypocritical to jail someone on the basis of publicly available information obtained from an allied military force.

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