Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel ?' Cain answered 'I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper ?' Genesis chapter 4, verse 9
Should your own personal DNA be used to try to prove guilt by association for a crime by one of your relatives, which occurs in a foreign country, and over which you have no control ?
Should copies of emails on your computer (which are so trivially easy to edit or forge undetectably) be the only direct "evidence" against you, even though the intercepted content of emails , whilst allowed for intelligence purposes, is forbidden to be used as evidence in court under the incredibly convoluted sections 17 and 18 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000:
"no evidence shall be adduced, question asked, assertion or disclosure made or other thing done in, for the purposes of or in connection with any legal proceedings"
Consider the very strange case of the failed British suicide bomber Omar Khan Sharif, and the accusations against his family:
Relatives' DNA used to identify would-be British attacker in Israel
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem and Jeevan Vasagar
Tuesday May 20, 2003
"Twelve days after the bombing, a corpse was spotted in the sea not far from the beach next to Mike's Place.
"Our guys hauled it out of the water. It was so badly decomposed that you couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman," said a police spokesman, Gil Kleiman
The forensics institute answered that question, but the face was unrecognisable and there were no fingerprints left so the Israelis asked the British authorities to obtain DNA samples from members of Sharif's family in the UK."
So an otherwise unrecognisable corpse of an intelligent, middle class British Muslim, whose suicide bomb somehow did not detonate, although that of his colleague did, was identified, not by his relatives (his wife, brother and sister were arrested) but simply by DNA samples.
Why were there two British suicide bombers attacking the same target at the same time ? Why did they attack a beachfront bar, when, presumably with the greater level of freedom of movement that their British Passports and native English accents were supposed to afford them, their terrorist puppet masters could have aimed them at much higher profile targets ?
Where did this identifying DNA sample come from ? Was this DNA sample obtained voluntarily from his parents, or children to help to identify the "presumed innocent" corpse in Israel ?
Or was it taken from the samples obtained from his brother and his sister (who along with his wife) were arrested (possibly under the Terrorism Act 200, but this is unclear) and then charged under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 ?
Do these peculiar circumstances surrounding Omar Khan Sharif point to him being an MI5 or MI6 agent or or agent provocateur or informer ? Is he actually still alive ? If MI5 or MI6 have not already recruited such people, then they should be doing so.
The Daily Telegraph reports:
By Sue Clough and Chris Boffey
"His wife, Tahira Tabassum, 28, had been accused of knowing of his plan to become a suicide bomber and failing to inform the authorities. She was cleared by an Old Bailey jury of seven women and five men after a nine-week trial.
After deliberating for five days, the jury failed to reach verdicts on Sharif's brother, Zahid, 37, a Derby businessman, and his sister, Parveen, 38, a teacher. They too had denied charges under the Terrorism Act of failing to disclose information about his mission."
The charge in court seems be under the amendment to the Terrorism Act 2000 which came in via Section 117 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001:
117 Information about acts of terrorism
(1) The Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) is amended as follows.
(2) After section 38 insert-
"38B Information about acts of terrorism
(1) This section applies where a person has information which he knows or believes might be of material assistance-
(a) in preventing the commission by another person of an act of terrorism, or
(b) in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of another person, in the United Kingdom, for an offence involving the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
(2) The person commits an offence if he does not disclose the information as soon as reasonably practicable in accordance with subsection (3).
(3) Disclosure is in accordance with this subsection if it is made-
(a) in England and Wales, to a constable,
(b) in Scotland, to a constable, or
(c) in Northern Ireland, to a constable or a member of Her Majesty's forces.
(4) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2) to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for not making the disclosure.
(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable-
(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to a fine or to both, or
(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.
(6) Proceedings for an offence under this section may be taken, and the offence may for the purposes of those proceedings be treated as having been committed, in any place where the person to be charged is or has at any time been since he first knew or believed that the information might be of material assistance as mentioned in subsection (1)."
(3) In section 39(3) (disclosure of information etc.), after "21" insert "or 38B".
"A last e-mail message from Sharif and one to him from his sister Parveen formed the basis of the prosecution case against the family.
Eight days before the bombing, Sharif sent an e-mail, described as a "final farewell message" from the Palestinian Authority territories to his brother, Zahid.
It was in two parts. The first addressed to Zahid with instructions that the second part should be passed on to his wife.
"I hope you are well. Please take care of yourself," wrote Sharif. "Difficult times may lay ahead for you and your family in the next few weeks or months if Allah wills.
"Plan now and get rid of any material you may consider problematic." He ended the message by telling his brother to delete the message. Police recovered it from the hard drive of his computer.
Tahira had told the jury she knew nothing of her husband's plans. She thought the e-mail meant that her husband was leaving her."
What will happen when a terrorist group, most of which seem to be very competent with their use of the Internet, chooses to use email spam or virus/worm techniques to send out thousands of "warnings" or threats about a future suicide bomb attack or kidnapping or assassination ?
WIll each and every one of the recipients of such an email get prosecuted under the amended Section 38 of the Terrorism Act dealing with "Information about acts of terrorism" ? The poor wording of the Act does not allow for the excuse that the "information" that you may be in possession of, is already known to the authorities. If the defence of " I thought that they must know about this already" is acceptable as "a reasonable excuse", then what is the point of this bit of legislationn at all ? We should not be wasting public money in trying to prosecute anyone under it.
Obviously actual terrorist co-conspirators are already covered under the other sections of the Terrorism Act, so this is just yet another example of how bad the rushed, and improperly scrutinised Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 really is.