Two Sides of the Atlantic


Well-Known Member
Apr 10, 2007
I just read the following article on Yahoo! News and parts of it were a little bit scary.

I'm not going to go through the cut 'n' paste thing for the whole article but a few of the things that popped up that I found interesting I will list below.

One of the suspects on the list had posted a comment on an Internet chat room condemning cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published last year in Danish newspapers, The Evening Standard reported, citing unidentified intelligence sources.

That's the third paragraph down from the top. For those of you who don't know, journalism theory states that the more important a fact is, the closer it is to the lead (the first sentence or paragraph). That makes this paragraph pretty damn important in the eyes of the writer, second only to the fact that the Brits are clamping down on skilled immigrants and the fact that several of the men involved in the plots were on British intelligence watch lists.

My question is...why does this paragraph matter at all, let alone so much? I mean, he was just expressing an opinion at the time. Why should anyone care?

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said none of the eight suspects was on any American lists of potential terror suspects.

American lists of potential terror suspects. Potential terror suspects. The way I always thought justice worked was either you were suspected of a crime or you weren't - now we're making lists of people who are potential suspects? What are the criteria for being included on such a list? And how is that we can make sure such lists are not being abused - as in people being added for the political or personal gain of whoever it is who controls these things.

"Some, but not all, have turned up in a check of the databases, but they are not linked to any previous incident," the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the material. The official said Britain's security services are currently watching around 1,600 people and have details logged of hundreds more

In a country with hundreds of millions of citizens I suppose having detailed tracking on a couple thousand is small potatoes. Does that make it okay or right?
I doubt it is much different in the US really. It was explained to me by someone that before 9-11, criminal investigations started with a crime and worked backwards to a suspect and then conviction. But now with new powers given to law enforcement, it often times starts with a suspect or groups of them, then they wait for a crime and then go for conviction, unless it is the case of a suicide terrorist, in which case one ends with a body of the suspect.