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UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime 391

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-not-pass-go dept.
An anonymous reader points out that UK authorities have warned that sharing the video of the James Foley murder could lead to prosecution under anti-terror laws. Scotland Yard has warned internet users they could be arrested under terrorism legislation if they viewed or shared the video of James Foley's murder, as Twitter and YouTube attempted to remove all trace of the footage from the web. Twitter suspended dozens of accounts that published the graphic footage while YouTube tried to remove several copies of the video, which was first uploaded on Tuesday night. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted: "We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you." The unprecedented social media clampdown came as the Metropolitan police warned that even viewing the video could constitute a criminal offence in the UK. The force said in a statement: "The MPS counter-terrorism command (SO15) is investigating the contents of the video that was posted online in relation to the alleged murder of James Foley. We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under terrorism legislation."
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UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime

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  • Jurisdiction 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TitusC3v5 (608284) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:07AM (#47726733) Homepage
    Good luck with that.
    • Re: Jurisdiction 101 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:20AM (#47726803)

      See http://blogs.ft.com/david-allen-green/2014/08/21/is-viewing-a-video-a-criminal-offence-under-terrorism-law/?Authorised=false for a suggestion that the police press office is making at least the viewing part up.

      Their press release should really say which law(s) apply..

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:23AM (#47726815)

        In summary, when asked the Met police couldn't explain why it was illegal or quote appropriate legislation but insisted it definitely was illegal, honest.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Might makes right: if someone with more power than you says you can't do something, then you cannot do it. There are no noble and high principles that can stand up to reality. It sucks, but that's the way it is. Get over it.

          • by MrKaos (858439) on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:02AM (#47729443) Journal

            Might makes right: if someone with more power than you says you can't do something, then you cannot do it. There are no noble and high principles that can stand up to reality. It sucks, but that's the way it is. Get over it.

            Fuck off idiot AC. If you read your constitution you'll find most western constitutions are founded on the basis of freedom of the individual. If you haven't got the brains and balls to stand-up for your own rights then stop suggesting people shouldn't stand up for theirs as it puts you somewhere between a traitor and a coward, oh wait...

            As for why anyone with the freedom to watch such a thing would want to put themselves through it, I can't say, but you have the freedom to be sickened if you want to. Personally, no thanks. Everytime the police say something like this the tewworwist win a little more, because the police are too stupid to see that saying that is exactly what the terrorists want. More so when sheeple, like you, beleive it.

            People, if you want to stand up to terrorism then stand up for your rights, vigorously. Extremist islamism hate the very idea that we can take a picture of mohammed and wipes our steaming fresh feaces off our sweaty ass cracks with the image. They video these executions and use our freedoms to manipulate our moronic politicians, police and kilitary into wiping *their* ass with *our* freedom and moron cowards like you just wave them on because you lack the imagination or intelligence to do anything else.

            • by AtariEric (571910)
              I don't think his point was that he's not going to stand up for his rights; I think his point is is that there is always someone else that can stand taller - and crush you like a bug.
            • Extremist islamism hate the very idea that we can take a picture of mohammed and wipes our steaming fresh feaces off our sweaty ass cracks with the image.

              You would have even the moderates up in arms if you did that publicly. Remember the Danish cartoonist a few years back, normally quiet muslims in Asia went apeshit, and the death threats came rolling in.
              I don't know that I can agree with you on this particular item regarding censorship: I would think the extremists would love everyone to see that video, to strike fear in their hearts. They're terrorists. They want those images out there. If they can't get their message out, they aren't exactly winning

          • by ultranova (717540)

            Might makes right: if someone with more power than you says you can't do something, then you cannot do it. There are no noble and high principles that can stand up to reality. It sucks, but that's the way it is. Get over it.

            Which is why Pirate Bay has been shut down, just like Ghandhi's resistance was quickly and efficiently suppressed by the British Empire. Not to mention the hard-line communists who stopped the dissolution of Soviet Union through military power, and the US stamping out drug use through i

      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:04AM (#47726977)

        There is no written law because writing laws about watching the video, is a crime.

        The Police Press Officer couldn't explain that because explaining that writing laws about watching the video is a crime, is a crime.

        Please don't mod this up, as modding up a post commenting the fact that explaining that writing laws about watching the video is a crime, is a crime.

        (Yes I did miss one "is a crime" a the end of that sentence, but, yep, you guessed it, not missing the last "is a crime", is a crime, is a c... hmmm...)

        • by Wootery (1087023)

          There is no written law because writing laws about watching the video, is a crime.

          You joke, but that's not far off the thinking behind the First Amendment.

          (To pre-empt any smart-assery: yes, I'm aware there's no First Amendment in the UK.)

    • by geogob (569250) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:54AM (#47726939)

      If you believe jurisdiction questions are more important to the officials in the UK than in USA, you should go back and review some history lessons. Actually, the only people who care less about international law and jurisdiction than the those in the USA, are those in the UK.

    • Re:Jurisdiction 101 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:00AM (#47726957) Homepage

      The point of saying this is so that if they decide they want to put pressure on someone for whatever reason they can datarape their computer and mobile phone looking for stuff like this, and then slap some terrorism charges on them. It's a common modus operandi here for the police.

      For example, say they raid your house by mistake due to incompetence. They will take your computer and any other electronic devices they find anyway, just to "do a thorough investigation". They will look for anything, absolutely anything at all that they could charge you with, because now they are looking at a massive compensation bill and loss of face. Flimsy evidence of terrorism or paedophilia are their favourites, and even if the charges are dropped later by that time the Daily Mail has blackened your name and moved on to some other unfortunate victim. Time for a few Right to be Forgotten requests.

    • by pla (258480) on Friday August 22, 2014 @05:33AM (#47727541) Journal
      Funny thing about banning something like this - It creates an audience that didn't previously exist.

      I had zero interest in this whole situation, but now that some repressive backwater dipshits have banned it? Into the collection it goes!

      'Course, I live in the US, not the UK, and we consider that sort of footage "Primetime TV", but the principle still stands. You ban it, I will find a copy.

      / No, that doesn't apply to CP, Mr. Hansen, move along ya old perv.
    • Good luck with that.

      We all (UK, US) fund the Syrian "rebels" aka ISIS with our tax dollars [washingtonsblog.com]. The same terrorist organization responsible for the beheading - receiving money and training directly and indirectly through us and from our close allies. If mainstream media have "suppressed" this little detail (well, not mentioned very much), then suppressing the video so that not many see that either won't be too hard.

  • "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security. He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:52AM (#47726929)

      And it's been parroted sans critical thought ever since. Unless you think that we should all be free to randomly assault one another, you are trading the freedom to assault for the security from assault. Society has decided that your freedom to disseminate terrorist propaganda is not worth the lives of the extra hostages terrorists would take if they knew their propaganda would be successful.

      If you don't like that, you can either A: Petition your government to change its value calculus that led to this decision. B: Convince other people that your value calculus is more just than the current one and have them vote for you. C: Move to another country that more closely matches your values.

      Notice how there is no: "D: Quote a founding father who didn't have the balls to commit to his ideals when it came to slavery and pretend that'll change anything"

      • by philip.paradis (2580427) on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:07AM (#47726985)

        Society has decided that your freedom to disseminate terrorist propaganda is not worth the lives of the extra hostages terrorists would take if they knew their propaganda would be successful.

        Nonsense on two counts. (1) Who are you to dictate the ethical positions of those viewing this information? I find the information in question to be a remarkably effective tool for educating others about the realities of such savage acts, and to urge them directly defy those who directly sponsor such savagery. (2) Even assuming the material is considered to be in support of terrorism by officials in a particular portion of society, that their citizens have decided to permit silly and hazy laws to be enacted against distribution of such material instead devoting government resources to combating actual acts of terror, and that those citizens have decided to permit their elected officials to threaten their little corner of the planet with those laws, I don't give a damn. My portion of society isn't affected by those threats, and thus those who might consider attempting to threaten me under inapplicable jurisdictions are welcome to go fuck themselves. Apparently, you're invited to the latter party. Would you care for some lube?

        • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday August 22, 2014 @06:36AM (#47727819) Journal
          1. It's not him silly, it's "the people of the UK", who are you to claim immunity from the democratic will of society, where does this immunity end?
          2. Your overreacting to something the head cop said "could" be considered illegal. I think if you dig a bit deeper than the click bait headline you'll find his real message was more along the lines of - "Yes we all know it's shocking, but please stop reacting as intended by those who perpetrated this act". There's also a cultural difference in the way the UK justice system operates, as a general rule UK public prosecutors are nowhere near as eager to be associated with frivolous convictions and "plea bargaining" as their US counterparts seem to be. UK society in general is less tolerant of "anti-social behaviour", it's their idea of "keeping the peace" and it works rather well for "the people of the UK".

          I don't give a damn. My portion of society isn't affected by those threats, and thus those who might consider attempting to threaten me under inapplicable jurisdictions are welcome to go fuck themselves. Apparently, you're invited to the latter party. Would you care for some lube?

          Yeah right, you tell 'em how it is internet tough guy, lol.

          Disclaimer, not the AC, who btw has as much right to his privacy as the Foley family does to theirs.

      • I'll add one point to my last comment. Please attempt to have me brought up on charges; I'm not difficult to find. Given your position on these matters, I'd adore the opportunity to leverage the justice system and whatever ancillary measures are necessary to discover and publicize your identity. You speak boldly, but I doubt you possess the fortitude to see your name attached to your statements.

    • Poor quote. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:58AM (#47726951)

      This has absolutely nothing to do with security and everything to do with a thought crime. The mere thought that looking at something could be considered illegal is wrong.

      The fact that this is about terror and anti-terror is neither here nor there. Remember we are talking about a country which has made it illegal to watch contented acts between two adults (See ban on possession of videos depicting extreme pornographic acts)

      • Please go a reread 1984. That is not the definition of a "thought crime". Also, if you're from the US I think you would be surprised at the sex that's available on late night broadcast TV in the UK. As with many other nations in the commonwealth, the UK draws the line at depicting certain acts of violence, particularly when it's associated with sex. Depicting acts of fornication or buggery is not illegal, in fact talking and joking about them in explicit terms on national TV seems to be almost compulsory. .
        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          I didn't say porn was illegal. I said extreme porn. Videos or images depicting realistic necrophilia, injury, and rape. The great thing about this law is that it doesn't actually even need to be real, it just needs to depict it. Think about it for a second and realise how broad the definition of extreme pornography actually is before you laugh at others point out how absurd the laws are.

          The silent hill scene where a woman get's her skin ripped off, pass. But what about the scene from Irreversible where Moni

    • Also, "he, who thinks showing people jumping off the burning trade center buildings is ok, is a hypocrite"
  • Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:10AM (#47726749)

    even viewing the video could constitute a criminal offence in the UK

    • by ledow (319597)

      Surely, viewing certain types of illegal pornography is no different.

      It's not a "thought" crime if what you're watching (and thereby encouraging the production of) is illegal to view.

      It would be a thought crime if, say, the police arrested you for signing up on a website where you COULD have watched the video.

      • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fredprado (2569351) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:18AM (#47726789)
        Anytime someone prohibits you from viewing, listening or reading something it is thought crime, and policing thought is barbaric and unjustifiable violence against individuals.
      • by geogob (569250)

        Possessing or distributing it could be regarded as a crime. But citing viewing the content as a crime leaves a very bitter after taste.

      • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:00AM (#47726955)

        So tell me why seeing something with my eyes should be illegal?

        Tell me again who have I harmed, who have I affected, in what way was the public at large affected? Everything that is happening is happening in your own mind. That by definition is a thought crime, which incidentally also is a true victimless crime.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        It's not a "thought" crime if what you're watching (and thereby encouraging the production of) is illegal to view.

        I guess pirating the video should be encouraged then.

      • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday August 22, 2014 @07:25AM (#47728103) Journal

        The Office of Inspector General told me any viewing of child pornography re-victimizes the person in the image and, therefor, upon discovering any child pornography, I must report it to OIG and immediately cease use of computer for fear of causing harm to someone, somewhere, by stumbling upon more child pornography.

        The hard drives are scanned for matching fingerprints of known child pornography, then completely purged. You can't rescue any files from the drives, at all, so I hope you have back-ups which magically aren't possibly tainted with child pornography.

        Honestly I think the whole thing is silly and blown out of proportion. Who cares about child pornography? Why aren't we shutting down the human trafficking rings instead? Nobody suffers when I download The Simpsons, so I would assume nobody suffers when some fat dude in his basement downloads Victoria's Seventh-Grade Secret or whatever nonsense.

        Won't somebody think of the children, instead of the pictures of the children?

      • Jebus, have none of you actually read Orwell? What you wrote is actually a pretty good example of "circumstantial evidence".

        A "thought crime" is where certain thoughts are illegal. My favorite example is from Christopher Hitchens @4:00 - 4:30 [youtube.com], worth watching the whole speech.

        The defining feature of thought crime is that there is no physical act, no physical manifestation of a crime, just an "illegal thought", accessing a web site or making a speech is an action, it doesn't qualify. Of course in the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:11AM (#47726761)

    Link to video is here. Scotland Yard can suck eggs. http://edge.liveleak.com/80281E/u/u/temp.html?i=bc1_1408481278

    Captcha: resistor
    lol

  • I also wonder will they prosecute any of the newspapers that showed images from the video? I don't know of any news channels that broadcast the clip, but there might be one of those somewhere too.

    • by mpe (36238)
      I also wonder will they prosecute any of the newspapers that showed images from the video? I don't know of any news channels that broadcast the clip, but there might be one of those somewhere too.

      Of course just telling people about the video means that it's possible to go looking for it.
      Probably be of far more use to strip anyone who wants to join a foreign military/paramilitary of their citizenship. After they leave, of course.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:14AM (#47726781)

    http://edge.liveleak.com/80281E/u/u/temp.html?i=bc1_1408481278

    • Wow. I mean, it's not the most graphic (as in gore) video I've seen but damn if this isn't awesome propaganda for "the terrorists."

      I think the US still thinks it's fighting against "sand niggers" and doesn't realize the true scope of what they're fighting against. I'm also surprised at their English proficiency and quality of video-editing.
  • Suppression (Score:5, Insightful)

    by philip.paradis (2580427) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:17AM (#47726785)

    Things happen. Sometimes very nasty things happen. Attempts at suppression of information related to nasty things will inevitably fail, and such attempts will only serve to cast those advocating for suppression in a nasty light themselves. "Authorities" might find their time better spent pursuing criminals instead of engaging in an odd attempt to force the populace to bury its head in the sand on threat of imprisonment. The information itself isn't the problem; direct harm caused against human beings is.

    TLDR: Scotland Yard can go fuck itself, and I think this is a great time to make a personal project of facilitating the spread of this information as widely as possible. Thank goodness I've got a great deal of resources available to assist in that endeavor. Cheers, mates.

  • by ThorGod (456163) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:20AM (#47726797) Journal

    Why would anyone actually want to watch it?

    • by dominux (731134)

      because the guy had a London accent, I imagine quite a lot of people want to see it to check it was nobody they recognise from school or whatever.

    • by Nyder (754090) on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:01AM (#47726963) Journal

      Why would anyone actually want to watch it?

      I didn't care to watch it, but now that the UK wants to declare that it's a crime to watch it, I am now downloading it (thanks tpb!)

      Will I enjoy it? Probably not, but if the governement(s) don't want me to see it, then I probably should see it.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:03AM (#47726973)

      I have a more important question:
      Why should it be illegal that I do?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @04:05AM (#47727181)

      > Why would anyone actually want to watch it?

      To better understand just how depraved the people are who made it.

      I'm not joking. Supressing it gives them legitimacy - "the video the government is afraid you'll see" - but letting people watch it exposes the inhumanity of those who made it for everyone to see. The kind of people who might be convinced to join ISIS by watching this video are already so warped that censoring the video won't stop them. But no normal person is going to watch it and come away with anything but deep-seated disgust for the killers.

      • For the same reason, I recommend that people go look up "The Clanging of Swords" - it's the original ISIS propaganda video from when they just finished their first major push in Iraq. It has it all - mowing down civilians, executing freshly surrendered POWs, forcing people to dig their own graves at gunpoint and making them say on camera that "my fate is slaughter", forced conversions etc. After watching this, I am firmly convinced that the people who filmed it, and the people who are filmed in it (other th

  • And thus: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zanadou (1043400) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:20AM (#47726805)
    And thus, the natural extension of "possession of child pornography" laws begins.
  • by fremsley471 (792813) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:23AM (#47726819)

    The London Metropolitan Police Press Office released this statement. When challenged by a lawyer, they could only point vaguely to anti-terror laws and say things like "Do you want people to watch it". So it's PR people, probably with no legal training, who are making up laws on the hoof (and with no apparent correction from their superiors).

    Fuller story here (free reg required):
    http://blogs.ft.com/david-alle... [ft.com]?

  • Is being Irish still considered a terrorist offense (or offence, in their crazy moon language) there?

    • by Cederic (9623)

      Yes, of course.

      Sadly being British, human and/or alive is also considered a terrorist offense here too. The law really is that badly written.

    • I think you mean an o'ffence.
    • by Alioth (221270)

      Crazy moon language? English is called English because it was invented by the English. Offence is correct, offense is the "crazy moon language".

  • We would like to remind the public that paternalism is a bitch.

    FTFY.

  • legal issues. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hooiberg (1789158) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:39AM (#47726881)
    And in the Netherlands there was a legal discussion whether it was illegal or not to celebrate his beheading. That it was even necessary to establish this makes me ashamed of my country. By the way, it was decided that it is not illegal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:45AM (#47726903)

    A north vietnamese point-blank to the head execution...

    A girl running from a napalm attack, her clothes half burned off...

    Bodies piled in German concentration camps...

    An explosion over Hiroshima...

    Are these photos now forbidden as well?

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:53AM (#47726935)

      A north vietnamese point-blank to the head execution...

      A girl running from a napalm attack, her clothes half burned off...

      Bodies piled in German concentration camps...

      An explosion over Hiroshima...

      Are these photos now forbidden as well?

      But sharing them wouldn't be islamaphobic and upset the "religion of peace". The government is in full appeasement mode

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        I'm surprised they are actually allowed to call terrorists terrorists.In the U.S., it is not PC to call terrorists terrorists. However, you can call people who hate government oppression in response to terrorist acts terrorists.
    • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Friday August 22, 2014 @05:14AM (#47727437) Homepage

      To play Devil's advocate for a moment, none of those came along with (as I assume the video in question does) an expression of the ideology behind the act, nor were they posed for the sole purpose of being recorded and distributed.

  • If watching this video is a crime, why not arrest this men [bbc.com] which must have seen it to be able to make this comment?
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Friday August 22, 2014 @02:53AM (#47726937)

    The video should be published. James Foley knew the decisions he was making put him in danger. He walked in with his eyes open, having decided that his photographs could tell the story of average people caught up in the evil going on around them...and that they were worth the risk.

    The only thing worse than the murderous pieces of excrement who killed him are the fascist bastards in bespoke suits who want to use his death as an excuse to turn our freedom-loving countries into the same kind of totalitarian state ISIS is trying to create.

    Fuck them. They're as bad as the terrorists.

    We need to decide: is our freedom worth the price of a few successful terrorist attacks, or should we simply open the door wide to Big Brother, and invite him in for a permanent visit.

  • In soviet UK, YouTube watches you.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday August 22, 2014 @03:10AM (#47726997) Journal
    Watching the video is not a crime. It could, conceivably, be used as evidence of committing a crime. So could getting the 8:45 to Basingstoke, but only is that was something you did in order to commit a crime.

    Pretty much anyone else who has spoken on the matter has said the police overstepped, and that watching the video is not illegal.
  • by Ardeaem (625311) on Friday August 22, 2014 @04:57AM (#47727369)
    The idea it would be illegal to view a video of the death of a journalist -- whose very reason for being there was to inform people about events just like this -- is an insult to Foley's entire career, and to brave journalists everywhere.
  • They're wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomtomtom (580791) on Friday August 22, 2014 @05:27AM (#47727493)
    They just made this up. See this which was written by an actual lawyer, not a press office: Is viewing a video a criminal offence under terrorism law? [ft.com] (may be paywalled).
  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Friday August 22, 2014 @07:01AM (#47727945)

    As gruesome as the video is, it is now part of the historic record - whether the police in the UK like it or not. The same thing happened with the Budd Dwyer suicide video, where a bunch of studios chose not to air any footage at all from the suicide, not even the parts that did not contain gore. Fortunately, as bad as that video is, copies have survived to become part of the record, which is important in understanding things like how the media reacted to the first suicide ever recorded on television.

    Years from now, when the history books are trying to teach kids everywhere how brutal groups like ISIS were, this is what they will have to show them - how the Islamic fighters were so enthralled with the idea of turning Iraq and Syria into islamic states that they were willing to forego their humanity and behead a man who had done nothing to them, simply because he wasn't of the same religion as they were.

  • In June of 1989, similarly horrible and grotesque videos and pictures made their way out of the Tiananmen Square massacre, including a graphic shot of the crushed remains of the head of a student run over by a tank. The massacre was unquestionably a terrorist act designed to regain control of the people through their fears by the creation of maximum horror. The government wanted the message to get out. But does anyone really believe it worked for them in the end? Have we sunk so low that we would make the dissemination of such truths illegal today?

    ISIL has reached the status of a government. Governments don't have to be recognized to "be". For now, they govern a territory and its people. Like all of the videos of terrorist government atrocities, this video does not generate sympathy for that government. Instead, it builds anger against it.

    Furthermore, this man was a journalist. What do you think he would want? Perhaps for the horror of his death to cause change? I'm not a journalist and I know that I'd want the world to see.

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