back to article UK gov bans 'terror' suspect from science class

The UK government is facing a High Court challenge over its decision to ban a suspected terrorist from studying sixth-form science courses, lest he use the knowledge he might gain for terrorist purposes. The government already suspects the man, an Iraqi national referred to in the case as 'A.E.', of terrorist affiliations, and …


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  1. Doug

    back to the future ..

    1990 (1977) ...

    'Drama set in an nightmarish "1984"-style future, where government bureaucracy has run riot'

  2. michael

    orwall anyboady

    is knowledge dangerous

    I think I read that in one of his works

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Hold on just one bleedin' minute......

    Forget all the bit about terror vs freedom.....

    Why is a person that studied medicine at Uni, only now doing basic Biology and Chemistry? Sounds like he has a dodgy degree to me, maybe he got it from the same place as the "Dr" that smells peoples poo got hers.

  4. Anton Ivanov

    The nastygram to my MP is already in the queue

    My granddad was kicked out same way from Chemical Engineering in Nazi Germany along with all other foreigners. My uncle was kicked out the same way from Physics in one of the post-WW2 puppet states in Eastern Europe. The same puppet states had a mandatory ideological compliance exams required for entering University.

    I want to know when did we join the f*** row of bottom feeders.

    I do not follow the news, but I do not recall a 17th congress or CristalNacht happening.

    What's next - burn witches? Gulag? Or Treblinka?

    By the way - if you want to write to your MP about this here is a handy form:

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Where's my control order?

    I have two degrees in physics, a lot of experience as a technician in chemical labs and a fertile imagination - I could be far more dangerous than this guy.

    It's a disgrace that these people are allowed to come OUR country and take OUR government oppression that should be reserved for hard-working British victims.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Not as daft as he is.

    You rightly point out how daft restricting science targeted at 16-year-olds, but how daft is it for a qualified doctor to want to study it in the first place?

    I guess we'd accept foreign-trained medics for most NHS positions? Exactly what level of education do we expect in our hospitals?

  7. Richard Woollacott

    What's the problem

    If we think the man is perhaps a security problem, why not just deport him? Oh dear I forgot the european human rights stuff. As a foreigner his rights are much more important than our safety.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I assume he's doing ti because his degree is not recognised here, not because he doesn't know his stuff.

    I've met Iranians, for example, with veterinary degree who seemed to have a good level of competence and were respected amongst their piers in Europe. So I don't think we can be certain it's a US style "credit card" degree.

    I also feel they should charge him or let him go. There is no excuse for this behaviour. As one of the earlier posters said we're supposed to be in a free country. I recently visited a Gulag in Siberia. I think there's a real risk we'll end up that way if we don't watch our step.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political prisoner

    I was about to write some witty remark giving some advice on how explosives work, why they work, and what kind of things to choose to make a decent pop. But I didn't, because I feel I might end up under "house arrest"...... Why am I having to behave like this in Great^W Britain?

  10. Cameron Colley

    More trouble at the farm.

    So, this person who hasn't committed any crimes, so is completely innocent (as we used to be, until proven guilty), is not allowed to do a couple of A-Levels to pass his time while he's being fucked over by the government for being innocent?

    Well done to our masters once again -- hail the Nationalist Socialist state!

  11. John Macintyre
    Black Helicopters


    Hold on a minute here...

    @ stu - his solicitor said this control means he can't get a job, probably the only course he could get approval for, probably that iraqi degrees aren't widely accepted to jump to a uni course or other

    but they said:

    "For instance, they can restrict travel, use of mobile phones and access to the internet, as well as imposing a curfew."

    How? They can block your internet access or use of a mobile? I guess this is probably public knowledge already, but surely restricting travel is a bit hard to do (you have stepped on an illegal paving tile, step back or we'll shoot). And surely if they already have access to those systems who knows what else they have access to...

    conspiracy theory over. Govt to people: we own you

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Government was telling the truth !

    There were all these accusations of "dumbing down" of A Levels and corresponding grade inflation.

    This control order must be required because A Levels have advanced over the last few decades so much that with the knowledge contained in the increased syllabuses someone can now build a Nuclear Weapon or Chemical Weapon. Far from being "dumbed down", the 6th formers of today are technical powerhouses.

    Goodness knows what's going to happen to future generations when the Conservative party get all kids reading by 6 years of age.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Can they get any more stupid?

    I post AC 'coz I know Iraqis, I don't want THEM identified, in the current climate... But since I know a few, I wouldn't be surprised if that guy had taken the course to improve his English rather than his science. I have taught chemistry+biology to average UK students (Uni 1st year to MSc), the level is crap compared to the continent/middle east/almost anywhere else (the big Unis are v. good tho).

    @michael: ignorance is strength, 1984. Hence the PH icon, she's the strongest of all!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    At the end of the day, the education system in the UK (certainly up to A-Level) is more about qualification than education. If he has a reasonable grasp of English and wants to be educated, I imagine he could pickup an A-level (or degree-level) text book and teach himself. He'd probably learn more than he would from your average FE lecturer.

    I can see how knowledge might make a terrorist more but I doubt qualifications make a terrorist more dangerous.

    On the face of it, it appears that this man has fled Iraq before completing the medicine studies (says he studied, not that he finished), and now simply wants some basic qualifications which are recognized in the UK so that he can complete his studies. - just read the article, and it seems this is indeed the case.

    I fail to see how a man can be so dangerous that he isn't allowed to further his education and contribute to society, yet so harmless that he can't be deported (not that I think *suspecting* someone of terrorism is reason for deportation).

    It is absurd that the Home Office is wasting our money fighting this case. Unless of course their plan is to treat him so badly that it inspires others to commit acts of terrorism.

    BTW, there is one floor in his plan, he is already in his mid-thirties. I know that a few years ago when my brother looked into studying medicine (in his early thirties and could have made an excellent doctor) he was turned down and told no-where would accept him due to his age. So unless the new anti-ageism laws have changed that, I don't fancy his chances (most probably, the limit still exists, but they are less blunt - so as to avoid legal problems).

  15. Risky

    The strange thing

    about the European Human Rights Charter-thing is that it doesn't seem to stop any other European country (centainly not France) locking up and/or deporting al-Quaeda-types. Just us.

    Of course maybe I should stick to the el-reg line that there aren't any terrorists here and it's all our fault or whatever.

    Personally I do feel there is a little problem here as I have this weird idea that thare are people trying to blow me up and I would rather not be the evidence for a postumous conviction....

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Political prisoner

    Doesn't this make him a political prisoner? We're used to be hearing about political prisoners in countries such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea and China - are "we" not better then them?

  17. The Other Steve
    Black Helicopters

    Intercept evidence

    Isn't allowed in a proper court, particularly if it was obtained by member of the SS tapping your comms without a warrant.

    It has been mooted that this if intercept evidence (presumably *with* a warrant) was allowed in court, there would be no need for control orders.

    If this is true, does it mean that the government and the spooks, who have fought tooth and nail against this, simply don't want people to know how easily and comprehensively monitored their comms really are ?

    Either way, if you don't have any evidence that the CPS can go to court with, surely the best way to proceed would be to investigate and, er, get some ? And surely surveillance of the 'suspect' when he's 'free' would produce some important intel ?

    Or is that just me ?

  18. Crossbow
    Black Helicopters

    Nazi state, indeed

    So, we have someone who is so dangerous, that they -

    need an AS level to commit terror.

    aren't intelligent enough to find out the same information from a public library or buy a few textbooks

    On the other hand if the poor sod is trying to get a british qualification to help him get a useful productive job, it would make rather more sense.

    How is it possible to view this as anything other than oppression?

  19. P Wadhams

    The madness of our political masters

    Let's follow the logic of the Home Office's position. He's a dangerous terrorist - so bring him trial. Oops, there's no actual evidence against him. What does his terrorism consist of? Maybe thinking the wrong thoughts, as in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia or 1984. Still, we know he's dangerous. So we control him. we don't let him do A level science. Logically all public libraries must now be closed down, because he could go into one and borrow an A level textbook and acquire dangerous knowledge. Also all bookshops should be closed down, as he could buy the textbooks he needs. In order to truly protect the public, and assure our health and safety, the books formerly in the libraries and bookshops should all be burned. Now where did I hear of that happening before?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    ... being that suspicious, that bloke can be happy they didn't just shoot him six times in the head upon enrollment. The UK certainly has become a strange place to behold from afar. But then again, I am writing from a country that now hires hackers to spy on its citizens, shortly after abolishing the use of any sort of "hacking tool".

    Why don't I just go live in Brunei? Filthy rich place at this time, decent weather – if a little humid –, and no darn "democracy" to be worried about. I'd just hail the sultan and be happy.

  21. Chevy

    Why not study AS-Levels?

    I hold a degree (a PhD would have bored me to tears in my field), been working for a few years and am going to take a couple of years off travelling. During that time I'm thinking of doing some light studying to fill in gaps in my knowledge. I was thinking more OU stuff but I considered doing a couple of AS-Levels just for the fun of it.

    I see nothing suspicious in his activities and frankly, if you want to learn something dangerous you'd be dumb to enrol yourself on government-approved classes eh?

  22. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Binary Medicine ..... Take as per Prescription

    "Govt to people: we own you" .... You cannot be serious, John!

    People to Govt: Wanna Bet?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He can't prove he's innocent

    If you were accused of something serious, wouldn't you want to prove your innocence?

    There's another aspect to this, the guy faces a punishment, which the crown doesn't think it can prove in a court, so can't get a conviction on, but since he never faces a judicial process, he can never prove his innocence.

    This is intolerable. If he's guilty he should be prosecuted, if he's innocence he has equal rights and should not face any arbitrary restrictions. This is not America, Tony should not have done this, there is never an excuse for replacing the judicial process with a political one.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    From the "terrorist" point of view

    having had a chat with El Plod already, for being a suspected terrorist (one of numbnuts at work thought it was dodgy that I was doing "bomb-making stuff" [organic chemistry notes] between calls for a national telco ISP), I can see why this poor guy is getting it in the neck.

    Well done for him wanting to continue his education, but if AS- levelis so dangerous, why don't they dumb it down even more ? ( to pass spell "science")

    The thought police are already here, and coming round for tea and another "chat"

    BTW, I'm a white guy, mid 20s, so still allowed to do what I like for the moment.

  25. Turbojerry

    You need a Nazi book burning icon

    As you don't have one here are a couple of pics of Nazi book burning

    Shame we can't put a control order on HMRC and restrict their access to information...

  26. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    @He can't prove he's innocent

    "If you were accused of something serious, wouldn't you want to prove your innocence?"

    No, because I have the right to be *PRESUMED* innocent until and unless I am *PROVEN* guilty, so do you and so does he and everyone else.

    This Government seems to think that, like many totalitarian regimes, an accusation is sufficient evidence to take action.

    Proof is an unnecessary extra.

  27. Phillip Rhodes


    Sounds like you Brits need a modern day Guy Fawkes or something: your government has become just as fascist and totalitarian as ours here in the States. Time to blow it up and start over.

    Over here we're still waiting to see if there's a modern day Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson to be found to lead the Revolution. Good luck to you lot, maybe the day will come when both the US and the UK can both be considered "Free" countries again.

  28. Gilbert Wham
    Thumb Down

    @ Risky:

    "I have this weird idea that thare(sic) are people trying to blow me up "

    You're right. That is a weird idea. You should probably talk to someone about that. There may be some help you can get. Tablets and such, to make the feelings go away.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    @ what's to stop him getting a book

    I’m pretty sure that there are already laws in relation to holding material that may be considered preparatory to terrorism. So it looks like if he owned/borrowed any of these science books he'd be in trouble any way. As for going to a library then I suspect that would be covered somewhere, maybe under: "attendance at a place used for terrorist training".

    What I don't get is how with all these laws in place there is still people who are considered suspects by the police but for whom there is still not enough evidence to charge/prosecute (never mind convict).

  30. Brett


    I just had a look of those pics and they reminded me of the Dixie Chicks CDs being crushed after they said war and the prez arn't that great.

    El Reg we should have a icon of the bill of rights (or some international equilivlent perhaps the geneva convention) burning.

  31. Jon Tocker

    Foreign qualifications

    It's not clear if he completed and passed his training, but even if he had, there's no guarantee his qualifications would be recognised anywhere else.

    Years ago I knew a Muslim couple from Jordan living here in New Zealand.

    The wife was studying at the Polytechnic where I worked in order to get a degree. her husband - a fully qualified doctor - was working at low-paid low-skill jobs because his Jordanian medical degree was not recognised here.

    The wife was also highly qualified (I forget which area) but her degrees were also not recognised here, so they were living at the local Mosque while her husband did crap work for crap pay so his wife could study and gain a qualification that would bring in enough money to better their lives.

    Her husband was planning on getting a degree once his wife was able to support them financially.

    As has been pointed out, you don't need a science degree to manufacture explosives or other weapons of terror. You don't even need a library card as you can just sit down in your local library's reading room and find out all you need to know.

    Sounds like this poor bugger is genuinely trying to get some qualifications so he can get a job but he's being treated like shit by the "all dark-skinned Muslim's are Terrorists" brigade.

    Want to turn him into a Terrorist? Keep preventing him from making a decent honest life for himself with good qualifications and a good job - that ought to build up the requisite amount of hatred for the oppressive white infidels to do the trick. Just carry on proving to him that the sabre-rattling Anti-West activists are quite right about the evil of Western Infidels.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Required Icon

    I would have thought a burning copy of Magna Carta would be the appropriate icon - it is still the founding legal principle for common law countries.

    In more general terms, I don't understand how we can protest about Pakistan keeping people it doesn't like under house arrest when we are effectively doing the same thing. I would recommend any Reg reader to find where the film "Taking Liberties" is showing and go and see it - they talk to a guy who's been under a control order since they came in.

    At least internment in the 1970s was open and honest about what was going on.

  33. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Yes, we're all just muslim-bashing, brown-people haters!

    The recent Reg article on the "poor widdle fluffy bunny protector" / Animal Rights nutter that had been served with an order to turn over her encryption keys so the coppers got the Reg a few "Nazis!" comments over at Indy Media, and it looks like a few of their mouth-moving-whilst-they-readers have started posting here too.

    FACT1 - you don't get on the control list for being brown, muslim or just being Iraqi. You get on there because the Police have credible intel that you are a possible threat. The paperwork alone discourages coppers from just dumping anyone on the list. It is usually beacuse you associate with others already on the list or already under full investigation.

    FACT2 - ID theft here is nothing compared to ID theft in Iraq, especially in the chaos after the initial invasion. A year ago a colleague gave an interview to a guy who claimed to have been a Iraqi systems analyst, only it became very obvious he was not. The Police were informed, and we heard later the guy was a complete fake that had got into the country as a refugee on stolen ID, and they suspect the real guy had been killed as part of the ploy. Up until the interview, no-one had suspected him. If he had of been a terrorist, he would have been in the country and free to go about his nefarious activities. The Police detective my colleague spoke to admitted they suspect they have hundreds of fakes in the country, and no idea if any of those are terrorists or former Baath party criminals taking advantage of our systems.

    FACT3 - when the terrorists do make successful attacks, everyone screams at the Police and MI5/6 and asks why wasn't more done to stop the terrorists? Well, you can't have it both ways. Grow up.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Degrees of freedom

    I work in a place that has to deal with overseas qualifications and their equivalence to British ones. The process involves international organisations that assess the relative merits of degrees and academic qualifications from around the world. The decisions on equivalence are made on objective grounds. If a qualification isn't recognised as reaching the "British Standard", then that is likely true.

    It may be that the qualifications our professional bodies require are overspecified or irrelevant, but that's not the question. It's certainly possible that some individuals who have been working under a regimen which allows entry at a lower level and have become experienced over the yeards, now would meet the qualifications required, but there is no way for the British certifying authority to measure that objectively, so those individuals cannot count as "up to scratch" for practice in Britain.

    He's still suffering from being presumed guilty. That is wrong.

  35. Kevin Peacock

    Terrorist training camps?

    I'm just waiting for the black helicopters to descend on our schools, as they are obviously just fronts for terrorist training camps.

  36. Ron Eve

    "Sus" laws

    Anyone remember them? Back in the '70's the UK police had the right to stop, search and interrogate anyone on 'suspicion' of anything.

    I remember it well as I got stopped, searched and interrogated by six coppers and a policewoman (taking notes, natch) one summers evening, walking through Soho on my way to the theatre. My crime? There were drug dealers in the area (no, really?) and I 'looked like one'. Hmm. Alright I did have long hair, a natty jacket and velvet loons (hey, it was 1974 fer crissakes!) which made me remarkably similar to a lot of 24 year old white males....

    Maybe it was because I stepped on the cracks in the pavement, or was wearing a loud shirt... (Constable Savage...)

    Control orders are yet another attempt by this government to restrict civil liberties and remove human rights by the back door, to help with the 'war on terrorism' (only a dumb cnut like Bush could come up with that phrase).

  37. Alex

    @Matt Bryant

    FACT1 - You get on the list because the police have credible evidence? Says who?

    FACT2 - So, on the basis that that happened to a colleague of yours and the police say there are others, it would be sensible to assume that this specific 'suspect' is also lying about who he is?

    FACT3 - Some would say there are alternatives to bad ideas implemented badly that would also be effective against violence.

    Am I just feeding a troll here?

  38. John Dougald McCallum

    ""be carful what links you click on that site it looks like they have sold out to sky (spit eugh spit) poker.

  39. Chris G
    Black Helicopters


    Just out of interest, before writing this comment I put `Structure of neurotoxins´ into the Google search, it gave me 1240000 results. The idiots who decide the restrictions for these people need to think a little more.

  40. BitTwister

    @Matt Bryant

    > You get on there because the Police have credible intel that you are a possible threat.

    Hmm - would this "intel" be anything like the equally reliable and credible "intel" used to justify the current mess in Iraq?

    I'm not entirely sure what's meant by "a possible threat", either. Apparently it means "anything we say which will help impose the control order".

  41. fred base

    @Matt Bryant

    That must be like the US intelligence that has over 800,000 people on its watchlist! (see

    Proportionally, the UK would have 20% of that figure. Maybe we need more resources to deal with the threat - hey at that rate it could become a growth industry.

    And then there's the paedo watchlist and no doubt there's a Daily Mail informers watchlist... Then there's a good few candidates on this forum...

    Aaarrrrg the sky is falling in.

  42. John A Blackley

    A Question

    To all of the "thought police", "fascist b*sT*rd government", "Orwellian nightmare" (even though you can't spell the latter) whingeing poms: What are you doing about it?

    Oh, sorry. Forgot that actually doing something (that requires dragging your arses away from "I'm a Celebrity" and your four-pound-a-pint-swill) is beyond your remit.

  43. Charles Manning

    It's for language study

    As Anon says before, the most likely reason he wants to do this is as a way to learn English relevant to his line of work.

    Here in ( the still pretty screwed-on-headed) NZ, I know quite a few Chinese etc people who came to NZ with post graduate degrees, but then went to university/polytech for a year doing a lesser course. The primary reason to do this was to learn the jargon. You cannot learn this in most English as Second Language schools where some dippy language grads are trying to teach "Hello please may I buy a pound of onions" and "When does this bus get to Frulbgate?". To learn words like "titrate" or "compile" and you're far better off in a technical environment. Besides, when you crack an A in your subject it helps underline the fact that your degree is probably as good as a local one.

  44. Roger Brown

    fear-based reaction

    This is illustrating that the fear-based culture we're imposing on everyone makes the 'terrorists' more creative and intelligent than those who're supposed to be 'protecting' us.

    I'm more scared of the Western government system of idiocy than I am of being blown up by a terrorist.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Bryant

    The fatal flaw with your argument is that if indeed he is a dangerous terrorist, or he is hiding his identity, what possible threat is attending an AS level course? If he is some sort of "master terrorist" he will surely already know all he needs to know.

    @John A. Blackley

    Ad hominem, completely irrelevant to the discussion. At least you usually come up with something that sort of counters what is being said, instead of childish personal attacks on people - your only knowledge of them gleaned from posts on an internet forum.

    @Whoever it was who insulted the health service and foreign workers

    This is why I'm posting as AC. I've recently been in hospital with a relative and the excellent staff there have basically saved the life of the relative. When I say saved the life of, I don't mean, brought them back from quite close, I mean brought them back from the very brink, minutes from death. And the relative is slowly recovering now. Roughly a quarter of the nurses on duty have been of foreign nationality and they have been equally as competent as the British workers, and I could not owe them more gratitude.

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