British cops identify 200 schoolchildren as potential terrorists

200 children in the UK, some as young as 13, have had files opened on them by the British anti-terror cops as potential terrorists -- even though they have committed no crimes. The children were reported to the anti-terror squad by their teachers on the basis of school work, journals and conversations that, in the teachers' view, indicated that the children were susceptible to extremist beliefs. The programme is only 18 months old and has already identified 200 children who should be treated as terrorism suspects. At this rate, every child in Britain should be on the watch list by, what, 2018?

The police say it's all right, though, so that's OK.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are committed to stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists or violent extremists. The aim of the Channel project is to directly support vulnerable people by providing supportive interventions when families, communities and networks raise concerns about their behaviour."
Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists


  1. The British are doing it all wrong. The best way to make sure kids don’t become terrorists is to watch their every move with surveillance and bombard them with paranoid and ineffective anti-terror ads.

    Oh wait…

  2. Brilliant! I was starting to lose faith in our doctors’ ability to keep those meddling 13 year olds properly medicated and under control.

    I wonder how far up the list they put you for dropping a stink bomb, smoking in the bathroom, or inciting a food fight.

  3. Sounds like “A Most Wanted Man” by John le Carre. Although it is german children of turkish descent that are being watched, he describes the very same idea.

  4. With this and other similar posts on BB like the ability to disperse any group of teenagers after 9 p.m., It’s like the entire country hasn’t read 1984.

    Either that or they are really buying into the spirit of things.

    Although I’m totally on board when they start to roll out the Two Minute Hate, and Hate Week celebrations. Those always sounded like great fun!

  5. No doubt these are the same kids that have noticed the transition from “Great Britain” to “Airstrip One”, and spoken publicly about it. I suppose their teachers must be outing them to the Thought Police out of fear of being scrutinized themselves, or maybe you get rewarded for turning your charges in. The kids will come away with the sense that figures of authority are not to be trusted, and will ironically be driven more to extremism by the realization that it’s not just paranoia, people really are out to get them.

  6. Hey – could be worse. We could have the TSA, dept for Homeland Security, the CIA etc. etc.

    I expect Cory will be moving back to the US soon – oh wait, no?

  7. I must confess that at times I’ve considered Cory’s posts about the British security apparatus to be a bit on the “chicken little” side of the ledger. He – and the British authorities – have absolutely proven me wrong over the past six months – and this example takes the cake. Commenter #1, Spikeles, sums it up with his “WTF?!”

    This is inanity and it defies belief that ONE person in government would legitimately consider the terror threat coming from children, let alone an entire organization treating this ridiculous idea seriously.

    If I’ve ever doubted you, Cory, I apologize for it now. I’m grateful that you and people like you are in the field bringing this lunacy to the world’s attention. The WORST case scenario here is to have government authorities behaving this way, but secretively so, so when they start bringing SCHOOLCHILDREN in for questioning, their actions fly under the radar.

    Keep it up, Cory. Britain and the rest of the world need you.

  8. As contrasted with the benign treatment of kids in the US who draw pictures of guns in school?

  9. Cory – The title is wrong, it should be “British TEACHERS identify 200 schoolchildren as potential terrorists” – from the fine article:

    The children were reported to the anti-terror squad by their teachers on the basis of school work, journals and conversations that, in the teachers’ view, indicated that the children were susceptible to extremist beliefs. (Emphasis added)

  10. They’re presumably kids from fundamentalist Muslim families.

    It’s actually not a terrible idea, given that the idea is to help protect them from being brainwashed and disconnected from society by Wah’habist radicalisation. They’re being given particular attention, not being placed under suspicion. The Channel program pretty much is what it says on the tin.

  11. Incidentally, the highest-risk group for being brainwashed into becoming suicide bombers are teenage boys.

  12. Totally support the HUGE WTF!!!!

    This is insane, I can’t believe the british government have a list with 13 year old terrorist suspects.

    Based on the teachers’ view??? Can anyone call anybody a terrorist in this country??? This is plainly stupid!

  13. katzenfriedel @4:
    Le Carré talks about the book here:
    From a The Guardian review: “Truer to say that this is le Carré’s strongest, most powerful novel, which has a great deal to do with its near perfect narrative pace and the pleasure of its prose, but even more to do with the emotions of its audience, what the reader brings to the book.”
    Sounds interesting! Thanks!

    From the link Cory provided, there’s a link to “Charity Commission ‘must monitor extremist links'”:

    “MPs and anti-extremist campaigners said the Charity Commission had shown naivety after it emerged the charity at the centre of the row was run by a man who had twice been charged and cleared of terrorism offences, and served a jail sentence for a firearms conviction.”

    I’m at a loss here: He’s been cleared, no? So why is this mentioned in the story? Hmmm, why aren’t the names of the police officers who, at first blush, are incompetent or are carrying a personal vendetta, mentionned in the story? (I know, it’s ‘cuz the man is one of those ‘swarthy’ types, eh?

    Firearms conviction? Jail term? If The Independent seems to think that being cleared of charges is grounds for suspicion, why isn’t it important to provide details for the firearms conviction? (“Improper Storage of a Firearm” and “Weekend in Jail”? Anyone? Bueller?)

    What the heck is wrong with Britain these days? Is it something in the water? (Some tainted gefilte fish, maybe?)

  14. So the British government intends to stop anyone who doesn’t agree with their way of thinking by use of force? Hmm, that sounds like something…

  15. PaulR @ 13 says,

    What the heck is wrong with Britain these days? Is it something in the water? (Some tainted gefilte fish, maybe?)

    As #1 said: WTF? Please tell me I’m just overreacting here–you aren’t suggesting that surveillance and paranoia is a Jewish plot…?

  16. i think we lack details to make a real discussion.
    what is the mean/median age of the kids?
    “some” are 13 doesn’t mean much.
    16-18 year olds are still in school, and are responsible for a multitude of suicide attacks and attempts every year in Israel alone.

    besides, if the program is really meant to check on the kids and to help them avoid being brainwashed, and not just to make it easier to lock them up, than i think it’s a fantastic idea.

  17. Shit, Cory.

    Keep this up, and you may keep me away from the UK forever.

    Which is, of course, exactly the wrong reaction to have. What I should say is; Good work! Keep channeling info like this into the minds of intelligent, passionate, and outspoken people – that is to say – Boing Boing readers.

  18. School children? where are the parents? or are the parents feeding these children these extreme beleifs and thus helping? this is trully scarry.

  19. And somehow it’s never considered an extremist belief that the government should snoop on the private lives of everyday citizens.

  20. RAJ77 is obviously hiding something, and is trying to misdirect everybody’s attention onto something else. Therefore, I am asking Cory, in the name of Homeland Security and the Queen, to forward RAJ’s personal information to the proper authorities, so that they can monitor this potential terrorist.

  21. man, what the hell is wrong with britain these days? it’s like a frightening parody come to life.

  22. awesome.
    Nothing says “have faith in your government” to children like having a “potential terrorist” label slapped on your back.
    and based on the opinions of teachers none the less. lets see…while i was in school, my friends and i spent a fair amount of time terrorizing our teachers, stealing hall passes, locking them out of the classroom, super gluing there supplies to the desk, and finding other ways to make them despise children. thinking about that and knowing there are plenty of other children out there doing the same things we did, i’m surprised the number is only 200.

  23. You simply can’t make this shit up! It’s Brittain- officially the logic singularity of the universe.That gov. HAS NO MIND. AT ALL. They are BRAINDEAD. COMPLETELY.

    If kids ever had a reason to NEVER trust adults, and thus rebel, this is it! Britain, stop it! STOP IT ALREADY! JUST STOP! This exceeds any definition of insanity. There simply aren’t words for the level of insane stupidity that exists in that country.

    At this point, no amount of explanation, I fear, would get the point across- you simply ignore the idea of logic if you subscribe to this level of paranoia. I think they’ve finally OUTDONE the Stasi! I can’t even believe that’s possible, but I think they’ve actually managed to do it!

    What is wrong with the British? Do they have nationally high levels of lead poisoning or something? I can’t even imagine a physiological reasoning that could account for total comprehension of logic at this level.

  24. “Won’t somebody think of the chirrens!” These aren’t children. They’re teenage boys. Young, dumb, and full of cum. Exactly the group most at risk. And the terrorists know it. In the US as well as the UK.

    The howls of rage when governments try to focus on specific high-risk demographics using human intelligence and common sense – the teachers – is exactly why governments end up using broad, dumb measures like cameras on every street corner.

    Terrorism exists. This is hardly the worst option for addressing it.

  25. Could someone please explain why Britain has all of these insane Policies?

    Here’s a list:

    Britain will make foreigners carry RFID identity cards and will put us in a huge, Orwellian database: the rest of Britain will be next:

    You are not allowed to photograph a police officer, in the name of terrorism:

    Digital Britain report proposes to save Britain’s future by destroying the Internet:

    Britain spends more on cops and locks up more people than any other developed nation:

    Britain makes sure you are not an evildoer when accessing the internet:

    Britain’s “Great Firewall” set to restrict access to Wikipedia:

    London cops mug blogger for computers, phones, data, call him a “terrorist”:

    British govt asks EU to gut Net Neutrality:

    UK database blacklist of “suspicious” store clerks includes people never charged or convicted:

    Taking pictures of Thugs is assault:

    More inefficient Anti-Terrorism:

    UK local governments use anti-terror spying powers to catch litterbugs and people who put out trash early:

    How British cops are criminalising peaceful protest:


  26. ZippySpincycle @ 16 sez:

    PaulR @ 13 says,

    As #1 said: WTF? Please tell me I’m just overreacting here–you aren’t suggesting that surveillance and paranoia is a Jewish plot…?

    Nah! The phrase, upon reflection, is more likely to be “a bad case of gefilte fish”. A very, very obscure reference from the ’70s.

    The server that handles the “Suggest a Link” to BoingBoing is borked right now… As soon as it’s working, I’ll be able to suggest a link, and it’ll all be clear.

    If my suggestion isn’t accepted (I’m talking to YOU, Cory Doctorow!) then I’ll post details here.

  27. “The aim of the Channel project is to directly support vulnerable people by providing supportive interventions when families, communities and networks raise concerns about their behaviour.”

    The goal sounds good. Too bad that the execution and the rest of the wording sucks so much. Every country should try to make all citizens to feel like part of the same society (in the fluffiest and cuddliest way possible, not through patriotic indoctrination and fear mongering).

  28. Whoa whoa back up. Some *as young* as 13? So we’re talking about 13 to 18 year olds here?

    And you don’t think there are a significant number of kids in this age group willing to blow themselves up because of a massive amount of teen angst if pushed in the right direction?

  29. “people becoming or supporting … violent extremists”

    At the moment, this would seem to describe the UK government very well.

  30. @Ernunnos 23: Did you miss the part of the invasion of Iraq where targetting and marginalizing a group of people increased the recruitment rates of terrorist organizations?

    Never mind, you’re trolling, carry on.

  31. I think what really upsets people reading this (at least those that actually think) is the thought of what their own teachers were like when they were children.

  32. TAKUAN – I have to wonder how many of these very same teachers ran around in the 80s with punk haircuts, upside-down “A”s on their denim jackets, and listening to songs like “God Save the Queen (and her fascist regime)”? Would they have made the list back then (if there were one)?

    This will never happen in the US of A, since the teachers union would complain about the added work, the lack of compensation for this new activity, and the need for extensive training to ensure that only qualified teachers could arbitrarily put students on a terror watch list… Finally, something good from Unions!

  33. Cory@29

    I don’t think Ernunnos@23 was trolling at all. It’s a fair point, if told a bit tabloid-y.

  34. I moved to Canada from the UK about the time Cory moved to the UK. I lived in the UK for 12 years and when I reflect on what it was then and what it has become now it is like watching someone you knew and loved in the past ruining their life by dating the wrong partner, getting in to trouble, abusing those around them who used to care and pusing everyone away. You feel sad and sorry for them. Almost wishing for the day they go too far and end up in real trouble, jail or the morgue. Just to have it over and done with.
    I really struggle to go back, even to see my family who still live there. They can come to Canada and experience the difference.

  35. I have to wonder how many of these very same teachers..

    Timothy, I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison.

    Seperately, those same teachers (as punk children) were probably dealt with by social wokers and community officers, which is really what the police seem to be saying this project is supposed to be.. a way of protecting childeren against dangerous influence.

    Note, I say “supposed to be”.

  36. Britain knows how to take charge these young rapscallions — round them all up and send them to Clown College!

    1. round them all up and send them to Clown College!

      To make them more suicidal? That seems counterproductive.

  37. My first reaction to this: WTF?!

    My second: When a young person blows up a bus or shoots up a school, there are very often questions about how this or that “tell-tale sign” could possibly have been overlooked. Similar investigations of young people in the US, ludicrous on the face of it, have arisen from the mechanical application of regulations introduced post-Columbine (etc.) in order to address this criticism.

    While official scare mongering undoubtedly exaggerates danger and incites paranoia, some level of danger does exist, and a measure of vigilance is genuinely necessary. If you’re a teacher, and feel that one of your students has been or is at risk of being radicalised (as the teachers of one of the 7/7 bombers reportedly did), what should you do about it?

  38. It’s brilliant when you think about it.

    Brilliant politics that is.

    1: it satisfies the ‘something must be done’ brigade in the red-top press who are the real constituency the government is concerned with;

    2: it looks like the government is tough on terror – there’s an election to be won in the next twelve months;

    3: if a kid is targeted and goes on to grow up into a normal human being then it can be trumpeted as a colossal success and one in the eye for namby-pamby civil libertarians;

    4: and if it fails, the politicos responsible will have long since retired or died when the fiasco becomes clear.

    Wacky Jacqui and her pals in the Home Office (slogan ‘Building a safe, just and tolerant society’ (SERIOUSLY!)) really are on top form of late.

  39. The war against terrorism has spilled enough blood in our streets, all the money we spend to fuel it could be used for health care and education. Its taxation could save us from this economic crisis!

    I say legalize it!

  40. The surveillance is not surprising, given the table stakes. By way of analogy, the FBI in the US is investigating the case of Somali-American teens from Minnesota that returned to Somalia to join As-Shabaab, an Al-Q linked terrorist group that expanded operations. Somalis also trained the suicide bomber behind an lethal attack on South Korean tourists in Yemen two weeks back.

    Britain has to deal with the same problem of idle teenagers who are so susceptible to being fueled with hatred against their naive, humanist neighbors – people like you and me. If that’s upsetting, I wonder if someone could be gracious enough to suggest an alternative.

  41. I wonder if someone could be gracious enough to suggest an alternative.

    Yeah, I can. Have the program set up by Social Services instead of the Police. In what kind of society does a teacher concerned about a student’s well-being call the cops instead of a social worker? That’s 31 flavors of fucked-up.

    And is the name ‘Channel project’ deliberately meant to evoke terror of foreign hordes swarming across the Channel to overwhelm the homeland?

  42. i don’t kno if this is really pertinent, but most brits I kno personally, associate “clown college” with Wavy Gravy’s very successful camp for aspiring clowns… which is run like a “hippie bootcamp” if you can imagine such a thing… i don’t have a link but trust me it’s worth looking into

    Love not Fear – and does no one else notice the strong scent of A Clockwork Orange on this thread?

  43. Not only is it a step ahead of 1984, it’s also very close to the mindcrimes in “Minority Report” – “young man, we’ll take care of you and watch you, just in case you decide to blow yourself and your schoolbus up.”
    What actually happened in Britain that people turned mad? Not happy mad like Monty Python, but really mad?
    What they are establishing now is something you usually only see in totalitarian states like China or East Germany – why on earth does it even work in a democracy?
    Even Macchiavelli would cry.

  44. The war has come home — I think that’s what the London suicide bombers said in their video testimony. It’s only natural, if you think about it. You can’t have racist, violent imperialism abroad (e.g. Iraq war) and expect peaceful, healthy democracy at home.

    The rotten thing about it all is that when young people tip over and become terrorists, they kill ordinary people in buses and metros, instead of targeting the war planners, -profiteers, and decision-makers.

  45. “Have you ever actually met a terrorist?” – from Brazil

    and slackr – ru insinuating that attacking decision-makers would be an effective form of protest? -just throwing that out there-

  46. I was thinking of A Clockwork Orange – young men choosing lives of ultra-violence, and ‘post-corrective advisers’ chasing after thugs with their toothless policies. Appointing social workers to monitor nascent jihadists would be just as ridiculous and ineffective. Wouldn’t any sort of threatening behavior simply be attributed to social conditions? What’s the yardstick for success when a social worker is being asked to evaluate the pathology of a prospective terrorist?

    There should be more essence to this debate than recalling plot arcs and tropes. History can’t be a linear progression towards a complete homogenization (destruction) of the national interest – the Polish Commonwealth was once too democratic to raise taxes for an army in its own defense. If the gov’t is trying to weed out 7/7 types in its midst, it’s worth noting that humanist and terrorist alike are conversant in the rhetoric and dialectics they need to persuade the state that no one should be scrutinized or monitored. The Christian may call “cognitive dissonance” what the Muslim calls “taqiyyah” (lying to the infidel for the sake of the ‘ummah’).

  47. ok, what the hell is up with the UK? I haven’t been there for 5 years now, and it seems (at least online) to be wrapped in a state of paranoia. I understand that little “charles” who dresses in dark tattered clothes and paints his face white might be a little scary, but here’s a thought:

    If you are more likely to die by being struck by lightening than killed in a terror plot, why are you worried about terrorists? Shouldn’t we be fighting ‘extremist’ weather? Honestly, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s along the same plain of thinking that “directly supporting vulnerable people” comes from…

  48. better one thousand innocent children be sent to the internment camps than a single potential terrorist break a banker’s window.

  49. @50 slackr
    when they make these attacks, their objective is to cause fear to the public. attacking the officials, though it makes more sense, isn’t as surprising and doesn’t cause nearly as much wide spread panic as the idea of being blown up on your morning commute.

  50. ikhwanelbanat – and u can quote me on this –

    Is the force of the cyclic wave of history vulnerable to any sort of serious discussion?

    i fear our only tools are historical and literary references

  51. I am convinced. We are facing the challenge to defeat a large ugly global movement that wants to kill anyone not under their control. The problem seems to be that the Government reactionaries such as Bush and Blair are on their side. Terrorism seems to be a money magnet. Local paydays seem to be based on ignorant reactions. Ben Laden loves your local police. They are doing his bidding.

  52. The REAL terrorists are the people that conceive and institute these absurd programs. Who decided that teachers were best trained and positioned to decide that these kid were potential terrorists. So a teacher that is having a bad hair day or is pissed at a particular student is now positioned to ruin a child’s life based on a kneejerk reaction. And what is to be done with the egomaniac that dreamed this program up, did he base this on some solid science or verifiable data? Or was this just a brain fart, whim, of his? God I can’t believe the British just roll over and spread for kind of shit. Wake the fuck up people and take back some semblance of control of your government. You are ruled and manipulated by paranoid fanatics, willing to do anything to advance their cause, and you elect them at least for now, I would guess that your ability to elect your government will soon be extinct along with the rest of your free will.

  53. newe1344, that’s exactly the sort of fatalism that’s most at home in Western Europe. The idea that nothing is worth fighting for anymore, coupled with a Pixar-like anthropomorphism that suggests all people outside our experience must ‘obviously’ think like us. How can a government weed out prospective perpetrators of the sort of violence that paralyzes society, if everyone scoffs at the idea that society is worth protecting, or pretends that the war in Iraq legitimates a terror attack against Londoners?

    How would you feel if your schoolmate threatened to behead you, and the school’s headmaster chalked it up to “boys being boys?” Wouldn’t the violent schoolmate only be emboldened by the headmaster’s apathy? Would you feel safer returning to school if the violent schoolmate’s case was 1. being tossed into some Social Services round-file, or 2. being investigated by Scotland Yard and MI5?

  54. o i c – by “essence to this debate” you mean digging so deep into the muck of it theres no coming up – gotcha

  55. I don’t disagree that the government is maintaining too much information on its citizens. What I do disagree with is making a mountain out of this molehill.

    I bet the Anti-Terrorist Police identify tens of thousands of adult citizens as potential terrorists (if not more). These 200 kids are probably the teenage children of these adult potential terrorists, or maybe they have ties to gangs that do, or have threatened mass violence.

    The real problem is that we allow society to continue to produce conditions that would make children fall within a category of potential terrorists. Stop fighting and start changing!

  56. Dedalus, I think the essence to this debate is whether the UK wants to confront terrorists on the battlefield, in the morgue, or in their ideological infancy. Pay attention to the Somali teens from Minneapolis who blew themselves up in Somalia, and how the local Somali community in such towns as Minneapolis and Nashville is enraged and “shocked – shocked” – that the FBI should want to investigate hate-filled publications and sermons.

    There’s an obvious compromise we make between the greater good and our own ideological penchants. A society can mortgages its civil rights on nipping local terrorist-wannabes in the bud. A society can also cede its civil rights by succumbing to a few complaints of ethnic profiling. Everyone recognizes that teenagers can be expected to rebel against something. The problem is when that natural tendency becomes a gateway for teens forging a rebel identity based on being pathologically opposed to the society that nurtures them. Teens haven’t been tempered by the demands of work and families of their own, probably feel indestructible, and are pathetically impressionable. Why stand idly by while terror recruiters prey on their minds, as has happened in Minneapolis?

  57. that must be devastating to a pupil, to find out that one of your teachers had so little faith in you that they gave up on helping you & decided you were “lost to terrorism”. if, at that age, I had been branded for the rest of my life with a federal “never should have been born” stamp, then i would certainly have felt tempted to blow some shit up.

  58. Teens haven’t been tempered by the demands of work and families of their own, probably feel indestructible, and are pathetically impressionable. Why stand idly by while military recruiters prey on their minds, as has happened in America and Britain for various oil company wars?

  59. Why stand idly by while terror recruiters prey on their minds, as has happened in Minneapolis?

    As far as I can see, you’re the one trying to prey on our minds with your raging islamophobia.

  60. Back to the issue of whether leveraging our civil rights on crime prevention amounts to squandering our civil rights: aside for rearing American suicide-bombing teens, Minneapolis is also infamous for nearly allowing the Jim-Crow segregation of airport taxi queues between Shari’a-compliant passengers and non-compliant passengers. Since possibly 95% of Minneapolis airport taxi drivers believe in the tenets of Shari’a law, you would be waiting for a very long time for a cab if you planned to take home your duty-free liquor. People realized that this supposed civil-rights enhancement actually rolled back civil rights for everyone, and prevented the plan from going through.

    To recap, do you want to surrender your civil rights when you step in a taxi, just because your taxi driver considers his cab to be a Shari’a fiefdom? I would like to live in the US at all times, and not transit into a Saudi Arabian civil-rights zone just because doing so appeases a handful of extremists. The same principle should apply for nipping terrorism in the bud by checking up on teenagers that are vulnerable to terrorist ideology, even if it seems slightly invasive.

  61. Antinous, you just equated terror with Islam in your comment. What if I disagree with you?

  62. whole generations of youth – are at times, disembodied from their lives – have nothing real to call their own – have no real role models or guidance – and exhibit “unusual or suspect” behavior – to link this fact in any way with “terrorism” instead of seeing it as a failure of society is dangerous – and it further alienates that generation

    i have to question the motives of any reactionary that creates their substance the same way national media corporations do – through sensationalism and extremist views –

  63. Takuan, since my nick is in Arabic, I guess I could tell you it means “YWCA,” and you’d have to take my word for it?

  64. As a teacher in the UK I am shocked that
    they can only find 200 potential terrorists?

    I can give them a much better list, only if they promise to send away, especially my Monday morning group, I assure you they are all terrorists.

  65. well, “Ikh is my Nick”, you said: “The time is coming when Islam will be rightfully branded as a criminal organization, and banned in every civilized country.” While I have no use for organized religion myself,wouldn’t you agree you are calling every muslim a criminal (ie: terrorist”)?

  66. #67. With all due respect. The U.S military code defines rape with the caveat , “Penetration , no matter how slight, shall constitute an offense.” Are you suggesting that our teenagers should settle for being ” slightly raped” ?

  67. Alethea, something tells me you might have a better grasp on the situation as a teacher in the UK, than might an Canadian ex-pat raised by Trotskyites, or a gaggle of Bay-Area bloggers.

  68. By the way, Antinous – I feel so naked when you cyber-stalk me. Your surveillance is intrusive and unwarranted. I’m sure there must be some cultural misunderstanding that makes me post things you disagree with. Just kidding – wanted to try on Doctorow’s rhetoric, and I must say, it fits like a glove!

    1. ikhwanelbanat,

      If you feel that Googling your publicly viewable user name is cyber stalking, you have some rude surprises in your future.

      You made it quite clear in your linked comment that you want Islam to be criminalized. All that remains is to decide whether you’re an independent Islamophobe or an astroturfer.

  69. how ironic you see no irony in denying the civil rights of others in the name of civil rights. You see, Ikh, it don’t work that way. It’s one of those all or nothing things.

  70. 200 kids. Great. I feel so safe. Surely by now any potential terrorists would be doing the numbers – and catching on that it’s pretty hard to do any significant damage.

    I get this, and understand why an authoritarian-tempted regime would do this, it’s always incremental, but it is, most definitely, presumptuous and persecutorial.

    But it does my head in, to use the correct english. Why bother with these 200 kids, when there are so many road deaths each year? We should have a watchlist of BAD DRIVERS and useless courts who can’t stop them.

    Please. Terrorism is such fakery, such theatre. Do the numbers, someone.

    1. Someone who posts political comments on a (semi)professional basis. It could vary from being paid by a government to earning McCain points to an organized campaign by a lobbying group or church.

  71. phoney “grassroots”,in other words, a shill, a plant, an agente provacateur, a member of an organization pretending to present individual views while actually pushing a secret agenda.

  72. at what point do all these anti-terror policies begin to have the opposite of the desired effect? when will the people of the UK say no more to this bull shit and start tearing down CCTVs and demanding the destruction of files such as described in this article. if i were a UK citizen I would be FURIOUS about this and would not let it stand. i am appalled that this kind of nonsense has been allowed to go on unfettered without the slightest of public back-lash.

    this is absurd, frightening and enraging all at once.

  73. I could spend a lifetime bitching about “Big brother”. And gain nothing.

    I think that says it all.

  74. wow – i hadn’t even considered that – *processes all this along with the increased role blogging will take in politics in the near future* yikes

  75. If they’d had this policy when I was a kid, I probably would have made the list. I’m real sure a lot of my friends would have.
    When you put a label like this on kids, many of them would react (and these guys are very reactive!) by proudly embracing the label and working hard to live up to it. “Dangerous? You think I’m dangerous? I’ll show you dangerous!!”
    It’ll be a status symbol to these kids to make that list.
    This program is gonna backfire.

  76. @72
    you should not be allowed to be a teacher ANYWHERE

    it’s that attitude precisely that turns unruly thuggish kids into full-blown antisocial, criminal adults

    if you’ve already been convicted as a thug & a waste on society, and already suffering the consequences, then why not at least enjoy live up to the label and make the best of it for yourself?

    the answer is not to send the kids somewhere else. if you’re resigned to the conclusion that you can’t make a difference in your students’ lives — regardless of whether it’s the parents’ fault or the system’s fault — then you need to make way for someone else

  77. well i think the course of action for british parliament should be clear to everyone now – the youth must be exiled to the countryside for self criticism and re-education!!!

  78. Dedalus: “…and thanks for the info – tak – ark”

    My research indicates that they were twins, seperated at birth.
    One raised in Nottingham by badgers, the other by American wolverines.

  79. well Takuan is the chick Zim fell in love with right?

    and i can only guess that Arkizzle is some reference to ancient water-portal space travel machines – or that guy Noah – possibly indiana jones?

    but thats just off the top of my head (should probably do some research)

  80. I’m so glad I’m not a kid nowadays.. interest in:

    Martial Arts
    Military Science

    And with a bad attitude/incorrect political views? I’d have a Lo Jack shoved where the sun don’t shine.. if they just didn’t send me someplace offshore.

    So if Gitmo closes where will Great Britain send their unpeople? Diego Garcia is appropriately remote..

  81. Kewl – Al Qaeda can sit back and wait until some over-worked bureaucrat leaves the thumb drive/cd/laptop on the train… targeted recruitment is so much more efficient…

  82. immigrant countries typically have immigrant populations that hold to “old country” traditions as a means to keeping dignity through identity in the face of a hostile “native” majority. Not infrequently, the grandparents/parents are more conservative than the average person in the country they left behind. With children being enculturated though the schools, they are frequently caught caught between new values and old values at home. Any attack of the integrity of these children by presumption of guilt on the basis of race and religion plays perfectly into the hands of anyone attempting to radicalize them against their new,unaccepting home. This is of course so patently obvious that it makes it clear that the authors of “screening” programmes like that proposed are the type of scum that would use the blood of children to advance their petty careers and make coin out of the carnage. There is no conceivable way on Earth these top police officials are so dimwitted, leaving only the possibility they are monsters. Yes, if you label, libel and corner muslim teenagers early enough and often enough you have a good probability of leaving a few with violent radicalism as their only viable option. You CAN home grow terror,all it takes is a willing government.

  83. Dedalus-
    Takuan is a Japanese pickle.
    Arkizzle is a word Snoop Dogg made up for people from Arkansas.

    1. Takuan Sōhō was a late Warring States / early Edo period monk. Arkizzle is a word Snoop Dogg made up for people from Arkham.

  84. Takuan are made from a radish… like kimchi..

    Tsukemono are made from cucumbers, so I’d say (from a Westerners POV) that’s more like a pickle than something from a radish..

    But both will give you heartburn if over done.. but Takuan will make you more educated with that burning feeling..

    1. Actually kimchi is just pickles. It can be anything – daikon, skate wings, etc.

  85. There was an interesting series of columns over at Slate that proposed several theories about why the US hasn’t had a terrorist attack since 9/11.

    And mixed in among it was the observation that Muslims in America don’t seem to be nearly as terrorist prone as those say in England. And the conclusion drawn was that the Muslims who make it to America are of a much higher socioeconomic class. They are rich and educated with means to better themselves, whereas the Muslim immigrants in Enlgand are of a much poorer, less educated class full of all kinds of oppression.

    Doesn’t say that justifies teachers turning in their charges to Big Brother.

  86. Yes to every post that has thought behind it. The simple notion that a significant number of our fellow humans are willing to strap bombs, bombies, on their bodes and blow themselves out of here start out as somebody we know and somebody we trust. I beg you to trust your children . They are not your future terrorists unless they are educated in a Madras. Pathetic losers graduate from that mind set. Just like always in Europe. You guys don’t have much going for you. Unless you respect your children.

  87. Antinous.. if you’ll actually eat kimchi that doesn’t look like cabbage then good luck to you..

    I’ve eaten things that will make a billy goat puke, and if someone tried to give me something that looked like a ‘pickle’ and called it fermented cabbage.. if I had a firearm I’d shoot them, otherwise I’d fracture their knee so that they couldn’t follow me when I ran… I won’t make it away from the State Security Service but I’ll give them a damn good run..

  88. so are tsukemono. (just pickles)
    and japan and korea has longstanding history of mutual migration that some takuan in kyushu have distinct kimchi flavours but different from kaktegi(daikon kimchi)

    some weak intestine for a goat

    1. Tsukemono could be daikon or umeboshi or burdock or even garlic. Ordering tsukemono moriawase and seeing what shows up is a good way to assess a restaurant. That and whether they serve real shiso leaf or plastic.

  89. “I ♥ kimchi of all varieties.”

    That’s nice… I hope you don’t have a position in the TSA cuz if I ever you run across you doing my ‘pat down’ I won’t have to work another day in my next three lifetimes….

    *shiver* and I used to look forward to trips to Seoul….

    1. steelwraith,

      You’re bleeding subtext. You might want to put a bandaid on that.

  90. ya i saw the pickle thing on google … but im pretty sure it was also the chick zim fell in love with

  91. takuan is pickled radish. arkizzle is a character from a philip k. dick novel. kimchi is the trimmings from the cabbage,radishes,fish guts, leftover tofu, garlic,etc…tossed into a clay pot buried in the yard and fermented with small but potent chili peppers. yumm, yumm!

  92. This (policy) is just as effective as blowing up a bus full of innocent civilians. Killing civilians will not change the government’s polices at home and/or aboard (it will instead incite the institution of more radical policies) and this “witch hunt” will do the same (bring about negative radical changes to their mentality). You are labeling a (rebellious) teenager as a possible extremist. They do this here in the states with children/teenagers associated with gangs (recruitment starts as early as elementary school in some areas in the US, they are recruited by others in the same age group). They get labeled as a gang members and possibly (expelled from school/spend time in a detention center). This does nothing but give the leaders (of the gang) the chance to say “See, I told you so…you don’t belong there. You belong with us.” You can’t blame the parents (in all causes); they are parents, not deities with the power to control all. Children and teenagers are capable of making their own decisions (good & bad). These blanket solutions don’t help (all). Each cause needs to be handled individually and the young should not be ostracized. Blanket laws like this are the reason why prisons in the US are filled with African Americans (in my opinion).

  93. Hiya, let me clear up some stuff for PaulR about the man at the centre of that Charities Commission thing.

    In 2002 Mostafa was sentenced to four years for illegal possession of a pistol with intent to endanger life.

    He’s in the news now because there was a raid on a madrasa funded by his charity that seems to be an… oh guess from the URL

    Read the whole story here

    I know this is “off topic” but the whole er.. thread has descended into a pickle discussion, which is what I like on BoingBoing, I go elsewhere for my politics.

  94. I had this fantasy that when the nutjob-in-chief was retired, somehow all of the police policy officials in both our countries would suddenly come to their senses and realize that all of this terrorist paranoia is just plain silly.

    Look people, there have always been terrorists, this is nothing new. 9/11 did not just suddenly spawn millions of terrorists who are now hiding behind every streetlight masquerading as little children and tourist photographers.

    There are things that we can do to combat terrorism but none of them involve infringing on our citizens’ civil rights. Building strategic barricades around public buildings, having air marshals on every flight, locking the frigging cabin door on commercial airliners, investing in our intelligence gathering services and putting sufficient legislative oversight in place to make sure they are only gathering intelligence, not trying to manipulate foreign governments and creating more potential terrorists in the process should be a good start.

    Convincing people to spy on their neighbors and harassing photographer will most likely never have any useful results, certainly not any that are important enough to warrant wholesale trashing of the centuries worth of civil rights gains that are being trampled upon.

  95. Thinking back to your own late-elementary school or junior high school years, didn’t you already know exactly who were going to be criminals? I know I did, and I expect most BoingBoing readers were bright enough to know this as well.

    Teachers probably know, too. And teachers are also in a good position to see which kids, beyond being violent, may be maintaining a strict orthodoxy in their religious beliefs rather than integrating into the British culture.

    A side effect of this observation could be that there will be more pressure for cultures to integrate, which some people will say is bad. There’s nostalgia for the cultural ghettos even in America. A nostalgia based on how ethnic groups needed to stick together in order to protect themselves. But as cute as it is to see, say, Italian neighborhoods in New York, didn’t it eventually become obvious that those ghettos were trapping people more than helping them?

    People need to get over their racism, but people also need to get over their race. In the middle somewhere is a nice medium.

  96. hey, troof@95 — the public school system I attended had a very definite agenda of student conformity. we were, after all, being trained to go out into the world and live boring lives with boring jobs and boring wives.

    the (still rather primitive) mental health system was used along with law enforcement to try and catch anyone who failed to meet their standards.

    and when they told me i was bad, my reaction was indeed just as you suggest. well, im all growed up now, with a beautiful house, and a beautiful wife (but … in league with Satan). and with my juvie records sealed! and back in, hell its been so long i dont remember, i wrote a cheerful little ditty called “Here Comes (hint: name begins with the letter R)” that, were i to put it up on MyFace or a blog i dont have, or even in a comment thread could get me busted, and hard. like SC naval brig hard.

    so, mainly i think the brits are just doing in public what we yanks do in private. when i lived among them, they were all very open about how they felt about the blacks (lazy, stoned, thieves) and the ‘gees (sub-human) on the Island, and the americans (interlopers, but we can steal a penny off of every dollar of your paycheck, every time that dollar goes through the banking system, so you can stay).

  97. ZippySpincycle:

    In the 70’s movie “Flesh Gordon” (that’s no typo), the Emperor Wang blasts various parts of Earth with a ray that causes people to take their clothes off and have sex – wherever they happen to be. The movie is a hoot!

    At first, Earth’s leaders can’t figure out why it’s happening. Initial speculation about the cause falls upon “a bad case of gefilte fish”.

    In Dublin on April 1st, the movie will be shown, with three comedians providing live translation in broad Ulster-Scots.
    Detials here:, as part of the

  98. There were no terrorist groups in East Germany. There were many in West Germany. Therefore, we should emulate … (which side)?

    And don’t tell me about the medicine being worse than the ailment. If you’re really against terrorism, you’ve got to be willing to sacrifice. Everything if necessary. A pyrrhic victory is something to aspire to.

  99. TAKUAN said:

    better one thousand innocent children be sent to the internment camps than a single potential terrorist break a banker’s window.

    Bad example – I don’t think the Police think breaking a banker’s window is so bad…

    According to the NY Times, even the French workers that kidnapped their boss at the 3M plant aren’t so bad:

    Striking workers at a French plant of the U.S. company 3M went further, taking their boss hostage. Such actions are rare but not unheard of in France; a similar situation ended peacefully after one night earlier this month at a Sony factory in France.

    A few dozen workers at the 3M plant in Pithiviers took turns standing guard outside the factory’s offices, The Associated Press reported. The workers did not threaten any violence and the atmosphere stayed calm.

    “A framework of an agreement allowing for the end of the current crisis on the 3M site in Pithiviers was signed today,” a union representative said. [emphasis added]

    So, it was a non-violent hostage-taking?

    And what was the point of the folks “standing guard” at the office door if not to threaten violence if the 3M boss tried to leave?

  100. I’m really honestly concerned at what’s going on in the UK these days. I also don’t understand why the citizens aren’t protesting this more vigorously.

  101. Godwin’s Law: As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

    Takuan’s Law: As a Boing Boing discussion grows longer, the probability of a discussion involving pickles approaches 1.

  102. “when they make these attacks, their objective is to cause fear to the public. attacking the officials, though it makes more sense, isn’t as surprising and doesn’t cause nearly as much wide spread panic as the idea of being blown up on your morning commute”

    No, it’s just cowardice. Getting at officials is difficult and risky (security forces are armed and on guard). The public are accessible, unarmed, and -because they have nothing to do with your professed cause- unsuspecting. They are undefended, anonymous targets, and can be attacked easily and without risk of confrontation.

    That really is all there is to it.

  103. 151 Antinous

    The first news story for a while from my native land which genuinely made me laugh.

    The black part of the joke is that if the above is what these bastards are getting away with now, what are they going to think they can get away with when times get really tight.

    The problem in the UK is that there is no organised political oppostion, and no credible alternative to a government that has existed so long in such a perpetual state of terror of the numbskull British media that they have internalised it’s ritual parody of a reactionary agenda.

    1. If the Tories weren’t so limp and depressing, I wonder if Labour would have to up their game. They act like they have the mandate of heaven.

  104. RAL8158,

    I disagree entirely.

    Something might start along racial grounds (like minor racist acions leading to riots, etc.), but it would quickly divide into something entirely more complicated.

  105. Wait wait wait! They’ve gotten this all wrong. The way to keep people in check is to get the kids to start dobbing in the adults!

    Jesus if you’re going to turn Britain into a giant 1984 art project* you can at least get the story right!!

    * this is the only way I can possibly accept England in its current state.

  106. Straight out of the east german stasi cookbook. I had files on me when I was a kid because I happened to comment on a program I heard on evil RIAS Berlin radio (radio freies berlin – a american sponsored radio program to combat kommunism) once you have the file you can prepare for live long surveillance. Luckily the system collapsed and I was spared that. Looking at the files 105 years later made me shiver – the nicest teachers were spying on me – if I would have found out as a kid I surely would have become a terrorist as my world would have broken down. Now what message do you think these kids in the article are getting? Yes guessed it right: the police is my enemy. Way to go to make the streets a safer place.

  107. Who’s actually in control of all this information, and the people who use it? They’ve been watching too many 60s series – the Avengers, the Fugitive etc – and smoking skunk.

    Why only 200 kids? The thing is, what about off-grid? Plenty out there, and that’s where you want to be as a potential trouble-maker. Live within 60 minutes of London, in a hedge.

    Seriously. This is so bad. ID’g someone as a potential terrorist is going to make them a certain terrorist, with all the awful career choices that involves.

    Better chat please – what’s the best way to start stopping this?

  108. 1. quit profiling people based on race – thats wrong
    2. clandestine crime prevention is WRONG (you are only held accountable for something uve actually done or specifically plan to do {like conspiracy})
    3. opening the door for profiling and intervention based on observation of a child is a pandora’s box
    the “threat of terrorism” is slowly justifying a dark orwellian future
    4. social services – no matter how interwoven into society – should be a last resort
    5. THERE ARE NO TERRORISTS – just governmental coups
    6. make everyone love everyone else
    7. designate a day in london where it’s legal to blow stuff up, and provide scale models of various landmarks in a safe rural area
    8. if ur gonna profile people – dont leak it to the media – take a lesson from most social institutions, blackball and monitor secretly
    9. im getting ridiculously tongue-in-cheek so i’ll stop there
    10. i invite everyone to make their own list, or just add to this one – Peace & Love in a soapy tub

  109. oh and monitor – if you think i went overboard with my last post – ur welcome to delete it (but leave this one cuz that would look cool) :P

  110. When Hitler initially took over the German government he had every teacher that refused to teach the new “Aryan curriculum” hauled out of town and shot. It seems that Britan has learned from his mistakes… ensnare the teachers and make them work for you. I bet those poor teachers don’t even get an extra stipend for turning over their own pupils. The system will corrode from within…

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