Reporters are here to Witness, not to commit journalism

A Terrorism Case in Britain Ends in Acquittal, but No One Can Say Why

LONDON — Ian Cobain, a reporter with The Guardian, is one of very few people who know why a student arrested by armed British police officers in 2013 was finally acquitted this year of terrorism charges.

Problem is, he cannot report what he knows. He was allowed to observe much of the trial, but only under strict conditions intended to keep classified material secret. His notebooks are being held by Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. And if he writes — or even talks — about the reason that the student, Erol Incedal, 27, was acquitted, Mr. Cobain faces prosecution and possibly jail

Having initially gone along reluctantly with the reporting restrictions, a number of British news organizations are now challenging them in court. And yes, the challenge itself is being heard under secrecy rules that leave the public mostly excluded. Were Mr. Cobain to break the law and disclose what he knows publicly, his prosecution would also take place in secret.


All these fucking vile secrecy laws shouldn’t be so trivial to get through.

A robust democracy needs some sort of feature whereby the limits on secrecy are set in fucking stone, dammit.

You can tell things are pretty far gone already by the lack of widespread protest at vanishing transparency…

Pff, democracy. Not what it says on the tin.


Sounds dodgy as fuck. The security services harass these people and convince them there’s something to fight against.

If his target was Tony Blair as alleged by the New York Times reporting that he had a glasses case with TB’s address written on a piece of paper, then they could tail him and catch him in or just after the act. Secret trials and secret acquittals serve no purpose. Tony Blair arguably deserves what’s coming to him.


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