The SIM card of terror

Some of you (mostly people living in the same country as me, no doubt…) may be aware that, as a result of the recent Glasgow Airport bombings, various individuals not among those initially arrested have come under suspicion including this guy who, today, was charged with “providing support to a terrorist organization”

Now, I’ll freely admit that my use of mobile/cell phones is limited enough that I don’t really know jack shit about SIM cards and the use thereof, other than that they go in your phone and hold your address book. So maybe it’s my ignorance talking but… I really don’t see how this guy giving his SIM card to the British terror suspects aided their cause at all. I mean, SIM cards are not exactly a restricted commodity. There was nothing to stop the Glasgow bombers buying their own SIM card, right? And if they were worrying about not wanting their calls to be traced to them…they don’t actually do an ID check on you when buying a SIM card, do they? If you have, say, a prepaid plan so you aren’t getting bills sent to a particular address, aren’t you basically anonymous?

So my question: is there any legitimacy to this charge? Did this guy actually provide his friends with an advantage in doing terror planning that they wouldn’t have got any other way? (also, if he had any knowledge at all of what they were going to do, how stupid is that? “yeah mate, can you give us your SIM card so when we use our phones to plot illegal activities it won’t be traced to us” :rolleyes: )

Or is this just a case of “everyone’s been on our backs about holding him in custody without charge for a week, so we gotta charge him with something”?

At least here they do check your ID when you buy a SIM card (or any phone containing one) precisely because they don’t want anyone to have a truly anonymous phone.

The SMH article gives some details of the statutory basis for the charge:

Section 102.7(2) of the *Criminal Code Act * 1995 (Cth) states that:

I can’t see any definitions of “support” or “resources” anywhere in the Act so presumably it’s open to the AFP to argue that Dr Haneef’s alleged provision of his SIM card satisfies the criteria of section 102.7(2)(a). Whether a jury would agree is another question, of course.

It does seem tenuous. I suppose that it’s reckless in the sense that he knew or should have known what they planned to do (blow stuff up), but I’m not sure where the SIM card comes in, and it seems to me (I haven’t looked at what the law is) that you should only be liable if the support you’re providing to the terrorists is material support. While I’ll admit my SIM card is material to me, I’m not sure how a terrorist would make use of it.

ETA: darn you, Cunctator, with your “law”!

I suppose that my major premise remains: I’m not sure how a SIM card is helpful, and it seems to me that under the law, something needs to be helpful or of use before one crosses the line.

Not true in the UK. I walked into the store, bought a SIM card (a pay-as-you-go scheme, naturally), inserted it into my phone and walked out, without ever having shown ID or given them my address. O2 knows nothing about me except what they can trace through locations where I made my calls.

Personally, I think Dr. Haneef is a unfortunate innocent caught up in a large storm; there have been police investigations happening both in Australia and in his home city of Bangalore (where I’m from, incidentally). No evidence has been found, as far as I’m aware, linking him to any crime.

If I was going to Australia on holiday, and my phone was on a UK-based contract which gave me a certain number of minutes a month, and I didn’t want to pay roaming charges, I’d definitely consider lending my phone to a friend or relative. Someone might as well make use of it while I’m away. I think that’s exactly what happened in this case.

Actually, I believe he was coming to Australia permanently/indefinitely. At any rate, he had a job here, so not just a short holiday.

Even more reason, really…

I note that Dr Haneef has now been granted bail.

Indeed. And then the immigration minister found a way to stick it to him anyway

Just as well he was an eeevil furriner, eh, otherwise they might have had to actually abide by the trial judge’s decision …

I am guessing that the sim card was used in one of the detonators (for the car devices in London), and that there may have been a pattern of contact between the men arrested in the UK and Dr Haneef. It also seems that Dr Haneef was attempting to leave Australia when he was arrested. If he had no knowledge of what was being planned, why leave for Bangalore?

Of course, all this requires backing up with strong evidence, which it seems the Australian police were not able to put to the judge … yet.


Moving thread from IMHO to Great Debates.

How on earth would you use a SIM card in a detonator? (note: not a snark - I know even less about detonators than mobile phones)

Dr Haneef is the (second) cousin of one of the Glasgow bombers. His SIM card was found in his cousin’s Jeep after the attack. Unspecified as to where, but I would normally assume “in a phone”.

He was arrested trying to leave Australia after the bombings. Which suggests he did not know that they were about to occur.

He was on a one-way ticket, which is certainly a red flag, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility of “oh crap, my cousin just turned out to be a terrorist, better get the hell out of Dodge before the cops come after me”. Which , under the circumstance, is starting to sound more and more like a reasonable response.

Mobile phones have become the favoured remote detonator of choice for urban terrorists - the Madrid bombings used mobile phones to detonate. They allow easy multiple detonation at a nonspecified time.

I wasn’t aware of where the SIM was found

True, but the sudden desire to leave may have been motivated by knowing what was planned, and the subsequent failure of the plan.

Running is somewhat more suggestive than sitting tight, in my opinion. I am sure that other evidence will be presented, in the fullness of time, or he will be released.

These guys were incompetent wannabees - they had no real capability to cause serious injury or damage, even if things had worked. But they did have desire and motivation. The UK has been lucky that there have been more incompetents than successful terrorists - things won’t always work out that way.


Did they need to charge him with something–ANYTHING–in order to hold him longer?

What was on the SIM?

It may or may not have included phone numbers (depending on whether or not the terrorists were the numbskull wannabees they appear to be). It definitely includes the phone number assigned to the cell phone used as a detonator (wire the ringy-dingy circuit to the explosives, then call the number when you want to set it off).

Oh, ok. But surely that doesn’t apply in this particular instance. The Jeep was driven into the airport - the culprits were in the vehicle at the time. What need did they have to remote-anything? The plan was apparently to just crash the car and blow themselves and anyone around to bits - pretty low-tech.

Given Dervorin’s post above, too why on earth would Haneef choose to supply a SIM card to Ahmed which was so easily traced to him, rather than a completely anonymous pre-paid one - if indeed he had any inkling it was going to be used for an illegal purpose (if indeed it was, rather than just being found on the scene). I mean, it’s obvious that the Glasgow attackers weren’t exactly the smartest cards in the deck themselves, but surely nobody who can make it through medical school is quite THAT stupid?

More than likely. And they’ve managed to catch him up in a lovely little Catch-22 here while they were at it.

The judge hearing the case granted him bail - against the wishes of the prosecutors who wanted him kept in custody. About three hours later, the Immigration Minister cancelled his visa, citing his links to the Glasgow attackers as proof that he was not a person of good character. So he’s now in Immigration detention - that is, the Immigration Minister, using powers that don’t have any review process attached to them, managed to send him straight back to the slammer despite the judge who is actually hearing the case letting him go.

Immigration detention, of course, is intended as a place to put people who are not allowed (or not necessarily allowed) to be in the country, until a decision is made whether to let them in or sling 'em on the next place out of here. It’s a complete bastardisation of the purpose of it (not that I agree with its existence anyway, but that’s a rant for another day) to use it to keep someone who WANTS to leave the country - indeed, who is not allowed to go, under the circumstances.

The timing is all deeply suspicious.

Remember, also, he’s specifically charged with providing the SIM card “recklessly” (whatever the hell that means), not with any sort of general conspiracy charge of having knowledge of the attack. It’s that particular charge that I think is complete bollocks. I’d have far less problem with a charge of something like “conspiracy to conceal a planned terrorist attack”, given that he was actually associated with some of the guys who did the attacking. But that’s not what he’s charged with - apparently because there’s not enough evidence of any such thing.

Oh, and this quote from my last linked artile might be of particular interest to the thread too:

Bolding mine…

Given the shambles into which this case has descended over the past week, not surprisingly the Commonwealth DPP has now decided to drop the charges against Dr Haneef.

About time too. The whole thing just stinks; the incredibly tenuous original evidence, his getting bail, his visa being revoked (as someone said on the BBC website, if he was a person of bad character, why’d you let him into the country anyway?); not to mention the police screw-ups (the SIM that was supposed to have been found in the burning jeep was actually found in Liverpool, IIRC).

I think Dr. Haneef is owed a huge, grovelling apology, but I doubt it’s going to happen.

Yeah, you and me both. My big RO trigger from today is the Immigration minister’s latest response to the situation

So, he’s spent the last month in this country locked up, half of it without being charged with anything and the other half on a twisted technicality designed to subvert the judge who granted him bail and it’s surprising and suspicious that he wants to get the fuck home to see his newborn baby daughter and his wife as soon as ever he can?

Words. Fail. Me.