Monday, January 14, 2008

Inside a terrorism trial

Dave Bones is an independent film maker. A few years ago he began filming Abu Hamza preaching outside Finsbury Park Mosque. He also interviewed Hamza's supporters and people in the crowd. Dave has gone on to follow the stories of some of the people he met: some of whom are now in court on terrorism charges.

Hamid is standing trial at Woolwich Crown Court with Kader Ahmed, 20, Al Figari, 42, Kibley Da Costa, 24, and Brown, 41.

Hamid denies proving weapons training, five charges of soliciting murder and three of providing training for terrorism. The others deny charges relating to training.

Atilla Ahmet, 43, has admitted soliciting murder.

The trial at Woolwich Crown Court continues.

Over to Dave....

'During my erratic experiments in Finsbury park I sort of found "my own way" of film making, which so far financially has drawn a big zero, so in conventional terms of "success" I'm not a film maker am I?

Maybe if I'd tried very hard to get in Islamists confidence, and then tried to expose them I'd have got "somewhere" quicker. You think?

Anyway I'm here and over the years if there has been one thing which has unified my approach to filming people is that I just try and let people talk. Tell me their truth, if you get my meaning. I want to edit it so as they would say-

"I am happy that is a true representation of what I told you"

- whoever they are.

I'm upfront about whatever situational and experiential bias I might have. I realise we all come from different sides to "this". I am very much motivated by a desire for these different sides to meet each other, and to stay in contact, which is why I appreciate Uncle Jimbo's filmed liasons with his local "looney left". I think if Jimbo and these guys are recognising each other, and communicating it has to be a good thing no?

I would think it was obvious that there are a few things I wouldn't support them on. At the time, I thought it was really important that they were preaching against terrorist acts in this country time and time again on the street. Pre 7/7 I thought this was important for, I don't know, maybe MUSLIMS to be hearing. Selfish? Maybe. Ask Rachel.

I don't really challenge people with a camera, I try to absorb. I'm in a situation where I can leave being confrontational to the experts, so thats what I've done. I tried the same thing with the National Front to test my theories. Now this theory testing has put me in a position where I may not be making money from all this, but my videos are, for my good graces being featured by online communities of National Front supporters and Islamic "Fundamentalists".

Now I haven't had any contact with either, and I don't think either group would support me. Neither would I support them. The only Islamists I have ever felt any "support" from as a film maker were Hajj, Abdullah, Jamal (who wouldn't appear on camera) and Mr Dumplings, all of whom, though they weren't allowed to have "friends amongst the kaffir" nevertheless seemed to have built up a level of trust with me. Abdullah's in jail. Jamal is in jail. Dumplings has been in and come out of jail, Hajj is round the corner.

As I've said before, I'm out of this now. Its not that I don't give a shit anymore, I just concentrate on playing guitar and try not to upset myself.'

But Dave is not 'out of this now', because he continued to follow what turned out to be an exhausting and confusing trial, and his reports back from the court room, and his contact with relatives of the defendants can be found on his blog, Malung TV News, starting here.

More here

From Dave's notes made when listening to tapes played in court...

“They call us terrorists.” he said and then something about “Conquering the west before we move on.”. He says that if you believe that you get charged with terrorsm act 2000. Muslims were losing their way. They are obedient to the kuffar but not to their fellow brothers. At this point it is obvious that Atilla is losing it. Someone ( possibly the son in law of the older guy) is comforting him saying “This is your deen” (the path Allah has chosen for him). He says very emotionally that he has to find a second wife. (In conversation on the phone his wife has confirmed to me that they were having a marital dispute and had sought the advice of their close friends separately.) he carries on.

“Since I have become a Muslim I have been fighting myself. I have become more and more of a pathetic clown. Its payback time.”

I couldn't tell what point Hamid had joined the party, but at this point he interjects, referring to an argument he had with Atilla previously. He says Atilla shows his aggressive side. Everyone knows he can be aggressive, he should instead show his intelligent side. He asked how many people got Shahid (martyrdom) on 7/7. The answer was four. How many they take out? 52.

“That's not even breakfast for me.” he said. He said he would use his intelligence to commit acts of bombing and get home to sleep with his wife after. Attack like Jack the Ripper. A voice, I would take to be Atilla's “mmm”s in a non-committal manner.'

As time goes on, Dave begins to reconsider his views on the people he has got to know through filming them. Responding to a commenter, who knows the defendants, he writes

'It's not the post, its the whole thing really. I've been writing about, and in a lot of ways defending Atilla since 2003, not that its made any difference, or for that matter that anyone has been reading.

Looking back over it all I can see somethings I wrote were stupid, some funny, but its all there.

Although I may not have achieved what I set out to do filmwise, I have achieved the other side of what I set out to do- namely to befriend some of the people "society" would be concerned about.

Someone in government said we should "Reach out to those who might be tempted by extremism".

Do they do it? No.

I've often questioned my motivation, at some points filming in Finsbury I think I had a gleeful , ultimately unwholesome motivation of shock, not unlike the Sun newspaper.

Now in 2007, yes I've become a friend of the family and that is important to me.

If these Muslims can look at the world and think "Not all of the kaffirs think this way, or are involved in this" we are safer. More than that I want to be involved in doing something about all this. Its just- what?

You're thoughts re- Mousah and Hamid, no. I didn't know either of them as well as you, or what they were thinking. As I said in the post, if I heard anything which worried me I would have spoken to the anti-terror people.'

The trial continues, with further reports here , here , here, here, here, here, here, here, and here
It gets even more interesting because Musa Ahmet, one of the brothers of the defendants, who was arrested and inprisoned for 8 months following a police raid on a group of men at a Chinese restaurant, and later released without charge, joins the readers commenting on the blog. Here he is interviewed by Dave

The jury may retire to consider their verdicts today.
UPDATE: trial is still going on



Blogger DAVE BONES said...

Bloody hell. I don't know what to say. Thank you Rachel.

January 14, 2008 8:22 pm  
Blogger DAVE BONES said...

Just to add, that is Musa videologging himself. I have interviewed him quite extensively but I can't put any of it up until after the verdict.

Thanks again

January 14, 2008 8:30 pm  
Blogger DAVE BONES said...

also, Musa was charged with a firearms offence. The prosecution were trying to make out that a flare gun was an illegal firearm which it wasn't. The jury had none of it. I had no idea he was on trial.

Here he films himself walking free out of the Old Bailey

January 14, 2008 8:42 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

You're welcome Dave. Will be watching to see what the verdict is...

January 15, 2008 10:22 am  
Blogger I.:.S.:. said...

For God's sake Dave, the first three comments on a post about you are from you.

That is a very well collated overview of what Dave has been up to.

January 15, 2008 7:02 pm  
Blogger I.:.S.:. said...

Oh and The Time Traveller's Wife is a fucking brilliant book...

January 15, 2008 7:12 pm  

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