This 'n' That

Sunday, February 26, 2006

What would Truman think of "Capote" - The film?

In the frame
Truman Capote loved movies - watching them and writing them, if not acting in them. What would he have made of the new film depicting the writing of In Cold Blood, asks his biographer Gerald Clarke

Gerald Clarke
Saturday February 25, 2006

Like all American writers, Truman Capote loved the movies. But Capote's relationship with films was, from an early age, unusually intimate. It began in the years just before the second world war when he led his teenage friends on weekend expeditions to the Pickwick Theater in Greenwich, Connecticut. Emboldened - and perhaps inspired - by hidden bottles of sweet brandy, they took vigorous part in the on-screen drama, laughing when they were supposed to cry, crying when they were supposed to laugh, and, until they were kicked out by angry ushers, substituting their own dialogue for the words coming out of the actors' mouths.
A little over a decade later, in the early 1950s, Capote was the one putting the words into those mouths. Living in Italy with his companion, Jack Dunphy, he was recruited by David O Selznick, the producer of Gone With the Wind, to write some new lines for Montgomery Clift and Selznick's wife, Jennifer Jones, to speak in Indiscretion of an American Wife, a film Selznick was making in Rome with Vittorio De Sica, one of the masters of Italian neo-realism.

Capote's contribution to that awkwardly titled film was small, but Selznick was so impressed by his innovative dialogue that he recommended him to John Huston, who was about to direct his own movie in Italy. "His is, in my opinion, one of the freshest and most original and most exciting writing talents of our time," Selznick wrote to Huston. "And what he would say through these characters, and how he would have them say it, would be so completely different from anything that has been heard from a motion picture theatre's sound box as to also give you something completely fresh - or so at least I think."

The making of Beat the Devil could make a movie itself - and someday probably will. The backdrop of the Amalfi coast in chilly February. A cast that includes Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida and Robert Morley. And Capote, wearing an overcoat that fell almost to his ankles, with a long lavender scarf flapping behind it, rushing down to the set every morning with dialogue he had spent the night writing. But Selznick was right. Capote did provide the movie's characters with words that were completely fresh. For me, and for many others, Beat the Devil is a small comic masterpiece, as original now as it was in 1953.

In the years that followed, Capote wrote other screenplays, most notably The Innocents (1961), which was an adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. By the mid-1970s, Capote and his idiosyncrasies - his childlike voice and his flamboyant personality - were so famous that Neil Simon modelled a comic villain after him in his mystery farce, Murder by Death (1976). When the time came to cast the film, one of Simon's colleagues had an inspiration. Instead of getting someone like Truman Capote to play the villain, he asked, why not get Truman Capote himself?

Capote was thrilled. All American writers may love the movies, but how many of them are given a chance to star in one? The excitement soon evaporated, and, when I visited him on the set in Burbank, California, Capote was miserable - anxious and exhausted. Acting, as he should have known, requires unseemly early hours, hard work and a talent he did not possess. When the cameras rolled, Truman Capote was not a very good Truman Capote.

After Capote's death in 1984, a few more Capote-like characters wafted across the screen. He is an irresistible subject for scriptwriters, but few of them have looked beyond his peculiarities; until now they have turned him into a parody of the man I wrote about. The Truman Capote I knew was more than a collection of witticisms and effeminate gestures. He was, in fact, the most complicated and contradictory person I've ever met.

"I won't respect you unless you tell the whole truth," Capote told me when I began my biography, and I followed his directive as best I could, giving a full account of his faults as well as his virtues. The whole truth is what I wanted in any movie made of his life. And that was my chief concern when Danny Futterman first approached me with a draft of his script and introduced me to the team who were to create a movie based on my biography.

Futterman and Bennett Miller, Capote's director, have known each other since they were boys of 12 in the northern suburbs of New York. Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Capote, became their friend a few years later at a summer drama camp. Until I met them I didn't know such institutions existed. When other boys were batting balls or shooting baskets, Futterman, Miller and Hoffman were learning how to be actors, directors, and scriptwriters - the Hardy Boys in search of adventure in Hollywood and on Broadway.

Nancy Drew joined the trio some years later in the form of Caroline Baron, Capote's producer. If I wanted the movie to tell the truth about Capote, so, I soon discovered, did they. By truth I don't mean a literal retelling of my biography, which covers Capote's entire life of nearly 60 years. Capote the film, by contrast, centres on only a few chapters of my book, those that tell the story of the five years he spent researching and writing In Cold Blood. But Futterman's instinct to concentrate on the In Cold Blood years was right and necessary.

Though the frame was thus reduced to only a few years of Capote's life, many elements, people and events still had to be left out, and time had to be compressed. In real life, for example, Capote and Harper Lee, who helped with his research, did not leave for Kansas until a few weeks after he read the report of the Clutter killings. In the movie, they board a train just a few hours after he puts down the newspaper. Complications were simplified, and dialogue, such as the interchange between Capote and Lee aboard the train, was invented.

All that was fine by me. A movie - a good movie, anyway - is a drama, not a documentary, and dramas are works of art that must be contained and shaped. The reality I wanted to convey was not a list of petty details. It was the real truth about Truman Capote: that beneath his sometimes frivolous exterior, he was an artist - one of the best writers of his generation.

My role, then, was to help this quartet of talented film-makers find the essence of Truman Capote. They had questions, and I had answers. I had questions, and they had answers. Futterman dubbed me the Consigliere. Miller called me the Enforcer. I like both titles, but I prefer to think of myself as the Guide, the man who led them through a tangled life and a time (the early 1960s) before they were born. One of my corrections was to inform them that in those days, profanity was less common than it is now. Back then, most people had a wider command of useful adjectives than they do today, and certain four-letter words, now heard on every street corner, were confined to army barracks.

What would Truman - Truman the movie-goer, Truman the movie scriptwriter, and Truman the movie actor - have thought about this movie that bears his name? I wonder myself. I do know, however, that those who made it have followed his instructions to me. They have done their very best to tell the truth.

· Capote: The Shooting Script, based on the book by Gerald Clarke, is published by Nick Hern Books at £9.99.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006


Why Truman Capote and Harper Lee took different routes after achieving fame and fortune: Harry Mount of The Telegraph has a theory:

The goddess of fame is not for mocking
By Harry Mount
(Filed: 20/02/2006)

Of all the accolades for Philip Seymour Hoffman's role as Truman Capote in the new film, Capote, the greatest was the shortest. It came from Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird and Capote's childhood friend, played by Catherine Keener in an Oscar-nominated performance. Her message simply said that Seymour Hoffman had got Capote right.

By Lee's standards, this short note is an exceptional piece of self-exposure. After To Kill A Mockingbird came out in 1960, winning the Pulitzer Prize a year later, she went back to Monroeville, the little town in Alabama where she and Capote were brought up. She never left, and the woman who once said she wanted to be the Jane Austen of south Alabama has never written another book. Since 1960, she has written precisely four articles, none of them longer than eight pages.

She hasn't given a personal interview for 40 years and doesn't plan to ever again. I asked her for one to mark her 80th birthday in a few weeks' time and she refused. She did agree to talk to the New York Times last month about an Alabama high school contest for an essay based on her book, but she would talk only about the students and the contest; not about herself or To Kill A Mockingbird.

The only clue to her seclusion came in her last personal interview, in 1964. She said of her book: "I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of reviewers, but at the same time I sort of hoped that maybe someone would like it enough to give me encouragement - public encouragement. I hoped for a little, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected."

So her escape from death was an escape back to her childhood: she still shares a house in Monroeville with her 94-year-old sister, Alice, who, like their father, the role model for Atticus Finch in the book, is a lawyer.

The people of Monroeville regularly hold re-enactments of the To Kill A Mockingbird trial in the old town courtroom, where Harper Lee's father and sister appeared - and, in the case of the latter, appear: Alice is still a practising lawyer. Harper never attends the re-enactments.

Truman Capote, who loved fame and its trappings, was astonished by Lee's flight into obscurity. Just after To Kill A Mockingbird was published, he wrote about Lee to a friend, saying, "Poor thing - she is nearly demented: says she gave up trying to answer her 'fan mail' when she received 62 letters in one day. I wish she could relax and enjoy it more: in this profession, it's a long walk between drinks."

It turns out that it's better to walk than drink. Harper Lee was perfectly happy, fit and well, when last spotted at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where the essay-writing prize in her name was handed out last month.

Truman Capote, meanwhile, gave up walks and stuck to the drinks - and the drugs. He died of an overdose in Los Angeles in 1984, a month shy of his 60th birthday, but what really killed him was his desire for fame and attention.

While Lee stayed quietly in Monroeville, he rushed round the world, singing for over-priced suppers in grander and grander palaces with grander and grander people.

The addresses at the top of his letters are straight out of the Condé Nast Traveller magazine, his hosts out of Tatler: Tangiers with Greta Garbo; Quinta da Commenda in Portugal with Lee Radziwill, Jackie Kennedy's sister, married to a Polish prince; lunch at Cecil Beaton's house in Pelham Place, in South Kensington, with Edith Sitwell and the Queen Mother.

Capote knew that all this was a trivial, silly world and complained about the dreadfulness of the jet set in his letters. But being excluded from the set killed him.

His last original work, La Côte Basque, written in 1975, was a barely disguised attack on all his rich friends. All he did was change the names, but otherwise he gave a pretty much verbatim transcript of the salacious tittle-tattle exchanged over endless lunches in the New York restaurant La Côte Basque, which still exists on the fringes of Central Park and Fifth Avenue.

In the most disgusting - and therefore most gripping - bit of gossip in the book, Capote tells the true story of a billionaire friend who hated his mistress, but wanted to go to bed with her all the same.

The mistress, knowing his true feelings and wanting revenge, agrees to go to bed with him but only in the pitch dark, on the night before his wife returns from holiday. The billionaire wakes up to find that it was the mistress's time of the month, that his wife is about to return and that there are no spare sheets in the house. He is reduced to scrubbing the sheets with his raw, bare hands to remove the evidence.

Not surprisingly, the billionaire never talked to Capote again, and nor did any of the rich set. A leper in the world he loved, Capote never wrote another book in the nine years before his death, turning to drink in earnest. His only further work was a dire film appearance in the Neil Simon comedy Murder by Death, and a collection of old fiction and non-fiction pieces.

What Tennessee Williams called "the Bitch Goddess of fame" did Capote in. How much better it would have been if he had fled the goddess with his old childhood friend and retired to Monroeville.

Philip Johnston is away

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From The Telegraph:

Now the question seems to be: Will George Clooney go home empty handed come Oscar night, March 5th?

Reese Witherspoon may possibly be a step closer to a statuette as Best Actress on Hollywood's big night after winning a BAFTA.

Heavens open as British Bafta hopes are washed away
By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent
(Filed: 20/02/2006)

It rained on the stars arriving in Leicester Square and it rained even more heavily on British hopes at the Orange British Academy Film Awards last night.

Jake Gyllenhaal: best actor in a supporting role
High expectations that the home-grown, lottery-funded film, The Constant Gardener, and its two stars, Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, would win gold for Britain were eclipsed in a virtual clean-sweep of the Baftas by Hollywood.

Brokeback Mountain, the love story of two homosexual cowboys that has shaken America's Bible Belt, was chosen as best film.

Picking up the night's best total of four awards, the film won Ang Lee the best director prize, a best screenplay award and a Bafta for best supporting actor for Jake Gyllenhaal, 25, who co-starred with Heath Ledger as the unconventional cowboys.

George Clooney: six nominations but no Baftas
The 29-year-old American Reese Witherspoon was named best actress for her role as the singer June Carter in Walk the Line, a biopic about Johnny Cash.

Best actor was Philip Seymour Hoffman, the 38-year-old New Yorker who plays the title role in Capote, about the author Truman Capote.

The Constant Gardener, the adaptation of John Le Carre's novel about corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, arrived at the ceremony with 10 nominations - but won just one, a technical award for editing.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: best actor award for Capote
Weisz, 34, had been regarded by many as a racing certainty to be named best actress.

Dame Judi Dench, the winner of nine previous Baftas, had also hoped to be named best actress for her title role in Mrs Henderson Presents.

Another surprise was the failure of George Clooney to walk away with a single statuette. He co-wrote, directed and starred in Good Night, And Good Luck, based on a true story about McCarthyism, which had won six nominations.

Publishers wishing to reproduce photographs on this page should phone 44 (0) 207 538 7505 or e-mail

19 February 2006: Bafta nominees given lessons in how to turn on the Hollywood style

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Sunday, February 19, 2006


Frustrated author? Publish yourself
Victor Keegan
Thursday February 16, 2006

Are books about to go the same way as music and videos, with everyone able to publish from their back rooms, cutting out all the agents in the middle? Demand is certainly there from the legions of frustrated writers unable to interest an agent, let alone a publisher, in their musings. The technology to self-publish, using print-on-demand facilities, has been around for years but is now getting cheaper and easier with the publisher doing everything from the ISBN number to placing your tome on Amazon. Judging by the number of self-publishing websites, it may not be long before we reach the tipping point of mass adoption.
To test how easy it has become, I decide to try it out for myself with some material at hand in the form of the entries to the Guardian's text message competitions in 2001 and 2002, nearly all of which were anonymous and have not been published. First, I tried a small UK outfit operating from a loft in south London which has appeared in these pages before, Publish and Be Damned - or PABD (named after the words of the Duke of Wellington when his mistress was about to spill the beans).

I was impressed by the friendliness of its website and that it was confident enough to list the prices of competitors. It charges £160 for the first half-dozen copies, although specialised services, such as editing, cost more. All went reasonably well until we got to the stage of "manuscript submitted". I didn't receive the expected email with news of a proof copy, queries went unanswered and the only telephone number turned out to be in Canada, where the recipient was not pleased to be awoken early in the morning.

After a couple of months' wait, I reluctantly switched to, a trendy US company that also publishes your CDs and DVDs. It was pretty impressive. An audio guide takes you through a series of simple steps and its claim not to have any set-up fees or minimum orders turned out to be true.

Lulu's claim to publish in five easy steps (data, uploading manuscript, binding, uploading cover and finally fixing a price) was accurate, subject to two vital provisos. Your manuscript must be "oven ready" in a format such as Word or OpenOffice or a PDF with the pagination in order. Mine turned out to be aligned too far to the left and the typeface looked bad when we got the proof (both my fault).

Second, you must get the size of the pages of the script and the cover to coincide exactly with the templates on offer, which was easier said than done. For a cover you can either take one of their standard ones or upload your own. I persuaded someone to do the cover for nothing, which turned out to be the most professional part of the book.

The total cost of getting the proof copy to me about 10 days later was only $6.33. That means I had published one copy of a small book (under 100 pages) with a full-colour cover for only £3.60. Not bad at all. The final stage is to add on the royalty you want on each copy. Lulu gets 25% of that. The catch was something I hadn't realised at the start. They are shipped from the US and postage more than doubled the cost. So I decided not to move to publication.

At this moment I got an unexpected email from PABD saying my proof was ready. It was more presentable than the Lulu one. It accepted some proofing changes over the weekend and I will now proceed to the final stages. If all goes well, the text poem book could soon be on PABD's site (at cost price).

One other site with a different business model is Grosvenor House, which charges £495 for a bespoke service including add-ons (such as text editing, jacket design with 2,000 colours, distribution, five free copies and marketing) that cost extra with other companies. It looks as though the publishing industry could be in line for a much needed shock. Vanity publishing is dead. Long live print on demand.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006



Poll reveals 40pc of Muslims want sharia law in UK
By Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite
(Filed: 19/02/2006)

Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today.

The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.

50pc said interracial relations were worsening
Overall, the findings depict a Muslim community becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society, even though 91 per cent still say they feel loyal to Britain.

The results of the poll, conducted for the Sunday Telegraph, came as thousands of Muslims staged a fresh protest in London yesterday against the publication of cartoons of Mohammed. In Libya, at least 10 people died in protests linked to the caricatures.

And in Pakistan, a cleric was reported to have put a $1 million (£575,000) bounty on the head of the Danish cartoonist who drew the original pictures.

Last night, Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP involved with the official task force set up after the July attacks, said the findings were "alarming". He added: "Vast numbers of Muslims feel disengaged and alienated from mainstream British society." Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "This poll confirms the widespread opposition among British Muslims to the so-called war on terror."

The most startling finding is the high level of support for applying sharia law in "predom-inantly Muslim" areas of Britain.

Sadiq Khan: 'Alarming'
Islamic law is used in large parts of the Middle East, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, and is enforced by religious police. Special courts can hand down harsh punishments which can include stoning and amputation.

Forty per cent of the British Muslims surveyed said they backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, while 41 per cent opposed it. Twenty per cent felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers' motives, and 75 per cent did not. One per cent felt the attacks were "right".

Nearly two thirds thought the video images shown last week of British troops beating Iraqi youths were symptomatic of a wider problem in Iraq. Half did not think the soldiers would be "appropriately punished".

Half of the 500 people surveyed said relations between white Britons and Muslims were getting worse. Only just over half thought the conviction of the cleric Abu Hamza for incitement to murder and race hatred was fair.

Mr Khan, the MP for Tooting, said: "We must redouble our efforts to bring Muslims on board with the mainstream community. For all the efforts made since last July, things do not have appear to have got better."

He agreed with Sir Iqbal that the poll showed Muslims still had a "big gripe" about foreign policy, particularly over the war on terror and Iraq.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "It shows we have a long way to go to win the battle of ideas within some parts of the Muslim community and why it is absolutely vital that we reinforce the voice of moderate Islam wherever possible."

A spokesman for Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said: "It is critically important to ensure that Muslims, and all faiths, feel part of modern British society. Today's survey indicates we still have a long way to go… [but] we are committed to working with all faiths to ensure we achieve that end."

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006


One archbishop, the Most Rev Thomas Secker, wrote to a fellow bishop in 1760: "I have long wondered and lamented that the Negroes in our plantation decrease and new supplies become necessary continually.

"Surely this proceeds from some defect, both of humanity and even of good policy. But we must take things as they are at present."

Church offers apology for its role in slavery
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 09/02/2006)

Two hundred years after Anglican reformers helped to abolish the slave trade, the Church of England has apologised for profiting from it.

Last night the General Synod acknowledged complicity in the trade after hearing that the Church had run a slave plantation in the West Indies and that individual bishops had owned hundreds of slaves.

Dr Rowan Williams: Apology 'necessary'
It voted unanimously to apologise to the descendents of the slaves after an emotional debate in which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, urged the Church to share the "shame and sinfulness of our predecessors".

The Church's missionary arm, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Foreign Parts, owned the Codrington plantation in Barbados and slaves had the word "Society" branded on their chests with red-hot irons.

The Synod was told that the society's governing body included archbishops of Canterbury. Bishops of London and archbishops of York were involved in its management.

One archbishop, the Most Rev Thomas Secker, wrote to a fellow bishop in 1760: "I have long wondered and lamented that the Negroes in our plantation decrease and new supplies become necessary continually.

"Surely this proceeds from some defect, both of humanity and even of good policy. But we must take things as they are at present."

The bishop of Exeter and three business colleagues were paid nearly £13,000 to compensate them for the loss of 665 slaves in 1833.

The Rev Simon Bessant, of Blackburn, told the Synod: "We were at the heart of it; we were directly responsible for what happened." He said that, despite the efforts of Anglican reformers such as William Wilberforce, the Church was "part of the problem as well as part of the solution".

Mr Bessant amended a motion by the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Tom Butler, urging the Church to mark the bicentenary next year of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.

Bishop Butler said that a Synod apology could result in the Church becoming the "national scapegoat" for slavery when the whole country should share the guilt.

But the amendment was supported by speaker after speaker, including Dr Williams and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

Dr Williams said the apology was not political correctness but "necessary".

He was criticised in November after saying that missionaries "sinned" by imposing Hymns Ancient and Modern on places such as Africa.

8 February 2006: General Synod tries to smooth path for first woman bishop

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006


"There can be no toleration for preachers of hate who call for violence, who call for murder, who abuse their citizenship of Britain. We have got to take action in the interest of both national security and defending the true Islam religion, in defence of moderate Islamists as against extreme Islam." Says Gordon Brown, the Chancellor.

Muslim cleric jailed for inciting murder
By Duncan Gardham and George Jones, Political Editor
(Filed: 08/02/2006)

Abu Hamza, the radical Muslim cleric, was jailed for seven years yesterday after an Old Bailey jury found him guilty of incitement to murder, stirring up racial hatred and possessing a document useful to terrorism.

Mr Justice Hughes said that Hamza had used his authority "to legitimise anger" and make killing seem "a moral and religious duty in pursuit of perceived justice".

When police raided Finsbury Park Mosque they found equipment they think Abu Hamza used to train terrorists
Hamza, 47, refused to stand as he was sentenced and afterwards his followers shouted words of support from the public gallery.

Security sources described him as a key figure in the global Islamic terrorist movement. He was convicted on 11 of 15 charges after four days of deliberations by the jury.

Peter Clarke, the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, said the Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London, where the handless Hamza preached, was "almost like a honey pot for extremists". It had become a breeding ground for terrorism.

Only now can it be disclosed that when police raided the mosque in 2003 they found an arsenal of weapons and equipment which they believe were to be used in terrorist training camps in Britain.

It included blank firing pistols which could easily have been converted to fire live rounds, a stun gun, knives, CS gas and chemical and nuclear warfare protection suits. Dozens of forged documents, driving licences and passports had been hidden behind ceiling tiles. In the basement was a dormitory for followers to sleep overnight.

"It is the kind of material which could have been used at training camps, probably in the UK," a senior police source said. "Hamza clearly had a controlling influence at the mosque and the location where we found this equipment would have made it very difficult for him not to know it was there."

Hamza's solicitor, Muddassar Arani, who visited him in the cells at the Old Bailey after sentence, said the trial had been politically motivated and the sentence would be "a slow martyrdom for him".

Ministers welcomed the jailing of Hamza as an indication that, despite worries about curbs on free speech, the courts were prepared to back the Government's tougher line on those preaching religious extremism and advocating terrorism.

Downing Street said his conviction should reassure the public that the Government was determined to uphold the law at a time when racial and religious tensions had been inflamed by the controversy over Danish cartoons mocking Mohammed.

Tony Blair told MPs that "political correctness" would not stand in the way of prosecuting any Muslim protesters who broke the law.

He acknowledged that there was a justifiable sense of "outrage" at extremist placards brandished at demonstrations in London last weekend against the cartoons and promised the Government's full backing for any future police action.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, said he understood the anger people felt over the demonstrations and promised to support the "toughest" measures to keep the country safe. Casting aside normal ministerial caution on court cases, he told the BBC that the jailing of Hamza was "very important".

He said: "There can be no toleration for preachers of hate who call for violence, who call for murder, who abuse their citizenship of Britain. We have got to take action in the interest of both national security and defending the true Islam religion, in defence of moderate Islamists as against extreme Islam."

Members of the jury had watched 20 hours of video tapes recorded by Hamza's followers in which he described Britain as the "inside of a toilet" and urged them to kill "kaffirs", or non-believers.

They were not told that the police had linked the mosque to dozens of terrorists. They included Zacarias Moussaoui, the "20th member of the September 11 hijackers", the shoe bombers Richard Reid and Saajid Badat, and the killer of Det-Con Stephen Oake, Kamel Bourgass, who was also convicted of a plot to produce the poison ricin.

The tapes that jury members watched were among 570 video and 2,700 audio tapes found when police raided Hamza's home in Shepherd's Bush, west London.

Officers also found a 10-volume Encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad, which was dedicated to Osama bin Laden and suggested potential targets in Britain and abroad, including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. It included diagrams on how to build bombs and how to launch an assassination.

Volume six, on bomb-making, was missing and Mr Justice Hughes said he was satisfied that it had been lent to somebody.

Hamza was unanimously found guilty of six counts of soliciting to murder, three of using threatening behaviour and two of distributing threatening recordings and possessing a document useful to terrorists.

He was sentenced to seven years for soliciting to murder and concurrent terms of 21 months for stirring racial hatred and three years for distributing tapes and possessing the encyclopaedia. He intends to appeal.

25 January 2006: Cubs could train for jihad, says Hamza
24 January 2006: Hamza says charges are politically motivated
21 January 2006: Suicide bombing a legitimate tactic, says Hamza

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