Blackmail

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Matti Lamprhey:
Does blackmail involve threats to expose the victim, or is it just a synonym for "extortion"?
Some animal-rights protestors have been charged with conspiracy to blackmail the owners of a farm which breeds guinea-pigs for the purpose of vivisection, and "blackmail" doesn't seem the right concept to me.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/4285488.stm

Matti
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Dave Fawthrop:
[nq:1]Does blackmail involve threats to expose the victim, or is it just a synonym for "extortion"? Some animal-rights protestors have ... a farm which breeds guinea-pigs for the purpose of vivisection, and "blackmail" doesn't seem the right concept to me. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/4285488.stm [/nq]
If the police believe they have enough evidence to prove blackmail that is what they initially get charged with. If they eventually get evidence for any of the numerous other crimes, committed by these terrorists these can be added later.
It is a pity that a charge of attempted murder of person or persons unknown (the patients who will not receive life saving treatment because of the actions of these terrorists) will probably not stick :-( That would have justified life imprisonment.

Dave Fawthrop
The London suicide bombers killed innocent commuters. Animal rights terrorists and activists kill innocent patients.
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Lars Eighner:
In our last episode,
(Email Removed),
the lovely and talented Matti Lamprhey
broadcast on alt.usage.english:
[nq:1]Does blackmail involve threats to expose the victim, or is it just a synonym for "extortion"? Some animal-rights protestors have ... a farm which breeds guinea-pigs for the purpose of vivisection, and "blackmail" doesn't seem the right concept to me. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/4285488.stm [/nq]
The law is a funny thing. Ha, ha, ha. So I wouldn't dream of touching the issue of what constitutes the crime of blackmail in various jurisdictions.
As a matter of ordinary English, however, it seems to me that "blackmail" involves the threat of public exposure of some information that would be embarrassing or worse. "Extortion" is the threat of physical violence against someone or something. If they threaten to publicise the purpose of the breeding of guinea pigs, that is blackmail. If they threaten to destroy the facility, that is extortion.
The thing about blackmail is that it just about impossible to complain of being blackmailed without accomplishing the threat of the blackmail. You can be very public about being extorted, and that in itself will do you no harm. Perhaps the extortionist will be displeased, but in other cases it is good for the extortionist's business if more people fear him. In protection rackets, the extortionist wants everyone to know that everyone is paying. But if you say you are being blackmailed, you reveal at the very least that you have a secret, and often that it is known you have a secret is sufficient to ensure that it transpires.

Lars Eighner (Email Removed) http://www.larseighner.com / I don't see posts from or threads started from googlegroups. "Let me have my own way exactly in everything, and a sunnier and pleasanter creature does not exist." Thomas Carlyle
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Matti Lamprhey:
[nq:2]Does blackmail involve threats to expose the victim, or is ... and "blackmail" doesn't seem the right concept to me. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/4285488.stm [/nq]
[nq:1]If the police believe they have enough evidence to prove blackmail that is what they initially get charged with. If ... Fawthrop The London suicide bombers killed innocent commuters. Animal rights terrorists and activists kill innocent patients.[/nq]
Thanks, Dave. Perhaps I should have stressed that I wanted a sensible answer, though.
Matti
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John Briggs:
[nq:1]Does blackmail involve threats to expose the victim, or is it just a synonym for "extortion"?[/nq]
It's a form of extortion. Blackmail is "any unwarranted demand with menaces". For blackmail you don't have to threaten to do something illegal (which is the norm for other types of extortion).

John Briggs
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Mike Lyle:
[nq:2]If the police believe they have enough evidence to prove blackmail that is what they initially get charged with. [/nq]
[nq:1]Thanks, Dave. Perhaps I should have stressed that I wanted asensible answer, though.[/nq]
I think extortion with menaces is blackmail, whatever the nature of the threat. Perhaps it's not a precise legal expression: I see from OED that it was originally a "protection" racket along the Borders.

Mike.
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Dave Fawthrop:
[nq:2]If the police believe they have enough evidence to prove ... innocent commuters. Animal rights terrorists and activists kill innocent patients.[/nq]
[nq:1]Thanks, Dave. Perhaps I should have stressed that I wanted a sensible answer, though.[/nq]
Just followed up the post as written.

Dave Fawthrop
The London suicide bombers killed innocent commuters. Animal rights terrorists and activists kill innocent patients.
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Matti Lamprhey:
[nq:2]Does blackmail involve threats to expose the victim, or is it just a synonym for "extortion"?[/nq]
[nq:1]It's a form of extortion. Blackmail is "any unwarranted demand with menaces". For blackmail you don't have to threaten to do something illegal (which is the norm for other types of extortion).[/nq]
Where did you get that definition of blackmail? It doesn't sound right to me. And wouldn't "menaces" involve "something illegal"?

For me, blackmail would typically be "If you don't give me X, I'll tell Y about Z".
Matti
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Don Aitken:
[nq:2]Does blackmail involve threats to expose the victim, or is it just a synonym for "extortion"?[/nq]
[nq:1]It's a form of extortion. Blackmail is "any unwarranted demand with menaces". For blackmail you don't have to threaten to do something illegal (which is the norm for other types of extortion).[/nq]
To be more precise:
"(1) A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another, or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces; and for this purpose a demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief -
(a) that he has reasonable grounds for making the demand; and (b) that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand.
(2) The nature of the act or omission demanded is immaterial, and it is also immaterial whether the menaces relate to action to be taken by the person making the demand.
(3) A person guilty of blackmail shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years." Theft Act 1968, s.21.
It has been held that, for the purposes of (1)(b) the term "proper" implies "lawful"; a threat to do an act which the defendant knows to be unlawful cannot be a proper means.

Don Aitken
Mail to the From: address is not read.
To email me, substitute "clara.co.uk" for "freeuk.com"
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