Terrorist rights group oppose UK defensive moves

Washington Post:

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday proposed allowing police to detain suspected terrorists for up to 56 days without charge, reviving a highly controversial issue that led to a dramatic parliamentary defeat for his predecessor, Tony Blair.

The plan, which would double the current 28-day detention limit, was part of a wide-ranging set of proposals that Brown announced in the House of Commons, his first major package of security and anti-terrorism legislation since taking office last month. He said the legislation would be formally introduced in Parliament in the fall.

Following attacks on London's public transit system in July 2005 in which four suicide bombers killed 52 passengers and injured about 700, Blair proposed extensive changes to anti-terrorism laws, including a bid to increase the time police are allowed to hold suspected terrorists without charge from 14 to 90 days.

Critics, including many from within Blair's Labor Party, said the measure ignored suspects' civil rights. Despite Blair's passionate backing, Parliament resoundingly rejected the proposal in November 2005 and approved an increase to only 28 days.

On Wednesday, Brown said he believed there was "a growing weight of opinion" that the limit needed to be increased, although he ruled out seeking 90 days. He offered several options for legislators to consider over the summer recess, all of which would require extensive judicial and legislative review. Under current law, a judge must reauthorize any detention without charge every seven days, up to the maximum of 28.

Brown said Britain needed tougher laws to "confront a generation-long challenge to defeat al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist violence." He said that there had been 15 attempted terrorist plots in Britain since 2001 and that security services were currently monitoring 2,000 individuals involved in about 30 known plots. This year alone, by his account, 30 people have been convicted in Britain in nine cases brought under anti-terrorism laws. Many of the plots involved investigations across several continents and "huge quantities" of evidence to be analyzed by police, he said.

Amnesty International said in a statement that Brown's proposals amounted to "internment" and "an assault on human rights and freedoms." The group said Britain "appears to have forgotten the lesson of Northern Ireland in the '70s," when the imposition of internment without charge fueled anti-British sentiment among the province's Catholic minority that lasted a generation.

Brown's proposals, Amnesty said, "will further alienate affected communities, leading people to mistrust the authorities and make them less likely to want to cooperate with the police."


Or, perhaps it will make them more eager to cooperate and remove the parasites from the community. What the controversy points out is the problems with the lawfare model for fighting a war against terrorist with their useful idiots in the terrorist rights communities. Enemy combatants who act against the laws of war should be detained until the end of the conflict. The problem with the lawfare approach is that it turns the battle on its head and gives all the advantages to the bad guys as well as revealing crucial information about the sources and methods used to discover their bad conduct.


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