UK:No hiding place for terrorists : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

No hiding place for terrorists

By George Jones, Political Editor (Filed: 01/10/2001)

DRACONIAN new anti-terrorist laws, including powers of indefinite detention for suspects who flee to Britain from abroad, were announced by Tony Blair yesterday.

Emergency legislation will impose tough controls on high street bureaux de change, which are believed to be one of the main routes for laundering money for terrorists and drug traffickers.

The measures, a direct response to the September 11 attacks in America, are intended to ensure that Britain does not become a haven for international terrorists.

They are aimed at making it easier to detain, deport or extradite suspects, whether they are wanted abroad or pose a threat to Britain.

The proposals go considerably further than ministers had indicated and are likely to be attacked by civil liberties groups.

Mr Blair appealed for all-party support for the measures, which he said would be brought before the Commons within four to six weeks.

"Our first duty must be to protect our citizens," he said on the BBC TV's Breakfast with Frost. "We cannot have a situation in which it takes years to extradite people.

We cannot have a situation in which people come in and abuse our asylum procedures and are then allowed to remain, claiming asylum.

"And we cannot have a situation where, if we know someone is a suspected terrorist, we do not have the legal power to detain them indefinitely until we find a country to deport them to."

The Prime Minister confirmed that the Government was actively considering the introduction of compulsory identity cards, but said that no decision had been taken.

"It is a very big step," he said. "We must get it right."

Ministers are looking at ways of shortening and simplifying the appeals process in extradition cases, which can take years, to prevent terrorist suspects exploiting the law by "playing it long".

They are considering giving the courts powers to detain indefinitely terrorist suspects who arrive from abroad, until they can be repatriated or sent to another country.

Immigration laws are to be reviewed to ensure that the authorities no longer have to consider asylum applications automatically if someone is suspected of being a terrorist.

"Britain will not be a haven for terrorist suspects on the run," an official said.

The measures are being formulated because of Government concern that some of the planning for the American attacks may have been carried out in Britain.

Other governments, particularly in the Middle East, have protested that terrorists have found refuge in Britain and evaded extradition by manipulating the legal processes.

A second bank account suspected of having Taliban connections has been frozen. It was held in a European bank in London.

The Treasury disclosed that 55 million of Taliban assets had now been frozen in Britain. Movement of most of the funds was blocked before September 11. France has frozen funds worth around 2.5 million.

Government sources estimate that up to 4 billion a year leaves the country through bureaux de change and that 65 per cent comes from illegal sources. Only eight per cent is for holiday travel.

Financial regulators are to be given powers of inspection and it will be an offence for banks to deal with unlicensed bureaux. "The message is clean up or clear out," a Government spokesman said.

Police will be given powers to monitor bank accounts suspected of being used for terrorist purposes. Similar powers already exist in Northern Ireland.

Financial institutions are already required to report transactions believed to have been made by terrorist groups. The new powers would enable police to track money as it passed through the system.

The Treasury also wants to give the police powers to freeze a suspect account at the start of an investigation related to terrorism. At present they can freeze it only when there is considerable proof, by which time the money has often been removed.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, will urge other countries to implement a United Nations Security Council resolution ensuring that their financial institutions report transactions thought to be related to terrorism.

He also wants European countries to adopt a new EU proposal that professional groups such as lawyers should be required to report transactions with suspected terrorist connections.

Mr Brown said: "We must cut off the supply of money and that would mean the supply of weapons and the supply of other technology. This demands a worldwide effort."

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, said he planned to make incitement to religious hatred an offence to try to curb Muslim fanatics and white racists. Incitement to race hatred is already an offence.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 30, 2001



-- jimmie-the- weed (, September 30, 2001.

Tough measures, real tough. If we were to try something similar in this country, I can see the A.C.L.U. and other civil rights groups crying foul to the heavens.

-- Big Cheese (, October 01, 2001.

Politically I am a Conservative who does not agree with Liberal nostrums in general. But, in this case, three cheers for Tony Blair. There is no reason we could not do something similar in our country. After all, we have been a-t-t-a-c-k-e-d. Stringent meaasures could be put in place for limited periods of time like three to five years, subject to renewal by Congress at such intervals in order to proceed further.

-- Chance (, October 01, 2001.

Actually, President George W. Bush could take such stern measures RIGHT NOW by executive order. He has already declared a "State of Emergency." Anyone who doubts this should read, closely and fully, the State of Emergency Law granting him such powers. But, alas, he is a consensus builder who will probably plod through such a process step by painful step, trying to get everybody to first agree.

-- JackW (, October 01, 2001.

When the Nazis were busily taking over the world, there were a lot of business people the world over who were clamoring to do business with them. According to a book i read.

-- jimmie-the-weed (, October 01, 2001.

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