Clive Walker – Terrorism and the law

Clive Walker has just published his new book at OUP:

Terrorism laws and legal practices have been politically and socially controversial to a degree beyond almost any other legal issue during the past decade, and this analytical text contains extensive analysis of these controversies. Written by  leading commentator Clive Walker, Terrorism and the Law offers a thoughtful and up-to-date discussion of all the key materials on terrorism law. It provides comprehensive coverage of all major domestic, European, and international laws, and their impact on the UK. It also contains an extensive examination of implementation and practical problems, as well as comparison with closely comparable jurisdictions ranging from Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland, to the United States.

The book contains five Parts. Part I focuses on meanings of ‘terrorism’ in law and political science. It provides the reader with an understanding of the political phenomenon and the legal concept, including its statutory definitions, which is essential to the book’s assessment of the strategies and tactics adopted in the codes of laws as well as policy statements. It also addresses normative constraints, such as human rights, and considers mechanisms of accountability.

Parts II-IV focus on the United Kingdom law and practice. It provides extensive coverage of the major UK terrorism legislation, namely: the Terrorism Act 2000; the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001; the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005; the Terrorism Act 2006; the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007; the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008; and the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010. The themes comprise: investigatory and policing powers and interventions; the disclosure of Information, special criminal laws, special criminal processes, post-trial restraints and the penology of terrorism, executive regulation through control orders and immigration measures, terrorist funding and property, and protective security laws, structures, and regulations. The study encompasses wherever relevant the impact of European, international and transnational laws and practices, covering international transnational cooperation and extradition; key European Union law measures against terrorism; other international law measures against terrorist activities; and international human rights and terrorism.

Part V considers regional variations in Northern Ireland, with some reflections on the application of Scottish law, especially in the Lockerbie cases.

Part VI reflects the impact of European, international and transnational laws and practices, covering international transnational cooperation and extradition; key European Union law measures against terrorism; other international law measures against terrorist activities; and international human rights and terrorism.

MI5 short of surveillance officers says minister

The BBC reports that the UK government has revealed MI5 does not have enough spies to allow it to abolish control orders immediately. Security Minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones said the  Security Service needed to recruit and train more surveillance officers.

Ministers want to introduce a lighter touch regime, which depends on more surveillance, by the end of the year. Parliament approved control orders until New Year’s Eve, with ministers saying the replacement will be ready.That revised system, known as Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) includes many of the aspects of control  orders but allows greater use of phones and freedom of movement.

But security chiefs want the new freedoms to be balanced by greater secret surveillance of the suspects.
The admission that the Security Service does not yet have enough surveillance officers came on Tuesday evening in a Parliamentary debate on renewing control orders until the end of the year.
The government needs to legislate to introduce TPIMs – but Baroness Neville-Jones told peers that even if the “looser regime” were in place, there was not yet enough manpower “to give the necessary security to the public”.

Ken MacDonald and Baroness Neville-Jones uncorrected evidence given to UK joint committee on Human Rights’ session on counter-terrorism

In this statement Ken MacDonald elaborates upon his critique to control orders and offers some thoughts about police bail as an alternative. He also elaborates upon extending the pre-charge detention limit to 28 days by emergency legislation, intercept evidence and the Chilcot review. Baroness Jones offers her views on control orders and draft emergency law legislation as well.

UK draft detention of terrorist suspects (temporary extension) bill

The UK Home Secretary’s recent review of counter terrorism and security powers recommended a reduction in the maximum period of pre charge detention for terrorist suspects from 28 to 14 days. To deal with any exceptional circumstances the review also recommended the publication of draft emergency legislation which could be introduced where more than 14 days was considered necessary, which would temporarily increase the maximum period back to 28 days. Draft legislation was published on 11 February and is available to download here.

UK’s review of counter-terrorism and security powers

The redacted review considered six key counter-terrorism and security powers:

  • The detention of terrorist suspects before charge, including how we can reduce the period of detention below 28 days
  • Section 44 stop and search powers and the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography
  • The use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by local authorities and access to communications data more generally
  • Measures to deal with organisations that promote hatred or violence
  • Extending the use of ‘Deportation with Assurances’ in a manner that is consistent with our legal and human rights obligations
  • Control orders (including alternatives)

The review found that in some areas the UK’s counter-terrorism and security powers were “neither proportionate nor necessary”. It proposed:

  • A return to 14 days as the standard maximum period that a terrorist suspect can be detained before they are charged or released
  • An end to the indiscriminate use of terrorism stop and search powers provided under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000
  • The end to the use of the most intrusive RIPA powers by local authorities to investigate low level offences and a requirement that applications by local authorities to use any RIPA techniques are approved by a magistrate
  • A commitment to rationalise the legal bases by which communications data can be acquired and, as far as possible, to limit that to RIPA
  • A stronger effort to deport foreign nationals involved in terrorist activities in this country fully respecting our human rights obligations
  • The end of control orders and their replacement with a less intrusive and more focused regime. Additional resources will be provided to the police and security agencies to ensure the new measures are effective not only in protecting the public but in facilitating prosecution

A new version of the Government’s counter terrorist strategy, CONTEST, will be published within a few months.

Will Lord Goldsmith become the UK equivalent of John Yoo?

Afua Hirsch seems to suggest so in her comment is free article in The Guardian:

As the Guardian revealed yesterday, the UK authorities relied on Bangladeshi intelligence despite well-documented accounts of their use of torture. The then home secretary Jacqui Smith flew to Dhaka for face-to-face meetings with the Bangladeshi authorities. Not only did the likelihood that suspects were being tortured not deter those meetings, it was apparently never even mentioned.

Complicity in torture is of course one of many violations of international law associated with the invasion of Iraq and the interrogation of detainees that followed. So again, it is right to focus not only on the politicians who ordered the invasion, but also the government lawyers who pronounced on its legality. In these terms, the most obvious culprit for having approved the legality of the war itself is Lord Goldsmith, Tony Blair’s attorney-general, whose advice notoriously changed in the run-up to invasion. This issue is far from resolved and is bound to arise again this Friday when Blair is recalled to the Chilcot inquiry. Even those familiar with the details of the Blair-Goldsmith relationship confess to being in a state of confusion about Goldsmith’s latest statement this week.

Al-Qaida terrorist’s appeal argues that Britain was complicit in his torture

The Guardian reports that a man convicted of serious terrorism offences is to launch an appeal against his conviction today on the grounds that the British government was complicit in the torture he suffered before being put on trial. Rangzieb Ahmed, 35, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was convicted two years ago of directing a terrorist organisation and membership of al-Qaida. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

He was convicted largely on the basis of evidence that was collected while he was under surveillance in Dubai and the UK in 2005. He was not arrested at that time, however; instead, he was permitted to travel to Pakistan where he was detained by an intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence, notorious for its use of torture.

The courts have heard that Manchester police and MI5 officers then drew up a list of questions to be put to Ahmed by the Pakistani agents. By the time he was deported to the UK, three fingernails were missing from his left hand. Ahmed also alleges he was beaten, whipped and deprived of sleep.