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May 27, 2007

Tony Blair: Jihadist Suspects Permitted To Abscond By... Liberals and Left-wing Judges

So who's to blame for allowing those (Which are special authorizations granted to the government to restrict one's liberties, such as requiring one to notify the authorities when one leaves one's home (and on what business), and permit what would otherwise be considered police harrassment through frequent surveillance.)

Well, according to Tony Blair, it's the God-damanble buffoons who continue insisting this is all some breezy parlor game:


After September 11, 2001, in common with many other nations, we passed new antiterror laws. In the aftermath of such an outrage it was relatively easy to do. We gave ourselves the ability, in exceptional circumstances, to detain foreign nationals who we believed were plotting terrorism but against whom there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. It was an important power. They were, of course, free to leave Britain. But we wouldn’t let them be free here. The ability to detain foreign nationals gave our services the ability to focus even more resources on the surveillance of British nationals who were a threat. It also sent out a strong signal of intent.

In December 2004 these laws were struck down by the courts. In his famous judgment Lord Hoffmann said there was a greater risk to Britain through the abrogation of the foreign suspect’s civil liberties than through terrorism.

So we were forced to opt for the much milder remedy of control orders, applicable to both foreign and British nationals. These do not involve detention. They impose some limits on the individual’s freedom. They are better than nothing and have utility - because otherwise the individuals would have to be subject to even more intensive surveillance.

They were, however, much weaker than we wanted, perpetually diluted by opposition amendments, constantly attacked on civil liberty grounds.

In addition, after September 11, and again after July 7, we have tried continually to deport foreign nationals who were either engaged in or inciting extremism. Again and again in court judgments we were forced to keep them here. The important point is that although of the hundreds we keep under surveillance, many are UK citizens - as with these three individuals - many are not and in any event their influence and the ideas they import from abroad have a significant and radicalising effect. And, of course, we lost the crucial vote on 90 days’ precharge detention, despite offering a week-by-week court hearing throughout the 90 days.

So when there is an outcry about the three absconding, we should remember that consistently over the past few years, and even after July 7, attempts to introduce stronger powers have been knocked back in parliament and in the courts. Indeed recently it was said, again in a court case, that unless the British government could prove that a foreign national suspect would not be at risk of mistreatment in his own country, we were obliged to keep him here.

So the fault is not with our services or, in this instance, with the Home Office. We have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect, even if a foreign national, first.

I happen to believe this is misguided and wrong. If a foreign national comes here, and may be at risk in his own country, we should treat him well. But if he then abuses our hospitality and threatens us, I feel he should take his chance back in his own home country.

He finishes by knocking the "We caused it/it's all our fault/we deserve" League of Super-Patriots.


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posted by Ace at 03:32 PM

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