Time to halt the tidal wave of anti-terror powers….
The Times tells us that the government will rush forward emergency legislation after its orders to freeze the assets of terrorism suspects were found to be illegal. One thing that struck me was the emotive language used by the government;
The Treasury argued that refusing a suspension “would give rise to the risk of those assets being dispersed and used for the purpose of terrorism, with the attendant risk of causing serious and irreparable harm to the national interest of the United Kingdom.
Notice how the *assumption of guilt is attendant* to the application of the orders. In other words these people are assumed to be guilty but have never been proved so in a court of law. Indeed, it seems there is not even enough evidence to warrant them being arrested and convicted. So, why then should they be subjected to punitive measures that are unproven in their justification?
Traditional notions of justice and its very foundations are being turned on their head by the government in its quest to exponentially increase the states power. It is assumed traditionally that people are *innocent until proven guilty* not the other way around so, it follows that punitive or restrictive measures cannot be undertaken until guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. If these people are guilty then why can they not be arrested and convicted and if they cannot then it is wrong to punish them?
It maybe argued that they are left to ‘roam free’ in order to facilitate greater intelligence gathering but this practice is risky and ultimately should not be part of the strategy when combating terrorism. It is precisely this strategy that allowed the bombings of July 7th to happen; the intelligence agencies ‘lost track’ of some of those who ultimately participated. None of them would have been greatly inconvenienced by having their assets frozen; in fact, such an action is likely to drive people further underground and further from a position where they can be observed. So, once again this power is unnecessary and potentially counter productive like just about all the actions the government has taken in this ‘war’ without an end.