Sunday, 2 November 2008

Iceland - So what exactly is the terrorist threat

It is a very dangerous precedent. When Brown used anti-terrorism laws to freeze assets from Icelandic banks, he put the frighteners on us all. If Iceland can be labelled as a terrorist organization, then anyone can. These anti-terrorist laws pose a grave threat to civil liberties.

From the New York Times....

LONDON — No one disputes that Iceland’s economic troubles are largely the country’s own fault. But there may be more to the story, at least in the view of Iceland’s government, its citizens and even some outsiders. As grave as their situation already was, they say, Britain — their old friend, NATO ally and trading partner — made it immeasurably worse.

Icelanders have posted photos on a Web site protesting a decision by the British leader, Gordon Brown, to use antiterrorism laws to freeze the British assets of a failing Icelandic bank.

The troubles between the countries began three weeks ago when Britain took the extraordinary step of using its 2001 antiterrorism laws to freeze the British assets of a failing Icelandic bank. That appeared to brand Iceland a terrorist state.

"I must admit that I was absolutely appalled," the Icelandic foreign minister, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, said in an interview, describing her horror at opening the British treasury department’s home page at the time and finding Iceland on a list of terrorist entities with Al Qaeda, Sudan and North Korea, among others.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"When Brown used anti-terrorism laws ... he put the frighteners on us all."

The man is a mainiac, and now he has recruited two madmen (campbell and Mandlesson) to assist him.

jdc said...

He didn't. I'm kind of fed up of the media calling everything an anti-terror law when it isn't (eg the RIPA was never about terror when it was passed, if anything it was about computer hackers).

The section of the Anti-Terror, Crime, and Security Act which deals with the power to seize assets is a different section from the one that deals with Terror. It's like saying that if I buy chips from a Fish and Chip shop, they're made of fish.

Anonymous said...

"I must admit that I was absolutely appalled."

Well, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, so are all the people in the UK who have been saving with icelandic banks with only fish fingers in the vault.

B. IN C.

electro-kevin said...

"New World order."

Why is a British PM so keen to change it when we were at 4th position (allegedly).

Shivers.

Sackerson said...

Quote from the Mail on Sunday today, on use of the legislation by councils to spy on householders and their use of dustbins:

"Although it is ostensibly an anti-terror law, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, or RIPA, is worded so loosely that it can be used to justify surveillance operations for a variety of reasons. These include spying to 'protect public health' or the 'economic well-being of the UK'. "

Note the last, and the vagueness. Carte blanche.

jdc said...

"Although it is ostensibly an anti-terror law"

No it isn't. Never was. Read the text of the Act. Read the speeches for and against it in Parliament when it was passed. It is not an anti-terror law anywhere except Daily Mail fantasy land.

It's a law regulating the right of the public authorities to do what they had always done before without a regulatory system. Enforce the law.

Anonymous said...

There are only 300 thousand Icelanders who didn't benefit from the banks operating in their names. Obviously they cannot step up to honour losses beyond their ability to pay, and why would they?
When this recession is long gone, they will remember the attitude of the UK and it is meaningless for us to say it was the politicians.
No matter how you cut it, the UK has bullied Iceland. There is no way this would have happened to a larger country. I am British, but it has to be said that the British are a pretty pathetic bunch with their hands out, our grasping has even made it onto the world stage. How embarassing.
Not too long now. Finally the New Labour voters will get their just deserts.

Anonymous said...

This particular law is beneath contempt.

When they initially invoked it, my view was "what are they thinking"? Every foreigner who looks at investing in Britain will pause to understand the risks, and have to read the anti-terror laws first.

But upon reflection, once the law was passed, the Government is obliged to enforce it. And it would seem they have cut some sort of side deal on this one.

We look little better than Russia, with selective enforcement of bad laws.

So why stop there? Let's use some polonium and assasinate an Icelander or two: that should encourage repayment.

Anonymous said...

This particular law is beneath contempt.

When they initially invoked it, my view was "what are they thinking"? Every foreigner who looks at investing in Britain will pause to understand the risks, and have to read the anti-terror laws first.

But upon reflection, once the law was passed, the Government is obliged to enforce it. And it would seem they have cut some sort of side deal on this one.

We look little better than Russia, with selective enforcement of bad laws.

So why stop there? Let's use some polonium and assasinate an Icelander or two: that should encourage repayment.

Anonymous said...

jdc, tiny, tiny problem with your argument.

Brown didn't use RIPA 2000, he used 2001 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/security/terrorism-and-the-law/anti-terrorism-crime-security-ac/

you think he used the bit that allows him to "streamline relevant immigration procedures"? or "ensure the security of the nuclear and aviation industries"? or "ensure that we can meet our European obligations in the area of police and judicial co-operation and our international obligations to counter bribery and corruption"? or maybe just MAYBE he used this bit - "cut off terrorist funding"? Care to place a bet?

jdc said...

I know. See the second paragraph of my original comment. The more detailed RIPA stuff was responding to Sackerson's comment.

For the record, I think he used the bit empowering the freezing of assets by the Treasury if they believe that

action to the detriment of the United Kingdom’s economy (or part of it) has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons

eg repatriating UK assets to an insolvent foreign company - like the Lehman heist when they moved all their spare UK cash to the US before filing, and nearly left everyone in the UK office without their wages.