Liz Fekete, Deputy Director of the
Institute of Race Relations, spoke out against the
anti-terrorism acts at public meetings held by
Scotland Against Criminalising Communities in
Edinburgh and Glasgow on 17th and 18th June. She said
that the new legislation has been driven by the USA's
determination to redesign the world's security
arrangements to meet its corporate and resource needs. A
global security state is emerging, she said, and the USA
and the EU are working in close partnership to create
In September 2001, The UN Security
Council passed Resolution 1373, imposing on every state
an obligation to take measures against terrorism. It also
set up the UN National Terrorism Council to monitor
states' compliance with Resolution 1373. Britain holds
the presidency of this council. In December 2001 the
European Union responded to Resolution 1373 by
introducing a framework and common position on combating
The Framework Position extends
and "internationalises" the definition of terrorism.
'Terrorism' now includes acts directed against any
country and it includes acts that are political in
nature. 'Terrorist' acts committed abroad can now be
classified as crimes at home.
The Common Position focuses
mainly on refugees and asylum seekers. It forbids both
'active' and 'passive' support for terrorism. Passive
support could amount to anything - attending a rally,
wearing a badge, or simply agreeing with the
organisation's aims - for ethnic self-determination of
Tamils or Kurds, for instance. The Common Position
imposes a duty on governments to vet asylum seekers and
create a central file on their political and Trade Union
activities. Refugees are strapped into a 'straight-jacket
of fear'. There is a real danger that EU governments will
pass information on their political activities back to
their home countries; EU intelligence agencies are
expected to work closely with intelligence services
The Global Security State has had the
effect of destabilising democratic movements in Asia and
of creating new heavy military presences in countries
just beginning to break free from military domination.
Many of these countries already possess draconian laws
inherited from the colonial period. New terrorist
legislation can have devastating consequences. Indonesia
for example had just begun to recover from military rule,
but under post September 11th legislation it has seen the
re-emergence of the military, as shown by the recent
repression in Acheh.
The effect of EU Counter Terrorism
Measures has been the absolute undermining of the Geneva
Convention and the abolition of suspected terrorists'
basic human rights such as the right to a fair trial. The
secrecy of arrests and detention and the inability of
anyone (including detainees' lawyers) to gain information
about those arrested just serves to further violate their
civil liberties and compound the difficulties in ensuring
that they are being treated humanely.
Liz Fekete's booklet 'Racism -
The Hidden Cost of September 11th.' can be
ordered from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her new booklet 'Reclaim the
People's Security - from National Security to Global
Security - Counter-Terrorism in Asia and Europe'
discusses the issues raised in this article.It is
published by the Institute for Race Relations and the
"Reclaim the People's Security" as a pdf document
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