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2009-08-23 02:21:18

This article belongs to And That's the Way It Is column.

When the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York occurred, the immediate aftermath, in terms of revised and additional anti-terrorism legislation just had to be put in place. Many countries, if not most, all revised their legislation to suit their own specific needs regardless of the fact that some of those could well be regarded as dubious in terms of their justification.

What has happened since then though has been much concerning, with a substantial number of countries, including those countries purported to have fair justice system, having expanded their anti-terrorism laws when those further measures have absolutely no relevance to the prevention of terrorism, but to apply the exertion of power over the general populous or/and indeed opposing political movements or parties. In order words, the blatant abuse of legislative and other powers.

The end result has been that most legally advanced and fair countries now have laws that have nothing to do with fairness or justice, resulting in such countries now having become virtual police states whereby police can virtually walk into any premises without warrants, arresting people and holding them for long periods of time without charges being laid and without their legal representatives being present, in so doing breaching international laws and conventions.

Classic examples of this can be seen in the UK, Australia, throughout Europe and indeed the US whereby anti-terrorism laws have been added to when there was no evidence to support such additions.

Anti-terrorism laws are now used for all sorts of things, and the actual terrorist groups must be laughing their heads off in terms of what some of them have been trying to archive having been implemented without them not even having to lift a finger in terms of them engaging in an attack.

The following facts are simple and indeed the case in terms of the current collection of anti- or counter-terrorism laws.

Most of them are in breach of International Law.

All of them impede upon the freedoms and liberties of ordinary citizens who will have nothing to do with terrorism.

All of them restrict the freedom of movement, meaning a person being free to move around at their leisure without someone attempting to interfere with such movements.

All of them interfere with free speech provisions and some of them can easily be regarded as blatant censorship.

All of them impede the internationally recognised rights of freedom of association and all of these laws prove that intelligence gathering and intelligence services, in terms of such agencies countering terrorism activities has been and still is grossly inadequate and indeed incompetent.

The art of competent intelligence is the gathering of counter-terrorism information without having to interfere with individual rights and privileges and most modern intelligence agencies have absolutely no idea as to how apply the art of gathering valid and relevant intelligence.

Indeed some of the antics of intelligence services of countries such as Australia and the UK have been almost laughable.

In total, well may we sit here and be rightly critical of the antics of countries such as Iran, China and others when in our own countries, the laws are not much better if not worse.
Intelligence is an art and certainly not a process of engaging in 'fishing expeditions' as is currently taking place. What is required, in my view, is a massive improvement of counter-intelligence capability in terms of the operatives being much better trained as to prevent these operatives from running around the countryside like a bunch of keystone cops looking for information that is neither relevant or appropriate.

I am also of the view that if, once they have competent counter-terrorism forces and competent counter-terrorism legislation, the powers of police forces in terms of such powers interfering with the rights of individuals, should have the capacity to be wound back to a level that the community, not Governments, may find acceptable.

In short, counter-terrorism laws and intelligence-gathering methods around the world are a farce in my view and in serious need of a major overhaul so as to get back to democratic reality instead undemocratic Government control.

And on that legalistic note,

My name is Henk Luf.
And that's the way it is.

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