14 January 2009

To Proscribe Or Not To Proscribe?

The Terrorism Act 2000 is an interesting read if you're into that sort of thing. I say this because it gives a glimpse of State politics; not the usual horizontal left-right dialectic distraction but the vertical dialectic of state vs non-state.

The Act gives a definition of terrorism (section 1) and the manner in which terrorist organisations are proscribed: essentially, they are listed in Schedule 2 on the say so of the Secretary of State.

Looking at the organisations in the list and the timeline of their enrollment is quite informative.

In the beginning it is obvious that the Act was being used against terrorism in the province of Northern Ireland. Then came along the unthinking cultish chant of 'everything is different now' after what is called 9/11 and along came the proscription of anything Islam by the magic of statutory instrument.

The problem is, how do we know whether or not these groups are real or not?

The only proscribed group that has challenged their proscription has been the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran. When they challenged their proscription, they won. The UK Gov folded like an irritating drunk after being punched in the solar plexus - you can read about the case PC/02/2006, here, on the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission's website.

So, what of the other proscribed organisations? Are they real or fictional?

I don't know ... but I get the impression that this separation of powers thing, particularly the rule of law, really gets on the wick of some governments. Have a look at what's happening in Europa - People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

Update 27th Jan 2009

The Asia Times is carrying an article, "EU's risky relief for Iranian resistance", that gives some analysis of the situation. However, there isn't any mention of the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission's decision of 30th Nov 2007, in the Asia Times article. I would imagine that the driving force behind Europa's decision is the decision made in Blighty - what else could Europa do?

9th February 2009 For reference purposes, Secretary of State for the Home Department v Lord Alton of Liverpool & Ors [2008] EWCA Civ 443.

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