Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The weakness of European Counter-Terrorist efforts

The UK's Counter-Terrorism effort is facing an increasingly precarious future. Today, Abu Hamza and co. are holding their final appeal (supposedly final) at the High Court. As of 18.52 GMT, there is no news on the outcome. Regardless, this case should have been resolved years ago. In April it was. But of course, the European system is heavily weighted in favor of terrorist defendants. Appeal follows appeal. It is seemingly irrelevant that these appeals are consistently based on frivolous creations by defendants (Abu Hamza sleep deprived etc). The rule in EU law appears to be this- 'The only limit on appeals is the limitation of your imagination'. While I personally believe that Al Qa'ida linked suspects should face military commissions,  I accept that most Europeans may prefer a different approach. 
However, I believe their current approach is fundamentally flawed.

It's not simply the incapacity of EU Courts to resolve cases. Another problem is found in the form of the weak sentences that EU courts often hand down to those convicted of the most serious terrorist offenses. In Scotland, mass murderers are released. In England, attempted mass murderers are given the opportunity to one day be released. This is absurdity incarnate.

At the final level - the operational side of UK counter-terrorism, other problems exist. Instead of welcoming the skill and professionalism of their Intelligence services, in recent months these services have become political whipping boys- a casual target for false moral prophets and politically motivated investigations. Investigations that will chill effective intelligence collection, degrade morale and endanger lives

The stakes in counter-terrorism are high. Groups like Al Qa'ida are motivated by a total war doctrine that seeks to destroy democracy. Making counter-terrorism operations more difficult and judicial processes more complex is in no one's interest. Except the terrorists. 

Sadly, the dangers posed by this evolving dynamic will become even more pronounced as global WMD proliferation accelerates.
Cofer Black - 'After 9/11, the gloves come off'

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