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Year 2005 No. 105, August 10, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Two Articles From Workers' Weekly Youth Group

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Anti-war Fears of War Increasing Terror Attacks Prove Correct

Boy, 15, Wins Curfew Legal Battle

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Two Articles From Workers' Weekly Youth Group

Anti-war Fears of War Increasing Terror Attacks Prove Correct

– By a reader in London –

While we learn ministers were warned and therefore conscious that an invasion of Iraq would inevitably lead to an increase in terrorism, a Guardian/ICM poll finds two thirds of Britons believe the London bombings are linked to the Iraq war.

Fresh evidence emerged on Tuesday, July 19, that intelligence agencies had privately warned the government that the conflict in Iraq could provoke terrorist attacks in Britain, and compound anger among young Muslims.

Intelligence officials warned "events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK". This came only a month before the London bombings on July 7. The warning was issued by the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre (JTAC).

Also, on the orders of the home and foreign secretaries, a paper was prepared for Tony Blair, also stating a link between the government’s foreign policy and the disillusionment among young Muslims. The paper entitled "Young Muslims and Extremism" said that British foreign policy "seems a particularly strong cause of disillusionment amongst Muslims, including young Muslims". It referred to "a perceived ‘double standard’ in the foreign policy of western governments, in particular Britain and the US". The paper goes on to describe "perceived Western bias in Israel’s favour" as a long running grievance. The paper goes on to say, "This disillusionment may contribute to a sense of helplessness with regard to the situation of Muslims in the world with lack of any tangible ‘pressure valve’ in order to vent frustrations, anger or dissent."

Also on July 19, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, suggested that the four alleged suicide bombers were prompted, at least in part, by long standing grievances. Mr Livingstone said he could not read the bombers’ minds but added, "I think there were several levels that led these young men to come to London to kill. One is 85 years of western intervention in the affairs of the middle east." He added that the west had repeatedly meddled "because we wish to preserve oil supplies". He went on to say, "I think for the last nearly 60 years, we have the terrible running sore of the dispossession of the Palestinians, which is the single most important wound in the Islamic psyche."

Even two days before the evidence of warnings to the government, a Guardian/ICM poll found that two thirds of Britons believe there is a link between Blair’s decision to invade Iraq and the London bombings. The poll shows clearly that further terrorist attacks are considered inevitable, with 75% saying there will be more attacks. This research clearly shows the government is losing its propaganda battle to persuade the public that the invasion of Iraq has not made attacks here more likely. Only 28% of voters agree with the government that Iraq and the London bombings are not connected.

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, dismissed a think tank report, which argued that there was a link between Iraq and the bombings. The report by Chatham House said, "There is no doubt that the situation over Iraq has imposed particular difficulties for the UK and the wider coalition against terrorism." Despite the government’s dismissal of the report, the Guardian ICM poll shows the public believe Britain’s front line role has made the country a more obvious target.

The poll also shows that, despite the attacks, there is increasingly little support for ID cards. Only 53% of those questioned said they believed ID cards should be brought in to help fight terrorism.

The British people obviously feel that invading Iraq was wrong and that, as the protesters and huge anti-war movement warned, it has indeed led to increased risk of terrorist attacks. Britain’s foreign policy in the Middle East has put us all in danger; the victims include the young Muslims who are especially vulnerable to racist attacks and state terror.

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Boy, 15, Wins Curfew Legal Battle

The following article from BBC News, published on July 20, 2005, updates the Workers’ Weekly Youth Group report "Teenager's Legal Challenge to ‘Anti-Social Behaviour’ Law" http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wdie-05/d05-079.htm#aut

A 15-year-old boy has won a landmark High Court challenge to the legality of child curfew zones used to tackle anti-social behaviour. The teenager said the use of dispersal zones in Richmond, south-west London, breached his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Unaccompanied under-16s found in zones after 9pm can be held and escorted home, whether badly behaved or not.

The Home Office said it would be appealing against the ruling.

The police and Richmond Council had argued that curfew zones reduced anti-social behaviour.

The High Court ruled that the law did not give the police a power of arrest, and officers could not force someone to come with them.

Lord Justice Brooke said: "... All of us have the right to walk the streets without interference from police constables or CSOs unless they possess common law or statutory powers to stop us.

"If Parliament considered that such a power was needed, it should have said so, and identified the circumstances in which it intended the power to be exercised."

In a statement after the ruling the boy, known in the case as "W" and described as a "model student", said: "Of course I have no problem with being stopped by the police if I've done something wrong.

"But they shouldn't be allowed to treat me like a criminal just because I'm under 16.

"I am very happy with the outcome it is a good victory. I'm glad that the police can't just use force against us anymore.

"I am happy that I won't get into trouble with the police just for being young."

BBC Home Affairs correspondent Rory McLean said the test case ruling had major implications for the government's anti-social behaviour policy and may require legislation in order to deal with the issue.

A Home Office spokeswoman said dispersal zones already in place and future applications were unaffected by the judgment.

"These powers provide the police with a powerful tool to tackle intimidation and anti-social behaviour by groups of people," she said.

"Whilst not limited to young people, 'teenagers hanging around' is a big cause of concern to the public as cited in the British Crime Survey."

During the case heard in May, Javan Herberg, appearing for the teenager, said the curfew zones violated the human rights of "wholly innocent" young people.

He told the court that more than 400 zones had been introduced under the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act. While this case involved Richmond, its implications could be much wider, he said.

The Home Office, backed by lawyers for the police and council, argued the application for judicial review should be dismissed and said the zones did not breach human rights or common law.

They said the 15-year-old could not bring the claim because he had never been stopped by police inside a dispersal area.

The boy was backed by civil rights group Liberty.

Alex Gask, Liberty's legal Officer acting for "W", said: "This is a victory for the presumption of innocence, and the right of everyone, no matter what their age, not to be subjected to coercive powers without good cause".

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