Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tony Blair's anti-terror plans go bye-bye

UK: Not that any of this is a surprise, I never expected much if any of the proposals to get put into law. I said it before, they don't call it Londonistan for nothing.

"[The anti-terrorism legislation] is very much driven by Tony Blair's personal convictions," said Eric Metcalfe, a spokesman for Justice, a British human-rights organization. "He was genuinely angry at the terrorist bombings . . . and he also has a history of impatience with the human-rights lobby," Metcalfe said. "He saw the bombings as a mandate to take bold leadership." Although polls suggest that there is strong support for tough anti-terrorism laws, Britain's long experience with the Irish Republican Army's bombing campaign in the 1970s and 1980s has bred a certain public stoicism that is in sharp contrast with America's response to the Sept. 11 attacks. Also, the July 22 fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician whom undercover police mistook for a suicide bomber, has restrained the public's willingness to give law-enforcement authorities added powers. Parliament was critical of the anti-terrorism bill almost from the moment it was unveiled in August. A report issued by lawmakers early this month ridiculed parts of the bill as "over the top." Unlike President Bush, who this month accused senators voting against an extension of the USA Patriot Act of "endangering" the lives of American citizens, Blair has not put up much of a fight since his defeat on the 90-day extension. The result, according to Metcalfe, has been "a slow dribbling away of some of the stronger provisions that Blair had proposed."
The most disturbing part is this.
After quickly identifying the bombers and tracking some of their travels to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the months leading up to the attack, the investigative trail has apparently gone cold. According to news media reports, the cooperation promised by some foreign governments has dried up, and the Muslim community of Leeds, where three of the four bombers lived, has been unhelpful. Clarke conceded that investigators "know only part of the full story and the challenge they have is to know more of the full story."

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