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SWP Comments No. 24/2006
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin
The Heathrow terrorist plot has intensified debate in Britain concerning the proper limits of Executive power in anti-terrorist efforts. Even before the plot was made public, the government had ventured to remove constraints on its scope for action, calling for 'outdated' human rights norms to be adapted in the face of transnational terrorism. It has also sought out international channels through which to deal with transnational terrorism; these boost its clout vis à vis domestic opposition. News reports and opinion polls meanwhile indicate scepticism that the government is behaving in an honest manner when presenting, and dealing with, the terrorist threat. Calls for human rights laws to be strengthened can be heard. Such a move would not, however, appear to substantially safeguard civil liberties. Upgrading parliamentary control, particularly over these international channels, is mooted as a more effective means of maintaining the legitimacy of the government's anti-terror policy, whilst safeguarding civil liberties. (SWP Comments / SWP)
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Research Report

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